With Ireland, Portugal, Croatia and the Czech Republic all sealing their places at next summers Euro 2012 the group stages are shaping up to be one of the most competitive yet, after the pots for December’s draw were determined.
With hosts Poland and Ukraine in the first pot alongside holders Spain and Holland, the impressive Germany and perennial challengers Italy find themselves in the unusual position of being in the second pot with England and Russia.
Pot three features Croatia, Portugal, Greece and Sweden while pot four will contains France, Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Czech Republic,
Ireland beat Estonia 5-1 on aggregate to clinch their place in the Euro’s with the Czechs defeated Montenegro while Croatia and Portugal also came through the final qualifying stage, defeating Estonia, Turkey and Bosnia respectively.
The seeding creates a number of interesting permutations for the Irish who could find themselves in a group of death with Spain, Germany and Portugal or even a group of debt with Spain, Italy and Greece.
However Giovanni Trapattoni will no doubt hoping for an easier ride at the Republic’s first European Championships since 1988 and will be praying for a group with Poland, England and Greece which would give the Irish a real chance of progressing.
The draw for the tournament will be made on Friday, December 2 at 5pm. The finals are due to take place from June 8 to July 1, 2012.
EURO 2012 DRAW POTS
Pot One: Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Holland
Pot two: Germany, Italy, England, Russia
Pot three: Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Sweden
Pot four: France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland