Euro 2012 Predictions: England and Teams That Will Disappoint as Usual
Despite being hyped up on the eve of literally every international tournament of the last 10 years, the English national football team has failed to impress or perform well when push comes to shove.
Last Euros, England didn't even manage to qualify for the tournament proper, making them the only seeded team not to do so. This, despite boasting a plethora of talent all over the pitch, is sadly just a symptom of a long term problem that has been plaguing the team, the inability to play like a team internationally.
But England isn't the only team that continually seems to suffer this dilemma. Other "big nations" have, as of late, failed to impress and so are quickly becoming labeled as perpetual failures on the international scene.
So which national teams then fit this description? Who are the other five teams that seemingly continue to under perform when it counts most?
Check out this slideshow to see a list of some other teams that will most likely disappoint in the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament!
Perhaps it's the team's inability to adapt to a much more advanced or evolved style of game play, or simply just the loss of some key individuals that were involved in that victorious World Cup 2006 run.
Whatever the case is, there's no denying that Italy have seemed a team far removed from the one the footballing world saw two World Cups prior.
After an unexpected premature exit from Euro 2008 against Spain in the quarter finals, at a time when they were pinned as favourites, Italy have done little to convince the football world that they've rejuvenated themselves.
An embarrassing group stage exit in World Cup 2010 means Italy are now gaining a reputation of flopping on the big stage. And with teams like Germany and Spain now adapting to a different, more advanced style of football, Italy as a whole seems to be lagging behind, unable to compete as it once did.
Expect little to change when the tournament proper begins.
The Portuguese national team is the perfect conundrum exemplifying the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth."
A team full of stars, comprising names such as the talismatic midfield playmaker Cristiano Ronaldo, deputy winger Nani, midfield enforcers Raul Meireles and Joao Moutinho and stellar defenders Pepe and Bruno Alvez.
Unfortunately though, the talent doesn't seem to convert too well, as Portugal have failed to make a single international tournament final since 2004, when national hero Luis Figo captained them.
Expect some entertaining football from the Portugese. Don't expect too much progression though.
Russia has one of those football teams that seem to have blended the perfect culture of star players mixed with relative unknowns that will ensure hard fought battles throughout the pitch. One thing you can't doubt when it comes to the Russians is their work ethic, as they seem to work hard for one another, essentially "hustling" as much as possible.
Unfortunately though, their work ethic didn't seem to translate into the qualifiers of last years World Cup (2010), as the same team seen in Euro 2008's unprecedented run to the tournament semifinals failed to make the tournament proper.
The qualifiers also did little to suggest that the Russian team had rejuvenated itself, as they barely topped a group seen by many as being one of the easiest of the bunch. Two points separated them from second place Republic of Ireland.
Expect to see some of that same commitment this time around. Unfortunately though, it's hard to see them making much of a splash at the Euros.
Traditionally, hosts of major international tournaments surprise everyone at international tournaments, as they seem spurred on by the home support and reach the latter stages of the competition unexpectedly.
And with Ukraine, despite just being "co-hosts," much will be expected due to this reason. Local fans will want to see more drive and commitment from their players on home soil and as such will expect some progression at the very least.
Unfortunately for them though, Ukraine pale in comparison to some of the other teams. Relying on Andriy Shevchenko is still a major part of how they play. The Ukrainian forward, who despite being brilliant, is now 35 years age and arguably entering the twilight of a long and glittering career.
Essentially, he's now past that level where he can carry a team.
Expect a disappointing group stage exit from the co-hosts, as they struggle to keep up with younger, more adept teams than themselves.
Some may argue that the French team looks to have rejuvenated itself under the management of Laurent Blanc, as Les Bleus qualified for Euro 2008 without having to play a playoff match.
These people though have forgotten just how bad things had gotten under previous manager Raymond Domenech. The French team may look better than before, but not good. Evidence to this could be the team's automatic qualification itself, as they barely edged their group, beating Bosnia by a single point, courtesy of a late penalty-kick equalizer from Samir Nasri which kept Les Bleus on top.
Expecting much from an overhauled team with few recognizable or seasoned veterans may be too much, despite what the fans might be hoping for.
Expect some progression, but eventual disappointment from France.
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