The fourth and final group of the Euro 2012 tournament contains the other host country, and some teams that are no strangers when it comes to international tournaments. Group D contains the following teams (FIFA rankings in brackets):
England hasn’t really lived up to expectations in big tournaments lately, and some of the familiar faces are starting to fade. It’s now or never for players like Gerrard and Terry. England is going to have to play the entire tournament without Frank Lampard, who is out with injury. In addition to that blow, Wayne Rooney is going to miss the first 2 group stage matches against France and Sweden due to suspension. Still, England has loads of talent.
France didn’t have a great qualifying round. Even though they finished first in their group, they had trouble winning games, tying 3 of their 10 games and losing 1. But they have experience. Ribery came off the crushing Bayern Munich loss to Chelsea, and will want to redeem himself. If France wants to go far in this tournament, other players like Benzema and Malouda are going to have to step it up.
Sweden had a decent qualifying round, winning 8 of their 10 games and finishing 2nd to the Netherlands. Ibrahimovic is a pure goal scorer, and he’ll have to be on his game if Sweden are to make it out of this group. If they can score like they did in qualifying (31 goals in 10 games), they will pose problems for the others in the group, and keep the standings close.
Ukraine are really only in this tournament because they are hosts, although they did beat Estonia 4-0 in their final friendy warm up! Ukraine lacks star power and experience in big tournaments. They have the home crowd on their side, but not many would choose them to advance from this group. Hopefully they can keep games close and interesting.
Group D Prediction:
- France (6 pts)
- England (6 pts)
- Sweden (4 pts)
- Ukraine (1 pt)
France and England should make it out of this group, but it will be close. Sweden could steal more then 3 pts between the two teams and move up, but we don’t see it happening. And Ukraine…well…yeah…