Euro 2012 Qualifiers: Not To Be Missed

Euro 2012 Qualifying Groups

Group A: Germany, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan
Group B: Russia, Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Armenia, Andorra
Group C: Italy, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Faroe Islands
Group D: France, Romania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania, Luxembourg
Group E: Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Moldova, San Marino
Group F: Croatia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Georgia, Malta
Group G: England, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales, Montenegro
Group H: Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Iceland
Group I: Spain, Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein

Below are some of the matches that that may be worth keeping an eye on:

Group A: Germany vs Turkey, Oct 8 18:45 GMT

This will be the first time the two countries (who currently occupy the top two positions in the Group A) meet since the infamous ‘blackout’ game, i.e. the scintillating Euro 2008 semi-final that saw the Germans eventually run out as 3-2 winners. Due to problems with the broadcasting feed, most of the world missed Germany striker Miroslav Klose score to make it 2-1 and many also missed full-back Phillip Lahm scoring the winner that took Germany through to the final. Germany’s youth-orientated rejuvenation has attracted many plaudits and Turkey have become a much more drilled outfit under current coach Guus Hiddink.

Group H: Portugal vs Denmark, Oct 8 19:45 GMT

Portugal will be striving to kick-start their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign having started tentatively, taking just one solitary point from their opening two games (being held 4-4 at home by Cyprus) and parting company with their coach Carlos Queiroz. The two sides have come up against each other on a fairly regular basis over the past couple of years, having been drawn together in the same 2010 World Cup qualifying group – both eventually reaching the finals, though with varying degrees of comfort. Denmark were always in control of their qualification campaign and secured their their place at the finals reasonably early, meanwhile Portugal started poorly and were left to qualify for South Africa via the play-offs.

Group D: France vs Romania, Oct 9 19:00 GMT

A shambolic World Cup campaign ensured that France’s worst (and, paradoxically, longest-serving) manager Raymond Domenech left Les Bleus under a rather bottom-heavy cloud in the summer, but his successor  Laurent Blanc is showing signs of steadily transforming his remodelled side from the laughing stock of European football back to something resembling a footballing collective. Blanc inherited a team in ruins and, by starting his competitive reign with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Belarus, it seemed that they may be beyond repair. However, a 2-0 victory over dark-horses Bosnia and Herzegovina in their next game has allowed the faintest titters of positivity to begin to surface again – although whether France can maintain their momentum remains to be seen.

Group B: Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland, Oct 12 18:30 GMT

Slovakia and Ireland have been grouped together for the second bout of  qualifying campaigns in a row, so they should be more than familiar with each other. Both countries are currently sitting pretty as unbeaten joint-leaders at the top of the Group B pile.

Group G: England vs Montenegro, Oct 12 19:00 GMT

England manager Fabio Capello has thrown in his customary curveballs when it comes to his squad selection, with troubled striker Wayne Rooney included alongside Bolton captain Kevin Davies in the attacking ranks. Robert Green is back after his moment of madness during World Cup in South Africa and a couple of critically out-of-form players also thrown into the mix for good measure. The question is, will the Italian’s unconventional picks pay off?

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