Posted by: Pete Robertson | June 8, 2012

Euro 2012: A Team by Team Preview

Group A

Czech Republic

Qualifying: The Czech’s made it to Euro 2012 after finishing 2nd in a tough group including Spain, and then a play-off win over Montenegro

Czech Captain Tomas Rosicky in action.

Key Player: Captain Tomas Rosicky will need to be on top form to give his side a chance going forward. In a team that could be short of flair and goals, the Arsenal man has the ability to create moments of magic.

Prediction: Will score a point or two, but equally won’t have enough in the locker to cause many problems. GROUP STAGE

Greece

Qualifying: Unbeaten during qualifying and eased through group F. Greece know what it takes to win this tournament and after such a strong qualifying will have high expectations.

Key Player: Giorgos Karagounis was part of the winning 2004 Greek side, and now, with over 100 caps to his name, his team will need to draw on his experience once again.

Prediction: Will push teams in their group all the way but don’t have the sort of quality needed to overcome them. GROUP STAGE

Poland

Qualifying: No qualification needed for Poland who co-host the tournament, but how will that lack of competitive matches effect them?

Key Player: Arsenal have found a gem this season in goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, and his national side will expect him to carry that form into the tournament.

Prediction: With home support and great team spirit will escape the group but no further. QUARTER FINALS

Russian youngster Alan Dzagoev

Russia

Qualifying: Just pipped the Republic of Ireland in their qualifying group, beating them 3-2 in Ireland along the way.

Key Player: Russia are strong in all areas but look out for youngster Alan Dzagoev who has the potential to light up Group A. The rest of the tournament should be put of full alert.

Prediction: Should win the group but will face the runners up of a strong Group B in the quarters. Will be unable to replicate their showing in 2008. QUARTER FINALS

Group B

Denmark

Qualifying: The 1992 Champions beat Portugal to top their qualifying group and have moved into the top 10 in the World as a result.

Key Player: Ajax’s Christian Eriksen may only be 20 years old, but he’s quickly establishing himself as a key player in this Danish side, and one that could cause problems for defenders throughout this tournament.

Prediction: In any other group I’d expect them to qualify, but in this tough Group B I think too much would be required of them. GROUP STAGES

Germany

German Thomas Muller will aim for another Golden Boot.

Qualifying: Germany won every game in qualifying and scored the second most goals. With form like that they’re being highly backed to go all the way.

Key Player: Difficult to choose just one for Germany, but in Thomas Muller they have a player who won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup and scores key goals in big matches.

Prediction: Will win their group ahead of Holland, but come up against a strong French side later in the tournament. SEMI FINALS

Netherlands

Qualifying: No one scored as many goals as Holland in qualifying which says all you need to know about this Dutch team, but that’s mainly thanks to an 11-0 win over San Marino.

Key Player: With such a talented forward line any one of their players has the potential to make the impact, but Robin Van Persie has ignited the Premier League this year and will build on that in the Euro’s.

Prediction: Second in the group to Germany but that could in fact help them go all the way. They’ll just fall short. RUNNERS UP

Portugal

Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Qualifying: Second to Denmark in their group and needed a play-off win over Bosnia and Hertzegovina to make it to the tournament.

Key Player: Possibly the single most talented player in the tournament is the Portugese captain Cristiano Ronaldo. But do they rely on him too much?

Prediction: While Ronaldo has the ability to propel this team forwards, they are too much of a one man team. GROUP STAGES

Group C

Croatia

Croatian sensation Luka Modric.

Qualifying: Second in their group to Greece but then recorded a solid victory over Turkey to make their way to Poland and Ukraine.

Key Player: Luka Modric has been in dazzling form for Tottenham this year and is the man Croatia will turn to when they need a goal.

Prediction: Could be a surprise package this year, but will just lose out to Italy and Spain in the group. GROUP STAGES

Italy

Qualifying: Italy won their group to qualify for the tournament, including a 3-0 win over Serbia due to their match being abandoned due to rioting of Serbian fans.

Key Player: Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio will be expected to step up this tournament and lead a new Italy side by example.

Prediction: Will escape their group but won’t mount a serious challenge for the trophy. QUARTER FINALS

Republic of Ireland

Qualifying: Second to Russia in their group, but a kind play-ff draw against Estonia allowed them to progress to the tournament.

Key Player: With over 120 caps, much rests on the form, and fitness, of goalkeeper Shay Given. Without him they’ll leak too many goals.

Prediction: Did well to reach the tournament and will entertain in their group stage matches but go no further. GROUP STAGES

Spain

Spain’s Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal of the 2010 World Cup.

Qualifying: The only other team to win all their matches, Spain looked as dominant in qualifying as they did during their Euro win in 2008 and their World Cup win in 2010.

Key Player: Impossible to pick just one player, but midfielder Andres Iniesta scores key goals at key times and will become more of a presence the longer Spain are in the tournament.

Prediction: Spain enter the tournament as favourites following their wins in 2008 and 2010. But to win 3 in a row? Not quite. SEMI FINALS 

Group D

England

England’s hopes will rest heavily on goalkeeper Joe Hart

Qualifying: England were impressive in qualifying, winning the group and remaining undefeated. However, managerial turmoil and selection controversy could cloud their achievement.

Key Player: Arguably the best player England have at their disposal will have to be at his best. Joe Hart could be England’s best chance for success.

Prediction: Will come second in the group to France and will be living on borrowed time after that. QUARTER FINALS

France

Qualifying: Following a controversial World Cup in 2010, France are currently 21 games unbeaten and are the form team heading into the tournament.

Key Player: Midfielder Yann M’Villa is the engine of the French side and Laurent Blanc gets the best from the young Rennes player.

Prediction: With 21 games unbeaten and an up and coming, and more importantly harmonious squad, France are due a good tournament and will go all the way. WINNERS

Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will need to be at his very best.

Qualifying: Sweden made it to the Euro’s as the best placed group runner up, coming second only to the free scoring Netherlands.

Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic will need to be at his unstoppable best if Sweden are going to make any impression in the tournament.

Prediction: Will push opponents all the way but will rely too much on their main striker Ibrahimovic. GROUP STAGES

Ukraine

Qualifying: No qualification needed for the Ukraine who are co-hosting the tournament, making their way to their first ever Euro tournament along the way.

Key Player: As an absolute idol in Ukraine, Andriy Shevchenko will be under pressure to bring everything he’s got to the very biggest stage Ukraine’s ever been on.

 : Even home support won’t be enough for the Ukraine who could struggle to get a single points in a tough group.

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