Euro 2012: Ranking the Championship Chances of Each Major Underdog
Now that we've had time to assess the team in this years European Championship, the murky water becomes a little clearer as we look to see who might progress out of the group stages and into the knockout rounds.
Group A have had the benefit of playing two of their matches to date, with Group B set to follow suit later today.
With the so called "big teams" having mixed fortunes on opening day, it makes you wonder whether any of the heavy underdogs actually have a chance of winning the competition.
Inside I have selected who I considered the eight biggest underdogs—or worst teams if you like—going into the tournament, and ranked them as they stand now, as to their hopes of actually winning Euro 2012.
I'm glad that's nice and clear.
Here is Euro 2012: Ranking the Championship Chances of Each Major Underdog.
Following the Greek's defeat to the Czech Republic yesterday, they currently sit at the bottom of Group A with just one point from two games thus far.
Their third—and likely final—game is against Russia, a team who currently sit atop Group A with four points.
Greece have got to be the biggest underdog in the tournament at present, having played a game more than most other teams.
Euro 2004 is but a distant memory, and even Ireland don't want to be them.
7. Republic of Ireland
Having opened their campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Croatia, Ireland have the joint worst goal difference in the competition and sit on zero points.
With their next game set to be against current World and European Champions Spain, it seems like Ireland might be on borrowed time.
Getting past Spain with any kind of hope leaves Italy to beat.
It just looks impossible.
On paper, Sweden's easiest group stage game was set to be their opener against Ukraine.
Unfortunately for the Swedes, home field advantage seemed to kick in as Ukraine won the game 2-1, leaving Sweden adrift at the bottom of Group D.
Their next fixture against England is followed by France, who are currently unbeaten in 22 games.
Sweden's hopes look bleak unless they can pull off a shock result.
Having played a game more than most other teams, Poland are still unbeaten in the Euro 2012 finals with two draws.
Two points on the board with a final game against Group A rivals Czech Republic will mean a high pressure match that determines the fate of both sides.
Could the co-hosts achieve the unlikely progression? They won't go much further than that if they do.
4. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic's finite victory over Greece did little to suggest that they could go much farther in the competition, even if they manage to get out of Group A.
Having played two games and garnered three points, the Czech Republic will know that only a win against Poland in their final game will guarantee their progression to the knockout stages.
Denmark earned a shock victory against the Netherlands in their opening game but it won't get any easier for the Danes with Portugal and Germany still to come.
Having won the competition in 1992 after failing to qualify, it's hard to write Denmark off, however the group of death may yet live up to it's name.
Denmark are tough to break down.
Andriy Shevchenko rolled back the years to give Ukraine an opening match victory on home soil.
With England and France still to play, Ukraine's progression might be tough but the 12th man element can still play its part.
They have a top striker who nets international goals for fun and things are looking up for them in the tournament.
They couldn't have given themselves a better chance.
Slaven Bilic's Croatia got off to a flier with a 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland. If the Croatians can beat misfiring Italy or Spain their progression is assured.
Croatia are perhaps one of the better equipped teams for knockout competition, so they get my vote as the top remaining underdog in the competition at present.
Which of these teams do you think will go the furthest? Enter your comments below and be sure follow me on Twitter @petercwebster where I post all my B/R content.