• Thu 8 Dec, 2016
  • 00:15 GMT
  • 20:15 ET (GMT-4)
  • 02:15 CET (GMT+2)

Euro 2012 Groups Preview

Fri 8th June – Sun 1st July: Click here to see a preview of every team’s chances at Euro 2012, with best bets and group odds.

GROUP A

POLAND

Tournament co-hosts Poland have only previously contested one European Championship, failing to win a game and suffering group stage elimination in 2008 while the Poles’ last qualifying campaign, for the 2010 World Cup, was also disappointing. On paper then, Franciszek Smuda’s troops look likely to find the going tough but they are on home soil, which will undoubtedly be beneficial while a kind draw and the form of Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, who was named Bundesliga player of the season, mean they have solid claims in terms of emerging from Group A, even if they don’t have the quality to trouble the business end of the competition. Stan James make Poland 10/11 to qualify from the pool but it’s Paddy Power’s 23/10 for them to finish as runners-up is the eye-catching bet.

Star Man: Robert Lewandowski

Prediction: Quarter final

Fixtures:
June 8 – Greece
June 12 – Russia
June 16 – Czech Republic

Odds: 55/1 (BetVictor) outright, 11/4 (Totesport) to win group.

Best Bet: Poland to finish second in Group A – 23/10 (Paddy Power)

GREECE

Shock winners of the competition in 2004, Greece were unbeaten in qualification for the 2012 renewal, beating Croatia to first place. Their success was again based on resilient defending as they conceded just five goals across ten matches but as was the case in the 2008 tournament in which they lost every game, scoring just once in the process, the Greeks’ problems are likely to come at the other end. Much of the creative burden will be on the shoulders of Sotiris Ninis but aside from the young, Parma-bound midfielder, few players in Fernando Santos’ squad possess the ability to unlock defences and that’s why Greece are 9/2 outsiders with Skybet to top the group. BetVictor meanwhile, make them 4/7 to fail to qualify and it could be that they end up with the wooden spoon as they did four years ago, a 6/4 shot via Stan James.

Star Man: Sotiris Ninis

Prediction: Group stage

Fixtures:
June 8 – Poland
June 12 – Czech Republic
June 16 – Russia

Odds: 80/1 (Paddy Power) outright, 9/2 (Stan James) to win group.

Best Bet: Greece to finish bottom of Group A – 6/4 (Stan James)

CZECH REPUBLIC

The Czechs required a two-legged play-off victory against Montenegro to book their place at Euro 2012 after a mixed qualification campaign and their inconsistency doesn’t bode well especially given their recent major tournament performances. Since reaching the semi-finals of this competition in 2004, the Czech Republic have been eliminated at the group stage twice – in the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 while they actually failed to make it to the World Cup finals in 2010 so it’s fair to say the formbook is against them. Another group elimination is 8/11 at Paddy Power. Buoyed by Chelsea’s Champions League success, stopper Petr Cech can enjoy an impressive tournament but that won’t be enough to see Michal Bilek’s charges fashion a path to the last eight and the Czechs, a 4/1 shot via bet365 to top Group A, subsequently look set for an early return home.

Star Man: Petr Cech

Prediction: Group stage

Fixtures:
June 8 – Russia
June 12 – Greece
June 16 – Poland

Odds: 66/1 (Ladbrokes) outright, 9/2 (Coral) to win group.

Best Bet: Czech Republic not to qualify – 8/11 (Paddy Power)

RUSSIA

Russia have failed to reach the last couple of World Cups but finished an impressive third in Euro 2008 and were fairly convincing in qualifying for this competition, albeit in a group that, the Irish aside, was pretty weak. Dick Advocaat’s side have plenty of strength in attack, former Spurs striker Roman Pavlyuchenko and Fulham’s Pavel Pogrebnyak amongst their striking roster and with Alan Dzagoev increasingly influential in the middle of the park, the Russians should have enough quality to cruise through what is arguably one of the tournament’s simpler groups to reach the quarter finals. It would be no surprise if Coral’s 6/4 Group A favourites won every match (8/1 with Ladbrokes for 9 points) and Betfred make them an enticing 11/10 to make a flying start by seeing off Czech Republic in their opener.

Star Man: Roman Pavlyuchenko

Prediction: Quarter final

Fixtures:
June 8 – Czech Republic
June 12 – Poland
June 16 – Greece

Odds: 25/1 (Boylesports) outright, 6/4 (BetVictor) to win group.

Best Bet: Russia to win Group A – 6/4 (Coral)

GROUP B

GERMANY

Three-times European champions Germany are almost always a threat when it comes to major tournaments and having qualified for this one by winning all ten of their matches, scoring an impressive 34 goals along the way, that’s the case again here. William Hill’s 3/1, second favourites, were runners-up four years ago and if anything they are a stronger team this time around while the side that beat them in the Euro 2008 final, Spain, are perhaps a touch weaker so the way is clear for Joachin Low’s men to lift the trophy. Admittedly, Group B isn’t the easiest, but the Germans have the firepower to get the better of their three strong opponents and in the prolific Miroslav Klose, 14/1 with Betfred to be top scorer, they have a man that knows exactly how to perform when it comes to tournament football; in what could be his final international competition he’ll be desperate to pick up a medal. The Germans are 6/5 (Boylesports) to top the group and it’s 11/4 at Ladbrokes for a Germany-Netherlands forecast.

Star Man: Miroslav Klose

Prediction: Winners

Fixtures:
June 9 – Portugal
June 13 – Netherlands
June 17 – Denmark

Odds: 3/1 (William Hill) outright, 6/5 (Boylesports) to win group.

Best Bet: Germany to win Euro 2012 – 3/1 (William Hill)

NETHERLANDS

Runners-up to Spain in the World Cup two years ago and impressive qualifiers for this competition with nines victories in ten outings, the Dutch will rightly head to Poland and Ukraine in confident mood. Admittedly, Stan James’ 7/1 third favourites have been drawn in the ‘group of death’ but the Oranje have emerged from the group stage in the last six European Championship renewals while the reward if they sneak through on this occasion is a potentially straightforward quarter final contest and in any case Bert van Marwijk’s team should be too strong for Portugal and Denmark given the firepower they have at their disposal. They’re a confident selection then at 1/2 (Betfred) to qualify and indeed any team that looks to the likes of Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for goals, from a supply line that includes Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart, has to be considered a major threat. They are 5/4 with bet365 to reach the semis on the back of a potentially simple quarter tie.

Star Man: Robin van Persie

Prediction: Semi-final

Fixtures:
June 9 – Denmark
June 13 – Germany
June 17 – Portugal

Odds: 7/1 (Stan James) outright, 2/1 (Coral) to win group.

Best Bet: Netherlands to reach the semi-final – 5/4 (bet365)

PORTUGAL

Opening their qualifying campaign with a draw against Cyprus and a defeat to Norway, Portugal looked set to miss out on the finals but after they replaced manager Carlos Queiroz with Paulo Bento, the 2004 runners-up looked a much more solid proposition and they recovered sufficiently to book their place in the tournament via a play-off against Bosnia. There’s little doubt that much of Portugal’s play centres around Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, the clear 15/8 fav to top score for them (Sportingbet), and on their day the Portuguese can be a match for anyone but they’ve been given a tough group and are 7/5 with Boylesports to reach the last eight as a result. A possible over reliance on their influential skipper could be their downfall while Germany and Netherlands look more likely to get through so it’s worth considering Paddy Power’s 4/6 for Portugal to miss out on the second phase.

Star Man: Cristiano Ronaldo

Prediction: Group stage

Fixtures:
June 9 – Germany
June 13 – Denmark
June 17 – Netherlands

Odds: 20/1 (William Hill) outright, 9/2 (Blue Square) to win group.

Best Bet: Portugal not to qualify – 4/6 (Paddy Power)

DENMARK

Denmark topped their qualifying group ahead of Portugal and will meet the same opponents in the group stage in the finals but sadly for Morten Olsen’s charges while another victory over Paulo Bento’s troops isn’t out of the question, getting the better of the Germans and the Dutch is another thing altogether, hence BetVictor’s quote of 20/1 for Denmark to win Group B. Nevertheless, the well-organised Danes certainly won’t disgrace themselves, especially if skipper, Liverpool’s Daniel Agger can hold them together at the back and young midfielder Christian Eriksen is a promising player to keep an eye on for the 1992 winners, who will be hard to break down. Bet365 rate Olsen’s men at 9/2 to get through to the last eight but that’s a big ask in the circumstances and they’re more likely to finish bottom of the pool.

Star Man: Daniel Agger

Prediction: Group stage

Fixtures:
June 9 – Netherlands
June 13 – Portugal
June 17 – Germany

Odds: 100/1 (Coral) outright, 18/1 (bodog) to win group.

Best Bet: Denmark to finish bottom of Group B – 4/6 (Stan James)

GROUP C

SPAIN

Defending champions in Europe and also World Cup holders, it’s easy to see why the all-conquering Spaniards are Skybet’s 5/2 to retain the trophy they captured four years ago in Vienna. Vicente del Bosque’s men also qualified for the competition with a hundred percent record, which bodes well but they aren’t without problems. Firstly, influential defender Carles Puyol will miss the tournament through injury while at the other end, David Villa is another huge loss having lost his race to be fit. Given the patchy performances of Fernando Torres, this leaves the Spanish perhaps looking a little lighter than they would like in attack, despite the form of Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente and although their slick passing will still be dizzying for most teams, it could be that the holders struggle to find an end product in the latter stages of the competition.

Star Man: Xavi

Prediction: Semi-final

Fixtures:
June 10 – Italy
June 14 – Ireland
June 18 – Croatia

Odds: 11/4 (bet365) outright, 8/13 (Betfred) to win group.

Best Bet: Spain to lose in the semi-final – 10/3 (Coral)

ITALY

Since losing the 2000 final, Italy’s pedigree at the Euros seems to have tailed off and their odds of 14/1 (Betfred) places them at the outside of the top teams at the competition. The Azzurri came through a very straight forward qualifying without losing and indeed they’re just 4/6 progress here (Blue Square) but they must be careful of complacency against fired up opposition in Ireland and Croatia. Andrea Pirlo is the man who needs to be on form to make the team tick but with the attack up for debate (Mario Balotelli’s presence is always a risk) and the defence far less experienced than usual for an Italian side, BetVictor’s 6/4 about group elimination is the call. Bet365 have 5/4 on the Italians notching less than 5 goals.

Star Man: Andrea Pirlo

Prediction: Group stage

Fixtures:
June 10 – Spain
June 14 – Croatia
June 18 – Ireland

Odds: 14/1 (Betfred) outright, 7/2 (Paddy Power) to win group.

Best Bet: Italy to exit at Group stage – 6/4 (BetVictor)

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

With only their second ever qualification to the European Championships, Ireland would have hoped for a slightly more forgiving draw, Totesport making them 4/1 just to progress. Qualification was only made tricky by Russia and in hindsight anything other than making Poland & Ukraine would have been disappointing but Coral make them 1/5 to bow out at the first hurdle. Robbie Keane’s goals and Aiden McGeady’s midfield runs will make or break their campaign but it will be a tough for them, bet365 rating the Irish at just 8/11 to score 2 or less goals. Robbie Keane is more than likely to score them and so Coral’s 7/2 about him being their top scorer is the best bet in consideration of the short odds about their elimination.

Star Man: Robbie Keane

Prediction: Group Stage

Fixtures:
June 10 – Croatia
June 14 – Spain
June 18 – Italy

Odds: 100/1 (Sportingbet) outright, 18/1 (BetVictor) to win group.

Best Bet: Robbie Keane to top score for Ireland – 7/2 (Coral)

CROATIA

Since their inception in 1990, Croatia have been a respected football team full of talent and 2012 will be no different as they bring, amongst others, Darijo Srna, Luka Modric, Ivica Olic and Nikica Jelavic to the competition. The key to success will be to use all of that attacking talent and target Italy as the giants to topple and if they can beat Ireland in their opening fixture (6/5 with Betfred), they stand every chance of qualifying, 9/5 with Skybet. A potential tie with France awaits in the quarters but it is this stage where the dream may end, as it did in 2008. Paddy Power put 7/2 about them making, but exiting in, the last eight while Coral quote 4/1 on them finishing runners-up to Spain in the groups.

Star Man: Luka Modric

Prediction: Quarter Finals

Fixtures:
June 10 – Ireland
June 14 – Italy
June 18 – Spain

Odds: 60/1 (BetVictor) outright, 8/1 (Skybet) to win group.

Best Bet: Croatia losing in the quarter finals – 7/2 (Paddy Power)

GROUP D

UKRAINE

Co-hosts Ukraine will be feeling the pressure to progress from Group D (7/5 with Ladbrokes) in their first ever appearance at a European Championships and talisman Andriy Shevchenko carries the weight of national expectation. The Dynamo Kiev striker has recovered from injury in time to play but Ukraine look set to struggle and the legendary striker looks good at 8/1 with Coral to top score for his team, large when you consider he might only need a brace to achieve it. Stan James quote a decent looking 11/5 about Oleh Blokhin’s men finishing bottom of the group, a price surely inflated by the ‘home nation factor’, while Sportingbet put 11/2 about them achieving a solitary point from three games.

Star Man: Andriy Schevchenko

Prediction: Group Stage

Fixtures:
June 11 – Sweden
June 15 – France
June 19 – England

Odds: 50/1 (Stan James) outright, 5/1 (bet365) to win group.

Best Bet: Ukraine to finish bottom of Group D – 11/5 (Stan James)

SWEDEN

Sweden head to the tournament as the bookies’ outsiders in Group D and indeed amongst the fringe teams the tournament as Blue Square put 80/1 on them to win. It’s just 4/9 with Coral that Erik Hamren’s troops drop out at the group stages and historians will point out they did just that in 2008 and 2000 but four years ago they were undone by an injury time winner from Spain’s David Villa and they will feel they can squeeze through this time. The Swedes recorded an excellent win over the Netherlands last October and then lost narrowly at Wembley so Boylesports’ 2/1 about them progressing looks a touch high but should they head to the quarters, a tough game awaits so bet365’s 3/1 about Sweden being eliminated in the last eight holds appeal.

Star Man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Prediction: Quarter Finals

Fixtures:
June 11 – Ukraine
June 15 – England
June 19 – France

Odds: 80/1 (Blue Square) outright, 11/2 (Ladbrokes) to win group.

Best Bet: To be eliminated in the quarter finals – 3/1 (bet365)

FRANCE

France, the 2000 Champions, have been rebuilt by Laurent Blanc since a disastrous 2010 World Cup and Les Bleus are now eighteen games unbeaten, including wins against England, Brazil and Germany. They come into the tournament as 12/1 shots with Paddy Power and genuine contenders to go far. They have to be considered to win Group D at 9/5 (via Boylesports) against three inferior teams and Sportingbet make them 9/1 to pick up three wins. France stand a chance against any team who finish runner-up in Group C (presumably behind Spain) but would encounter tough semi final opponents so bet365’s 5/1 on them to be eliminated in the semis holds appeal. A potential front line of Loic Remy, Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery has bags of talent and while Benzema is 7/2 with Blue Square to top score for his nation, it’s Franck Ribery who is the man to make them tick.

Star Man: Franck Ribery

Prediction: Semi Finals

Fixtures:
June 11 – England
June 15 – Ukraine
June 19 – Sweden

Odds: 12/1 (Paddy Power) outright, 9/5 (Boylesports) to win group.

Best Bet: To win Group D – 9/5 (Boylesports)

ENGLAND

Roy Hodgson has been brought in to try and extract something from an England squad that has the lowest expectation from fans and the media in years yet BetVictor are still quoting 11/1 for them to win outright despite, including Euro 96 on home soil, only making the quarter stages twice since the 60’s. Boylesports make them joint 9/5 favs to win Group D but with a tough opener against France, morale could plummet with defeat. Potential banana skins Sweden and Ukraine await and Coral’s 7/4 for the Three Lions to go out at the first hurdle is tempting while Paddy Power offer a larger 16/5 on a third place finish. Betvictor post up 20/1 about a straight Group D tricast of France followed by Sweden and then England. Ashley Young’s runs from midfield will be key and Betfred put 8/1 on the winger being England’s top scorer.

Star Man: Steven Gerrard

Prediction: Group Stages

Fixtures:
June 11 – France
June 15 – Sweden
June 19 – Ukraine

Odds: 11/1 (BetVictor) outright, 9/5 (Unibet) to win group.

Best Bet: Eliminated in group stages – 7/4 (Coral)

Compare all Euro 2012 odds and bet at the best price.

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