Euros tougher to win than World Cup says Stuart Pearce


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The Independent Football

Interim England boss Stuart Pearce has endorsed former manager Fabio Capello's theory that Euro 2012 will be harder to win than the World Cup.

Pearce presided over England's 3-2 defeat by Holland in Wednesday night's friendly at Wembley as caretaker coach.

Although it was the national team's last game before the end of the season, Pearce will continue going round the grounds checking on players, having already made minor tweaks to the Three Lions' planned build-up to the summer.

However, whether Pearce is in charge or Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp as expected, there is a sense that England are going to find it very hard to make an impact.

"The French are in there, Ukrainians on home soil and obviously the Swedes," Pearce said.

"The one thing a World Cup would probably throw up is a match against a lesser nation that would allow you to gather momentum by getting out of the group.

"In the Euros you have to hit the ground running. And make no mistake, with France in the first game we have got to be running very quickly."

And that statement was made without the knowledge that France, previous Wembley winners before Capello guided England through an unbeaten 2011, had just beaten Germany, whom many observers feel are a better bet to win the tournament than world and European champions Spain.

Holland are also bound to be in the hunt even though they seemed to spend most of Wednesday night's game in second gear, increasing the pace only when they felt like it.

Something all four heavyweights have in common is familiarity.

Only France changed coaches after the World Cup and Laurent Blanc has largely stuck by the same group of players he entrusted to lift Les Bleus after their shambolic campaign in South Africa.

The contrast with England could not be greater.

Just over three months from their first game England have no captain, no coach and - according to many - no hope of coming close to ending that long wait for a trophy.

Pearce refuses to see the present situation in such a negative light, though.

"It's not the message I am getting from the public," he said.

"They were a little bit excited by the team we put out [against Holland]. How they view and decode the performance is down to them.

"I will look at the performance when the dust settles.

"Over-expectation always follows the England team. Under-expectation as well.

"We have to handle that within the group."