Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhat can England expect from Euro 2012 draw - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough What can England expect from Euro 2012 draw - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

What can England expect from Euro 2012 draw

So England’s national football team have managed to qualify for the finals of the European Championships this time round after suffering qualification agony four years ago.

Fabio Capello has seemingly found the right balance of experience and youth in the squad since the disappointments of the World Cup in 2010, with recent wins over Spain and Sweden boosting optimism ahead of next summer’s competition.

Euro 2012 will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine with the opening match on June 8 and the final on July 1.The 16 team line-up for this competition is very strong, with 12 of the top 15 ranked sides in the world set to battle it out.

After the completion of the play-off matches this week, UEFA has released the seeding groups for the final group draw on December 2.

For anyone who is new the draw system one team will be selected from each of the four pots to determine which countries will play each other in the group stage. The pots are determined by the country’s current FIFA World Ranking. So Group A, for example, will have one team from Pot One, Two, Three and Four.

World Champions Spain will be joined by hosts Poland and Ukraine in Pot One along with the Netherlands.

England and Germany are the major forces in Pot Two, which also includes Italy and Russia.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are in Pot Three with economically challenged Greece and England’s bogey sides Sweden and Croatia.

Republic of Ireland find themselves in the final Pot Four after their play-off win over Estonia, with Denmark, Czech Republic and former World Cup winners France completing the line-up.

Including the host nations in Pot One despite their low World Rankings seems slightly unfair on nations like England, who would have normally had a Pot One place, but this could add to the excitement of the tournament by throwing up some unlikely, yet juicy, group matches.

For England though this may be a problem. With lead striker Wayne Rooney set to miss the first three games following his sending off against Montenegro last month and the likely chance of playing two quality sides in their group, England fans may be worrying the country may not even see the knock-out stages of the competition.

Here is what the best and worst group draw scenarios for England could be:

Group of Death: Spain, England, Portugal, France.

Group of Dreams: Poland, England, Greece, Czech Republic or Denmark.

Although this doesn’t seem possible in the minds of English football fans, it is true. We could be lined up against Spain, Portugal and France in a battle for the top two qualification places. I myself am in two minds about which draw I prefer, I assume like many England fans will be. Some may think of this as a chance for England to prove early on in the competition that they mean business by defeating the best opposition whereas others will want an easy route to the quarter finals.

England in the past have been the biggest side in their first round groups but have often not shown their authority and had to settle for draws or grind out last minute wins against their lower ranked opponents. If England are drawn in a group of death this may be the best as they will need to perform at their highest level from the first minute of the tournament, instead of holding back until they come up against their rivals in the later stages.

However the draw turns out next month England fans will be looking forward to next summer and will once again begin the journey of believing England can win a major tournament, it has been said before but I’ll say it again, perhaps this is our year.

Aaron McBride




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