Welcome to The Nation’s Euro 2012 Preview. Today, we’ll hit Group A:
The Nation’s Predicted Order Of Finish:
2) Czech Republic
It’s a weak group, and on paper, Russia might have the most talented squad. It’s an underachieving one though and will need to focus. Poland could sneak in as the #2 team in the group because of home field; the Czechs should get it though, provided Tomas Rosicky is in form. Greece will be lucky to win a game.
Key Players To Watch:
Tomáš Rosický – MF – Czech Republic/Arsenal: The Czech’s offensive fulcrum, he enjoyed a late season revival with Arsenal after several injury plagued years.
Petr Čech – G – Czech Republic/Chelsea: One of the top goalies in the world, had an inconsistent year at Chelsea until Roberto DiMatteo took over and he became a rock and was instrumental in Chelsea beating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Georgios Samaras – F – Greece/Celtic: Greece’s main offensive threat (of what little there is).
Wojciech Szczęsny – G – Poland/Arsenal: Has established himself as Arsenal’s #1, and in the process, Poland’s as well. His confidence belies his young age (22 years old).
Robert Lewandowski – F – Poland/Borussia Dortmund: Has become Borussia Dortmund’s top striker, leading the German champion in goals. He will have to replicate this form in Euro 2012 for Poland if they are to advance.
Andrei Arshavin – F – Russia/Arsenal: Has regressed terribly since moving to Arsenal after Euro 2008, where he looked like one of the top players in the world. Needs to rediscover that 2008 form, although this is a weak group and Russia might not need him at his best to win the group.
Igor Akinfeev – G – Russia/CSKA Moscow: Injuries have stopped his rise, but a healthy and in-form Akinfeev is one of the top young goalies in the world.
Alan Dzagoev – F – Russia/CSKA Moscow – The next big thing in Russian football; a good Euro 2012 could see a big money move for Dzagoev to one of the bigger European clubs.