Euro 2012 Ante-post Preview

Euro 2012

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Published: 12/12/2011

The draw for Euro 2012 has been made and at last the real countdown towards the Championship can begin.

Despite being coupled with stiff opponents Italy as well as Croatia and the Republic Of Ireland in the group stage, Spain remain strong favourites to defend their title in Poland/Ukraine.

5/2 is roundly available about the world champions and Vicente Del Bosque’s men will be exceptionally hard to topple even if the majority of the side does not quite hit top gear.

There is a slight feeling that the tournament could mark the end of Spain’s international dominance one way or another – with key players such as Carles Puyol and Xavi now approaching the veteran stages of their careers.

Spain’s opening game against Italy should be an interesting affair, but with both nations notorious for starting slowly, the draw looks unbelievable value at 13/5.

Italy can beat anyone on their day; however their ageing side is unlikely to be able to sustain a prolonged challenge for the tournament outright. Focusing in on Spain’s main challengers, it is hard to get away from the threat which Germany pose.

Joachim Low’s side really impressed during the 2010 World Cup and showed more than enough potential to suggest that they can win a major trophy. Although they lost to a more experienced Spain team 1-0 in the semis, they crushed England en route to the last four and in many ways looked the real deal.

Players such as Mezut Ozil and Sami Khedira have subsequently gone on to develop further at club level on the European stage and they can spearhead a serious tilt in Eastern Europe.

They must negotiate the notorious group of death however which also includes arch rivals Holland and Portugal who trounced them at Euro 2000.

Denmark will also be no slouches in Group B and cannot be underestimated – after all they won the tournament when rank outsiders in 1992.

England are 10/1 ante-post to achieve their first major honours since 1966 and on balance that looks a fair reflection of their chances.

In terms of the draw, the Three Lions will perhaps count themselves fortunate to be in amongst France, Ukraine and Sweden in the group stage – however they remain a relatively unknown quantity through what is essentially a period of rebuilding and transition.

England’s opening tie against the French is likely to signal the extent of both team’s chances outright but once again an opening match draw looks tempting at 5/2. Group A is easily the weakest out of the four and will offer a dangerous Russian side a rather easy passage through to the last eight.

Hosts Poland will also have a major chance of progressing at the expense of the Czech Republic and 2006 champions Greece who have failed to fire on the big stage ever since their shock success five years ago.

The golden boot market also looks interesting and can provide punters with some sizeable odds for more than realistic chances.

At the head of affairs, Arsenal man Robin Van Persie looks decent value at 10/1 whilst Germany’s Lukas Podolski can also make his presence felt at odds upwards of 20/1.


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