So it’s here. 16 national teams, 31 matches; football is going to dominate my late afternoons and evenings over the next few weeks. There is certainly a lot less hype surrounding England this time. The main news about the tournament has centred around concerns about racism in the host countries and the controversy surrounding Rio Ferdinand’s omission from the squad.
I always look forward to both the Euro’s and World Cup Finals and watch virtually every game. It’s obviously much better when England have qualified. They didn’t qualify for the Euro’s in 2008 and Spain were crowned the kings of Europe and I suppose Spain must be favourites to lift the trophy again this year.
Not much is expected of England, with a newly installed manager, injury hit squad and Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two Group games. Following on from their South African World Cup debacle, expectations are at an all time low and that may not be a bad thing. I’m hoping we can progress through the Group stages, but to be honest, I’m not expecting any exciting, attacking football. I feel Roy Hodgson will employ a rigid, defensive formation, relying on an odd breakaway goal. Still, if we progress further than the quarter finals, it will be looked upon as being a successful tournament for England.
I watched both games in Group A last night. The joint hosts Poland drew 1-1 with Greece and Russia impressed with a 4-1 drubbing of the Czech Republic. All in all, it was a promising start to the tournament and although it’s still fairly low-key now, I expect it to ramp up if England manage to beat France on Monday afternoon. But, given France’s recent form, that’s going to be a tall order.