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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Everton At Euro 2012

England  ENGLAND

Phil Jagielka
Jagielka was a late call up to the England squad by new boss Roy Hodgson replacing the injured Gareth Barry and Jags will probably start the Euro campaign on the bench.

Jagielka impressed against Norway in a friendly and that is what maybe convinced Hodgson that he deserved a place in the squad.

John Terry, Joleon Lescott and Gary Cahill are probably all ahead of him at the moment but Jagielka's versatility and determination could see him force his way into the starting line-up at some point during the tournament.

Leighton Baines
Baines has been magnificent all season for us and has arguably been the best English left back in the league all season. Baines has been instrumental in much of Everton's attacking play last season but if still second choice for England to Chelsea's Ashley Cole.

Cole is possibly in the eyes of defensively minded Roy Hodgson a safer option for England, Ashley Cole is maybe not as adventurous as Baines going forward and therefore in some peoples eyes less likely to be caught out?

England's Danger Man: A lot could depend on Wayne Rooney if England are still involved in the competition by the times he returns from suspension.

Our Prediction: Hopefully England can go all the way and anything less than the Quarter Finals will be a disappointment.

UPDATE: England made it to the Quarter Finals where they got beat by Italy on penalties. Perhaps the true current quality of the national side was really brought home in a game which the Italians dominated. Baines and Jags never got a minute on the pitch during the competition.

Republic of Ireland  IRELAND

Darron Gibson
Rejuvenated since joining us from Manchester United last season, Gibson has gave Everton something that they have missed since Lee Carsley left the club.

He may play in a slightly different role for Ireland and it will be interesting to see how he does, it's always nice to see the likes of Ireland, Scotland etc in a major tournament although these days its a rare occurrence!

Ireland's Dangers Man: Robbie Keane will be looking for one last hurrah with Ireland as he starts to come towards the end of his playing career.

Our Prediction: Ireland was everyone's adopted country in the World Cup in 1994 but they face a tricky task trying to qualify from their Group this time which includes Spain, Italy and Croatia!

UPDATE: Ireland went out of the competition after only 2 games! The Trap failed to recognise a now fit Gibson for the Spain game were perhaps a 4-5-1 defensive approach would have been more effective with Gibbo as a defensive midfielder.

Croatia  CROATIA

Nikica Jelavić
Jelavic has set the Premier League on fire since joining Everton from Rangers, Croatia perhaps dont have the quality they once did but with the likes of Modric in their team they could cause a few suprises.

It will be interesting to see how Jelavic does when he comes up against Darron Gibson's Ireland in Croatia's first group game.

Croatia's Main Man: Luka Modric is often touted as one the games best midfielders and a good performance at Euro 2012 could be vital for Croatia and could also put him in the shop window for a possible transfer from Spurs!

Our Prediction: Spain and Italty are probably favourites to go through in Group C but Croatia could spring a suprise if lady luck is on their side and Jelavic gets the service!

UPDATE: Jelavic scored in Croatia's opening game againt Ireland. Jelavic made it 2-1 to Croatia and perhaps changed the game in favour of his country as they went on to win 3-1. Croatia went out at the group stage despite playing relativly well.

Netherlands  HOLLAND

John Heitinga
Holland will fancy their chances as usual this summer with Johnny going into the tournament on the back of collecting the Everton player of the season award.

Its a tough group for Heitinga and Holland which includes Denmark, Portugal and Germany.

Holland's Main Player: The Dutch will be reliant on Robin Van Persie producing some of the form he enjoyed last season with Arsenal. His future still remains uncertain so it will be interesting to see how he does this summer.

Our Prediction: Holland will be confident of going all the way which looks likely and the Dutch will be upset if they dont at least make the semi finals.

UPDATE: Heitinga didn't have the best of starts as his countrymen lost surprisingly 1-0 to Denmark. Heitinga will be disappointed with his country's performance at the Euro's who went out in the group stage of the competition with Johnny dropped to the bench for the last game against Portugal.

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