Euro 2012 Preview: 10 Things to Know About England Team

Mikhail TurnerContributor IIIMay 1, 2012

Euro 2012 Preview: 10 Things to Know About England Team

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    Euro 2012 begins in a few months and Bleacher Report is taking a look at all the competitors.

    England is up next. A tournament dark horse, England disappointed in the 2010 World Cup and did not participate in Euro 2008. 

    With a lot of experienced players possibly looking at their last major tournament, now would be a good time for the nation to have some long-awaited success on the international stage.

    Here's a preview of the England national team before they embark on their Euro 2012 journey.

Their Group

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    England will be in Group D with co-hosts Ukraine as well as France and Sweden.

    There is no easy group in Euro 2012. On paper, there certainly isn't a favourite at the moment.

Toughest Group Game

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    England's toughest group game will be its first game against France. The French would be tough opponents on any other day, but what really counts here is that the team will be missing Wayne Rooney through suspension.

    If England can get through such a tough opponent without its best player and main attacking threat, it will provide players with confidence. A good result would make things easier in the second round. The  team may be flying by the time Rooney returns for the third and final group game.

Young Stars

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    Three young players who stand out as possible selections for the Euro 2012 squad are Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley would be in the running as well, but their respective long-term injuries and subsequent lack of playing time may rule them out.

    Welbeck, Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain ave all had impressive seasons for their club, but it is less likely that Oxlade-Chamberlain will make the cut due to his age.

    Still, England could very well present some young stars at the tournament who can prove that there is a lot more to come from the nation.

New Manager

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    Roy Hodgson seems set to be appointed as the new England manager. He certainly has a lot to do in preparing his side for the tournament.

    England is the only side to have had to deal with such a leadership issue in the lead-up to the tournament and it may yet have an effect on the side.

    Harry Redknapp was expected to be the England FA's appointment, but that has not occurred.

Dark Horse

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    With all their distractions—the departure of Fabio Capello, the demotion of John Terry and the soon-to-be announced new manager—you could forgive England for having a slightly disappointing tournament.

    They were dark horses going into Euro 2012 and you could say these incidents put them even further in that category. Other competitors may look at the side, see their disarray as a weakness and write them off.

    This squad still has enough experience and talent to do damage and could be motivated by all that has gone wrong before the tournament has even begun.

Euro 2012 Base

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    England's base will be near both the Netherlands and Portugal as all three sides will settle in Krakow, Poland. The city itself does not have a venue during the competition.

Bookmaker's Odds

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    Bookmakers William Hill have given the English 8/1 odds of winning the whole tournament.

Friendlies

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    England will warm up for the tournament with friendlies against Norway (away) and Belgium (home).

World and European Rankings

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    To serve further notice to their "dark-horse" tag, England is ranked fifth in Europe and seventh in the worldwide rankings.

    Tournament favourites Spain, Germany and the Netherlands rank above England in Europe, with Portugal jumping over them to fourth spot in the last rankings.

Record Since 2010 World Cup

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    England has recorded nine wins, four draws and two losses since the 2010 World Cup. Both of those losses came against Euro 2012 competitors: France and the Netherlands.

    England went undefeated in qualifying with five wins and three draws, scoring 17 goals and conceding five.

    Overall, the side has done well, but the true test awaits in June.