At the end of this week, England will discover the degree of difficulty they will face early on next summer at Euro 2012. On Friday, each of the 16 qualified sides will discover their fate with the groups set to be drawn in Kiev.
With a seeding system published a fortnight ago, there are several potential clashes England will be desperate to avoid so soon in the format. Despite Fabio Capello’s side being placed in Pot 2, theoretically favoured to advance as group runners-up, there is a very real possibility of some severely lopsided groups being formed.
With strong teams lurking in each tier of the draw, Friday will see some sides delivered early blows to their pre-tournament prospects, whilst others will see their odds dramatically shorten. Although it is out of their hands, this is very much the first obstacle England need to successfully negate to enhance their chances of going far.
With no Wayne Rooney likely to be available in this early stages of the summer spectacle, England must escape unscathed on Friday and come away with a friendly draw.