Euro 2012: Guide to Group D
Friday 02 December 2011
Following the draw for the group stage of Euro 2012, we guide you through the four teams comprising Group D.
FIFA Ranking: 55
Manager: Oleh Blokhin
A former European player of the year, making 112 appearances for the Soviet Union, he began his coaching career managing a host of Greek clubs, before earning his first spell with Ukraine in 2003. He led them to a World Cup quarter-final in 2006 but failed to qualify for Euro 2008, resulting in his departure. A second spell in charge of Ukraine however soon followed in 2011, after a difficult period in charge of FC Moscow.
Captain: Andriy Shevchenko
A hero for Ukraine, with 46 goals and 105 caps, he captained them to a quarter-final in their first World Cup appearance in 2006. He has had a prolific career becoming the third highest scorer in the history of European club competition, playing for Dynamo Kiev, AC Milan and Chelsea. It could be an international final farewell next summer in front of his own fans.
Top Scorer in Qualifying: N/A
How Qualified: Co-Hosts
Euro Best: Never Qualified, Winners 1960 (Soviet Union)
Recent Form: WDWWLLLLWL
Danger Man: Oleksandr Aliyev
A key man in the middle of the pitch for one half of the co-hosting nations. The Dynamo Kiev player's energy and invention is a major asset to the squad and he is likely to thrive playing in front of home support. His free-kicks are also known to be particularly dangerous.
Young Gun: Yevgen Konoplyanka
10 October 2009
Ukraine 1-0 England
The Ukrainians secured three points, ending England's 100% record in qualification. Robert Green didn't help the visitor's cause as he was sent off in the 13th minute for bringing down Artem Milevskiy, when through on goal. Andrey Shevenchanko missed the subsequent penalty, but England went down to Sergiy Nazarenko's 29th minute strike.
FIFA Ranking: 18
Manager: Erik Hamren
Has managed all over Sweden, winning the Swedish cup on three occasions, before winning the Danish league with Aalborg and the Norwegian league with Rosenborg. Appointed Sweden manager in 2009 but failed to qualify for South Africa. Recovered by gaining automatic qualification this time around.
Captain: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Top Scorer in Qualifying: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (5 Goals)
How Qualified: Best Runner Up (Group E)
Euro Best: Semi-Finals 1992
Recent Form: LLWWWLWWWW
Danger Man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Love him or loathe him there's no denying what an impact Zlatan can have on a team, having won the league at every club he has moved on to. The captain's armband may prove to have a calming effect on him and if Sweden are to do well next summer the big man is likely to play a major part.
Young Gun: Martin Olsson
17 June 1992
Sweden 2-1 England
Goals from Jan Eriiksson and future Leeds player, Tomas Brolin, saw England depart the tournament winless. Having drawn their opening two encounters without scoring, England needed a win, and when David Platt scored in the fourth minute, hopes were high, but they were pegged back by the Scandinavians and crashed out.
FIFA Ranking: 5
Manager: Fabio Capello
Much maligned in England after disappointment in the 2010 World Cup, Capello has nevertheless presided over two very successful qualifying campaigns. The 65-year-old has won everything at club level with AC Milan, Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid and will be keen to go out on a high.
Captain: John Terry
The Chelsea man may not have the captaincy come June if found guilty of the ongoing Anton Ferdinand race row. He's had it stripped of him before, losing it to Rio Ferdinand after the scandal with Wayne Bridge's wife. Will be more determined than ever to lead England to Euro glory after missing out in South Africa if permitted.
Top Scorer in Qualifying: Jermaine Defoe, Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent (3 goals)
How Qualified: Group G winners
Euro Best: Third place 1968, Semi-finals 1996
Recent Form: WWDWWDDWWL
Danger Man: Jack Wilshere
With Wayne Rooney absent for all England's group games, barring a successful appeal, much of the responsibility for creating chances and penetrating defences will fall on Wilshere's young shoulders. Despite not yet turning 20, he has become one of the first names on the team sheet for his country and held his own against Xavi and Andres Iniesta for Arsenal in last season's Champions League.
Young Gun: Kyle Walker
FIFA Ranking: 15
Manager: Laurent Blanc
The only way was up after Raymond Domenech and the 2010 World Cup debacle but Blanc has not had it easy, having been embroiled in the race-quota row and only scraped qualification by a point from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The former Bordeaux manager is building a new team and culture though.
Captain: No current captain
Top Scorer in Qualifying: Karim Benzema, Florent Malouda and Yoann Gourcuff (3 goals)
How Qualified: Group D winners
Euro Best: Champions 1984, 2000
Recent Form: DWDWDWDWWD
Danger Man: Karim Benzema
Now featuring and scoring more regularly for Real Madrid, the former Lyon striker has also become a key figure for his country since being controversially left out of the squad for France's disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign. Benzema has been prolific in club competitions so far this season and is maturing just at the right time to star at Euro 2012.
Young Gun: Yann M'Vila
13 June 2004
France 2-1 England
Two late Zinedine Zidane goals downed England in Lisbon. The Three Lions were heading for victory, before Zizu netted a double; David James brought down the French captain the area, allowing him to step up and score the penalty. A free-kick in injury-time clinched the win.
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