UEFA Euro 2012 – Finals Draw

GROUP A – Group with the worst “value”? If there was ever a reason to abolish the rule that the host of a major tournament is an automatic top seed, Euro 2012 and Group A are the reason. Hosts Poland, arguably the worst team in the tournament, were automatically placed into Group A before the draw began. The draw then proceeded to give them the worst team in each subsequent pot. This means that Group A is more or less the worst group that has ever happened in the history of the European Championships. Poland have been drawn with the Czech Republic, Greece and Russia. Russia barely advanced out of a qualifying group with Ireland and Armenia, in which they were seriously challenged by Armenia. Greece continues to qualify for every major tournament by being as completely boring as humanly possible. The Czech Republic are here because they finished above Scotland in qualifying, then barely held on in a playoff against Montenegro. Out Before it Starts No one! It’s the wonderful group of life, in which every team has a chance to advance. However, if I have to pick one team likely to go out, it’s the Czech Republic. The hosts rarely bow out right away. Poland might not go through, but they won’t finish bottom with a home crowd behind them. I will tip Poland for third place in the group. Even their fantastic crowds won’t be able to overcome the fact that they are simply the least talented team in this tournament. They have a few stars, with striker Robert Lewandowski the most notable, but they shouldn’t have the talent to get through. Advancing to the Knockout Stage are… Greece and Russia. Russia are clearly the most talented team in this group, while Greece are very good at nicking 0-0 draws. They prove the stereotypes about their play true almost every single time they take the pitch. Player to Watch Alan Dzagoev – Russia: CSKA Moscow’s playmaker is the most creative and technically adept player in the Russian side. His ability has made Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko much better players for their countries than they are for their clubs. A Match Worth Watching Calling any of these fixtures “must-watch” is a stretch, but it will be worth watching the opening fixture, Poland vs Greece. Will the football be spectacular? Almost certainly not, but the atmosphere will be second to none.]]>