Vanes wins Oddslife’s Euro 2012 Predictor!

Euro 2012 was rightly commended for its explosive on-pitch action. Well we certainly saw some off-pitch fireworks on Oddslife, as we brought the tournament to life for the watching world! More than 3,000 of you competed for our amazing top prizes, and 49 of you left feeling rightly chuffed.

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History In The Making or A Blue Dawn?

Euro 2012 reaches its spectacular crescendo on Sunday night with pre-tournament favourites Spain widely expected to become the first team ever to win three major championships in a row and the first to retain their Euro title when they face Italy in Kiev.

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Germany vs Italy: Euro 2012 Semi Final

So Spain are the first team to book their place in the final but who will join them? Will it be co-favourites Germany or have the Italians got one more surprise up their sleeve? The Germans have taken the tournament by storm and have been the best team in the competition by a country mile. Spain may have more world class players in their side but they have not been anywhere near as impressive as the Germans.

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Euro 2012 Shop Window: Which players have earned a big move?

Buying players off the back of a tournament performance has often been a tainted piece of business. But as the cream of European football continues to dazzle fans in Ukraine and Poland, certain players are making club managers stand up and take notice. We all remember John Jensen and his move to Arsenal after his Euro ’92 heroics.

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Portugal vs Spain: Euro 2012 Semi Final

It’s an all Iberian affair in the first semi final of the 2012 European Championships, as Portugal and Spain go head to head for a place in Sunday’s Final in Kiev. Vicente del Bosque’s side overcame a lacklustre France 2-0 in the Quarter’s while Paulo Bento’s Portugal were easy 1-0 winners against the Czech Republic.

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Bound up in chains of mediocrity – An honest appraisal of Hodgson’s England

Leaving with their heads held high? Exceeding expectations? Do me a favour. England were outclassed in every department on Sunday night but can we stop pretending that it was because our players are massively inferior? Making Andrea Pirlo look like the single greatest player in the world was one thing, but then somehow declaring that he was completely unstoppable is another all together.

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Spain vs France – Quarter Final 3

The Spanish have managed to get several monkeys off their backs in recent years, but let’s get straight to one that immediately comes up in terms of this game; they have never beaten France at a major tournament. Their latest clash saw a Zidane inspired France come out 3-1 winners in the last-sixteen of the 2006 World Cup, and now it’s time for the old Habsburg rivalry to be renewed in a rather different form in Donetsk.

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England vs Italy – Quarter Final 4

As news of Sweden’s 2nd goal against France reached Donetsk on Tuesday evening, the English corner of the Donbass Arena celebrated as though Danny Welbeck had just flicked in another brilliant back heel. Alas, Welbeck remains on one goal at Euro 2012 (for now), but Sweden’s goal meant that England finished top in group D and would avoid the anticipated meeting with champions Spain in the quarter-finals.

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Germany vs Greece – Quarter Final 2

Greece again defied all the odds to spring a major surprise at a European championship, this time knocking out one of the tournament favourites in the group stage. After comprehensively beating the Czech Republic in their opening game, Russia had been installed as potential dark horses to win the competition and were almost certain to qualify from the group as group winners.

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England out of 10 – The Story So Far

England owe much to Joe Hart already at this early stage. He was solid bar one early fumble in the opening match, and denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic late on to ensure we came out with three points against Sweden. Joe Hart had a point to prove to Ibrahimovic after this little outburst after Mellberg’s goal – prove it he did.

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Battle Of The Comeback Kids – Quarter Final 1

The knockout stages of Euro 2012 get underway on Thursday night with Denmark Portugal and Russia the Czech Republic battling to become the first team into the semi-finals when they meet in Warsaw. A few days ago neither set of fans would have booked their accommodation with any great confidence (lucky a glut of Russian cancellations means everyone is catered for), such was the drama in the final round of group matches.

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Euro 2012: Group Stage Dream Team!

It seems a bit boring to plump for the much-decorated Spain stopper, but when del Bosque’s side were on the ropes in their final group game against Croatia, he fully justified his tag as one of the top ‘keepers in recent history. His brilliant point blank save from Ivan Rakitić’s header was followed by a smart stop to deny Ivan Perišić, both of which came with the score at 0-0.

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Rooney returns as England look to progress

Group D enters its final stages on Tuesday night as France and England will be looking to consolidate the top two positions. Les Bleus face a Sweden side who have yet to collect a point, while England will meet the tournament co-hosts Ukraine. With two quarter final spots up for grabs it’s left to be seen who will be facing either Spain or Italy but, of course, the main talking point will be the return of Wayne Rooney to the England side.

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Group B: Can Holland pull off the ‘Great Escape’?

Group B will come to a climax on Sunday, with the tournaments group of death certainly living up to its billing so far. Shock results, world class football and of course, the inevitability of one of the tournaments powerhouses going home early.

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Greece not bailing the Euro’s…yet

Greece once again proved they are the master ‘dark horses’ as they defied all the odds to reach the quarter finals of the Euro’s. Their dramatic victory to eliminate group favourites Russia provided us with a full array of emotions, as the Greeks revelled in their counterparts despair

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Euro 2012 Player Watch – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Enigmatic. Arrogant. Temperamental. Flamboyant. Gifted. Zlatan has all the characteristics of a top player, good and bad. See George Best and Paul Gascoigne for others who fit this self-destructive category. Ibrahimovic’s undeniable talent is one which Sweden fans are yet to see as much of as they’d care too however.

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Group D – Can Ukraine make it 2 out of 2?

Not many would have had Ukraine at the top of Group D after the first round of fixtures. In fact, not many would have had Andriy Shevchenko as the joint top goalscorer after the opening round of fixtures, but that indeed was the case. Now the co-hosts face a France side who were rather underwhelming in their first game and Roy Hodgson’s England play a Sweden team who fell to Sheva and co.

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Group C: Croatia lead the way as we enter ‘Round 2′!

Probably a surprise to many, but after the opening round of games in Group C Slaven Bilic’s Croatia find themselves top of the group ahead of reigning champions Spain and former world champions Italy. Croatia’s emphatic 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland gives them a great chance of progressing from the group, but the result also relegates the Irish to bottom position in Group C.

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Euro 2012: Group B Preview

Right from the moment the draw was made Group B was the one everyone was looking forward to. Featuring two of the top four in the FIFA world rankings; Germany and the Netherlands, and Denmark and Portugal also in the top ten it was inevitably handed the often arduous title of the “group of death”.

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England: Getting Ready for Rooney?

Rooney’s petulant kick at Mirodrag Džudović in a sodden Podgorica perhaps accurately summarises half of the Croxteth-born forward’s international career. A sudden, callow and frustrated burst from a player who has proven equal part brilliant and equal part awful in his seventy-four England caps.

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Ukraine vs Sweden: Euro 2012 Preview

The two ‘other’ teams in England’s group meet for the first time on Monday evening. Both will go into the game under the impression that it is certainly within their ability to make it past the group stages and, I imagine, both will be looking to capitalise on the lack of hype surrounding them.

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Group C kicks off – Euro 2012 Preview

After the ‘Group of Death’ provided the first shock of the tournament, it’s the turn of Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland side to see if they too can provide an upset. Denmark flew the flag high for the underdogs when they took down one of tournament favourites Holland, a game which will give the Ireland side hope as they get their campaign under way against Croatia.

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England vs France: Euro 2012 Preview

England head into this summer’s tournament on the back of a disastrous World Cup that was only made better by the fact that the French had an even worse tournament. In-fighting, training boycotts and player expulsions led France into turmoil and turned them into a laughing stock. Fast forward two years and with a new President and Manager on board, the French national team has transformed into a solid cohesive unit.

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Delightful Dzagoev double helps Russia past Czechs

An irresistible performance from Euro 2012 dark horses Russia saw them past an abject Czech side in the tournament’s second fixture. An Alan Dzagoev brace either side of half time was supplemented by strikes from Roman Shirokov and ex-Spurs hitman Roman Pavlyuchenko, while the profligacy of Aleksandr Kerzakhov spared Czech blushes as the tide of Russian red ran riot in Wroclaw.

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What ‘Arry Would Have Done

Pre-Poland and Ukraine expectations seem to be the lowest of all the major tournament’s I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. I imagine this is mainly down to the realisation that England have a ridiculously mediocre squad coupled with injuries to “key” players and the fact that the man most people wanted in charge will actually be dispersing pearls of wisdom from a sofa with Mark Lawrenson et al.

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Euro 2012 England v France – The Key Battles

France completed their Euro 2012 warm-up games by demolishing Estonia 4-0 on Tuesday evening. The victory made it 21 games unbeaten for Les Bleus who, under Laurent Blanc, have made some strides in convincing fans that Euro 2012 will not be a repeat of their disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign. (That was the one where they failed to win one game in case anyone had forgotten.)

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5 biggest upsets of the last 3 Euro tournaments

There have been some famous upsets in the recent history of the European Football Championships. Going back across the tournaments of 2000, 2004 and 2008 there have been a total of 51 matches that featured clubs starting at odds of 4.00 or greater to win within the 90 minutes. Of those 51 matches, just 9 of those underdogs were able to win.

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Liverpool’s six appeal: Roy raids his old club!

Liverpool’s players will not be walking alone into the Euro’s after six reds players made the final cut for Roy Hodgson’s team. After an uninspiring 8th place finish in the Premier League this season, it is a mystery for some that so many Liverpool players will be representing their country after under performing for large parts of last season.

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Viv Anderson’s Euro 2012 Predictions!

Viv Anderson earned 30 England caps in his career, representing his country at two World Cups and two European Championships. Check out Viv’s predictions for the opening two rounds of Euro 2012 fixtures! Don’t forget to visit our FREE Euro 2012 Predictor and submit your own predictions, for your chance to win amazing prizes!

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England’s One Hit Blunders…

As the season neared it’s end there were some murmurs surrounding a burly Norwich striker and an England shirt. Should Grant Holt have earned himself a Euro 2012 call-up, would he have played any part? Or could he have joined England’s illustrious group of one cap wonders? Who knows but I now have the opportunity to look at some of English football’s one hit blunders.

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How to beat France: Hodgson’s Five Point Plan

Anyone who has watched England in their two warm-up matches must surely have an inkling as to how the Three Lions are going to play against the French on Monday. Roy Hodgson’s 4-4-1-1 has proven to be a slight variation on his Fulham (and indeed career) theme, with England lining up in two neat banks of four, suffocating space and being difficult to beat rather than expansive.

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Euro 2012 – Last Chance Saloon!

For a whole generation of players Euro 2012 will provide an opportunity to strut their stuff and announce their arrival to the world of football on an international stage. For a whole other generation, however, it will be a send-off to illustrious and extensive international careers full of pain and glory.

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England vs Belgium Preview

On Saturday Roy Hodgson will have his final warm up game before heading out to Ukraine and Poland for the start of the European Championships. The visitors to Wembley stadium come in the form of Belgium, who despite not qualifying for the championships have an emerging crop of young talent who could light up the world stage in years to come.

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Torres’ torture over? Del Bosque returns to tried and tested!

Forlorn. Forgotten. Almost pitiable – Fernando Torres has endured what can only be described as a torrid career as a Chelsea player. The Spaniard was even denied a shot at redemption in the Champion’s League Final, as Roberto di Matteo opted to axe an apoplectic Torres from his penalty taking five in Munich.

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Can Portugal escape the ‘Group of Death?’

I have a riddle for you today. Name this national football team… They are known in their homeland as the Selecção. They have been coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ronaldo is one of their best players ever, and they speak Portuguese…

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Euro 2012 Player Watch – Ashley Young

The last warm up matches are underway as the final preparations take affect at the European championships, and here at Oddslife we continue our build up to the tournament with another player watch. This time, we take a look at England forward Ashley Young and his potential to make a mark on the tournament.

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Hope for the Hosts? Poland/Ukraine’s Chances at Euro 2012

Despite the clear advantage of playing at home, precious few have managed to make it count since the beginning of the European Championships in 1960. In fact just 3 have won on home turf and whilst no one is expecting Ukraine or Poland to mount any serious challenge to being crowned the kings of Europe, history seems to suggest home advantage may not be such a significant advantage after all.

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Euro 2012 Player Watch – Robin van Persie

Only a few weeks remain until Poland and Ukraine host the 2012 European championships, and here at Oddslife we continue our build up to the tournament with another player watch. This time we will be focusing on Dutch striker Robin van Persie and the reasons why he is one to look out for.

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Hodgson’s search for winning formula begins…

International friendlies have become a much maligned presence in the footballing world recently. However no-one can doubt the importance of England’s upcoming fixtures as they warm up for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

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Terry or Ferdinand? Seems quite simple really…

An England squad wouldn’t be an England squad if it didn’t divide opinion, but the astonishment of fans and journalists alike at Rio’s absence genuinely amazed me. Let’s face it; if John Terry and Rio both went one of them would end up in hospital or prison.

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FIVE players with a point to prove at Euro 2012!

Big football tournaments often provide a stage for players to vindicate their careers and reputations. Football fans love their ‘Rocky’ stories, and there is no greater stage to highlight these than at a major footballing event. So here are the hopeful cast members to this summer’s epic comeback tale – May the Gods of footballing fortune be with these gentleman!

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Oddslife’s Euro 2012 Predictor is live!

We are doing all we can to make Oddslife your first port of call this summer.The European Championships are back, and we are switching all of our attention to Eastern Europe’s footballing festival. Join our FREE game now @ http://euro2012.oddslife.com.

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Idiot’s Guide to the European Championships

Following on from the success of my ‘Idiots Guide to the Argentine Primera División’, here’s a look at the European Championships. I suspect many of you may be thinking that you already know all about Europe’s elite competition and that this guide is going to be nowhere near as informative as the last one. If you’re a football oracle you may well be right – get yourself onto our Euro 2012 Predictor instead, and sign yourself up for a huge social predictor extravaganza this June.

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Euro 2012 youngsters to keep an eye on!

The 20 year old Ajax star is being touted as the hottest Danish prospect since the magical Michael Laudrup. Operating as a Wesley Snejider type creative midfielder, Eriksen sits in front of the defensive midfield line orchestrating the Danish team attacks. His flair and creativity are key to Denmark progressing from the Group of Death. Oddslife expects many column inches and Premiership transfer rumours this summer.

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Back Germany to lift the Euro 2012 trophy!

If you expect yet another Spanish victory this summer, you may be disappointed as this tournament may be more of an end of season siesta for the reigning champions. Vicente Del Bosque’s squad are currently favourites at 3.80 to successfully defend the title they won 4 years ago. We disagree with bookmakers and our suggestion is to put your money elsewhere.

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Reaction to Roy’s 23 man squad

The selection of Jon Terry over Rio Ferdinand will no doubt surprise and possibly anger one or two columnists. Adding JT to the squad was always going to carry some heat to the England squad. Also Terry will be an easy target for the press, as his movement in camp will be closely scrutinised after his Kabala in Rustenberg 2010.

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5 reasons why Joey Barton should go to Euro 2012

Over the next couple of weeks we will be debating key selection decisions that have to be made by Roy Hodgson ahead of the Three Lions trip to Poland and Ukraine. These have been mostly driven by debate over Terry vs Ferdinand, Carroll or Crouchy, Micah Richards or Kyle Walker, heck even Norwich’s Grant Holt has managed to launch a campaign for his selection in England’s 23 man squad!

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10 Reasons Why Roy Hodgson Is A Better Choice Than Harry Redknapp

Hodgson’s managed both Switzerland and Finland and whilst they’re far from world-beaters his success with them was significant. He guided the Swiss to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup and two years later they qualified for Euro 96. This was a country who had not qualified for a major tournament since 1966. With Finland, in just one year, he saw their FIFA ranking rise to its highest ever at 33rd as they narrowly missed out on Euro 2008 qualification.

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10 Premier League Players To Watch At Euro 2012

Euro 2012 is fast approaching and it’s clear that we can expect a healthy dose of Premier League talent to be on show. While Spain’s Euro 2008 final starting eleven featured just two players from England’s elite at that time – Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas – the Premier League led the way at the 2010 World Cup with 106 representatives donning their country’s colours in South Africa.

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Euro 2012 Group A Analysis

The first group to be drawn included Poland, Russia, Greece and Czech Republic in what has to be the most evenly matched across the four teams and, as such, one of the hardest to call. Whilst the group features no Euro giants by any stretch of the imagination, by no means will this group be a walk in the park for any of the four.