As the draw for the Euro 2012 championships came to a close, I happened to read this ESPN Soccernet article on Ireland’s chances in the championship: Irish handed horror draw. They drew in Spain, Italy and Croatia. I was thinking to myself, ehhh it’s not that bad, the title should have been – The luck of the Irish, as it always had been.
On paper, it unquestionably looks like a tough group. But, all the non-powers in their respective groups could feel the same way.
I mean if you look at Group B, Denmark are the underdogs among the likes of the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal. Now, that’s a horror draw as all these teams have been consistently out performing each other in friendly and competitive games. For the Danes, this tournament will only act as a platform for their potential stars to showcase themselves so that European clubs can pounce upon them as soon as the transfer window opens. Other than that, do not see them going anywhere.
On the other hand, I am quite sure the English would be quite glad to be out of the so-called group of death. At the least, they have avoided ze Germans. They were tied in with Ukraine, Sweden and France. From these teams, I see Ukraine and France as top contenders along with England of course. France again, is not the France that shocked us at the time of Zidane, Petit, Lizarazu, Desailly, etc. They just suck now to be honest.
The group that all the teams would have personally paid their way into has to be Group A. Poland, Greece, Russia and Czech. Now which of these four are more likely to qualify? It looks like its still quite open. The easiest group in the tournament with the Russians and Czech looking like favorites to qualify.
Coming back to Ireland’s dismay, I think they are actually quite lucky to be grouped with these teams. Spain as we know has been inconsistent since winning the World Cup. However, if they decide to turn it on, they could destroy any team. We all know that. But we will keep it at the fact that they are still inconsistent. Having beaten Italy in a friendly, in the summer this year, should give them enough courage needed to face them again. Coming in with a mentality, have beaten them once, they could do it again, would go well for them. However, the game against Croatia could make or break their chances of qualifying.
To end on a high note, it’s good to see England back in the championships after their horror performances for Euro 2008. Germany is the team, I believe, presently is giving the impression of winning the championship. Lets just hope that Trapattoni keeps his concentration on what need’s to be done in order to move through the stages.
Oh Trapattoni, are you examining the 3 logo or something else, you sneaky old man. You are still a great coach though, so go on. Enjoy the Italian in you.