Euro 2012 – My Preview

This summer’s Euro 2012 has the potential to be the greatest European Football Championship since the competition began back in 1960.

When UEFA published the coefficients after qualifying had been completed, I saw that the top 15 nations had qualified – Spain topped the list, England were fifth and co-host Ukraine fifteenth while fellow co-host Poland was ranked 28th.

RANK

TEAM

COEFFICIENT

1

Spain**

43.116

2

Netherlands

40.860

3

Germany

40.446

4

Italy

34.357

5

ENGLAND

33.563

6

Russia

33.212

7

Croatia

33.003

8

Greece

32.455

9

Portugal

31.717

10

Sweden

31.675

11

Denmark

31.205

12

France

30.508

13

Czech Republic

29.602

14

Republic of Ireland

28.576

15

Ukraine*

28.029

28

Poland*

23.806

*As co-hosts, Ukraine and Poland were placed in Pot 1 for the draw. **As reigning champions, Spain would have been placed in Pot 1 regardless of their coefficient.

Serbia was the unlucky nation to miss out thanks to Poland†.

Another thing which I noticed when the finalists were all confirmed was the fact that all the previous European Champions had qualified this year.

  • Russia and Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union, 1960).
  • Reigning champions Spain (1964 & 2008).
  • Italy (1968).
  • Germany (1972 & ’80 as West Germany, 1996 as a unified Germany).
  • Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia, 1976).
  • France (1984 & 2000).
  • The Netherlands (1988).
  • Denmark (1992).
  • Greece (2004).

Spain are also the World Champions, as have been: Italy (four-times), Germany (three-times as West Germany), France and England (both once).

The Netherlands have also had the misfortune to lose three World Cup Finals.

West and Unified Germany have lost in four World Cup Finals between them, Italy and Czechoslovakia two, France and Sweden one.

The only losing Euro finalist not to have qualified for the upcoming championship is Belgium who went down 1-2 to West Germany in 1980.

TEAM

BEST RESULT AT THE EUROS

Germany

Champions – 1972(West), 1980(West) & 1996

Spain

Champions – 1964 & 2008

France

Champions – 1984 & 2000

Russia

Champions – 1960(U.S.S.R.), Semis – 2008

Czech Republic

Champions – 1976(Czechoslovakia), Runners-up – 1996

Italy

Champions – 1968

Netherlands

Champions – 1988

Denmark

Champions – 1992

Greece

Champions – 2004

Croatia

Runners-up – 1960 & 1968(Both as part of Yugoslavia)

Portugal

Runners-up – 2004

ENGLAND

Third – 1968*, Semis – 1996

Sweden

Semis – 1992

Republic of Ireland

Group Stage – 1988

Poland

Group Stage – 2008

Ukraine

Début as an Independent Nation, Champions – 1960(U.S.S.R.)

*The third-fourth Play-Off was scrapped after Euro 1980.

Belgium is also one of just three previous hosts not to have qualified, the other two being Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria and Switzerland.

I’m aware that Yugoslavia hosted the tournament in 1976 and were runners-up twice but Croatia are representing the ‘house of Yugoslavia’ as it were.

Finally we come to tournament experience.

Twelve of the 16 countries in Euro 2012 played in Euro 2008.

Denmark and England failed to make it to Austria and Switzerland but were in Portugal for Euro 2004, while this is the Republic of Ireland’s first Euro since 1988.

The only debutant this time around is Ukraine, who have only played in one other tournament since becoming independent in 1991.

That was the 2006 World Cup where they finished a brilliant eighth, being knocked out 0-3 in the Quarter-Finals by eventual winners Italy.

As for who will win this Euro, my (not literal) money is on Germany.

I think the last Euro and World Cup were just a little too early for this team and Spain naturally won’t be as hungry to win this time around.

But look out for sides like Croatia, Denmark and Russia, because I think they can go far if lady luck smiles on them.

England on the other hand will be lucky to get out of the Group Stage, but more on that if (when) we get knocked out.

FIFA World Rankings as of 6 June 2012:

RANK

TEAM

POINTS

1

Spain

1,456

3

Germany

1,288

4

Netherlands

1,234

6

ENGLAND

1,145

8

Croatia

1,053

9

Denmark

1,019

10

Portugal

996

12

Italy

977

13

Russia

975

14

France

964

15

Greece

953

17

Sweden

910

18

Republic of Ireland

907

27

Czech Republic

771

52=

Ukraine

572

62

Poland

518

 

Let’s hope this tournament is remembered for the football and nothing else.

†Euro 2016 in France will have 24 teams. Had this have been now: Turkey, Estonia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina would have qualified along with four other nations.

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About Alex Crouch 92

I'm a lifelong Formula One fan who also enjoys classic rock/heavy metal music.
This entry was posted in England Football Team, Euro 2012, Football, International Football, Sport, UEFA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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