Euro 2012: Giants grace Group B as draws are announced

The Euro 2012 draw was announced on Friday with Group B emerging as the toughest with Portugal, Denmark and Netherlands put together.

Updated: December 03, 2011 00:55 IST
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Kiev: The Euro 2012 draw was announced on Friday with Group B emerging as the toughest with Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Netherlands put together.

Defending champions Spain and 1968 winners Italy will clash in Group C of Euro 2012 after the draw for next year's finals in Poland and the Ukraine was made here on Friday.

The Republic of Ireland and Croatia make up the pool, with the top two sides progressing to the quarter-finals.

England were drawn in Group D with co-hosts Ukraine, Sweden and two-time winners France.

In a mouth-watering Group B, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal were all drawn together, while co-hosts Poland will face Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic in Group A.

World and European champions Spain will tackle Italy in their opening group game in the Polish city of Gdansk on June 10.

Vicente del Bosque's side overcame the Italians on their way to victory at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, with Cesc Fabregas netting the winning penalty in a quarter-final shoot-out following a 0-0 draw.

Group B appears to be the most finely balanced on paper.

Portugal and the Netherlands famously shared an ill-tempered last-16 match at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, which Portugal won 1-0 in a game that featured a record 16 yellow cards and four dismissals.

Denmark, champions in 1992, last crossed swords with Portugal in qualifying, with their 2-1 victory in Copenhagen in October obliging Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates to qualify through the play-offs.

The opening Group D clash between England and France at Donetsk's Donbass Arena on June 11 will probably go a long way towards determing which side finishes top of their pool.

The teams previously met in the opening match at Euro 2004, when two late strikes from Zinedine Zidane gave France a 2-1 victory after Frank Lampard had headed England in front.

The tournament kicks off on June 8, when Poland will take on 2004 champions Greece at the National Stadium in Warsaw, with the final taking place at Kiev's Olympic Stadium on July 1.

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