What the Euro 2012 draw means for England
By Jordan Florit
Saturday 03 Dec 2011 08:28:00
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Having watched various blonde women and blond men spin, dance, hop and spin further still round a well illuminated stage in Kiev, the draw for Euro 2012 started. Well, it did after the Ukrainian President overran his allocated time for his FIFA-approved speech. Viewers were treated to a slideshow of the venues accompanied by jittery string music, a woman participated in a performance akin to karaoke with a catchy bridge Capello may adopt for his pre-match team talks: “never give in,” and numerous other loose forms of entertainment took place.


Several best and worst case scenarios for England were mocked up by varying websites and pundits and the general consensus was that a Group of Spain, Portugal and France would prove England’s toughest possible test. Capello made it clear who he wanted to dodge:

 

 

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“I think you need to avoid the first pot, so Spain and Holland,” declared the Italian. “After that there is also Portugal and France in the third and fourth pot, and these are the teams I would prefer to avoid in the group stage.”

According to the stats, number geniuses Opta revealed England’s best case scenario as Greece, Ukraine and Denmark, because England are most likely to win against these teams based on previous results. Capello also made a point out of wanting to veer clear of his countryman Giovanni Trapattoni in the group stage and he’d be wise to; England’s third worst win ratio against the 16 teams is indeed against the Republic of Ireland.

The draw eventually got underway and the arduous process churned out perhaps the easiest group first; Group A. Group A features joint hosts Poland alongside Russia, Czech Republic and Greece. Group B chucked up Germany and Holland in the same group as well as Denmark and Portugal and Group C is made up of current holders Spain, Italy, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland. England were the last team out of the numerous hats and their rivals for getting out of Group D are France, Ukraine and Sweden.

Fabio Capello’s 23-man squad, having been placed in Group D, may want to reassess their base. They’ve located themselves in Krakow for Euro 2012, and having been drawn in the last group, they aren’t in the same country as their fixtures. This means that, unless they relocate, they face round trips of nearly 2000 miles to and from their Group D fixtures. Furthermore, being in Group D takes up even more precious time for Capello’s men; as well as having to rack up more air miles than Steve Kean during his regular trips to India, England will have the least amount of time to prepare for games if they make the latter stages of the tournament. Teams in Group A & B have two extra days’ rest than their semi-final opponents from Group C or D. If England somehow manage to guide themselves to the final, their eventual opposition will have between 3-4 days more recovery time than the Three Lions.

If dates, times and travelling doesn’t provide England with enough excuses to underwhelm in Poland & Ukraine, perhaps the form book will; England are yet to win a competitive fixture against Sweden, losing twice and drawing the remaining five and France are unbeaten in their last five games against England, winning four of them. The only game you’d put money on England winning is their last in the group, Ukraine. It may well be the decider for England and luckily for The Three Lions, their history against the co-hosts is their second best in the tournament. England have won 75% of their games against Ukraine, only beating Greece more frequently. However, having the game on home turf may well be enough to shut out England.

These will be Capello’s last games in charge of England having confirmed today that he will not be staying on further than his current contract.

“As an England manager, this is it for me,” said the Italian.

Hopefully, it will be a case of ‘so long, farewell’ for England fans and not a case of good riddance. Here’s hoping Fabio can impress and go out on a high.

Written by Jordan Florit for
www.maycauseoffence.com/ For more articles visit my website or my Twitter @JordanFlorit

You can also follow England Fansonline on Twitter @1HellOfABeating 

 

 

 

 

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