Euro 2012 was held in Poland and Ukraine between the 8th of June and the 1st of July 2012.
Buildup to the TournamentEdit
The buildup to the tournament consisted of media from all over Europe questioning why the tournament had been awarded to two major backwaters in the first place. When town officials weren't busy embezzling funds, Ukraine built its first roads since the fall of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Polish politicians attempted to sweep the country's skinhead problem under the proverbial rug, at least for the duration of the tournament.
Unusually, Euro 2012 has yielded TWO Groups of Death (B and C) and as such, an unparelled Group of Shit (A).
Group A comprised the utterly uninspiring lineup of Poland, Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic. Naturally, all of Poland's good players had, as tradition dictates, declared for Germany prior to the tournament.
Against expectations, Andrei Arshavin played very well, whilst Petr Cech was a bag of balls. The Group of Shit threw up some surprises, namely a couple of legitimately entertaining games (Russia - Czech Republic, Russia - Poland) and the fact that Russia at times played really quite well, but it also vomitted Greece and the Czech Republic into the Knockout stages despite them both being utterly dreadful. Whilst Greek pundits and players rained plaudits down onto Samaras- their player/deity- for inspiring Karagounis' winning striker to put them through, neutral pundits bemoaned Russia's inability to hit the target with 28 of the 31 shots they managed against Greece in the final game.
Group B pitted the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal in a race for the two qualifying spots. Much of the buildup focused on the German-Dutch rivalry, spanning decades, highlighted in the 1990 World Cup as Frank Rijkaard was sent off for illustriously gobbing in Rudi Voeller's mullet. Further spice was added for the Portugal-Netherlands game, as the last time these teams met, during the 2006 World Cup they infamously leathered the shit out of each other, the referee, and a large section of the public watching at home on their televisions.
In the end, Holland crumbled with a few too many egos in the squad. Germany went through in uninspiring fashion, while Portugal also greased through.
Group C contained, Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland and Croatia. Perenial underdogs Ireland made their first appearance at the Euros since 1988, in the process demonstrating why it is best for them not to make appearances at international tournaments. Despite the presence of 2 traditionally very strong teams, Italy's lamentable performance at the 2010 World Cup led many Irish supporters to believe that they had a hope of getting through the group. However, they did so forgetting that Croatia are also a far superior team to Ireland.
As expected, Spain and Italy went through.
Group D contained three decent teams and the hosts. Whilst maybe 10 years ago this group might have been deemed exciting, expectations had been lowered by the terribleness of France and England. The Swedes, as always, were happy to simply be there, much to the chagrin of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ukraine were expected to perform the role of whipping boys.
England and France went through, but not before France crumbled in spectacular fashion in their final group game against Sweden, once again suggesting harmony in the squad was not all it should be.