They held the draw for Euro 2012 in Kiev today, and the results yielded two brutal groups, a middling one and a weak sister.
Here they are:
Group A: Poland, Greece, Czech Republic, Russia
Russia should top this one easily. Poland is only in the tournament because they’re co-hosts (with Ukraine); Greece actually did win Euro 2004 (no, it really happened), but they’re a defensive-minded eyesore, and the Czech Republic are not their usual selves at the moment. Talent drought.
Group B: Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal
As Backpost reader Old27 said earlier today, “Every team in Group B is better than every team in Group A.” There are three legitimate finals contenders in this group, and Denmark is no slouch. Grupo de la Muerte. (Look for Portugal to give way to Germany and the Netherlands.)
Group C: Ireland, Spain, Italy, Croatia
Poor Ireland. They get unjustly bounced out of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, then reach the Euro finals for the first time since 1988—only to draw this fearsome group: The reigning world champs, perennial powers Italy, and always-difficult Croatia. It’s just as much of a Group of Death as B.
Group D: Sweden, England, France, Ukraine
Hey, look, a group England can advance out of! You know, England has a lot of talent. If they get into the quarters, you never—oh, wait, right … they’re England.
And just because it’s late on a Friday, let’s randomly roll this, because while England won’t have Paul Scholes at Euro 2012, they will need a certain Survivor’s trait to win in Poland/Ukraine next summer: