Euro 2012: Group D Preview
Wednesday, June 07, 2012 Report by Rajarshi Ghosh
With Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry unable to take part in Euro 2012 because of crushing injuries suffered just weeks before the tournament kicks off, the Three Lions also will be without the services of striker Wayne Rooney for the first two games of the group stage. Rooney is serving a suspension after losing his cool during qualifying.
No Lampard and Barry to set the table for the entire tournament. No Rooney to provide goals in games against France and Sweden, two very respectable sides. For new manager Roy Hodgson, the loss of those three components to start the tournament could provide the opportunity to inject some younger blood into the lineup.
Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich City)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (FC Everton), Gary Cahill (FC Chelsea), Ashley Cole (FC Chelsea), Glen Johnson (FC Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (FC Chelsea)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Steward Downing (FC Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (FC Liverpool), Frank Lampard (FC Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspurs), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (FC Arsenal), Theo Walcott (FC Arsenal), Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Forwards: Andy Carroll (FC Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspurs)
2004-Quarterfinals, 2000-Group stage, 1996-Semifinals, 1992-Group stage, 1988-Group stage, 1980-Group stage, 1972-Quarterfinals, 1968-Third place
Thousands upon thousands of fans will be behind co-host Ukraine at Euro 2012. At times, manager Oleh Blokhin must feel as if he has used that many players in his lineup for the Ukrainian national team during the past year.
There is no doubt that Blokhin's side will have the backing of its entire nation for Euro 2012, easily the biggest event in the country in the post-Communism era.
The on-field leader of Blokhin's squad will be 33-year-old Anitoliy Tymoshchuk, a skilled midfielder from Bayern Munich who was part of that team's heartbreaking 2-1 extra-time loss to Chelsea in the Champions League final late last month. Tymoshchuk is the type of unflappable vet who can shake off such a gut-wrenching setback. His composure will serve as a settling force inside the locker room for a team that will be full of adrenalin while playing in front of the rabid home fans. In addition, Tymoshchuk is the most-capped player in the young history of the national team, having racked up 117 of them by the time the tournament kicks off.
Ukrainian fans will be loud and proud once the tournament starts. Blokhin can only hope his squad will give them reason to cheer.
Goalkeepers: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Oleksandr Horyainov (Metalist Kharkiv), Maxym Koval (Dynamo Kyiv).
Defenders: Oleksandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar Donetsk), Vyacheslav Shevchuk (Shakhtar Donetsk), Evhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kyiv), Taras Mykhalyk (Dynamo Kyiv), Evhen Selin (Vorskla), Bogdan Butko (Illichivets).
Midfielders: Oleksandr Aliev (Dynamo Kyiv), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleh Gusiev (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Evhen Konoplyanka (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro), Serhiy Nazarenko (Tavriya), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Artem Milevskiy (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Marco Devic (FC Metalist Kharkiv), Andriy Voronin (Dynamo Moscow), Evhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar Donetsk).
First time competing
At age 30, veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic is poised to have a breakout tournament at Euro 2012. Having gone over the 30-goal mark for the first time in his illustrious career this past season, Ibrahimovic is the type of elite goal scorer who can prove to be the difference in a tournament considered to be a wide-open race to the finish.
Granted, the Swedes are in a tough group, having to go against the tradition of England, the youthful legs of France and host Ukraine. But Sweden's manager, Erik Hamren, is well aware his team can be a handful when it is firing on all cylinders, something the Tre Kroners showed first hand during qualifying. In posting eight wins and just two losses, Hamren's squad scored an impressive 31 goals.
One of those victories came by a 3-2 margin over the Dutch, the runners-up to Spain at World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Such a win over a quality opponent like the Netherlands served to boost the confidence of the Swedes, who could be a dark horse in this tournament.
In the process, Ibrahimovic will not have to carry the entire offensive workload for the Swedes. Winger Sebastian Larsson will be counted on for his share of the goals, too. If the Swedes play to form, they could cause some damage. And you can bet Ibrahimovic, like any star player, will be relied upon to be at the centre of it.
Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Wiland (FC København), Pär Hansson (Helsingborgs IF).
Defenders: Mikael Antonsson (Bologna FC), Andreas Granqvist (Genoa CFC), Olof Mellberg (Olympiacos FC), Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion FC), Martin Olsson (Blackburn Rovers FC), Behrang Safari (RSC Anderlecht), Mikael Lustig (Celtic FC).
Midfielders: Emir Bajrami (FC Twente), Rasmus Elm (AZ Alkmaar), Samuel Holmén (İstanbul BB SK), Kim Källström (Olympique Lyonnais), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland AFC), Anders Svensson (IF Elfsborg), Pontus Wernbloom (PFC CSKA Moskva), Christian Wilhelmsson (Al-Hilal FC).
Forwards: Johan Elmander (Galatasaray AŞ), Tobias Hysén (IFK Göteborg), Zlatan Ibrahimović (AC Milan), Markus Rosenberg (SV Werder Bremen), Ola Toivonen (PSV Eindhoven).
2008-Group stage, 2004-Quarterfinals, 2000-Group stage, 1996-Preliminary round, 1992-Semifinals, 1988-Preliminary round, 1984-Preliminary round, 1980-Preliminary round, 1976-Preliminary round, 1972-Preliminary round, 1968-Preliminary round, 1964-Quarterfinals
France in 2010 World Cup were humiliating themselves on the world stage in South Africa. When star player Nicolas Anelka was suspended for exchanging heated words with then-coach Raymond Domenech, the team refused to get off the team bus during one particular practice day. It was viewed by the international press as a soccer version of mutiny.
With his country demanding answers, French president Nicolas Sarkozy called an emergency "crisis" meeting. He also ordered his sports minister to remain in South Africa as part of an effort by politicians to restore some "dignity." It was the blackest of clouds for Les Bleus.
Two years later, new manager Laurent Blanc has done a major overhaul of the roster, with very few familiar faces still around from the underachieving side that went three-and-out in South Africa. In fact, no team at Euro 2012 has been on a bigger roll than the French, who have put together an impressive 20-game unbeaten streak heading into their opening match June 11 versus rival England.
Look for this to be a coming-out party for budding star Samir Nasri, whose creative rushes can create havoc with opposing defenders. Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Les Bleus allowed just four goals in 10 qualifying games, a sign to fellow Group D competitors England, Sweden and Ukraine that this French team is dangerous at both ends.
Goalkeepers: Cédric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Gaël Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexès (Milan), Adil Rami (Valencia), Anthony Réveillère (Lyon).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St-Germain), Yann M'vila (Rennes), Samir Nasri (Manchester City).
Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jérémy Ménez (Paris St-Germain), Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).
2008-Group stage, 2004-Quarterfinals, 2000-Winner, 1996-Semifinals, 1996-Group stage, 1992-Group stage, 1984-Winner, 1968-Quarterfinals, 1964-Quarterfinals, 1960-Fourth place
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