Andy Cole has dismissed the prospect of England lifting the Euro 2012 trophy in Poland and Ukraine this year.
Cole argues that Roy Hodgson’s men had little chance of winning the tournament even before they were rocked by the loss of several players to injury.
The recent withdrawal of Chelsea duo Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill has come as a major blow to a side which will be forced to make do without talismanic striker Wayne Rooney for their opening two games in Group D due to suspension.
However, Cole has played down the significance of the latest fitness issues in the England camp, claiming that they were by no means title contenders to begin with.
“England have many injuries but I did not think that they had much chance beforehand anyway,” the former Manchester United striker told Goal.com.
“I didn’t think they could win it.
“They have a new coach and he has to change things, and I think that he will change things. But maybe this tournament comes a little too soon for them in that regard. There are better teams in Europe.”
Indeed, Cole believes that it is impossible to look past the reigning world and European champions when it comes to picking a winner for Euro 2012.
“My favourites for this Euros are Spain,” the 40-year-old said.
“They seem to be the complete package: they know how to play football and how to position themselves on the football field.
“They are very special, very united, very talented, and in a tournament of this nature, all of this is very important. They also know how to win, as they have demonstrated in recent years.”
Cole, who retired from the game in 2008, was capped 15 times by England but managed just one goal for his country.
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