Sunday, July 22, 2018

Euro 2012 preview: Triple treat on the cards for Spain

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jun 2012


Reigning European and world champions Spain can become the first team to win three major international tournaments in a row at Euro 2012.

Should they lift the trophy in Kiev on July 1, Spain will also become the first side to successfully defend the European Championship.

Spain head to Poland and Ukraine having won all eight of their qualification matches for the 16-team tournament.

Vincent del Bosque’s men face Italy, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland in Group C.

Spain’s biggest threats lie in Group B, where all four teams are currently ranked inside the top 10 in the world.

The aptly dubbed ‘group of death’ features Euro 2008 runners-up Germany (ranked second in the world), 2010 World Cup runners-up the Netherlands (fourth), Euro 2004 runners-up Portugal (fifth) and Euro 1992 winners Denmark (10th).

Group A on the other hand is significantly weaker, with Russia the highest-ranked team in 11th, followed by Greece in 14th, Czech Republic in 26th and Poland, who qualified automatically as co-hosts, a distant 65th.

Fellow co-hosts Ukraine, England, Sweden and France, who are unbeaten in their last 21 matches heading into the tournament, comprise Group D.

Both Poland and Ukraine are competing at the European Championships for the first time.

Germany are the most successful team in the history of the tournament, having won three times – most recently in 1996.

France and Spain are the only other teams to have won the competition more than once, with two titles each.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals when it becomes a knockout competition, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the winner if necessary.

Euro 2012 kicks off on Friday with Poland meeting Greece in Warsaw before Russia take on Czech Republic in Wroclaw.

The quarter-finals take place from June 21, with the semi-finals from June 27 and the final on July 1.


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