MM’s Adam Ryder looks at Group D which could prove difficult to negotiate for Roy Hodgson’s England.
England enter a tough group on the back of two friendly wins but are without Rooney for first two matches and possibly Jermain Defoe for the first game after he flew back from Poland following the death of his father this week.
New manager Roy Hodgson is down playing their chances of qualifying but his side could be a surprise package. Liverpool striker Andy Carroll regained his form recently and proved against Chelsea in the two end of season games against the Blues.
The French England on Monday and they are re-emerging a stronger side after their poor performance in the World Cup two years ago. The team are relying on a younger set of players such as Adil Rarni, Yann M’vila and Yohan Cabaye who have bags of talent but are untested at tournament level.
Olivier Giroud scored in his full debut in a friendly against one of the favourites Germany and is the one to watch.
The co-hosts of Euro 2012 and probably the weakest team in the group. They have failed to qualify for any major tournament except the World Cup in 2006. They’re relying on domestic players lacking the experience of top quality football.
Former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, if he makes an appearance, will be the one to watch. The striker, who also played in Serie A for AC Milan will quit after the tournament.
STRIKER: Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sure to be in the goals
Always a decent tournament side, they could be the dark horses of the group after qualifying for as best runner’s up winning eight of their ten games and scoring 31 goals.
They missed out on the 2010 World Cup in Germany but coach Erik Hamren has guided them to this competition on his first attempt. Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic is regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe and is the key to Sweden’s success.
Whilst France and England are the obvious favourites, the Swedes are a very good side and, if they beat the Ukraine in the opening game, could be well on their way to the quarters.