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Euro 2012 kick-off approaches

After years of underachievement, Spain head to Poland and Ukraine looking to land a third successive international tournament. The current European and world champions are once again the side to beat and they are narrow 14/5 favourites (Betdaq) to win Euro 2012. Vicente del Bosque’s side are closely followed by Germany in the betting, who can be backed at around 7/2 on the exchange.

David Villa’s absence remains a huge concern for the favourites as the Barcelona striker failed to recover from a broken leg during the domestic season. He scored five of Spain’s seven goals in the 2010 World Cup and it remains to be seen if either of the Fernandos (Llorente and Torres) can lead the line as successfully.

Germany have a wealth of talent to pick from and will be looking to build on their impressive effort in South Africa two years ago. The Germans invariably step up at the major tournaments and they only just lost out to Spain four years ago. Centre-back remains a slight concern, but Germany are strong enough going forward to make sure they will be around towards the end of June.

England’s preparations for Euro 2012 have been anything but straightforward, but at least Roy Hodgson began his tenure with two 1-0 victories. Hodgson’s first real test comes against France in the opening Group D match. Wayne Rooney’s ban means he’ll miss the two opening games to make England’s task that much harder.

The signs suggest that this is a transitional period for the Three Lions, but it means that for the first time in a long while the side arrive under relatively little pressure to succeed. England have reached only one semi-final in their previous eight European Championships and have been knocked out at the group stage four times in their last six. Those that fancy them to lift the trophy can get 15/1 on Betdaq.

France can be backed at 10/1 on the exchange and Les Bleus are thriving under Laurent Blanc’s guidance – who has helped steady the ship after the debacle in South Africa. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has been in excellent form, scoring 30 goals on the way to claiming the La Liga title. Samir Nasri and Frank Ribery should start behind the striker and they look one of the most dangerous attacking forces in the tournament.
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