Euro 2012 Preview: England

Euro 2012 Preview: England
Roy Hodgson
Semi-Finals 1968,1996
Group G Winners
4 (Dec 1997)
27 (Feb 1996)
14/1 (bet36)



11th June – France – (1700 BST, Donetsk, ITV)
15th June – Sweden (1945 BST, Kiev, BBC)
19th June – Ukraine (1945 BST, Donetsk, ITV)

The run-up to the European Championships for England has been at best chaotic.The fact that Wayne Rooney misses the first two games through suspension seems to have been forgotten about given the hunt for the new manager, controversy surrounding John Terry, injuries and all the other media hype that seems to follow the English team about.

The coach is sorted, Roy Hodgson’s been given the job and at international level has a decent record taking Switzerland to number 3 in the world in the mid 1990s and making the minnows of Finland competitive if not qualifying threats.

The World Cup under Capello was poor and qualifying although achieved fairly comfortably did possess a few hiccups, home and away draws with Montenegro and a disappointing 2-2 at Wembley against Switzerland were the only blemishes on it

One thing that Capello did try in qualifying was to move away from the tried and tested 4-4-2, he experimented with a 4-2-3-1 formation on occasion and it did work. Whether Hodgson sticks with that or goes back to 4-4-2 remains to be seen.

Regardless of what formation or tactics England go with it’s more or less nailed on that Joe Hart will start in goal and the Manchester City stopper has the potential to make that position his own for years to come.

England do possess a few decent defenders with left-back Ashley Cole amongst the best in his specialised position. John Terry and Joleon Lescott should be the starting centre-back pairing with Liverpool’s Glen Johnson being the other probable full-back due to Kyle Walker’s withdrawal.

Frank Lampard’s absence means that Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard should work in tandem in midfield with the wing options being Theo Walcott, Ashley Young, James Milner and the exciting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Should Hodgson play with two up front I’d expect it to be initially Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck whilst Rooney serves his suspension although Jermain DeFoe is still an option.

This time last year Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was celebrating the League One Championship with his Southampton team-mates, a year on he’s broken into the Arsenal side and is on the plane to the Euros.

A direct winger who possesses strength,power,pace and a decent shot, the youngster is already being hailed as the future of English football.

It’s a bit too early to say that yet but he has had a highly encouraging debut season for Arsenal and with Champions League experience he’ll hardly be daunted by the European Championships.

A solid Euro campaign will only be of benefit to the son of former Wednesday player Mark Chamberlain.

There’s been many sagas surrounding England and the end result is a lot of people willing to write this tournament off and look to Brazil 2014.

Roy Hodgson’s already attracted fierce criticism from the media for some peculiar squad selections but a lot of this squad doesn’t bear the burden of the numerous failures before them and the others will see this as the last chance to show what they can do and bow out with some pride.

The way England will look to play is to get the ball forward quickly to catch out defences with the hope that one of the forwards can convert the chances. The France game will be an interesting one, if England can get a result out of that or even an encouraging display, perhaps we should feel a bit more optimistic about them.
The Quarter Finals would represent success.

Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83

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