Euro 2012 – Group D

The final group to get underway at this summer’s European Championships sees two times winners France, along with England, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine, the latter making their first appearance in the tournament.

Les Blues, who last won the tournament in 2000, are favourites to finish first, with a best price of 2.75 (7/4) offered by Bodog. The French are currently unbeaten in twenty internationals, their last defeat coming way back in September 2010 at the hands of Belarus in their opening qualifying game for this tournament. They bounced back to finish top of their group, and could well be dark horses in Poland and Ukraine, with arguably their toughest test coming in their opening game versus England.

Perennial underachievers in the European Championships, England’s best performance came sixteen years ago, as they reached the semi-finals of Euro 96 in their home country. They went through the qualification unbeaten, after failing to qualify for the previous championships in Austria and Switzerland.

Now under new manager Roy Hodgson, the English will be without talisman Wayne Rooney for the opening two games through suspension. However, if they can make it past France in that opening fixture, they have a real chance of topping the group. You can back them to do so at odds of 2.88 (15/8) with Paddy Power, a far shorter price than co-hosts Ukraine, who are at 5.5 (9/2) with several bookmakers.

Oleh Blokhin’s men go in to the game on a good run of form, having enjoyed an unbeaten run of six and counting going into their opening game on June 11th. All-time top scorer, and former European player of the year Andriy Shevchenko has returned from injury in time to make what his sure to be his final tournament appearance for his country, which will surely be a boost for the second lowest ranked country in the tournament. Incidentally, the lowest ranked team represented are co-hosts Poland.

Sweden, who like England reached the semi-finals when the hosted the tournament back in 1992, are outsiders to win Group D, with the best price of 7.5 (13/2) offered by Bet Victor.

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