It would be expecting too much for the 2012 Championships to produce the quality of football we got four years ago from Spain, Holland and Russia wouldn't it? This tournament looks perfectly set-up for Germany to fulfill their potential, for Spain to bow out gracefully and for England to return home with half a dozen fit players.
It would be a major surprise if England were to fail to qualify from there group, Ukraine are very weak, Sweden are one dimensional and France don't look good at the back, so in theory the new England style of score one and then defend should be well suited to those three opponents.
Having had the chance to watch most of the qualifiers over the past two weeks, it seemed that whilst I was in Germany there were two, sometimes three, matches being played on most nights the teams that have impressed most have been Holland and Germany. True Germany lost 3-5 to Switzerland but that was very much Germany's second XI and they were better in the subsequent match against Israel. Holland can call on four from: Van Persie, Schneider, Van Der Vaart, Kuyt and Huntelaar for their starting line-up but like the French they look suspect at the back.
Have Spain gone one tournament too far is the big question exercising the minds of many, and the news that there have been problems inside the Spanish camp can only be a good thing as far as everybody else is concerned. Interesting to read this week that Jose Mourinho is no longer talking to Iker Casillas because of the players attempts to get on with the Barcelona players - pathetic doesn't do it justice.
Portugal and Denmark could be the surprise packages from the other teams although being drawn in the 'group of death' with the Dutch and the Germans probably won't give them much encouragement and it has to be said that the draw has been very kind to co-hosts Poland and Russia by placing them in Group A with Greece and the Czech republic, Poland have four top class players in their first choice eleven but the rest of the squad would appear to lack any real quality.
That just leaves Italy, Croatia and Ireland (Group C along with Spain) and you would have to say that Ireland's best chance is hoping they can get a point against either the Italians and Croatians. Ireland should be totally outclassed by both Spain and an Italian side in transition after under achieving in both 2008 and 2010.
I expect the eventual winners to be from Germany, Spain, Holland and France.