Euro 2012: The big preview

Euro 2012 will see the continent’s leading nations go head-to-head for glory this summer in Ukraine and Poland. With the first game only just over two months away and domestic club campaigns across Europe starting to draw to a close, all eyes are heading towards the competition in eastern Europe (here’s the complete Euro 2012 fixtures schedule).

Holders Spain go into the tournament as the team to beat, and Vicente Del Bosque and his star-studded squad will be motivated to retain their crown. All the recent winners of the crown are back, as Greece (2004), France (2000), Germany (1996) and Denmark (1992) look to add to their trophy collection. Add England, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands and Russia to the mix and it makes for an exciting tournament.

Four very even groups are a testament to the quality that will be on show in the summer, with the group stages sure to go down to the last round of fixtures to decide first and second. In Group A Poland will be cheered on by their home faithful, whilst Russia will look to turn potential into performance. Greece and Czech Republic are underdogs, and as such could achieve the unexpected. Group B, or the Group of Death, sees two of the heavyweights go head-to-head in the form of Germany and Netherlands. Portugal, and Cristiano Ronaldo, will look to defy odds and make it to the knockout rounds, whilst Denmark will be dreaming of a repeat of the 1992 success.

Group C houses favourites Spain, temperamental Italy, talented Croatia and pluck Republic of Ireland, with the holders and one other expected to progress. Finally, Group D sees England take on Sweden, France and co-hosts Ukraine.

Opinions are split in predicting who will be victorious in June and July, but the Spaniards will enter into the competition as most people’s favourites. Netherlands are off the back of an impressive qualifying campaign and are keen to turn their individual abilities into team glory, whilst Italy and England also negotiated their passage to the finals with relative ease. However, Soccerlens’ prediction for the Euro 2012 winners is Germany, whose blend of experience, talent and youthful exuberance may well have what it takes to lift the crown.

Euro 2012 Infographic
Infographic provided by the Gambling Guru Euro 2012 Predictions Portal. You can get this free infographic for your site or blog here.

The choice of location for the competition came as a surprise to many, but the event being held in eastern Europe should offer a very different experience for travelling football fans. Both Poland and Ukraine are maturing nations with solid infrastructure and the capabilities to become successful and popular tourist destinations.

From Gdansk in northern Poland to Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is an 1140 mile distance, and fans will need to plan their trip to the host nations carefully due to the sheer size of the countries. With eight differing but interesting venues, most people will be sure to follow their team to the relevant cities, however Lviv and Warsaw are the closest cities to the border between the nations.

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Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland - what to expect from the host venues