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Euro 2012: Gary Cahill Injury Devestating for Hodgson and Depleted English Side

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  Dries Mertens of Belgium clashes with Gary Cahill of England during the international friendly match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As if England wasn't depleted enough for the European Championship, they'll now be without defender Gary Cahill for the tournament. From BBC:

Gary Cahill has been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a double fracture of his jaw. Liverpool's Martin Kelly called up as his replacement

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 3, 2012

Cahill fractured each side of his jaw in England's friendly against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday, when Belgian winger Dries Mertens needlessly pushed Cahill into English goalkeeper Joe Hart during a challenge for the ball.

It's a huge blow for an English side already without several key players for the tournament.

Midfielders Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard were both ruled out of the tournament due to injury, Jack Wilshere was kept off the squad as well after missing the entirety of the 2011-12 season for Arsenal, third-string goalie John Ruddy was ruled out after breaking a finger in late May, and Kyle Walker was kept out after injuring his toe.

Let's not forget about Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for the first two matches against France and Sweden.

Put that all together for manager Roy Hodgson—alongside the fact that he's only been at the helm for a few weeks after replacing Fabio Capello in early May—and you have the recipe for a disappointing tournament.

Yikes.

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While the Three Lions still have a very talented side, few outside of England would look down on the squad if they were unable to to garner a win against either France or Sweden.

Cahill certainly would have provided stability across the back line. While Joleon Lescott is a worthy starter in his own right, having the option to utilize either opposite John Terry would have been ideal for Hodgson.

At this point, it seems too optimistic to predict England could win this group, especially with the French side coming into the tournament on the heels of 20-game unbeaten streak in international play. Instead, England will be battling Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine for the right to advance out of the second-place position in Group D.

It would have been easier with Cahill, but, as I'm sure any English fan would tell you, it's never easy for the Three Lions.

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