The draw for the 2012 European Championships has been made and there have been some very interesting ties thrown up. The tournament takes place next summer and will be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. The first time a major football tournament has been hosted by Eastern European countries.
Is probably the weakest group at the Championships, it contains co-hosts Poland, 2004 Champions Greece, Russia and 1996 finalists Czech Republic. Looking at the group home advantage should place a massive factor in this group with Poland being confident of coming through this group. The next spot should be between Russia and Czech Republic. Greece will do well to escape this group, however if they can replicate the form they showed at Euro 2004 then who knows.
Is probably the group of death containing some real talent. World Cup finalists Holland, Denmark, a very strong looking Germany, and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. This group is very tough to call but one team that look like they are already out before the tournament begins is Denmark. They clearly have the weakest squad of the four teams and if I had a million free bets I wouldn't put them on the Denmark team.
Contains reigning European and World Champions Spain who will feel confident of escaping a group containing, 2006 World Champions Italy, Republic of Ireland and Croatia. This group looks a formality with Spain and Italy coming through, however the Irish and Croatia will feel they still have a good chance of causing an upset.
This group has co-hosts Ukraine who will be battling it out with Sweden, England and former World Champions France. This group is very interesting as England will see themselves as slight favourites to come through as group winners, however Sweden and France are putting England sides under pressure and will fancy their chances of causing an England side without Wayne Rooney some serious trouble.
These groups have proved very interesting but reigning champions will still remain favourites going into the tournament next year. Germany will consider themselves the second best team in the competition and they have the squad to back that up. England will be a good outside tip but without their best player Wayne Rooney may find it difficult to get out of the group. It's likely we may have a surprise package like we did in 2004, however if was a betting man I would stick with Spain who boost a side full of talent and players that have the experience to go on and win the competition again and be the very first nation to retain the European Championship.