The Euro 2012 Favourites
With the Euro 2012 upon us it's going to be tough to decide who will take the top honours this year.
No team has successfully defended their Euro title, but no doubt Spain will be hoping they can rewrite history.
Fernando Torres was the star at the previous tournament however his form has dropped significantly in the last few years. Andres Iniesta and Xavi will be key players in helping Torres regain his goal scoring form, with their short passes and through balls.
However it will be hard to bet against the Netherlands and Germany. Holland have a star-studded attack with the likes of Robin van Persie, Klaas Jan Hunterlaar and Luuk de Jong. Not forgetting Arjen Robin who causes headaches for most defences.
Germany also boast quite the attacking prowess. Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinstiger will be key in their attack and I am sure the Bayern Munich trio will want to put their disappointment of the Champions League behind them. Gomez's height as well as his ability to shoot with both feet, saw him come a close second to Budesliga top scorer Hunterlaar this season.
For me the dark horses of the competition will be France. They have been on form in their warm up matches ahead of the tournament and are on a 21 match unbeaten run. It's seems coach Laurent Blanch has managed to put the horror of the 2010 World Cup out of the players memories.
One of the more interesting matches in the opening round of group games will be between France and England. The English have been the perennial under achievers in the modern game and given the sentiment ahead of this tournament, many fans seem to think nothing will change. Given the quality of Spain, Holland, Germany and France, I don't see England doing too well. Will England's defence be able to handle the threat of Karim Benzema or Franck Ribery? They could, but they will have to defend like Trojans.
And finally Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo proclaimed he was better than Messi at the end of Real Madrid's successful league campaign. But like Messi, Ronaldo doesn't deliver for his national team. It's certainly not stage fright, but when they are playing for their clubs, their team mates play for them and around them.
Let the games begin!