Euro 2012 starts on Friday. Are you excited? Well check out CALM’s Euro 2012 guide:
Poland – If they weren’t one of the host nations then it would be highly unlikely they’d be here. Their squad is lacking in overall quality and they will be hoping that home advantage can spur them on. Don’t expect to see them outside the group stages.
Star Man – Jakub Blaszczykowski
Greece – 2004 winners were perhaps one of the surprise qualifiers for the tournament, like the group mates Poland, it’s highly unlikely they’ll get past the group stage. Lacking in creative flair they’ll be hoping to keep clean sheets and nick a goal.
Star Man – Giorgos Karagounis
Russia – While not having many internationally known names in their squad, Russia are an excellent team and very capable of beating anyone on their day. Expect them to dominate this group and qualify with ease.
Star Man – Andrei Arshavin
Czech Republic – They might not be the squad they were a few years ago but there is still quality in this squad. And in Milan Baros they have a striker who comes alive in international tournaments, which is always handy. They’ll get past the group stage but not by much.
Star Man – Milan Baros
Netherlands – World Cup runners-up Holland are rightfully one of the pre-tournament favourites. The Dutch fans will be hoping for more total football than they saw in the 2010 World Cup final, but if they meet Spain, expect a more solid and rigid performance again.
Star Man – Robin Van Persie
Denmark – The Danes are a decent team, unfortunately for them they’ve been drawn in an awfully tough group. Don’t expect any shocks; they’ll take the wooden spoon in this group.
Star Man – Nicklas Bendtner
Germany – As with any competition, the Germans will be in for a shout. Their squad is riddled with quality and talent. What’s that old saying? “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”
Star Man – Mesut Ozil
Portugal – Tough group for Portugal, normally you’d expect them to ease through this stage. If they are to progress they will be relying heavily on the talented Ronaldo to drag them through. But even he might not have enough class to do that.
Star Man – Christiano Ronaldo
Spain – One of the greatest international teams to ever play the game. You’d be a fool to bet against them retaining their title. Every single player in their squad oozes quality, but they are missing the very important David Villa. Can someone step up to replace him?
Star Man – Andres Iniesta
Italy – Since winning the World Cup Italy have failed to impress on the international stage. They don’t have the goal scoring quality of yester years. One of the unproven strikers will have to step up if Italy are to make an impact.
Star Man – Andrea Pirlo
Republic of Ireland – What they lack for in quality they more than make up for in experience. Ireland will be relying on solid performances and soaking up pressure if they are to avoid going home early. Don’t bet against them making the next round.
Star Man – Richard Dunne
Croatia – Good god this is a tough group. I expect Spain to go through but the other position really is anyone’s for the taking. Croatia have a good solid squad with the odd exceptional talent within it. Really can’t predict who will go through with the Spanish.
Star Man – Luka Modric
Ukraine – The stand out man is Andriy Shevchenko, and if they are to do well in Euro 2012 he will have to roll back the years and put in some outstanding performances. Don’t expect to see them in the latter stages.
Star Man – Andriy Shevchenko
Sweden – A good solid team with plenty of experience. Like Ukraine, their fortune is in the hands of one man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Often going missing in the big European club games, he’ll need to be at the forefront of everything if Sweden are to get out of the group.
Star Man – Zlatan Ibrahmovic
England – It’s a very underwhelming squad missing some big players. After an awful World Cup 2010, England will be hoping for better stuff under their new manager. The core of the team is still those that failed to shine in any tournament over the last decade. Don’t be surprised at an early exit.
Star Man – Steven Gerard
France – Who knows what the French will bring. Capable of being quite brilliant on their day, do not right them off. But there are so many negative influences within the team that Laurent Blanc may struggle keep them concentrated. Could go either way with them.
Star Man – Karim Benzema
My Preditcions –
Winners – Spain
Golden Boot – Robin Van Persie