Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Already the hypothesisers have been busy voicing their opinions of pending English doom, suggesting that Fabio Capello’s men could find themselves in the same qualifying group as holders and world champions, Spain, Germany or Holland.
The situation is made worse after it emerged England will kick off the tournament off without start striker, Wayne Rooney, after he foolishly got himself sent off in the 2-2 draw against Montenegro for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic.
That red card will mean an automatic suspension for at least the first game in Euro 2012 but it will almost certainly become much worse when UEFA deal with the case on an individual basis and are likely to extend it to a two game ban.
Was it ironic or coincidental that Rooney should be sent off during the same week as his father, amongst others, was arrested for an alleged betting fraud offence concerning a sending off incident in a Scottish league game.
Looking at England’s progress in a more positive light, they should be praised for qualifying without losing a game, especially on the back of a dismal showing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Fabio Capello has moved the team on significantly and created a very healthy, competitive spirit in the squad.
More importantly he has shown great courage in bringing in new face, clearly indicating that the old guard are now no longer guaranteed their places and if recent squads are anything to go by, only six of the 23 heading to Euro 2012 will have been part of the squad that went to South Africa last year.
Players such as Ashley Young, Darren Bent, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverly and Jordan Henderson just to name a few of the rising stars that have all got themselves into the mix and could all be included in the squad for next summer's tournament.
Before all that, Capello will want to play at least two friendlies at Wembley by the end of this year, with the first of those against Spain taking place on Saturday, November 12th. A second game will be confirmed later this week, which could be against either Sweden or Portugal.
These games could be particularly significant for the international futures of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, three players who could find themselves omitted from Capello’s thinking.
As far as the betting for Euro 2012 betting goes, Spain remain clear favourites to retain their crown with odds of 11/4 whilst Germany are considered next best at 4/1, while Holland are 6/1 and England now 9/1 after securing their place in the 16 team competition.
Written by Rod Crawley