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Mixed fortunes to come for England group opponents in friendlies

| 05.06.2012

Each of England’s Group D opponents round off their Euro 2012 preparations tonight, with Sweden, Ukraine and France all in friendly action.

Not all of them may enter the Poland and Ukraine tournament in winning form however, with Sweden and Ukraine in particular facing tough fixtures.

Sweden are the first to kick off, at 4/6 to conquer Serbia, and continue their 100% record in matches played this year.

Serbia will represent one of their toughest tests however, with only Croatia arguably higher calibre opponents than the 7/2 shots, in terms of teams Sweden have met in 2012.

A player of the immense quality of Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make the difference though, particularly as Serbian captain Nemanja Vidic remains absent.

Ibrahimovic has scored first in his past two international outings, and may be worth a punt for the opener tonight.

Elsewhere meanwhile, one of the European championships’ host nations could struggle to justify 8/5 odds for success, as Ukraine travel to Turkey, a side unlucky to miss out on qualification for the tournament.

Turkey are 11/8 to beat the Group D inhabitants, and should be considered at those odds in light of a qualifying campaign that saw them reach the playoffs ahead of the likes of Belgium.

Ukraine, in contrast, achieved automatic qualification for Euro 2012, in light of staging the competition, though their last friendly prior to tonight’s clash was a defeat at the hands of Austria.

This could prove a prelude to a less-than-ideal final preparation for the Euros for Ukraine, as their ageing squad looks likely to struggle in dealing with the likes of Hamit Altintop and Nihat.

France should have far less trouble in winning their last match before the European championships however, at 1/7 to triumph over minnows Estonia.

Laurent Blanc’s side are unbeaten in 20 matches, and even in the absence of Yann M’Vila, the French should easily have enough to comfortably dispose of the 11/1 chances before their tournament opener against England next Monday.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee