I was away doing actual work for most of the afternoon, but since then I have caught up on the details of he Euro 2012 draw. England were drawn in group D, alongside Ukraine, Sweden and France. It’s a pretty good draw, I think, though all of the group matches will be in Ukraine and England’s base is in Poland. (Surely it would have made more sense to find accommodations after the fixtures were set?) In fact, only if England win the group (unlikely) will they play a match in Poland (the semi-final).
England’s campaign will begin on the 11th of June against France. It will be an opportunity for revenge for the defeat at Wembley last year and the rugby players’ defeat in New Zealand, but more likely it will be a chance for another humiliating loss to France. It will probably also be the match that decides the group winner, although neither Ukraine or Sweden will be walkovers. If England finish as runners up their quarter final opponents will likely be Spain, so there will be a strong incentive to win the group, though the desire to not play Germany didn’t help in South Africa. If England do win the group they will probably play Italy, though there’s an outside chance that they would play the Republic of Ireland. That would be fun, but pretty unlikely. Either way I don’t see England going to the semi-final. Even less likely than a semi-final berth for England is one for a side from Group A. The quarter-final arrangements mean that two of Poland, Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic will face two of Holland, Denmark, Germany and Portugal.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t look at those teams, make some vague and only partly accurate appraisals of their skills and use that to predict the course of the tournament. I’ll revise, or at least add specifics to this closer to the tournament, but for now my prediction is:
Czech Republic (Could easily switch with Greece)
Germany (Holland v Germany is 13 June, can’t wait)
Ireland (I am required to include at least one upset)
France (I’m realistic)
Germany def Greece
Holland def Czech Republic
Spain def England
France def Ireland (via handball)
Spain def Germany (probably)
Holland def France (easily)
Final: See 2010 World Cup. (Though I’d prefer a Holland v Germany final. What a match that would be.)