World Football

Euro 2012 Schedule: Upsets Waiting to Happen in Group Play

ZAGREB, CROATIA - FEBRUARY 29:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden (R) celebrates after scoring their first goal during the International Friendly between Croatia and Sweden at the Maksimir Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Zagreb, Croatia.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJune 8, 2012

Anything can happen in the beautiful game. Greece won Euro 2004 and nobody saw it coming. Upsets happen every year, and this tournament won't be any different. 

Nobody will see these three upsets happen in group play at Euro 2012

 

Sweden over France - June 19

France was a disaster at the 2010 World Cup. They haven't able to regain their form since that embarrassing effort.

Awful defending, poor man-marking and stars who were invisible, France was a mess.

Sweden, if they can capitalize on playing Ukraine in the opener, should be in a great position to make it to the knockout stages with a victory.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is due for a breakout tournament for his national side. Since 2001, he has only scored 31 goals in 77. 

Unacceptable from one of the best strikers in the world.

Ibrahimovic will finally take the next step into superstar level status with a dominating performance in a crucial Swedish victory.

 

Prediction

Sweden 2, France 1

Ibrahimovic proves that he is one of the best in the world with two world-class goals. 

 

Denmark over Portugal - June 13

Portugal will be coming off a game against Germany when these two square off. A positive performance could spell a downfall, and a negative performance could spell a downfall.

WARSAW, POLAND - FEBRUARY 29:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal in action during the International Friendly mach between Poland and Portugal at National Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Portugal is still Cristiano Ronaldo, a few other talented players and others who are average. They go as Ronaldo goes, and he wouldn't want it any other way.

They are, and will always be, one of those teams that are on upset alert because of how they play. 

Portugal isn't exactly coming into Euro 2012 on a high note, either. They tied 0-0 with Poland and Macedonia before losing to Turkey 3-1 in three International Friendlies. 

Denmark is led by Nicklas Bendtner, a striker who has played for English Premier League's Arsenal and Sunderland. He has tallied 18 goals since 2006 and he's only 24 years old.

Portugal's offense and defense aren't on form right now, and Bendtner has the talents to take advantage. 

 

Prediction

Denmark 2, Portugal 1 

Bendtner scores the game-winning goal in the second half. 

 

Croatia over Italy - June 14 

Italy has the liberty of starting out with Spain in the group opener. Good luck. It's going to be difficult finding a result from that game, but they will have a chance against Croatia in its second game.

ZAGREB, CROATIA - MARCH 17:  GNK Dinamo Zagreb players celebrate victory at the end of the Croatian Prva HNL match between GNK Dinamo Zagreb and HNK Hajduk Split on March 17, 2012 at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb,Croatia. (Photo by EuroFootball/Getty Ima
EuroFootball/Getty Images

It's a trap game. 

Italy will realize that they need to get three points from this game to stay in contention for the knockout stages. They will push more often than they are accustomed and Croatia will capitalize on the counter attack.

 

Prediction

Croatia 1, Italy 0

Luka Modric plays up to his capabilities and leads Croatia to the one goal victory. 

Check out BBC.co.uk for the complete group stage schedule. 

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