In the past few months there’s been so much controversy for England; there were racism rows, Fabio Capello got sacked, the nation’s favourite (Harry Redknapp) was snubbed for the not-so-popular Roy Hodgson, big players were dropped, big players became injured and a lot smaller replacements were unexpectedly called up. But today England kick-off their Euro 2012 campaign at 5pm (UK time) against France.
It’s fair to say that the expectations for England to succeed at Euro 2012 are the lowest of any other international tournament they’ve been in for a good number of years, with the team’s plane booked for the day after their final group game. There’s normally such a phenomenal amount of pressure thrown onto England’s players when the international tournaments start. A lot of this is because of the media, who raise expectations so much that the nation simply expect way too much every time. For once, perhaps there’s a little less pressure for them, which could really help the younger players shine and enjoy the football that they’re playing.
This squad has a lot less veterans; the ones who have repeatedly been through the pressure and heartbreak of England’s international campaigns. This means that we’re starting fresh – there’s a new mentality in the training camp; players have said that communication is better with an English manager, making it much easier for players and management.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to start for England, after playing only 84 minutes of international football.
England are in Group D – the last of the groups – which consists of England, France, Sweden & joint-hosts Ukraine. All the other groups have now played 1 game each with a few shocks so far: the opening game saw 2 red cards, Russia look like they mean business and Spain aren’t actually top of their group (yet!).
It will be interesting to see what unfolds tonight. The youth have to go out there and show what they’re made of whilst the veterans can guide them through it. Euro 2012 will be full of entertainment and surprises!
So what are your predictions of the game tonight? And which teams do you think will progress to the knockout stages? Let me know in the comments!
After a short break from domestic games, the nations of Europe are about to battle it out in Poland & Ukraine to determine the European Champions. Spain won it 4 years ago when they defeated Germany 1-0 with a Fernando Torres goal (they then went on to become World champions 2 years later), but who do you expect to win this year?
Football fans have been treated to a truly entertaining season; with one of the most exhilarating title fight (that went to the very last seconds of the very last game) between the Manchester clubs. Chelsea sacked their manager after struggling in the league – they then went on to win both the FA Cup & Champions League with interim manager Roberto Di Matteo. Real Madrid managed to clinch the Spanish title, with many fans not used to Barcelona sitting below the top spot (although they did win the Copa Del Ray). Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during a game against Tottenham – bringing the whole of the footballing community together with ‘#Pray4Muamba’ being tweeted 685,721 times.
With such an entertaining season finally over, it’s the time every football fan loves – getting behind their country in a big international competition! As an England fan, I was able to watch the Euros as a neutral in 2008. I was one of the unlucky fans at Wembley when England failed to make the Euros. This was something I was inevitably unhappy about, but it gave me an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the quality and excitement of international football without the tension, emotion and disappointment!
There are 16 countries that have qualified for the European Championships:
Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Croatia, Ukraine, Sweden, France & England.
Joint hosts Poland kick-off the tournament against Greece on 8th June and the final will be played on the 1st July. You can take a look at the tournament map yourself.
So who will you be supporting? Your own country, I’m sure. But what about all of you neutrals? The European Championships are one of the most entertaining spectacles as a neutral viewer, so be ready to enjoy watching some magical games of football!