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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Possible Draws For EURO 2012

Portugal, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland and Croatia confirmed their participation in EURO 2012 last night by qualifying for the tournament via the play-offs. With the qualifying round of EURO 2012 coming to a close, UEFA announced the seeding of the teams for the tournament in June.

POT 1            POT 2           POT 3       POT 4
Spain              Germany        Croatia       Denmark
Netherlands     Italy               Greece       France
Poland            England          Portugal      Czech Republic
Ukraine           Russia            Sweden      Ireland

Based on current form and quality of their squads, Spain, Netherlands and Germany will be the early favourites, but the European Championship is known to produce upsets with Denmark and Greece going all the way to win the tournament in the recent past. Italy, England, France and Portugal have fairly good teams on paper but are not the most consistent and disciplined teams in the tournament. Croatia and Sweden have the potential to pull off a few major upsets and will be the prime dark horses for the tournament. The remaining teams may not be up there at the moment, but another stand-out performance, accompanied by some luck, could see teams like Russia and the Czech Republic pull off something similar to Greece's EURO 2004 triumph.

Each group will consist of one team from each pot and UEFA has assigned teams into each pot based on their coefficients. Poland are automatically drawn into Group A while Ukraine are in Group D since they are the host nations. Poland will kick things off against one of the teams from Pot 2 on the 8th of June at the National Stadium in Warsaw.Spain and Netherlands will be drawn into the remaining two groups.

Spain and Netherlands will be hoping that they don't have to meet Germany in the group stage and will be hoping for Russia to be draw in their group, since they're the weakest team in Pot 2. Italy and England will also be teams that the World Cup finalists will want to avoid but it is inevitable that one of them is drawn into either Group B or C, assuming that Germany are in either Group A or D.

The most dangerous team in Pot 3 is clearly Portugal and we could see a group containing Spain, Germany and Portugal. Sweden and Croatia are fairly strong teams themselves with the likes of Luka Modric, Dario Srna and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their ranks. Greece is the final team in Pot 3 and will be considered a weak team in whichever group they're drawn into. Host nations Poland and Ukraine will be looking Portugal and Croatia, while settling rather happily for Greece in their group.

Although France have remained unbeaten this year, their form in the most recent major international tournaments has been woeful and sees Les Blues sitting in Pot 4 for the EURO 2012 draws. If Spain, Germany and Portugal are drawn in the same group, all of them will be praying that the French are not the last team to be drawn into their group. The idea of Portugal, Spain, Germany and France in the same group is mouth watering for the neutrals but one of the most dreaded possibilities for both fans and players of those countries. Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are the bottom most teams in the tournament based on recent reputation and form, but will be looking to pull off some major upsets if drawn into a group containing the likes of Germany, Italy, Netherlands, England...

THE MOST ENTERTAINING DRAW POSSIBLE

GROUP A             GROUP B          GROUP C        GROUP D
Poland                    Spain                   Netherlands         Ukraine
England                  Germany              Italy                     Russia
Sweden                  Portugal               Croatia                Greece
Czech Republic       France                 Denmark             Ireland

This draw sees the two most successful teams in the history of the tournament drawn in the same group. The two qualifiers from Group C will be fairly happy since they'd avoid the likes of Spain, Germany, Portugal, England and France while Groups A and B will have no time to breathe thanks to the competition being so hard right from the group stage.

THE DRAW THAT ENSURES A CRACKING QUARTER FINAL

GROUP A      GROUP B          GROUP C     GROUP D
Poland              Netherlands         Spain              Ukraine
Germany           England               Russia             Italy
Croatia             Greece                Portugal          Sweden
Ireland              Czech Republic   Denmark         France

Assuming the top teams on paper qualify from each group, the quarter finals would be :

GERMANY    V/S    ENGLAND

CROATIA       V/S    NETHERLANDS
SPAIN              V/S   FRANCE/SWEDEN (HARD TO CHOOSE ONE)
ITALY              V/S   PORTUGAL

With innumerable combinations possible, all we can do is wait for December 2, 2011. Whatever the draws end up being, we're surely in for a cracker of a tournament!



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