Euro 2012: 10 Reasons England Have No Chance of Winning
Despite going the whole of 2011 unbeaten with back-to-back wins against Spain and Sweden, England virtually have zero chance of winning Euro 2012.
The Three Lions have been placed in Pot Two for the group stages draw and could face a group of death with Spain, France and Portugal.
Regardless, they'd still face stiff competition from the likes of Italy—World Cup runners-up— Netherlands and a resurgent Germany.
Here are 10 reasons England have almost no chance of lifting the Euro 2012 trophy next summer.
No Wayne Rooney
Banned by UEFA from the Euro 2012 group stages after his red card in Montenegro, Wayne Rooney will be a big loss for England in Poland and Ukraine.
The talismanic Manchester United forward is by far the Three Lions' best player, and his suspension from the opening three games will probably be costly.
If he goes with the team and England make it through to the knockout rounds, Fabio Capello most likely won't get the best out of him. He won't have had match practice and might not be up to match fitness, so the Italian will have to readjust his tactics.
But if he doesn't go, England are robbed of their best player.
The Wayne Rooney conundrum seems to be a lose-lose situation for the Three Lions.
No Depth in Goal
Joe Hart is England's undisputed No.1, but the problem for manager Fabio Capello is there's no real competition for the Manchester City shot stopper.
In the squad to face Spain and Sweden, Hart's competitors were Scott Carson and David Stockdale, who play for Bursaspor and Ipswich Town, respectively.
That says it all.
The only genuine contender could be West Brom's Ben Foster, but even he hasn't been in top form this season.
It's an alarming lack of depth, especially compared to current champions Spain, who have three world class goalkeepers vying just to be No. 2—Pepe Reina, Victor Valdes and David de Gea.
The lack of goalkeeping competition in the England not only won't get the best out of Hart but will also leave the team in dire position if the City keeper gets injured.
Uncertainty over Team Places
The complete lack of certainty as to who will be on the plane for Poland and Ukraine next summer could be perceived as a good thing for England.
It'll make the players give 100 percent until the final squad announcement is made.
However, given virtually all the other teams at Euro 2012 have their squads nailed down, it could be a major downside for England.
The uncertainty means Capello has less time to get the players he will eventually choose for the tournament to learn his tactics and game plans fluently. It also means the team will be less of a cohesive unit come next summer.
Ahead of the 2010 World Cup, Spain boss Vicente del Bosque virtually had his team chosen a year beforehand.
The players knew the tactics and the coaches' game plans perfectly. Having spent so much time together away on international breaks, the team became a close-knit group who knew each others' styles down to a tee.
And we all know how that one turned out.
Lack of Technical Ability
One thing England don't have, and never had compared to the other top footballing nations, is stellar technical ability.
England's best technical players at the moment are Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Young. Apart from that trio, not many others possess natural, world class talent with the ball.
And seeing as Spain, Germany, Italy and France are all better technically than England, it will be a huge uphill struggle for the Three Lions.
It's a big problem for the English, compounded by the fact there are fewer than 4,000 UEFA-qualified coaches in the country—compared to over 24,000 in Spain, 30,000 in Italy, 35,000 in Germany and 18,000 in France.
Even Euro 2004 champions Greece have visibly better technical ability than England. At the grass roots level, Greece have a ratio of one UEFA coach to every 135 registered players, while England's ratio is 1:812.
A notorious problem for England that rears its ugly head tournament after tournament is the pressure from the media.
"But, at the same time, the pressure might become a little bit too much. Maybe they shouldn't be the top favourites for each and every tournament, the way they're maybe pictured to be in England sometimes."
Many past England players have commented on how they've been weighed down by media expectations, while the current spotlight on John Terry has clearly affected his game.
While the UK's national papers keep scrutinising the Three Lions, it seems they won't be winning a major tournament any time soon.
Not Enough Passing Through the Middle
If there's one fatal flaw in England's current tactics, it's their lack of penetration through the middle.
In the traditional English way, Fabio Capello likes to focus on the wingers.
And though he encourages them to cut inside more often than not, what his team fails to do well is attack the heart of a defence.
Virtually all the other big nations play a more central game, and while that may be good for England as it makes them more unpredictable, it also makes them less of a goal threat.
In the last two friendlies especially, it was painfully evident how most of the play was shifted out wide. Stewart Downing and Theo Walcott were expected to be the top playmakers.
And when a team has their main playmakers out on the wings, it's clear they won't be a huge threat in attack.
No World Class Wingers
Considering England have a preference for wing play, a major flaw in their setup is they've got no world class wingers.
The likes of Ashley Young, Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing are very good wingers but not players in the same category as Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller, Nani, Juan Mata, David Silva, etc.
Seen as England have averaged less than two goals a game throughout 2011, it's clear they are lacking good assists from the wings.
Meaning they are significantly less of a goal threat than their European counterparts.
No Fast Defenders
If there's one thing England lack across the defence, it's pace.
Besides Kyle Walker at right back, the Three Lions have no fast defenders to choose from, which could be a major headache at Euro 2012 if opponents try to exploit that weakness.
The older guys like John Terry and Ashley Cole have definitely lost pace, while youngsters like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones aren't exactly the biggest speed demons around.
And considering there will be some pretty fast guys at the European Championships this summer, it doesn't look like England will fare too well.
Especially if they keep a high line in defence.
No Big Time Charlies
One of the most important things England lack are experienced players who have been at the deep end of major international tournaments.
Besides Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, no other players have a wealth of experience in major matches at the business end of competitions.
Virtually the whole Spain squad experienced winning the World Cup, while the Netherlands were 2010 runners-up.
Germany, Italy and France also have more experienced players who have been on the cusp of greatness before.
While England have some experience within their ranks, they have no players with the knowledge that comes with the experience of the countries above.
Demanding Premier League
With no winter break, Premier League players will always be more fatigued than their Serie A, La Liga or Bundesliga counterparts come the end of the season.
And while the vast majority of the England team continue to refuse to ply their trade anywhere but the Premier League, they will always be at a disadvantage fitness-wise compared to their rivals.
This fact only adds to the growing number of reasons why they have zero chance of winning Euro 2012.