Euro 2012: What we learned from Group D?
Group D brought the group stages of Euro 2012 to a close on Tuesday evening, with England and France qualifying as group winners and runners-up, respectively.
Hodgson’s England effective not entertaining
Qualifying as group winners, means that England have avoided a quarter-final clash with current World and European champions, Spain and will instead face Italy. A draw and two wins, means that Hodgson has won four and drawn one since taking over. Hodgson’s two banks of four, has been effective for England so far. Despite living dangerously against Ukraine for large parts, but Wayne Rooney marked his return with a goal, his first at a European Championship in eight years (since vs Croatia in 2004) The old enemy, Germany await if England beat Italy on Sunday.
France take their foot off the gas
Laurent Blanc’s side have been tipped to be potential dark horses for the tournament, but were far from at their peak in their qualification for the knock-out stages. A 2-0 defeat to Sweden saw Les Bleu’s unbeaten streak of 23-games come to an abrupt halt. Complacency punctuated the defeat to the Swedes and will be cause for concern for Blanc, as a result of finishing second, a Spanish side looking to create history awaits them in the quarter-finals.
Sweden and Ukraine were not whipping boys
While Ireland and Holland travelled home from Euro 2012 without even accumulating a single point, Sweden and Ukraine won a game a piece at the tournament. Ukraine were largely the better team against England, having many chances in the first-half, in particular. The co-hosts gave a great account of themselves in their opening game against Sweden, drunk on the excitement from the crowd, a brace of headers from Andriy Shevchenko spurred them on to a 2-1 victory. Equally, Sweden were unlucky against England, especially having gone 2-1 up only to lose 2-3, but managed to beat at less them impressive French side, when the pressure was off.