Euro 2012 Group D Betting Picks and Preview
2012 UEFA European Soccer Championship Group D
Monday, June 11-Saturday, July 1, 2012
Poland and Ukraine tournament hosts
Defending Champion: Spain
All odds courtesy of bookmaker
With England, France, Sweden, and Ukraine Group D in Euro 2012 has many interesting story lines. Anytime England and France get together, it will be a great match. England though is battling injuries and suspensions to some key players and isn’t as strong as they could be. Sweden could be a dark horse in the tournament. Tournament host Ukraine will use the energy of the home crowd and could surprise the other teams in the group.
Here is a look at the four teams in the group and their odds to win the tournament, the group and to advance to the knockout round, courtesy of bookmaker.
England (+1485 Tournament, +225 Group, -146 Advance)
Though the English are #6 in the world rankings, they have a lot of questions. After not even qualifying for Euro 2008, England won their qualifying group for Euro 2012. England has never won the European Championship, advancing only to the semifinals in 1996.
England not only has a new manager in Roy Hodgson, but they will be without striker Wayne Rooney for the first two games in group play against France and Sweden due to a suspension. England will also be without midfielders Frank Lampard, and Gareth Barry, and defender Gary Cahill due to injuries. England will have to rely on Jermain Defoe, John Terry, and Joe Hart to hold the fort until Rooney returns.
England still has a lot of talent and if they can scratch out draws against France and Sweden, then they will still have a good shot of advancing. Unfortunately, a quarterfinal match with Spain could await.
France (+890 T, +156 G, -211 A)
France is #14 in the world rankings, but are the favorites to win the group because of the uncertainty involving England. The French are managed by Laurent Blanc who took over the team after an embarrassing mutiny at the 2010 World Cup under former manager Raymond Domenech. France won their qualifying group with a 6-3-1 record. France won this event in 1984 and 2000, and could make another run this year.
The French have several talented young scorers and will be very dangerous for the 2014 World Cup. Striker Karim Benzma is flanked by Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda. Yann M’vila is coming off an ankle injury but is expected to be ready. Samir Nasri is also dangerous.
If the kids grow up and mature, France could win it all. However, I think a semifinal berth is more likely.
Sweden (+658 T, +578 G, +167 A)
Sweden is #17 in the FIFA rankings, and managed by Erik Hamren. Sweden finished second in their qualifying group behind the Netherlands. Sweden’s best finish in this event is a semifinal berth in 1992.
Sweden is led by AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He needs help though, and could get it from midfielder Sebastian Larsson.
Sweden needs to beat Ukraine in the first game, and it won’t be easy as the hosts will be playing in front of a delirious home crowd. If the Swedes can survive that, then they have a shot against a depleted England team. Sweden could steal a quarterfinal berth but like England will struggle against Spain unless something miraculous happens.
Ukraine (+658 T, +415 G, +154 A)
Ukraine is #52 in the world, and wouldn’t even be in this tournament if they weren’t cohosting with Poland. Ukraine is managed by Oleg Blokhin. Ukraine has never played in the European Championships before, but this team made an unlikely run to the quarterfinals in the 2006 World Cup.
Captain Andriy Shevchenko, 35 was on that team, but the rest of the team is young. Andriy Yarmolenko is only 22 but is a rising star. Other key players include Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Oleksandr Shovkovskiy, Serhiy Nazarenko, and Oleh Husyev.
Ukraine could surprise the other three teams in the group in front of fired up crowds. However, I don’t see them advancing.
I think France wins the group, with England and Sweden in a dog fight for the second knockout stage spot.
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