by Craig Stokes (@craigstokes)
So, England you say? It seems like each and every tournament that closes there are many fans and journalists alike that hype up our nations chances of winning the up and coming tournament. Euro 2012 will surely be no different.
For me, the hype does our chances no favours whatsover. It just piles uneccessary pressure onto the team, which is never going to help us. So for this blog, I’m going to try and ignore said pressure, and focus our chances predominantly on our merits. When you look at the England set up, we’re in perfect shape. World class, no-nonsense manager, excellent back-room staff, and some world class players to our disposal. However, this could’ve been said many times in the past, and have we won anything? No, but this time could be different, you never know.
When looking at the other teams that have a chance in winning the Euro’s, there’s a few that stand out. Spain, (obviously), Holland, and Germany are my three favourites for the competition. Spain have pretty much been unplayable since the last Euro’s. Germany showed in the last World Cup that they’ve got a powerful mixture of both young, and old players that can beat any team. Plus, let’s face it, the German’s always seem to reach the semi’s at least. And Holland, I really like this team. I think it showed with the way they reached the World Cup Final two years ago that they’re a team ready top finally break their duck. Arjen Robben and RVP are going to be key members for them this Summer, and both are having exceptional seasons thus far. So yeah, for me, those teams are the teams to be beat if we’re going to finally have a successfull competition.
So can we do it? When you look at the players at our disposal, yes, we can do it. Some of you might have a different view, but the starting XI that I’d play would be this,
Walker, Terry, Jones, Cole,
Johnson, Parker, Gerrard, Young,
Now I know that Rooney’s banned for the first two games, so obviously that won’t be the team. That’s just, I feel, our best team when all our players are available. Obviously, there’s other players that can do a job for us; Lennon, Walcott, Defoe, Wilshere, Bent, Ferdinand, Lamaprd. So it’s not as if we’ve not got enough cover to bring players on to make an impact. Everything’s in place really, we just need the luck, the focus, and the desire to go all the way.
This is going to be Fabio’s last competition with us, and I personally feel that he’s done a good job for us. What better way to give him a good send off than going all the way to the final and winning it? Well, I suppose he’d say an Italian win, but I can’t see that happening in all honesty. No doubt it’s going to be tough, we haven’t got the easiest group afterall, not to mention the tough games that are going to be waiting for us in the knockout rounds. But I feel if we just let the players, and the manager get on with it, then anything’s possible.
That pretty much concludes this blog, I suppose all we have to do now is wait. Wait and see if we can finally make history, and give this generation of English football fans something to celebrate, at long last…