Group Guide

Group A:

Poland / Greece / Czech Republic / Russia

Poland qualify as hosts and were top seeds in the group. Home advantage will be key to them getting out of the group. The other three nations not considered big names in International football, Poland should fancy their chances. Arsenal’s giant keep Wojciech Szczesny will be make sure not to concede too many while Rob Lewandowski will look to be group A’s top scorer and maybe even the tournaments?

DTPT Star Man: Robert Lewandowski

DTPT Prediction: Quarter Finals

Euro 2012

Shock 2004 winners Greece topped their group undefeated but don’t expect any heroics this time around. Scoring only 14 goals in qualifying in their 10 games. Celtic’s Georgios Samaras will be their best know name but the Greek strikers lack that dangerous threat. Will be lucky to get out of the group but don’t expect them to be the whipping boys and they are very stubborn at the back.

DTPT Star Man: Kyriakos Papadopoulos

DTPT Prediction: Group Stages

Euro 2012

The Czech Republic made it to Poland through the playoffs via group I. A squad best know for their 1996 tournament where they reached the final only to lose to Oliver Bierhoff’s golden goal against Germany in the final. All their stars from that era and the later ones from their semi-final appearance at Euro 2004 are all but gone. Cech, Plasil, Rosicky and Barros will be the experienced players in the squad with no other names jumping out as a threat. A force when they were know as Czechoslovakia, this team has now lost its spark.

DTPT Start Man: Jaroslav Plasil

DTPT Prediction: Group Stages

Euro 2012

Topping Ireland’s qualifying group were Russia. A handy win in Dublin followed by a dominant display in the scoreless draw in Moscow saw them top the group with 24 points. With quite a few stars who have graced the Premier League and the rest of the squad mostly made up of Zenith St. Petersburg and CSKA Moskow players, Russia like to keep things fast and interchanging. Not expected to take the tournament by storm thay will be looking to finish strongly in the group.

DTPT Star Man: Yuri Zhirkov

DTPT Prediction: Quarter Finals

Euro 2012

Overall: Group A doesn’t host the greatest of football powers, expect tight defenses from all four teams and none of them have that attacking threat that the others will fear greatly. Whoever finds the back of the net most times will top the group, draws wont be good enough to see a team through but every point will count. I expect Poland to find form in front of their home supporters with Greece struggling to score a goal. Czech’s and Russia to fight it out for second despite meeting on the first day.

Euro 2012

Group B

Holland / Germany / Portugal / Denmark

World Cup finalist Holland will be looking to go one better two years later. There is no question about their attack with van Persie, Robben, Sneijder, van der Vaart and Huntelaar providing the strike power but at the back they miss the de Boer or Stam of recent times. Always fancied they have won the trophy with their only appearance in the 1988 final with the likes of Gullit and van Basten. Can van Persie and co. repeat these heroics this year?

DTPT Star Man: Robin van Persie

DTPT Predictions: Semi Finals

Euro 2012

Three times winner Germany go into the tournament as one of the favourites and rightly so. A 100% record in qualifying record and some great friendly results, the Germans will be looking to continue this form at the finals. Captain Philipp Lahm leading from the back with Neuer in nets, not many goals get conceded with two defensive midfielders steadying the ship. The attack line is another class with Gomez or Klose leading the charge, with 6 and 9 goals respectively after just 6 games each in qualifying. A definite star this summer Mesut Ozil backing them up with Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller either wing. With a mix of youth and experience, germany will be the team to beat this year.

DTPT Star Man: Thomas Muller

DTPT Prediction: Winners

Euro 2012

Denmark are expected to be the team to finish well bottom of group B by many people but do not expect that from the former winners. Having already traded blows with Portugal in the qualifying stages (each team winning their home match), Denmark finished the stronger and topped the group. Could get out of any other group but with Holland and Germany in “the group of death” looks unlikely. Nicklas Bendtner at Sunderland hit form towards the end of the season and at the end of the Danes qualifying campaign and could provide the spark in front of net that they will need.

DTPT Star Man: Nicklas Bendtner

DTPT Prediction:  Group Stages

Euro 2012

Portugal the only team in group B not to previously win the tournament. All eyes will be on Ronaldo once again all hopes will be on him as well if Portugal want to progress. A couple of good players but not enough strength in dept to prove a major force. Best performance was on home soil when they were runners up to Greece. Had to beat Bosnia in playoffs after some poor qualifying results. The fans are behind the manager and if Ronaldo can shine once again they might have a chance of the knockout stages.

DTPT Star Man: Cristiano Ronaldo

DTPT Prediction:  Group Stages

Euro 2012

Overall: The “Group of Death” of the tournament sees plenty of experience from each team with nine final appearances between them. The Dutch and Germans are expected to fight it out over the top two spots but each tournament usually throws up a shock result. This group is almost the opposite of group A where the best defense could decide who goes through as a lot of goals are expected. The glamour match between Holland and Germany will take place on the 13th of June and will be interesting to see how things pan out for the final round of games.

Group C:

Spain / IrelandItalyCroatia

Current holders and World Cup winners Spain go into the tournament as the bookies favorites. Missing a few big names in Puyol and Villa through injury, this tournament will be slightly harder to get through this time around. The magical midfield of Xavi, Iniesta and Silva usually keep Cesc Fabregas of of the starting lineup while Fernando Llorente expected to fill David Villa’s boots, the Athletic Bilbao hitman with 7 international goals to his name already. The players have had a long 4 years in both club and country seasons and to keep it going will be a big ask this time around as no team has ever retained this competition.

DTPT Star Man: Fernando Llorente

DTPT Prediction: Quarter Finals

Euro 2012

For the first time in 24 years the Republic of Ireland qualify for the Euros. After a handy playoff draw against Estonia the Irish had a great qualifying campaign losing only once to group winners Russia. With Trapattoni not offering much alternative to his normal tactics Ireland might come undone in the group stages. If the Italian has a trick our two up his sleeve, the final game against his home nation might bring Ireland to a standstill on June 18th. Ireland rely heavily on four main players from their last major tournament ten years ago in Duff, Keane, Given and Dunne. With James McClean setting the Premier League on fire in the second half of the season he makes the squad but will have to fight hard to displace Aiden McGeady, a favorite of Trapattoni’s along with Andrews and Whelan in the center. Expect a very defensive tournament for the boys in green.

DTPT Star Man: Robbie Keane

DTPT Prediction: Group Stages

Euro 2012

Italy have won the tournament just the once compared to their four World Cup victories. They cruised through qualification conceding just two goal with their star experienced keeper, Gigi Buffon in net for most the games. Antonio Cassano is back in favour since Cesare Prandelli took over and hit six goals in qualifying. A question mark still remains on who will be his strike partner with one from Mario Balotelli, Antonio DiNatale and Marco Borriello to start, all who didn’t play too much during the group qualifying. The Italians are as ever sound at the back with plenty of experience in midfield. I expect the Italians to be a surprise package of the tournament but with a new betting scandal just after being reported, could this upset the Azzuri camp??

DTPT Star Man: Daniele DeRossi

DTPT Prediction: Runners Up

Euro 2012

After only joining FIFA in 1992, Croatia are usually people’s “dark horses”. Only missing out on the Euro Finals once they have reached the quarter finals on 2 of their three attempts. After overcoming Turkey in a playoff this side has stars but maybe not enough heart to get through this time. Tottenham midfield duo Niko Kranjcar and Luka Modric will control the middle with Edwardo and Nikica Jelavic dangerous threats up front. In defense they are lacking pace which will probably cost them getting out of the group.

Euro 2012

Overall: All eyes will be on Ireland as they face a near impossible task of overcoming two world giants and Croatia. A bit of luck and some results going their way could see them progress. Spain will have things tougher this time then the last few tournaments and Italy always have a few problems. Croatia are no pushovers so this could be a very open group. Expect drama and the two big teams to get into the playoffs, just.

Euro 2012

Group D:

UkraineEnglandFranceSweden

Co-hosts Ukraine will have to really take advantage of home soil in a tough group. Led by legend Andriy Shevchenko who is in his 17th year of internation football. Ukraine will have to pull together hard and if they want to grind out some results but qualification is looking unlikely. No competitive games is not going to help and with ageing players its goning to be a tough tournament.

DTPT Star Man: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk

DTPT Prediction: Group Stages

Euro 2012

As always England go into a major finals with a tonne of media pressure on them. New manage, new captain and no star striker Wayne Rooney for the first two games, things will be a little tougher for the ’66 World Cup Winners. Having never reach a final in the Euros, Roy Hodgson’s men start their group with the French in what is to be expected a table topper. With bogey team Sweden and hosts Ukraine also in their group it could be a tough task to get out of group D but expect them to click if they do. Andy Carroll, who had a poor season as £35m strikers go, will lead the line in Rooney’s absence supported by either an attacking midfielder or inexperienced Danny Welbeck.

DTPT Star Man: Wayne Rooney

DTPT Prediction: Quarter Finals

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