Qualification took place over the course of 18 months with countries playing home and away in small leagues. Including Ukraine and Poland, just 16 teams remain, and will battle it out to be champions over the course of around a month from 8 June to 1 July 2012.
The sixteen teams that qualified, were earlier drawn together in four groups of four. Each team will play the other teams of their group in a small league format, with the top two teams progressing to the knock out stages. Quarter finals, semi finals and then the final will result on 1 July 2012, and we will finally know who is the champion.
The four groups are labelled A, B, C and D.
Poland, Greece, Russia and Czech Republic
Holland, Germany, Denmark and Portugal
Spain, Italy, Croatia and Rep of Ireland
Ukraine, Sweden, France and England
The toughest group by far is Group B. All four teams are in the top 9 in the world based on FIFA rankings. Germany is in position 2, Holland 4 and Portugal is 5. It will be very difficult to predict which two teams will progress to the final knock out stages, and will likely come down to how much form the teams will have at the time.
Group D is also very difficult. Although the Ukraine is currently ranked 49th, they are extremely hard to beat on their home soil, which is where the tournament is held. England and France are quite similar in ability, and much will depend on who England will appoint as their manager. Time is running out for them. Sweden could very much take advantage of this, and sneak through with eyes on France and England.
For Group C, it is likely that Spain and Italy will go through at the expense of the lesser Irish and Croatian teams, but the championships has a history of upsets, so this group is still very wide open.
Group A contains nations outside the top 10, with Russia and Greece the highest ranked, so again it will be hard to predict who will progress.
If the teams play to their potential, it is likely that Greece and Russia take Group A, Group B will see Holland and Germany through, Group C will see Spain and Italy into the knockouts and France and England of Group D will go through.
Of course, football doesn't work like that, and it is highly likely to see a few of the big countries failing at the first hurdle. This makes the championships more interesting and exciting, especially for the neutral who normally wants to see the underdog beat the giant.
Euro 2012 promises to be an exciting and eventful tournament. So many games to watch, and so many class players to see.
The Live Sports Bars Website will be providing a comprehensive list of pubs and bars showing the Euros 2012 and live football this summer.
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