For those of you outside of Europe, or those that country hasn’t even qualified for Euro2012, who will you be supporting?
I will be giving you a helping hand, by looking at the players that are representing Chelsea, and their countries at Euro 2012, and their chances of doing well.
Czech Republic – Petr Cech
Chelsea’s long serving goalkeeper will play in the easiest of the groups on paper, facing joint hosts Poland, as well as Greece and Russia next month.
Despite a squad lacking strength attack wise, I think they have enough about them to qualify, although Russia and hosts Poland will be well fancied to qualify.
Im backing them to come second in their group, and set up a Quarter-Final tie with the Germans, which they will struggle against hugely.
Prediction: Quarter-Final defeat to Germany
Portugal – Raul Meireles
Representing Portugal in the ‘Group of Death’ is Raul Meireles, where they will face Germany, Denmark, and World Cup runners-up Netherlands for a place in the Quarter-Finals.
Despite a host of stars, including Real Madrids Cristiano Ronaldo, along with many others, they will have their work cut out, as the Dutch and Germans are 2nd and 3rd favourites to win the competition.
I think it will be a great group to watch, but I cannot see the Portugese having the squad to match, and I think they will fall short of qualification.
Prediction: Group Stage exit in 3rd
Spain – Fernando Torres, Juan Mata
If you are looking for a sure fire bet for the knockout stages, look no further. Everyone wanted to avoid Spain, and the unlucky three are Ireland, Italy, and Croatia, who will undoubtedly be challenging for second position in the group.
Both Mata and Torres are included in the squad, but with their vast array of talent, they will be fighting to get on the pitch, with the 21 other Spanish stars.
Reigning World and European Champions, and few would bet against them taking the trophy this year. Italy are much better than they have been in previous years, but I still think Spain will top the group, and will be the ones to beat.
My calculations would mean they would face France, then have a semi-final date against the Netherlands, playing either Germany or England in the Final.
Prediction: Champions vs Germany
England – Ashley Cole, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Frank Lampard
Our largest contingent will be in the English camp this year, and many people are backing the four stars to replicate their Champions League exploits on the International stage, and fire England to glory this Summer.
They face joint hosts Ukraine, as well as France and Sweden in the groups, and providing they start well against France, I believe they will win Group D.
The winners will face the runners-up of Spains group, so England fans will be hoping they fly off the mark, providing that the England team do also.
Ireland or Italy are my picks for second, but I think Italy’s squad will prove the better, and will see them face England in a Quarter-Final clash, to decide who will face Germany in the semi-final.
I am backing England to go this far, but the Germans should prove they are too strong for England, much like they did in the World Cup back in 2010.
Prediction: Semi-Final defeat to Germany.
France – Florent Malouda
This is the only group that Chelsea has two representatives from, and despite a poor season for the Blues, I think Malouda will be key to any French push, along with Ribery and Karim Benzema.
The game versus England is massive, and to me will decide who tops the group, meaning second place will most likely face reigning champions Spain.
I think France will struggle early, like they usually do in big competitions, and that will cost them as they will be forced to play the Spaniards in the Quarter-Finals.
Prediction: Quarter Final defeat to Spain.
Hopefully this year’s tournament will be as exciting as previous ones, and whoever you are supporting fulfill your expectations.
Whatever does happen in Poland and Ukraine, there are bound to be several new faces taking the limelight, and there may well be a few stars that will be in the Premier League, and possibly Chelsea shirts, shortly after the tournament.
By Brad Smith