The final part of Platform magazine’s Euro 2012 preview sees us looking ahead to England’s tournament and how far we feel they can go. With a new manager in Roy Hodgson, a long injury list and Stewart Downing in the squad, not even the most patriotic Englishmen are feeling that optimistic … but does that mean we might be able to spring a surprise?
Here’s what our sports writers think:
Simon Paice – Quarter Final Defeat
“After the recent low-key 1-0 victories over Norway and Belgium and the injury problems plaguing the England squad, I fear a tournament of struggle for the national side. I can see us scraping through the group stage, with narrow wins over Sweden and Ukraine after a defeat to France. Coming second in the group will leave us with a tricky quarter final against, most likely, Spain, a team I can’t see our current crop of players beating.
“Any talk of us winning is just ridiculous. We don’t have the team spirit the other teams have, injuries and suspension are robbing us of some key men and we have far too many average players in not just our squad, but also our starting XI. Getting to the quarter finals with our squad and the recent change of manager would be an achievement.”
James Law – Quarter Final Exit
“As far as Roy Hodgson’s reign as England manager goes, we have a highly controversial squad choice and two workmanlike 1-0 friendly wins to go on. Throw in the inevitable injuries and uncharacteristically low expectancy levels, and I think we’re in store for a solid if unspectacular quarter-finals exit to a team which we accept are currently better than us (I’m thinking Spain).
“More than ever, in a 16 nation tournament there is a fine line between what is deemed success and failure. Crashing out in the group stages would result in questions being asked over both managerial and player selections, whereas surpassing the quarters would leave England on the cusp of a European Championships final. I do think there is more scope for an upset or surprise in this tournament than in a World Cup, where there is that extra last 16 obstacle to pass.”
George Solomon – Semi Finals At Best
“They won’t win. No, honestly, they won’t. No ifs, no buts. They won’t. However, Hodgson seems to have the right idea, and crucially, the players seem to be listening. Two one-nil friendly wins may not have inspired confidence in some fans, but we are very organised, very structured, and we do have players that can score goals.
“If Rooney plays well, if Carroll finds his Newcastle form and if we defend like (cliche alert) lions, then we may wander into the semi-finals. And then… No. Just don’t.”
Simon Murfitt – Quarter Finals?
“With expectations lower than normal and an injury list as long as Peter Crouch, England will not be expected to go much further than the quarter-finals. However, they have shown in friendlies against Spain, and more recently Belgium, that they can defend well as a team. In Rooney and Ashley Young they have two quality, in-form players who have played together all season and can create and score goals at crucial times.”
Oliver Dickinson – Semi Finals
“England are an unknown quantity, early signs would seem to suggest we will be hard to break down, clever in possession but also lacking going forward. This could go either way, we could become a 1-0 force, or a 0-0 bore. The loss of Rooney for the first few group games could mean we are out of it before he returns. So much rests on getting a good result against France in the opener, topping the table and therefore avoiding the Spanish who should win their group. If we play how each individual player in the squads potential suggests they can, we can take on just about anyone, however with a nation still confused over management choice, a defensive crisis and injuries galore it’s tough to see anything other than the Semi- Finals. The question is, in the eyes of the average Brit is this success or failure?”
Do you agree with our selections? How do you think England will fare in Euro 2012? Let us know with a comment below, or tweet us @PlatformOnline