Here’s everything you need to know about England’s final group game at Euro 2012. The match saw England take on hosts Ukraine who had to win to stay in the tournament.
Big news: England are now the 3rd most likely team to win Euro 2012. (Click on the image above to enlarge the graph)
That’s right, after beating Ukraine 1-0 whilst France went down 2-0 to the already eliminated Sweden, England finished top of Group D and managed to avoid a Quarter-Final clash with World Champions Spain. Instead, Roy Hodgson’s men will face Italy, no mean feat, and if victorious, will take on the winners of Germany v Greece.
Finishing second and now due to face Spain, France have dropped below England for the first time in the tournament, with Italy and Portugal also moving in front of them. Greece are still the biggest underdogs, currently ranked 8th out of the eight teams remaining, but they like it that way. They face the mammoth task of defeating the Germans who took maximum points from their clashes in the Group of Death. Germany have only moved one place on the rankings during the tournament when they switched places with Spain and officially became the favourites to lift the trophy.
It’s crunch time now as half the teams that started Euro 2012 have packed their bags and are heading home. The odds say that victory will belong to Low’s Germans or del Bosque’s Spaniards, but what do they know?
Now that the group stages have finished and we know what teams have made it through to the quarter finals of Euro 2012, and those who haven’t, we’ve chosen an team XI from the third round of group games. Featuring no fewer than six players from two Group D teams, this side surprisingly includes three Swedish players (who had already been eliminated from the competition before they faced France) and three English players.
Steven Gerrard has been involved in almost every England goal so far this tournament and thoroughly deserves a place in this team, whilst John Terry and Joe Hart battled valiantly to prevent the desperate hosts, Ukraine, from scoring. Ibrahimovic scored what was the best goal of Euro 2012 thus far, simultaneously silencing his critics and forcing France to take on Spain in the quarter-finals, whilst Larsson scored a second for Sweden and Mellberg steadied the ship at the back. Speaking of silencing critics, Cristiano Ronaldo banged two goals past the Dutch to take Portugal through and send the Netherlands home with a shocking zero points, and his compatriot/club-mate Fabio Coentrao continued to impress on the big stage with surging runs and composure on the ball from left-back.
Karagounis was a Greek hero once more, as he scored against the Russians and knocked them out in the process. Surely the Greeks can’t go on and secure another shock Euro victory? One thing is for sure, they’ll definitely find it difficult against the Germans in the quarter-final, especially without Karagounis, their captain and inspiration, who picked up a second yellow-card and faces a ban. Thomas Müller of Germany and Gebre Selassie of Czech Republic both also put in industrious performances for their nations, helping them win three points and top their respective groups.
Nike have released this new video starring England striker Wayne Rooney ahead of his return to the team in their final Euro 2012 group game against hosts Ukraine. Why is he naked?!
Here’s an XI made from the best players of the second round of group games at Euro 2012. Front runners Germany and Spain clearly stand out with three players in the team each, whilst England are represented by the super-substitute Theo Walcott. The pacey winger made an instant impact when he replaced James Milner against Sweden, scoring one and setting up another, helping England stage a dramatic comeback from 2-1 down to win 3-2.
The strikeforce of Mario Gomez and Fernando Torres both come from Champions League finalists, and both scored two goals in their games this round. David Silva had a superb game against the Republic of Ireland as he had a hand in three goals, scoring one and getting two assists. The midfield partnership of Borussia Dortmund’s Blaszczykowski and Bayern Munich’s Schweinsteiger both put in stellar performances for their nations, and form perhaps the most difficult to spell centre-mid pairing in the history of football.
Interestingly, no players have kept their place in the team from the first round dream team. Could we have an entirely new team for the third round too?
Here’s everything you need to know about England’s second group game at Euro 2012. The match saw England take on their bogey team Sweden, in a contest that neither team could afford to lose.