England enter the Euro 2012 tournament on Match Day 4, with a mouth-watering clash against old enemies France sure to enthral, whilst co-hosts Ukraine are the last to feature as they entertain Sweden to complete a full round of fixtures.
Spain fielded no out-and-out forwards yesterday and were held 1-1 by a stubborn Italy side, whilst despite a vocal Irish fanbase Giovanni Trapattoni’s men were put to the sword by Croatia. Here is the news that Soccerlens has been reading from Ukraine and Poland.
No strikers or victory for Spain
Holders Spain were held 1-1 by a dogged Italy side in the first Group C fixture, with Cesc Fabregas cancelling out Antonio Di Natale’s opener in an end-to-end game. Despite this, Vicente Del Bosque’s team selection raised a few eyebrows as La Roja took the field without the presence of a recognised striker – Andres Iniesta and Fabregas being the furthest forward players.
Both Cesare Prandelli and Del Bosque seemed relatively content with sharing the Group C spoils; the full match report from The Guardian acts as a recap of an exciting fixture.
Trapattoni still believes despite defeat
There was something of a party atmosphere as Republic of Ireland took on Croatia on Sunday, but the travelling Green Army’s hopes were dashed by an astute opponent.
A Mario Mandzukic brace and a Nikica Jelavic effort made Sean St Ledger’s header irrelevant, and The Guardian feel that Slaven Bilic’s men were good value for their victory.
The Croat trainer was admitted that his side are not afraid of anyone in the tournament after moving to the top of Group C, whilst Trapattoni has remained positive and refuses to give up hope despite the debilitating defeat.
Hodgson confirms England are ready for action
England’s much-anticipated Euro 2012 bow comes today against France, and Roy Hodgson has told his side to seize their opportunity to get three points in their first competition outing.
“It’s been 40 days. But I’m really quite surprised that I’m as confident of what the players are going to show you and show the nation and do for the nation as I can possibly be, and I can’t say more than that,” he said ahead of the game.
“I think we are as well prepared basically as we can be and I am not convinced that if I had had more time we’d have been better prepared.”
Danny Welbeck looks set to start in attack in the absence of Wayne Rooney, and Laurent Blanc has admitted that his Les Bleus men will need to be wary of Three Lions’ counter-attacks.
Van der Vaart admits Netherlands must beat Germany
After Netherlands were surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Denmark on Saturday night attention turned to Wednesday’s clash of the heavyweights, as Bert van Marwijk’s men take on Germany in Group B.
Rafael van der Vaart has openly admitted that the Oranje must beat Joachim Low’s men to salvage their campaign, and does not feel that a draw would be good enough to see Holland through to the quarter-finals.
Michael Krohn-Delhi was the architect of Netherlands’ demise in their opener, and the talented Dane is praised for his efforts in The Telegraph.
Germany hit with disciplinary rap
Germany’s football association have been charged due to the behaviour of their fans during the nation’s 1-0 win over Portugal on Saturday, BBC Sport reports. German fans were guilty of throwing missiles and objects onto the pitch, despite repeatedly being told over the stadium loudspeaker to stop.
This was most evident when paper missiles were thrown at a Portuguese corner-taker and the issue is set to be dealt with by Uefa on Thursday.
Also do not miss:
- Cesc Fabregas was not happy with the Gdansk pitch in Spain’s 1-1 draw with Italy
- The Guardian take an in-depth look into racism in eastern European society
- Rafa Benitez advices England to play a 4-2-3-1 formation against France in his column in The Independent
- The Independent ponder the lack of England fans at Euro 2012
- BBC Sport feel that England’s fighting spirit is evident ahead of the match-up with France
Group D ends the full initial fixture list and should throw up two tightly-contested fixtures; come back tomorrow as Euro 2012 starts to take shape with the teams starting to play their second matches.