UEFA Euro 2012 Preview: Expert Predictions

 

 

By Alex Byrom & Adam Higgins
Deputy Football Editor & Chief Football Editor 

 

 

The summer tournament begins in Warsaw when co-hosts Poland kick-off against Greece at 5pm on Friday 8th June 


Group A: Poland, Czech Republic, Greece & Russia

See TV Schedule here

 

Poland:

Head Coach:  Franciszek Smuda (Poland)

Captain:  Jakub Blaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-5-1) Szczesny, Kaminski, Piszczek, Wasilewski, Boenishch, Blaszczykowski (C), Murawski, Wolski, Obraniak, Dudka, Lewandowski  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Robert Lewandowski, Dariusz Dudka & Lukasz Piszczek

Alex's Prediction for group stage:  3rd - I think Poland will use the home effect to their advantage. They haven't got a great squad, full of individual talent, shown by the picking of just three strikers. They couldn't have had an easier group; they avoided all the big boys. They have some decent players, and have a nice young squad with some experience, and can cause some problems, with players like Szczesney in goal, Lendowski up front, they chould be contenders. But I feel that they may just miss out on a place in the Quarter-Finals. 

Adam's Prediction for group stage:  3rd- The way this group is lined up, any of the four sides could go through and will fancy their chances of qualifying. It is really tight to predict what is going to happen. The draw was kind to them and Poland being co-hosts will want to perform well infront of the entire continent. They don't have any stand-out players and several members of their squad are not even regular choices for their clubs. They are going to just miss out as I feel others in the group are going to have a better chance but they will give it a good go.

 

 

Czech Republic:

Head Coach:  Mical Bilek (Czech Republic)

Captain:  Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Cech, Suchy, Hubnik, Sivok, Kadlec, Hubschman, Plasil, Rosicky (C), Jiracek, Baros, Necid  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros & Jaroslav Plasil

Alex's Prediction:  2nd - Czech Republic are in the Euros again and I think they could do better than last time when they reached the Quarter-Finals. They have proven players, and decent premier league players, like Cech, Rosicky - who goes into this tournament in fine form - and with 2 strikers who know where the net is in Baros and Necid. It will be between themselves and Russia for top spot and it may come down to goal difference. The Czech's will be hard to beat, but i'm going to put them second. 

Adam's Prediction:  2nd - Czech Republic will have enough to finish second and qualify from this group. It is a fantastic group for them and they probably couldn't have asked for better. I think they will beat Poland and possibly Greece too which will accumulate enough points for them to be able to progress. Their squad contains some decent players who have plenty of tournament experience and that will stand them in good stead- Rosicky has had a terrific second half to the season with Arsenal and Cech is a world class goalkeeper on his day.

 

 

Russia:

Head Coach:  Dick Advocaat (Holland)

Captain:  Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-1-1) Akinfeev, Sharonov, Ignashevich, Berezutsky, Anyukov, Dzagoyev, Denisov, Izmailov, Zhirkov, Arshavin (C), Pavlyuchenko  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Igor Akinfeev, Andrey Arshavin & Roman Pavlyuchenko

Alex's Prediction:  1st - Russia are favourites to win this group, and you can see why. Although, I feel they aren't as strong as their 2008 Semi-Final side, I believe they will do enough to pip the Czechs to that all important top position. They have one of the world's best keepers in Akinfeev, and some experienced hands in midfield, plus, of course, Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlychenko up front - who may not be firing on all cylinders, only need one chance to score a goal. The one question mark is, are they going to be hard to beat? Can they rely enough on their defence to do a job. If so, they will sail through; if not, there could be a shock. Top spot beckons. 

Adam's Prediction:  1st - Russia have the makings of a good squad with a mixture of new, vibrant talent and some of the experienced guard who can only benefit the team- this is their year. They reached the semi-finals in 2008 thanks mainly to the threat of their skipper Arshavin. He has been back at Zenit St Petersburg at the tail end of the season where we began to see his best again. If Russia are to shine this time around, they need Arshavin to be at the top of his game. They carry a threat and should pip the Czech Republic to top spot in the group.

 

 

Greece:

Head Coach:  Fernando Santos (Portugal)

Captain:  Giorgos Karagounis (Panathianaikos)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Tzorvas, Tzavelas, K Papadopoulos, Torosidis, Halibas, Ninis, Karagounis (C), Katsouranis, Fotakis, Samaras, Salpingidis  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Georgios Samaras, Jose Halibas & Costas Katsouranis

Alex's Prediction:  4th - You think of Greece, and you instantly remember 2004. That year, they had a solid foundation. They conceded only 2 goals in the whole competiton, had a goal threat in Charisteas up front, and had a little bit of luck. They defended it poorly in 2008, and I think it could be a carbon copy this time around. They scored the fewest goals in qualifying out of all the finalists', but clearly didn't concede as many. That is the key: their defence has to be watertight, because they know they will get chances, and with the old heads in Karagounis and Katsouranis in the middle of the park, they have got experience and a goal scorer in Samaras - who has had an great season with Celtic. But they're are 3 better teams, if i'm honest, and I cannot see them scoring or picking up a point. Bottom, i'm afraid. 

Adam's Prediction:  4th - Greece may have surprised us all by winning the competition in 2004 but the reaching the group stages in this year's tournament is as far as they get. They don't have enough quality in the squad with a lot of their better players who triumphed eight years ago now retired from international duty. It is hard to see them picking up a point and apart from the goalscoring exploits of Celtic's Samaras upfront- it is hard to see where they are going to find goals from. They struggled to score in qualifying with their defence pulling them through many matches. I think they will be finish bottom of the group.

 

 

Group B: Denmark, Germany, Holland & Portugal

See TV Schedule here

Denmark:

Head Coach:  Morten Olsen (Denmark)

Captain:  Daniel Agger (Liverool)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Lindegaard, Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger (C), S Poulsen, Eriksen, Kahlenburg, C Poulsen, Rommedahl, Bendtner, Krohn-Delhi   (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Cristian Eriksen, Anders Lindegaard & Nicklas Bendtner

Alex's Prediction:  4th - Well this is the group of death. Unfortunately, because the 3 other sides are all in the top 10 of the FIFA world rankings, i can't see Denmark repeating their heroics of 1992. Saying that, they do have a decent squad, and if they weren't in this group, I think they would easily qualify from some of the other groups. A top keeper in Lindegaard, experience plentiful with Agger and the 2 Poulsen's plus Rommedahl and the in form Nicklas Bendtner up top. It will be hard for the other sides, no question, but I think that the other 3 sides have got that little extra bit of quality to change a game, but Denmark will give it a good go, and all their games will be close - but last position is where I'm going to put them. 

Adam's Prediction:  4th - Denmark have assembled a decent squad together over the past year but unfortunately we are not going to see it shine on this particular stage largely down to the fact that each of their group stage opponents are worldbeaters who have massive points to prove themselves. Bendtner and Agger are good players still reaching their peak in the Premier League and there are some other ex-Premiership players. The spine of the team is decent but they are going to immensely struggle to get so much as a goal or point never mind the wider picture of qualification. Definitely the bottom of the group for the Danes.

 

 

Germany:

Head Coach:  Jochaim Loew (Germany)

Captain:  Phillip Lahm (Bayern Munich)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-2-3-1) Neuer, Boateng, Mertesacker, Hummels, Lahm (C), Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Mueller, Ozil, Podolski, Gomez (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger & Mario Gomez

Alex's Prediction:  1st - I don't want to stick my neck out early and add any extra bit of pressure, but 2008 finalists Germany, I predict are going to go all the way. They excelled at the World Cup before losing out to Spain, who beat them in the 2008 final, and they have some excellent young, individual talent, mixed with the old guard. Quality oozes out of this team. They carry the most attacking threat and they also have the 3rd top scorer in Europe amongst their ranks. However, one weakness that I'm sure the teams that get to the latter stages of the competiton is the pace of the full backs. Yes, bags of experience but in Boateng, Mertsesacker, Hummels and Lahm, are they the quickest? But Germany I think will comfortably win the group. 

Adam's Prediction:  1st- Germany were a breath of fresh air to the World Cup two years ago and have improved since then bringing through more young and exuberant talent to their senior set-up. They can only go on and get better at this tournament and Loew has done a magnificent job as manager. They may have finished third in South Africa but they were arguably just as good as Spain in that semi-final, they thrashed England and Argentina along the way and are a force to be reckoned with thats for sure. It is described as the group of death and is the most difficult to sort out. I think the Germans will come out on top for their attacking approach.

 


Holland:

Head Coach:  Bert Van Marwijk (Holland)

Captain:  Mark Van Bommel (AC Milan)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-2-3-1) Stekelenburg, Van Der Wiel, Heitanga, Mathijsen, Willems, Van Bommel (C), De Jong, Robben, Sneidjer, Van der Vaart, Van Persie   (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder & Rafael van der Vaart

Alex's Prediction:  2nd - It's been an excellent last few years for the Dutch. World Cup finalists, and they constantly reach the Semi-Finals of this competition (3 times in the last 4) since their last win in 1988, although they had a poor one last time round. They can certainly go all the way this time round. Along with Germany and Spain, they have one of the best attacks in the tournament: You don't want to be facing Robben, Sneijder, Van der Vaart and Premier League golden boot winner Van Persie. They will always score. Yet, I believe that they will concede an awful lot more goals this time round too. I'm not convinced about keeper Stekelenberg and Van der Wiel and Willems are participating in their maiden tournament. Yet, they should just have enough to finish as runners-up in the group. 

Adam's Prediction:  2nd - Holland were runners-up two years ago- they kept out churning out results and played their football in a confident and spirited way. It earned them rave reviews from many pundits watching in South Africa. They have been a steady ship since then while they triumphed against England in February with a classy performance. They are oozing with talent all over the field with some pace and trickery on the wings in Robben while their system suits the footballers in their side. Holland could make it all the way again this year. They will have more than enough against Denmark and should beat Portugal to see them finish second.

 

 

Portugal:

Head Coach:  Paulo Bento (Portugal)

Captain:  Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-3-3) Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Coentrao, Merieles, Miguel Veloso, Moutinho, Ronaldo (C), Almeida, Nani    (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Bruno Alves, Joao Moutinho & Cristiano Ronaldo

Alex's Prediction:  3rd - Portugal have come so close to winning major tournaments in the last decade or so. They were beaten finalists on their home patch in 2004, and have got to the Semi-Final of the 2006 World Cup and the Quarter-Final of the last European Championships. However, they are in the group of death, and my worry is can they create enough chances to score the goals? We know all about Ronaldo and his goal-scoring abilties, but who else is there? Nani can create. Their defence looks decent and they have some fantastic players. Nevertheless, I fell they will just miss out this time, and they will face a do-or-die match with Holland in the final game. Shocks can happen, will we see one?

Adam's Prediction:  3rd - Well anything can happen in tournaments and we have seen so many shocks down the years. Portugal were a major disappointment at the World Cup but they have a habit of doing well in the Euros- we have seen them be successful in many penalty shootouts. They have some class acts in their starting eleven including the world's second best footballer Ronaldo. What more could they ask for? Their defence reminds me of Arsenal's backline whereby they can look vulnerable all the time no matter what they are like in attack. They will always pose a threat and can score goals with no questions asked but I think Germany & Holland will be too good for them.

 

 

Group C: Croatia, Italy, Republic of Ireland, & Spain

See TV Schedule here

Croatia:

Head Coach:  Slaven Bilic (Croatia)

Captain:  Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Pletikosa, Corluka, Simunic, Strinic, Biujat, Kranjcar, Modric, Srna (C), Pranjic, Jelavic, Olic  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Niko Kranjcar, Luka Modric & Nikica Jelavic

Alex's Prediction:  4th - So, Croatia are here again; their 3rd successive European Championship. They have got some new players, plus the household names. They have got goals with Jelavic and former Blackburn player Kalinic sure to be partnered up front, and Spurs' players Modric and Kranjcar. Yet, their defence looks shaky. Up against the teams and strikers in this group, clean sheets are going to be hard to come by. Italy and Spain should have too much quality for them, but will the Republic of Ireland be daring enough to go out and beat them? If they do, and I think they will, Croatia won't repeat their unlikely Quarter-Final appearence 4 years' ago as they will prop up the table.    

Adam's Prediction:  3rdThey have got some goals in them Croatia no doubt about it. Players such as Srna & Corluka have the experience and know-how to help the group get through while Nikica Jelavic has had a red-hot end to the season since joining Everton with a superb goalscoring run. He has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. Modric is the key midfield creator and he will pull the strings. It is asking a lot for Croatia to impose themselves in this group with Spain and Italy the obvious favourites for qualifying for the quarter final but if Italy are not at their best they will feel that second spot in the group is a realistic ambition. But I think third will be theirs.

 

 

Italy:

Head Coach:  Cesar Prandelli (Italy)

Captain:  Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-3-3) Buffon (C), Abate, Bonucci, Chiellini, Maggio, De Rossi, Nocerino, Thiago Motta, Di Natale, Cassano, Balotelli (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Danielle De Rossi, Antonio Di Natale & Antonio Nocerino

Alex's Prediction:  2nd - Italy are a threat. They have been on the decline in recent years; they had a poor World Cup (finished bottom of their World Cup group) and struggled through the group stages 4 years' ago. They have a new manager and a new way of playing. But they have a lot of people who know it's their final hoorah. Goalkeeper Buffon is still a world class keeper, plus the likes of Chiellini, De Rossi and Di Natale and Cassano up front, including Balotelli and Nocerino; good young talents. There's definitely a threat there. Can they challenge Spain? I don't think so, but they should comfortably progress to the Quarter-Finals. 

Adam's Prediction:  2ndItaly have had their troubles in the past couple of tournaments and the ongoing issue into matchfixing allegations will be an unwelcome distraction when the focus needs to be on the football on the pitch- the racism row and the Balotelli comments will not have helped the situation. This could seriously affect them and their chances for getting past this group. They have quality and they will give Spain a good game, but against Croatia they will struggle and they should get past the Republic of Ireland which should average out enough points for them to grind out second position. Their new injection of talent will gain valuable experience from this and they have a point to prove more than anyone else in the tournament.

 

 

Spain:

Head Coach:  Vicente Del Bosque (Spain)

Captain:  Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-1-4-1) Casillas (C), Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Pique, Jordi Alba, Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, Pedro, Silva, Llorente.  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Jordi Alba, Xavi Hernandez & Fernando Llorente

Alex's Prediction:  1st - The Holders. The Favourites. The side every team wants to beat. The European and World champions are looking to defend the trophy and become the first side to do so. Despite the loss of David Villa, they still have the best squad in the tournament. All world class players themselves. There are a few newcomers: Albiol, Alba and Sliva, who have never started in the Championships. They have all the best creative talent with Xavi, Iniesta Xabi Alonso, plus Silva and Fabregas too. Then you have Pedro, Llorente and Torres to put the ball in the net. The world's best keeper, and defenders at the 2 best clubs in Europe. You just run out of superlatives to throw at this side. If they get a chance to defend their title, it may be the best side in history. They'll have far too much for Croatia and Ireland, and will edge out the Italians. Top spot for me. 

Adam's Prediction:  1stSpain are the overriding favourites- the world champions and reigning European champions. They will thrive on the pressure of retaining their trophy and again showing they have the steel to stop everyone from competing against them. Their starting eleven and subs bench is packed with world-class footballers who play on the biggest stages in world football each week throughout the season, they win the major honours and have the tricks, the flair, touch and technique to amaze everyone. They play the best football, have a top class goalkeeper, have scorers in their side and can pass the ball for fun and drain their opponents. They win games and can find something from anywhere. They will finish top of the group- is their anyone who thinks they won't?

 

 

Republic of Ireland:

Head Coach:  Giovani Trappatoni (Italy)

Captain:  Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward, Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady, Keane (C), Doyle (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Shay Given, Richard Dunne & Robbie Keane

Alex's Prediction:  3rd - Republic of Ireland just being in the Euros is a tale of its own. They are going to struggle to get through, as everyone knows but shocks have happened before. I have put them 3rd because I think that they will beat Croatia. And with Trappatoni in charge, it's going to be a typical set-up, quite similar to England actually. Tight, compact, tought to break down, well disciplined too. They might bot have the world class talent of Spain, Germany or Holland, or the experience of Portugal, Russia and France, but they are very good as a team. They work hard for each other, and that team spirit will be the deciding factor. If they can get enough service to Keane and Doyle, they have players to score a goal. And that could make the diffference between progression and failure.  

Adam's Prediction:  4thIts been an extraordinary fable for the Irish to reach this phase of the competition in itself let alone trying to facilitate a way through to the quarter-finals. It is an immensely difficult group that Giovanni Trapattoni's men are faced with in Poland & Ukraine. If you were tasked with overcoming the reigning world champions, Croatia and a rejuvenated Italy side, you will be fearing the worst. Their squad consists of average Premier League players at mediocre mid-table clubs at most- what they don't have in marquee names they make up for in spirit, commitment and desire. They know how lucky they are to be here and they will do their best in all three of the games but that is as much as they will get. They have a number of squad members who are experiencing tournament football for the very first time- fourth is what they will achieve. But just finishing in the last 16 is good.

 


Group D: England, France, Sweden & Ukraine

See TV Schedule here

England:

Head Coach:  Roy Hodgson (England)

Captain:  Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-1-1) Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, A Cole, Walcott, Parker, Milner, Young, Gerrard (C), Welbeck (Rooney when he returns from suspension)   (See here for full squad) 

Three-Two-See:  Joe Hart, Steven Gerrard & Ashley Young

Alex's Prediction:  2nd - What a job Roy Hodgson has got on his hands, in his first full experience as an England manager. With a squad short of outstanding quality, and beset by injuries to key personnel, the stakes couldn't be higher. The Three Lions will be hard to break down, and with Walcott and Young supplying Danny Welbeck, counter-attacking could be the way England win. No Wayne Rooney for the opening 2 games, so they will have to play a different way, but that shouldn't be a concern. With a solid defence, and a strong looking midfield, with pace on the flanks, England could see themselves as group winners. The only problem is, will they keep possession for long enough to supply the key players? Let's lower expectations - Get out of the group, and I think everyone will be very satisfied; win the group, and everyone will go mental. Pipped by France, though to second for me. 

Adam's Prediction:  2ndThe fact that England have managed to qualify for the European Championship finals this time around is testimony to the work that previous manager Fabio Capello put in. After the post mortem of going out of the World Cup in the last sixteen stage against Germany two years ago, the Italian brought some new players and experimented with different systems to find one which suited the players and he found it. Steven Gerrard needs to be given license to roam although England have lost some key players to injuries with younger and inexperienced players coming in. This could affect England's chances as their strength in depth has been severely weakened. France are a good team, Sweden are a bogey side and Ukraine are the co-hosts keen to make a positive impression- this is not easy by any stretch of the imagination but I'm confident for second place.

 

 

France:

Head Coach:  Laurent Blanc (France)

Captain:  Hugo Lloris (Lyon)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-5-1) Lloris (C), Reveillere, Mexes, Koscielny, Evra, Ribery, Nasri, M'Vila, Diarra, Valbuena, Benzema  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Franck Ribery, Alou Diarra & Karim Benzema

Alex's Prediction:  1st - France have turned into dark horses for this tournament, looking to win it for the 3rd time. After the debacle of the 2010 World Cup when the team and management was in disarray, Laurent Blanc has done a superb job to turn around their fortunes; they hol the best run of any of the final sixteen with an unbeaten run of 21 games, and they have beaten England and Sweden in the last 22 months. They exude class, experience and quality, despite them not having the same depth of previous tournaments. France's best keeper, former captain Evra, and the midfield of Ribery M'Vila, Nasri and Valbuena, who can all find that killer pass for Benzema, who knows where the goal is. His goals could be the key. They shouldn't have a problem qualifying, it just depends if they can go any further. 

Adam's Prediction:  1st-  France are rejuvenated from the World Cup having been in a similar state to Italy- except add all the off-the-field issues such as players refusing to train and turning against the manager. They were internally dealt with appropriately and Laurent Blanc took on the job of picking up the pieces and has done it well. He has made them a more stable and decent footballing team. Its been out with the old and in with the new. France have a very creative and industrious midfield quartet in Ribery, Diarra, Nasri and Valbuena who all play at the highest level for their clubs- the latter three have considerably matured since the South Africa disaster and will be eager to perform this time around and make up for last time. France should have enough for all three group opponents with England being their toughest test- it will be no surprise to me if they collect nine points. Top of the pile in Group D.

 

 

Sweden:

Head Coach:  Erik Hamren (Sweden)

Captain:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Isaksson, Lustig, Granqvist, Olsson, M Olsson, Larsson, Kallstrom, Svensson, Elm, Elmander, Ibrahimovic (C)  (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Martin Olsson, Kim Kallstrom & Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Alex's Prediction:  3rd - Sweden are like most 3rd place sides in this tournament: A couple of outstanding talents. They know what it takes in a big tournament, even though they never quite make it. The last time was in 1992. They will beat Ukraine, and they can get a result against France, for sure, plus being England's bogey side in recent times. They have a squad that now plays in top divisions, with the 2 Olsson's, Lyon midfielder Kallstrom, plus Elmander and captain Ibrahimovic is a world class striker. Any delivery into the box by Larsson is going to cause carnage. Can they take advantage? It could come down to the match against France on the last day. They'll just miss out again. 

Adam's Prediction:  3rdSweden are a strange team in that we always see them qualify for the major tournaments but when they get there they always seem to fail in taking that next step- falling at the final hurdle if you like. Like every team, they have their stand-out players. Sebastian Larsson can deliver a mean setpiece and they will look to utilise this with Ibrahimovic also good in the air- this could be a good combination that can provide a threat for other teams. It would be great to see their full potential this time because this is a team capable of causing upsets and shocks in matches and indeed in tournaments. Ukraine is the match which they would need to win in order to stand any chance of progressing while they would probably need to draw with England which is realistic enough and possibly get a point in the game against France- a more unlikely outcome. They will again miss out.

 

 

Ukraine:

Head Coach:  Oleh Blohkin (Ukraine)

Captain:  Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev)

Likely Line-Up:  (4-4-2) Goryaniov, Schevchuk, Rakitskiy, Kucher, Selin, Yarmolenko, Tymoshchuk, Gusev, Nazarenko, Shevchenko (C), Milevskiy   (See here for full squad)

Three-Two-See:  Oleksandr Kucher, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk & Andriy Shevchenko

Alex's Prediction:  4th - Ukraine are like Poland: co-hosts, no added pressure and the reality that they have nothing to lose. They are always competitive and are always on the fringes of qualifying for major events anyway. Although, they don't have any real quality, they know that there are 3 teams that, if they play well enough, on their day they can beat. They won England's qualifying group in 2008, when England missed out, though they didn't get out of the group. With a relatively new defence, can it cope with the attacks and pace of the opposition? If it can, they can certainly score goals, especially with top scorer Shevchenko in their ranks, but they are going to struggle I reckon. 

Adam's Prediction:  4thUkraine are in a similar boat to their co-hosts Poland whereby they don't have the added pressure of needing to do well, they can play and enjoy their football. It is massive for these two relatively minute countries to host such a massive football tournament- it will bring a lot of tourism in fans etc. But in terms of footballing matters, if I was being honest, they probably have the worst squad out of the sixteen teams taking part. Shevchenko and Milevskiy are two bright sparks for them- although they are in their thirties and have seen better days. However, on their day they can reach a high performance level. It is a difficult group for them to overcome giving that their squad only has two or three standout members that possess great quality. Their manager has done a fantastic job for them to reach the last sixteen but that is as far as they will reach in this one.  

 

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