Euro 2012: Fifteen Biggest Storylines to Look out for This Summer
With just thirty-five days to go until the start of the European Championships 2012, Poland and Ukraine will be feverishly making their last minute preparations.
So what should we expect? Probably the unexpected.
Here is Euro 2012: Fifteen Biggest Storylines to Look out for This Summer.
Remember...you heard it here first.
Hodgson Fails to Spark England European Championship Bid
England have recently appointed Roy Hodgson as the man to try to lead them to cup success, but not everybody in the country is on board with the appointment.
The England managers' job—football's most poisoned chalice—is one fraught with criticism and press negativity, making any inroads to success highly difficult.
England are usually terrible in major competitions, and Hodgson may find that out the hard way.
David Villa Makes Miraculous Recovery to Make Spain Squad
After breaking his shin in the World Club Cup in December, it had been suggested that Barcelona striker David Villa may miss out on a place on the Spanish European Squad if he doesn't recover in time.
Fast forward to present day and it seems as though Villa has given himself a chance.
The striker announced back in April that he could return in May, and it wouldn't be a stretch to see his name on the Spanish team sheet come June 8.
Germany Make Another Final
Germany are playing well, have strength throughout their team and have a nice blend of youth and experience.
FIFA rank them as the second best country in the world, and they are probably only second to Spain in the public's eyes when it comes to their chance of winning the competition.
Despite all the possible outcomes, I wouldn't be surprised to see Germany make the final.
Someone Will Make a Name for Themselves
Every so often, a player comes of age in a major tournament.
They may be playing decent club football somewhere on an average team, but the European Championships offer a whole different stage.
Look for a youngster to make his mark and then be linked with a move to every top side in Europe.
Shock and Horror as One of the Hosts Crashes out
Poland and Ukraine are the hosts for this years tournament, but it's important to note that this is the first time the latter has even been in a European Championship—disregarding their time as part of the Soviet Union.
Indeed, Poland only qualified for their first European Championship in 2008 and crashed out in the group stages after failing to win a game.
It doesn't make for impressive reading for either host, and one—if not both nations—could be out of the competition before it has even really begun.
A Big Name Will Fall
My money—hypothetically—is on Italy to be the first of the big boys to leave the tournament.
FIFA rankings don't really play a part in a nation's expectations, and Italy are no different than everybody else in thinking their team might be able to win the competition.
History plays a part with Italy having been so successful over former years, but they currently lack a real goal scorer who frightens defenses.
Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland are all potential banana skins to contend with.
The Golden Boot Award Will Be Won with Five Goals
The Golden Boot award is given to the top goalscorer in the European Championship finals—so not including qualification if you were still pondering.
David Villa won it in 2008 with four goals, but this year I expect somebody to go one better.
Who that person may be, remains to be seen.
Spain Will Win an Unprecedented Third Major International Trophy in a Row
Obviously Spain winning Euro 2012 depends on a number of factors, but as 2008 European Championship winners and 2010 World Cup winners, they are certainly the favourites heading into the tournament.
With the likes of Andreas Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, David Silva, and Juan Mata to call upon, would you bet against them?
There Will Be a Major Injury
Broken legs, cruciate ligament damage, torn knee ligaments, stress fractures. These are all common injuries with footballers—particularly when they haven't had enough rest.
Heading straight into a European Championship following a grueling domestic league campaign could mean somebody flies home early to see their clubs' physio.
Netherlands Play Awesome Football, Get Tipped to Win the Competition, Choke
The Netherlands do it every tournament.
One thing that we'll see from them is some fantastic football which will likely lead to them being tipped to win the Championship.
Then they'll choke.
What more is there to say?
Cristiano Ronaldo Fails to Ignite Portugal
Being as good as Cristiano Ronaldo comes with extra pressures.
You're expected to perform for club and country every week, and be outstanding every week.
The pressure to carry Portugal will be too much for Ronaldo this year, with group games against Netherlands, Germany and Denmark too difficult.
Robin Van Persie Contract Failure
Robin Van Persie is sure to feature for the Netherlands in this summers European Championship, but whether he's an Arsenal player when he returns home is another matter.
With his contract with the Gunners set to expire in just over a year, the vultures will be circling.
An explosive headline during the tournament will see a deal struck elsewhere and the Dutchman in new colours for 2012/13.
France Prove to Be a Surprise Package Under Laurent Blanc
Since Laurent Blanc took the French national team reigns, the country has endured some less than exciting on field performances.
It's also worth noting they are currently on an 18 game unbeaten run, which has included games against Germany, England and Brazil.
Hitting form at the right time could see Les Bleus be a surprise package.
Wayne Rooney Should Have Stayed at Home
If the 2010 World Cup is anything to go by, Wayne Rooney should stay at home for this tournament.
Set to miss the opening three group games due to suspension, who knows how many games—if any—Rooney will get to play in the summer.
While Roy Hodgson has already suggested that Rooney will be travelling with the squad, fans will be hoping he turns up on the field.
Spain Take Open Top Bus Tour to Show off Trophy, Ramos Fumbles, Bus Crushes It
A victory parade in an open top bus is the norm when showing off a shiny new trophy; just don't let Sergio Ramos handle it.
With Spain hotly tipped for the European Championships, I wonder how close the squad would allow Ramos to even get to the trophy.
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