• FIFA Ranking: 75
  • Odds: 50/1
  • Manager: Franciszek Smuda
  • Key Player: Robert Lewandowksi

SPG Prediction – Quarter Finals
The co-hosts could not have been happier given the group draw. Placed in by far the easiest group with added home advantage, Poland will feel this is their year to progress out of the group stages for the first time. The opening fixture with Greece will be key as to whether or not this can be achieved. If they win, avoiding defeats against Russia and the Czechs should be enough to see them through.

  • FIFA Ranking: 13
  • Odds: 66/1
  • Manager: Fernando Santos
  • Key Player: Sotiris Ninis

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
Although they won their group in qualifying, Croatia were the only other team with realistic hopes of progressing. In their manager, the Greeks have preserved their ethos of building from the defence and will prove to be a tough nut to crack. And obviously, who can forget their heroics in 2004 when they surpassed all expectation and won the tournament. Even so, firepower will be a problem and without losing too many, if not any, they will just fall short of the quarters.

  • FIFA Ranking: 12
  • Odds: 20/1
  • Manager: Dick Advocaat
  • Key Player: Andrei Arshavin

SPG Prediction – Quarter Finals
The Russians breezed to victory in their group, but as with the Greeks, there were few other teams that put in a serious challenge. They reached the semi-finals in 2008 however they will do very well to repeat such a feat, with a likely quarter final spot against either the Dutch or the Germans. As the highest ranked team in the group, progressing out of the early stages will be seen as paramount by their manager. However, this will be where their journey will end.

  • FIFA Ranking: 29
  • Odds: 50/1
  • Manager: Michal Bilek
  • Key Player: Tomas Rosicky

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
Having reached the finals with a relatively easy win against Montenegro in the play-offs, the Czechs would have felt relieved rather than elated. Their unconvincing form in the group stages nearly led to Scotland reviving their ambitions of qualifying. A tricky opener with Russia will be crucial to their hopes of making the quarters, however following that is an awkward meet with Greece. By the time they play Poland, it could well be too late.


  • FIFA Ranking: 2
  • Odds: 7/1
  • Manager: Bert van Marwijk
  • Key Player: Robin Van Persie

SPG Prediction – Semi Finals
The Dutch are undoubtedly amongst the favourites to win the tournament and a repeat of the 2010 World Cup Final is not a remote possibility. Having scored 37 goals in 10 games in qualifying, Marwijk’s men will fancy themselves to top the group, something the Germans will more than have a say in. The quarters are a certainty, and whoever they face from Group A they will beat. The semi’s however may be a different tale.

  • FIFA Ranking: 11
  • Odds: 80/1
  • Manager: Morten Olsen
  • Key Player: Christian Eriksen

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
The stomach of Denmark must have sunk when the countries of this group were announced. The only way it could be harder is if the Portuguese were replaced by Spain. Having said that, they topped their group in qualifying which included Portugal, and if they throw a major spanner in the works and beat one of the big two, who knows? But, realistically, defeat is imminent in two of their three games.

  • FIFA Ranking: 3
  • Odds: 3/1
  • Manager: Joachim Louw
  • Key Player: Merzit Ozil

SPG Prediction – 2nd
The Germans completed a clean sweep in qualifying and were equally impressive in South Africa two years ago, as much as that hurts to say. (Lampard’s goal should have stood). The only question with the group stages is whether they win top spot which in all likelihood will be decided by a showdown with the Dutch. The quarters shouldn’t be a problem and progression after that all depends on when they will face their nemesis of the last two major tournaments, Spain. Ideally they will wish to avoid them until the final.

  • FIFA Ranking: 7
  • Odds: 18/1
  • Manager: Paulo Bento
  • Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
Portugal are a team most would want to avoid in the quarters if they had serious ambitions of making it further, as England of course found out in their last European outing. However, progressing from this group looks unlikely, with outright second and third favourites placed amongst them. By their standards, they were poor in qualifying but with a world superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo, it would be foolish to rule them out completely. I wouldn’t want to put my mortgage on it though.


  • FIFA Ranking: 1
  • Odds: 5/2
  • Manager: Vincent del Bosque
  • Key Player: Xavi

SPG Prediction – Winners
Where to start. The current World and European champions enter the competition with an aura of invincibility about them. The team is studded with world class players who have dominated both the domestic and international scene for the last few years. Since their record matching 35 game unbeaten run came to end, there have been glimpses that they can be beaten, albeit in friendlies. Qualifying, however, was a different story, with a 100% record, scoring 26 goals in 8 games. Without doubt, the team to beat.

  • FIFA Ranking: 9
  • Odds: 14/1
  • Manager: Cesare Prandelli
  • Key Player: Antonio Cassano

SPG Prediction – Quarter Finals
Italy’s recent form in major tournaments has left much to be desired. Defending their World Cup in 2010, they finished bottom of their group and left South Africa humiliated. Their last European outing was also cut short after defeat to Spain in the quarters, but they qualified for this year’s tournament in typical dogged Italian fashion. Conceding just two goals throughout their campaign, they will be expected to carry forward this sort of form into the finals. Progressing further than the quarters, however, will be a tricky task.


  • FIFA Ranking: 19
  • Odds: 66/1
  • Manager: Giovanni Trapattoni
  • Key Player: Shay Given

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
After so much heartbreak in qualifying for major tournaments of late, Ireland finally have something to grasp a hold of. In true Irish fashion they will thrive on being the underdogs of Group C, and will fancy themselves to pick up points against Italy and Croatia. To add extra spice to the occasion, they will be fighting for a potential quarter final showdown with France, who controversially dumped them out of making the 2010 World Cup. That said, it will be tough, but you never know.

  • FIFA Ranking: 10
  • Odds: 40/1
  • Manager: Slaven Bilic
  • Key Player: Luka Modric

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
Croatia are a side with individual pedigree, but like many there or thereabouts teams, lack the cutting edge. After an impressive 2008 in which they were convincing in qualifying and in the finals, many expected them to kick on and cement their place as a top European side. However, failing to make the last World Cup and struggling to reach this tournament, has damaged their credentials of making serious headway this time around.


  • FIFA Ranking: 49
  • Odds: 40/1
  • Manager: Oleh Blokhin
  • Key Player: Andriy Shevchenko

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
As with co-hosts Poland, Ukraine will be fairly happy with their group. In their eyes they have avoided potential winners of the tournament and with a raucous home crowd will believe they have a realistic chance of causing an upset. In Shevchenko, they have a world class striker who is capable of picking up a few goals and is key to how they perform. That said, each of their games in this group will be seen as a cup final and will require monumental efforts if they are to pick up any points.

  • FIFA Ranking: 14
  • Odds: 50/1
  • Manager: Erik Hamren
  • Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

SPG Prediction – Group Stages
The Swedes are never an easy team to play against, as England know firsthand having just ended their winless record against them which stood since 1968. For this reason, Sweden have often been considered one of the better teams in Europe, but only once in their last four European tournaments have they progressed out of the group stages. They will expect to start this one with victory against Ukraine but much tougher opposition lies ahead. Ibrahimovic will have to perform if they have any chance of making the quarters.

  • FIFA Ranking: 6
  • Odds: 9/1
  • Manager: Roy Hodgson
  • Key Player: Wayne Rooney

SPG Prediction – Semi Finals
Rarely justifying their FIFA ranking and theatrical hype of the press at the big stage, England will want to eradicate the shadow of failed expectation which has haunted them for years. With new injections of youth and less expectation heading into the tournament, the players may well feel a sense of breathing space. Having qualified as only one of five unbeaten teams, they are probably slight favourites to win the group. If England manage this, they will have a real shot at making it to the semis for the first time since 1996.

  • FIFA Ranking: 16
  • Odds: 12/1
  • Manager: Laurent Blanc
  • Key Player: Yann M’Vila

SPG Prediction – Quarter Finals
France’s struggle to find form in recent years has seen them plummet down the rankings. After serious disciplinary issues in South Africa, the ship seems to have steadied having recently recorded an impressive away win in Germany. Qualifying wasn’t plain sailing with Bosnia-Herzegovina finishing just one point below them, however, making the quarter finals is expected with progression after that surely seen as a bonus.