The current holder of the World Cup and the defending champions of the Euro is without question my favorite to win the Euro this year. Yes, I know no country has ever successfully defended the title but Spain may be the country that breaks that streak. Spain’s midfield is the best in the world and is so strong even players like Cesc Fàbregas and Juan Mata are not confirmed starters in the First 11.
The only problems I see for Spain are the injuries to defensive stalwart Carlos Puyol and main striker David Villa. The injury to Puyol is especially worrying as this means Spain will lack a commanding figure in the centre of defense. Still, the sheer quality in the side means that it will take a brave man to bet against them in the championship.
With the youngest squad in the Euro, the Germans are also a team to watch. 2 years ago at the World Cup, the Germans surprised a lot of people with their young team and now after 2 years to mature, a lot of people believe it is time for them to win a title.
I see the reason why. With Mesut Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the Germans have one of the most dynamic midfield in the Euro and between Lukas Podolski and Mario Gómez, they have 2 attackers that can put away any half-chances that comes their way.
However their defense is suspect. Per Mertesacker had a horrid season at Arsenal and Philip Lahm is better going forward than defending his goal. Also the youth of the team means that they might not have the experience needed to withstand continued pressure from better attacking sides like Spain. I know a lot of people are tipping Germany to win but I think they will just miss out.
Dark Horses- Netherlands
2 years ago at the World Cup, the Netherlands got to the finals by playing what could be charitably called “defensive football”. With Nigel De Jong and Mark van Bommel in midfield, they would destroy the attack of the other team and then bank on their wingers, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, to provide the attacking threat.
Not much has changed in the 2 years since the World Cup except that this year, the Dutch has 2 strikers that are bang in form with Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. However question marks remain for the team. Captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst has retired and there is a question on whether van Persie and Huntelaar can play together. There is also a question on who will provide the link-up between the defense and the attack. If the Dutch can sort out these problems, they would be a team to watch but as of right now, there are teams better placed to win the tournament.