Euro 2012 Group D: France favourites but England must survive till Rooney returns

Ahead of today’s first round of Euro 2012 Group D matches, here are our betting tips for who will win Group D and who is most likely to qualify from it to the quarterfinals.

Group D

Ukraine: 5.5 to win Group, 2.37 to qualify

Coach Oleg Blokhin has named three goal-keepers in his squad with only one cap between them following the news that veteran Olexandr Shovkovskiy must undergo shoulder surgery and joins Andriy Dykan on the sidelines ahead of their first European Championships. The co-hosts have ten players from Dynamo Kiev in their 23-man squad including legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko and are unbeaten in their last five friendlies. They are likely to put a a good fight on their home soil, but France and England look stronger and they look set to fall at the first hurdle.

Sweden: 7 to win Group, 3 to qualify

The Swedes qualified as the best runners up from the Group stages with 24 points from a possible 30 including a 3-2 home success over Holland back in October. This will be the nation’s fourth consecutive Championships and their best show in the Euros came back in 1992 when they reached the last four. However their squad lacks strength in depth, and they are relying solely on Zlatan Ibrahimovic to make it through the first stage.

France: 2.5 to win Group, 1.44 to qualify

Dual winners in 1984 and 2000 and unbeaten in their last 18 internationals. The squad contains eight players from the PL including Newcastle United duo Yohan Cabaye and Hatam Ben Arfa. The French side may lack the brilliance of the Michel Platini winners of 1984 or the Zinedine Zidane inspired 2000 Champions, but they are proving a formidable team under Laurent Blanc and look sure to go far and a great bet to top the Group.

England: 3 to win Group 1.67 to qualify

The Three Lions have gone into major tournaments with hopes high in recent years only to disappoint. There is no doubt there is not the same level of expectation ahead of Euro 2012, and the fact that Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two group games is a massive blow. His fellow United team mate Danny Welbeck is likely to take his place following a sublime goal in their recent friendly, and the young striker has the ability to make a huge impact. it’s not going to be easy for Roy Hodgson’s men, but they haven’t lost under the new coach and have a guts to make it through this stage of proceedings.

Recommended bets: Ukraine to be eliminated at Group Stage: 1.57 (Paddy Power)

France to win Group (2.5 bet365, Paddy Power)

England to qualify (1.67 bet365)

For more Euro 2012 bets, see the Soccerlens football betting page.

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