The Spanish men's national soccer team start their campaign to win the historical "treble" this weekend in the Euro Cup Group C match against former World Cup champions Italy. European elites Germany, France, Portugal, England and the Netherlands are also favorites to win this summer. However injuries, and other factors plaguing the elites may mean luck aren't in their favour.
Here is a critical look at Spain and at the other top sides you should not count on to win Euro 2012.
Many are predicting a 5/4 odd on Spain reaching the finals. They place an odd of 3.75 on Spain to win the tournament. Spain are favorites to become the first team in history to win two consecutive European titles and the World Cup, effectively dubbed the "treble".
Spain's national team faced a concerning set-back when it announced that David Villa and Carles Puyol were not including in the squad due to injury and recovery progress.
Spain's reserve goalkeeper Victor Valdes chimed in on the absence of Puyol and Villa, "They are two very important losses because of their importance to the team in terms of the amount of international matches that they have played and how much they have contributed in recent years," the goalkeeper told BBVA.com. "They are also very important in the daily group."
Another factor that may be a risk on part of the national team was the selection of Fernando Torres over Roberto Soldado. Soldado scored a stunning 27 goals this season for Valencia, while also captaining the team. Although Torres had scored the winning goal of the 2008 Euro Cup final, he has struggled to return to that level.
If Vicente del Bosque insisted on keeping Torres, he should have opted to include Soldado instead of Pedro Rodriguez as he has only scored 2 goals in 16 call-ups for the national team.
All things considered, Spain's style of play may not be as effective as before as key players are absent and other teams are becoming familiar with their "tiki-taka". These factors considered, Spain may not win the historic "treble" after all.
Cristiano Ronaldo's star power is directly associated with the level of favoritism and support for the Portuguese national team. However, unlike in the past, modern day football tournaments cannot be won by a single player. Just ask Lionel Messi.
Portugal's constant disappointment and tendency to bow out of tournaments during knockout stages have been frustrating for fans and even for Ronaldo. The European elites almost failed to qualify for this year's Euros and had to face off against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Although the team has star-studded players such as Nani, Pepe, Rui Patricio, Raul Meireles, and Fabio Coentrao, they often do not show team chemistry or patience for one another. Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Paulo Bento were both involved in the banning of Real Madrid's Ricardo Carvalho and Chelsea's Jose Bosingwa from the national team. Such drama does not aid in forming trust within a national team.
Not to mention Portugal cannot afford to slip up as they are in the "group of death" and need to face off against Germany and Netherlands.
Hence odds place Portugal to win the tournament at 21, while predicting a 7/4 chance they will be third-place in group B.
Former England international footballer Alan Shearer says (via. UK's The Independent), "I can't see us winning it. I think it's the first time I can remember when we've gone into a tournament without huge expectations"
England is placed at odds of 15 to win the tournament on July 1st.
The Three Lions have always had a star-studded squad with high expectations. However team chemistry has always been their downfall. With so much importance given to club performance, history and club rivalry, the players have often faced difficulty seeing eye to eye on the pitch and in the dressing room. This has led to their early dismissals from international tournaments since the days of David Beckham.
Also the omission of Rio Ferdinand is quite concerning. The experienced Manchester United defender has always been a loyal servant to his nation and had been left out due to drama off-pitch. Injury has also plagued the squad as Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill and Gareth Barry were all taken off the team.
Roy Hodgson was definitely not the first choice for fans and the Football Association. According to The Globe and Mail the decision to appoint Hodgson over the beloved Harry Redknapp was due to the FA's low expectations for the national team this June.
However we can expect England to still go through the group stages and put up a convincing fight at the knockout stages.
Money is the greatest motivation for victory.
Thus become the philosophy for the French national team as France 24 reports the French Football Federation (FFF) will reward the 23-man squad; if they win Euro 2012, each player will receive a $441,000 bonus.
However money does not make problems disappear. France has all the eliminates that troubles Spain, Portugal and England. They have lost Yoann Gourcuff to injury recovery progress and faces concern over Yann M'Vila's hamstring injury (who is still in the squad).
France has also suffered from lack of team chemistry, as the squad consists of players from different leagues in Europe who have limited experience playing together. They also heavily rely on a star power to win matches.
France had played at the Euro Cup finals in 1984 and 2000 and had won each time. Their second win was two years after winning the World Cup in 1998. They are tied with Germany as the most successful nation in the European championship.
These factors considered France are at 12 odds to win Euro 2012.
Which other team do you not see winning the Euro 2012?