Euro 2012 kicks off this Friday June 8th, and the world is watching. Friday’s games will see Poland face Greece and Russia versus Czech Republic. The Group Stage will run from Friday through till Tuesday June 19th. Fans of the defending champions, Spain, will have to wait till June 10th to see their first match while the number two favorite to win, Germany, will have their first game Saturday June 9th.
After winning in 2008 and bringing a good batch of talent into this year’s tournament, the
odds on Spain winning again this year are 13/5
. While the odds to see Germany win the title are 3/1. Interestingly the number three favorite Netherlands has odds at 7/1, making Spain and Germany the clear favorites. In case you are wondering, the earliest these two teams could see each other is not until the semi-finals. However, that would mean that Germany would have to be the runners-up after the end of the Group Stage. The odds as they are, it is more likely to be Germany and Spain in the final. Therefore a critical game to watch is the June 13th match pitting Germany against Netherlands.
Spain has been notorious for their ball handling intensive practices where the point is play hard not work hard. Likely they are hoping this focus on fun will relax the players and keep them crisp for the tournament. Spain has a relatively easy grouping so it may be a problem that they won’t be tested until the second round.
German has been replacing unproductive star-lights with technically sound young athletes who will play the soccer the German way. This was probably a major contributor to an undefeated qualifying session for the Germans. Coming into Euro 2012 look for Germany’s midline to be strong and given the competition within Group B expect the any two teams coming out of that group to be battled hardened for the quarter finals.
Netherlands will have to support their new goalie if they want to threaten the Germans. Long time Netherlands goal keeper Edwin van der Sar will not be with them and newcomer Maarten Stekelenburg has come under criticism for a slightly week season with Roma. Nevertheless expect this lot to be highly effective at scoring and with a newly found, self-proclaimed team cohesion and spirit do not count them out of the hunt.