Euro 2012 Group D Preview
Contributed by Vegas Sports Informer
Here is my look at Group D for the 2012 European Championship:
FIFA rank (7) Odds To Win Group (8/5) Tourney (10/1)
Key Player - (M) Stephen Gerrard Player to watch - (M/F) Ashley Young
Summary - Despite high expectations the Three Lions haven’t fared too well in the Euros. From the resignation of Fabio Capello, the two-game suspension of Wayne Rooney, the tension between John Terry and Rio Ferdinand and the injuries to Frank Lampard and Garreth Barry there’s always a story with England. Despite all of the distractions, there’s still a good roster with plenty of talent. How they’ll play is another story.
Betting - England has always been a public team; with that usually means they’re overvalued as favorites. This is a manageable group however, and they showed in their friendly with Spain that England can give anyone a match. Roy Hodgson tends to be conservative as a coach, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a defensive tact vs. the better teams. They will definitely want to win the group to avoid a potential matchup with Spain in the quarters.
FIFA rank (16) Odds To Win Group (8/5) Tourney (10/1)
Key Player - (M/F) Franck Ribery Player to watch - (M) Samir Nasri
Summary - As a former national team player manager Laurent Blanc took ownership of a real mess when he took the job back in 2010. There was disharmony running through the team, federation, media and fans, with group stage ousters at the recent World Cup and Euro 2008 stinging badly. Now, France are unbeaten in 22, with wins over Brazil, England and Germany along the way. Les Bleus have plenty of individual talent amongst the young roster, how they’ll play on the big stage is the real question.
Betting - France seems to play to the level of their competition, which makes them a shaky favorite but a live dog. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a semifinal run.
FIFA rank (50) Odds To Win Group (4/1) Tourney (50/1)
Key Player - (M) Tymoshchuck Player to watch - (F) Artem Milevskiy
Summary - Co-hosts Ukraine are making their Euro debut. While they’ll enjoy a solid home field advantage in all of their matches, there are far too many players either past their prime or coming off poor club seasons for fans to expect great success.
Betting - I’m going to look to go against the Ukraine whenever possible. Yes they have the home field, but I don’t believe they’ll be able to overcome the lack of skilled players and depth.
FIFA rank (17) Odds To Win Group (6/1) Tourney (75/1)
Key Player - (F) Zlatan Ibrahimovic Player to watch - (M) Sebastian Larssen
Summary - It could work in Sweden’s favor that the team enters the finals without any pressure as few expect it to make the knockout stages. At the same time, with so many of the team’s overseas stars having performed well over the season it could prove a costly mistake to underestimate. If anything, history has proven that small football nations like Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004 can go all the way if everything falls into place.
Betting - A lot of competitive veterans + some very talented and influential younger players = LIVE DOGS! I wouldn’t be surprised to see them qualify ahead of England or France.