Euro 2012 draw: England drawn with France, Sweden and Ukraine
Fabio Capello's men will take on France, Sweden and Ukraine in Group D of next summer's European Championships
England will take on France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine in the group stages of next summer’s European Championships after the draw placed them in Group D.
Fabio Capello’s men avoided the likes of reigning world and European champions Spain, as well as Giovanni Trappatoni’s Republic of Ireland in Friday’s draw in Kiev.
England Euro 2012 group matches dates and venues:
England v France, Monday 11 June, Donbass Arena, 5pm (BST)
England v Sweden, Friday 15 June, Olympic Stadium, 5pm (BST)
England v Ukraine, Tuesday 19 June, Donbass Arena, 7.45pm (BST)
England’s opponents: France
France’s turn-of-the-century success, winning the 1998 World Cup before holding their collective nerve to secure their second European championships crown two years later, has felt far removed of late.
Les Bleus exited the 2002 and 2010 World Cups at the first hurdle and, either side of finishing runners-up at the 2006 World Cup, left only brief impressions at Euro 2004 and Euro 2008.
Under Laurent Blanc past glories have not seemed quite so distant in qualifying ““ though they had the odd scare, not least in their final group game against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
England’s opponents: Sweden
Sweden have made a good start to re-establishing themselves as major event regulars after missing out on the 2010 World Cup.
Under Tommy SÃ¶derberg and Lars LagerbÃ¤ck, the BlÃ¥gult graced five consecutive final tournaments between Euro 2000 and Euro 2008, when losses to Spain and Russia consigned them to third in Group D.
Appointed in 2009, Erik HamrÃ©n has ushered in a host of bright young things, and they helped book Sweden’s place in Poland and Ukraine as the qualifying competition’s best runners-up.
England’s opponents: Ukraine
Co-hosts Ukraine, having reached the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals in their only previous major tournament appearance since independence in 1991, are eager to go even further at Euro 2012.
According to Oleh Blokhin, back in charge after a turbulent couple of years in which three coaches came and went, the minimum target is advancing from Group D.
The tournament is likely to mark the curtain call for Andriy Shevchenko, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Olexandr Shovkovskiy. For the likes of Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka it could be just the start.
Euro 2012 draw in full
Group A: Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Russia.
Group B: Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal.
Group C: Croatia, Italy, Spain, Republic of Ireland.
Group D: England, France, Sweden, Ukraine.
England Euro 2012 factfile
“¢ England head to Poland and Ukraine as the only European winners of the World Cup who have not yet won the European Championships. Italy (1968), Germany (1972, 1980, 1996), France (1984, 2000) and current holders Spain have all done so, but England have yet to reach the final of the competition.
“¢ England’s game against Montenegro in Podgorica, which finished 2-2 and secured their qualification, was considered the 900th match in their history. They had previously played 897 completed internationals, plus two that were abandoned.
“¢ England’s game against Wales at the Millennium Stadium was the 100th time that the two nations had met.
“¢ Ashley Cole, now capped 93 times, surpassed Gary Neville’s record of 85 outfield appearances without a goal during the campaign.