Hot Summer 2012
|BettingExpert/Betfair Euro 2012 blog correspondent entry profile|
|Milos Zivancevic is a 32 year old bettingexpert tipster from Serbia.|
|Website : Milos' profile page at BettingExpert|
Dear football fans around the globe, we are going to have a hot summer this year. No, this is not weather report, this is 2012 European Football Championship preview. In Poland and Ukraine, during the month of June, 30 matches will be played starting from the 8th of June. The last, 31st match, the great finale, will be played on July the 1st on Olympic Stadium in Kiev. After that match we will know who is the best team on the continent, and the team to beat is Spain, European champions four years ago in Austria and Switzerland. This is short preview of the groups with some news about important players, their form, injuries etc… These are my thoughts and I dared to make some predictions.
Poland, co-host nation is definitely going to try to advance from the group. That’s always a goal for the host nations and I wouldn’t be surprise to see them achieve that. The spine of their team are : Arsenal FC goalkeeper Wojciech Szcz?sny and Borussia Dortmund trio ?ukasz Piszczek, Jakub B?aszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski – all Bundesliga champions. Others include mix of young, talented players from the Polish league and experienced veterans from the clubs all over Europe.
Greece, a surprising winners of the 2004 European Championships are highly unlikely to repeat such feat. What I find as their most noticeable weakness is their lack of fire upfront. I mean: Charisteas, Gekas, Salpingidis, Samaras, thay are all quality players but they all belong to the veterans. They are second lowest scoring team in qualifications that qualified for the tournament (actually first place in category goes to their group rivals Czech Republic). They scored 14 goals in 10 matches and none of their goalscorers scored more than one goal in quallies. I don’t see them advancing from the group but many believed same 8 years ago and we already said what happened then…
Russia fans are planning to occupy Poland and Ukraine, two of their surrounding countries. They could be feeling as if they are playing in their own country. We’ll see how Polish and Checzs are going to react to that… Many quality players are in this squad, Arshavin. Pavlychenko, Berezutskiy. It’s going to be interesting whether Pogrebnyak would be able to maintain his prolific form from the Premiership this year with 6 goals scored since joining Fulham from Bundes Liga. It could be crucial for his team.
Czech republic – I already mentioned their goal scoring foes: only 12 goals in 10 qualifying matches!!! They were very lucky, they played Montenegro in Playoffs and won their qualification to the Championship. If we know that their best scorer in the tournament is Michal Kadlec, 27 year old Bayer Leverkuzen defender, than we know what is their best quality : DEFENCE !!! A lot will depend of Chelsea’s Peter Czech, but Tomas Rosicky and Milan Baros will have to improve their form if their team is to have any chance on advancing.
PREDICTION: 1.RUSSIA 2.POLAND 3.CZECH REP. 4.GREECE
Netherlands: One of the favourites to win the tournaments, in my opinion. Well, you don’t have to be scientist to know that a team that include Premier League Player of the Year Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Huntelaar, Wesley Sneider, Van der Vaart, de Jong etc. is very, very strong. And let’s not forget two Premier League goalkeeping sensations: Vorm and Krul, it’s going to be interesting who is going to be first choice of the manager Bert Van Marvijk. Strangely but the biggest obstacle will be advancing from this group that include Germany, Denmark and Portugal. If they succeed than it’s going to be very hard to stop them.
Denmark: According to names in their squad Denmark is supposed to be the weakest team in this group, although I disagree with it. This is very experienced and quality team, with the players like : Tomas Sorensen in goal, Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger in defence, Poulsen and Ericssen in the midfield and Niklas Bendtner and Rommedahl upfront. So pretty much all lines are covered fine. Perhaps the problem could be lack of quality players on the bench. If their first team players remain fit and healthy, I think they will progress from the group.
Germany: The expectations are very high from the German team. I think it could be too much pressure for this young team. Of course that every single player in the squad is very quality, and the perfect record in the qualifications is proof enough but very rarely teams that were best in qualifications go on to win the tournament. Personally, I am not satisfied with the choice of strikers. Miroslav Klose was an excellent goalscorer but his advancing age doesn’t give me too much confidence, Cacau is not the payer for the big matches, in my opinion. Mario Gomez seems like the only reasonable choice. Lukas Podolski is also in the squad, no one knows what is he capable of after hard season with his club F.C Koln. Midfield and defense are full of young, talented and quality players which will be major players in the future, but in my opinion the result on this championship is going to miss out for the Germans.
Portugal: Portugal is always a bunch of excellent football players, but very rarely a great team. Just take a look at the names that play for Portugal: Christiano Ronaldo, Danny, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Nani, Joao Mutinho, Raul Meirelles, Quaresma, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho etc… It is almost impossible to make them all happy in one team. Most of them are leaders in their own clubs and now they have to get used to too many leaders. In my opinion they are hardly going to advance from the group.
PREDICTION: 1.NETHERLANDS, 2. DENMARK, 3.GERMANY, 4. PORTUGAL
Spain: The reigning champions are one of the favourites once again. Any team in the world that includes Javi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta has got to be favourites. They are full of star players but they have already proven they are a team, and a team very hard to beat… Carlos Pujol will miss this championships due to knee surgery, and it could be slight problem but Del Bosque is full of options in every area of the field, so he probably knows who is going to be good replacement for the Barcelona man. Torres is awoken, Llorente is the new star, David Silva is there to create chances… Vamos Spain.
Italy: Italy is always dangerous and you should never underestimate them. It’s pretty unclear who is going to play for the Azzuri, they have used too many players during qualifications. Are they going to gamble with Mario Balotelli or are they gonna stick with Cassano, or Rossi and Pazzini, or even Alberto Gilardino and Matri…they have all had their share of games in the attack. It’s similar in the midfield and defence. At least we know they have a depth in the squad. So don’t write them off.
Republic of Ireland : The team that I always support when Serbia is not playing. I like that fighting Irish spirit. They are never easy to beat, but also they often have problems to beat much weaker opponents (another similarity to Serbia). It’s not known in what form Robbie Keane is coming from the USA, Kevin Doyle has been relegated with the Wolves, perhaps their defence looks the best. John o’Shea has established himself well in the Sunderland and should be leader of the team together with veteran goalkeeper Given. I still remember 1990. and their match vs Italy that ended 1-1. That’s when Ireland bought me first. I keep my fingers crossed for them.
Croatia: Another team that can be very hard to beat. And they are a true team, everybody is giving their best for one another. One of their biggest strengths is their coach Slaven Bilic who has announced that he will leave that position after the championships, so we will have to see how the players are going to react to that. From the players who could make the difference I think that Tottenham Hotspurs midfield duo Luka Modri? and Niko Kranj?ar are the one to watch. A lot will depend on these two guys.
Definitely the hardest group for me to predict…
PREDICTION: 1. SPAIN, 2. ITALY, 3. IRELAND, 4.CROATIA
Ukraine: The other co-host nation is Ukraine. Their manager is having some problems with the injuries of his important players. One of them is Chygrynskiy, the Ukranian champions Shakthar’s defender. But Blokhin's greatest concern is in the goalkeeping department, with his three leading contenders all unavailable for selection. Blokhin has responded by calling up fresh faces including 25-year-old FC Metalurh Donetsk keeper Oleksandr Bandura, who has no international experience at any age level, and Dynamo's Maxym Koval, who has attended a Ukraine training camp on just one occasion. This is probably the last championship for the legend of the Ukranian and European football, Andriy Shevchenko. I would really love to see good display from this guy. Young Ukrainian team sure would appreciate it…
Sweden: The Vikings are a team that qualifies for most of the Continental and World championships but a team that rarely does something significant on them. I don’t see them doing anything different this time. A lot will depend on the biggest star of their team, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a great football player but a bit too controversial for my taste. I prefer players like Sanderlend’s Sebastian Larsson, and he is having problems with hernia and it is still unknown whether he will be ready for the championships. If he misses it, it will be a huge blow for the Swedish team.
France: I can see this France team doing great things. Patrice Evra will hold things tight in defense, Ribery and Nasry will be doing creative part in the midfield and creating chances for Benzema upfront, who only needs to save the kind of form he had been playing for Real Madrid this season. One player I believe could make great impact on the game of France is Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa. I am delighted with the form he has shown in Premiership this year, and hope that manager Blanc will give him the chance he deserved.
England: If this generation of English football players wants to make a good result on a major tournament then ‘’The time is now’’, Moloko song title says. Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Ashley Cole etc… are not exactly on the beginning of their careers. But that’s exactly what I feel is their advantage. Experience and many years playing together might have created a powerfull team that England didn’t have for a while. Even the fact that Roy Hogson had only recently been appointed as manager could be turned into advantage. Usualy the change in the managerial position awakes players and make them give more than 100 percent effort, in order to impress new manager. I believe this is just the kind the effect that Hogson’s appointment will have on the team.
PREDICTION: 1.FRANCE, 2.ENGLAND, 3. UKRAINE, 4. SWEDEN
Every championships has some surprise team, that’s why football is so interesting. If you ask me, I think that it’s England’s turn to do something big. I also think Denmark has the ability to create some surprise results. I see Netherlands vs England in the finals. Spain and France I see as semifinalists. One thing is sure, I can’t wait for the Euro 2012 to begin. What about you?
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