The Euro 2012 Championship starts today with Poland vs Greece as the opening game (Russia v Czech Republic looks tastier, later on in the day).
This fanpost can be the discussion thread, the predictions zone, and generally the place to come and rant, talk, bitch or eulogize about your team or favourite players.
So I'll give a couple of my thoughts here.
Group A- Poland, Russia, Cz Republic, Greece
So In my opinion, we can't look past Russia for the group win, they should have too much for Poland and Greece, Czech republic offers a sterner test for them, but still.
A group win for Russia. Greece to be runners up!
Group B-Holland, Denmark, Germany, Portugal
The group of death (part 1). This is such a tough group, the wisdom is Germany to win it, Holland to come 2nd. But I have a feeling we may see one shock result that throws the whole group.
Germany to win the group, unsure on the runner up, I think Portugal may get a result vs Holland, It may be a very close call for runners up.
Group C- Spain, Italy, Ireland and Croatia
Group of death (part 2ish) Not as bad as group B, but still potential for problems for the runner up position. Spain should win the group, will Ireland be stubborn enough, and defensive minded enough to gain a sneaky win or a draw and cause problems for Italy? Maybe. Italy are no great shakes, and with a match fixing scandal (repeat of WC 2006) cause instability?
Spain to win the group, Italy to be runners up and getting a result in the last game vs Ireland.
Group D-England, France, Sweden, Ukraine
I'm an Englishman and I have no great faith, or excitement in England in this tournament. England will be tough to beat but will miss Rooney's guile and ability vs France. If England can gain at least a draw v France they will progress, if not, they may struggle to qualify, Can Sweden and Ukraine play well enough to qualify? Yes, but only if France don't turn up (a la 2010). Can Benzema and Nasri et al banish the previous problems under Domenech, and now play as a cohesive unit capable of getting to the semis? Under Blanc they will have a much improved chance to do so in my opinion.
France group winners, England to scrape in to runners up.
Germany v Spain
Spain to win. Although no team has ever won three consecutive tournaments, I think this Spain team is cut from a different cloth. They will keep possession so effectively as to make it very difficult to score against them. Puyol won't be as big a miss as some may think, but Villa will. The midfield and the width provided by the fullbacks and whoever is chosen to play wide will provide the killer punch. Who will play up front? The press here in Spain don't know, will it be Torres or Llorente? Those 2 players may get the group games to settle the question. But in all honesty the team should have goals coming from midfield and out wide to limit the importance of the striking question.
Germany are a young and progressive side, effectively coached by Joachim Low. Gomez, Muller and maybe Klose will provide a potent punch up front, The midfield and wide players have plenty of threat going forward, Ozil, the exciting Gotze, if he plays, will get goals. Germany are backed by the deeper lying Sweinsteiger and possibly Khedira in midfield which should provide a strong anchor. I am not too enamoured with Gemany's defensive options but they have the best goalkeeper in the world to bail them out if needed.
Spain to win with dominant possession and one of the strikers getting hot.
Any thoughts from you guys??