Friday, 18 May 2012

Who Will Win The Euros?

Hello, I’m Callum Rivett and welcome to the latest part in my wide selection of articles! With the release of England’s Euro squad, I’ll look and see whether we have any chance at all of even passing the group stage, let alone winning it. I’m going to see who are the main contenders for the trophy, and give you my thoughts and reasoning behind my choice of who’ll win this year.

Let’s start by looking at the England squad and any mistakes I think Hodgson has made or what he has got right.

Joe Hart (Manchester City), Rob Green (West Ham United), John Ruddy (Norwich City)
Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea)
Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United)

Including John Ruddy is a good decision in my eyes, he’s had a fantastic year for Norwich and came second as Norwich Player of the Season vote, beaten only by Grant Holt who definitely should have gone in place of Jermain Defoe. I also do not rate Danny Welbeck, he’s severely over-rated by the media, and I’m gutted he is included. Fair enough, if he ends the tournament top-scorer I’ll put my hands up and say I was wrong. But I doubt that.

Andy Carroll is a massive risk, he’s started to turn good for Liverpool towards the end of the season and I think next year will be his best year ever in terms of goals. Our defence looks shaky: having no Micah Richards is a mistake, he’s quick, a good crosser, who can attack and can play anywhere along the back four. The midfield looks predictable, and mostly what everyone would have expected. Except Stewart Downing. Why oh why has he picked him? Zero goals, zero assists for Liverpool this year. Terrible waste of a space that could have been used to accommodate someone who will offer more to the team - Adam Johnson perhaps.

Joe Hart is our number one, he will be world class. But Green ahead of Ruddy? Did he watch THAT match against the USA? Our strikers for the first two games have scored a whopping great total of… 24 (Defoe - 11, Carroll - 4, Welbeck - 9) in 90 combined Premier League appearances this season.
Yeah. Not so good.

After slating our national team, let’s go on to who I think will win the tournament. I’ll give you a clue: they’re 2nd favorites. Another clue? They play in white and black. We lost 4-1 to them in the World Cup 2010?
You got it. Germany.

One of the youngest, if not the youngest, squads in the world right now, and one of the most talented. Just look at it. This is their preliminary squad:
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Hoffenheim), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Moenchengladbach).
Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Mats Hummels (Dortmund), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Bendikt Howedes (Schalke), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Marcel Schmelzer (Dortmund).
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Sven Bender (Dortmund), Lars Bender (Leverkusen), Ilkay Gundogan (Dortmund), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Marco Reus (Moenchengladbach), Mario Gotze (Dortmund), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid).
Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Cacau (Stuttgart), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Andreas Schurrle (Leverkusen), Lukas Podolski (Cologne).

The amount of players who play in the Bundesliga in their squad stands at 23. They know each other, they know how to play with each other, and the chemistry level in their squad must be amazing. They’ve got the right mix of youth and experience, often combining the two, because they introduced them to the world stage two years ago in South Africa. Players like Mesut Ozil, Mats Hummels, Mario Gomez and Manuel Neuer are all world class, yet all so young. Then throw in players like Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski, Phillip Lahm - and that’s just to name a few - and you’ve got an awesome concoction of brilliant German efficiency.

Spain are favourites, but for me it’s Germany to win. Spanish players like midfield maestro Xavi are now into their 30s - as well as Xabi Alonso and Carlos Puyol. This last four years has undoubtedly been their ‘Golden Generation’ but to keep up now they have to move quickly to integrate the youth players into the senior team like they did all those years ago.
Holland are third favourites, but to not only repeat the feat of finishing second in the World Cup but to actually win it, is possibly a step too far for the Dutch. Players like Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Maarten Stekelenburg will have to be on top form to get them their and achieve glory for the Netherlands - and with possibly Spain and Germany blocking their way, it will be a very difficult task indeed.

That about sums it up, this has been a lot to get through but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and will continue to read my articles. I’ll leave you with the thought that whoever the commentators are in the Euros, they will not enjoy commentating on Greece’s games. Spare a thought for those very unlucky people. That’ll be it my friends, goodbye for now and have a very good week.

Follow Callum on twitter: @CJRivett12. You can find more of Callum's work here.

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