MIKE CUMMINGS: For me, the two storylines from Friday’s Euro 2012 draw were Groups A and B. Group B is the all-time, nastiest of the nasty, the one Group of Death to rule them all. Group A? Well, my rec league team could win Group A, and our median age is somewhere north of 40.
Here’s the skinny: Group B contains Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark. Germany is, aside from Spain, the favorite to win it all. The Netherlands advanced to the World Cup final last summer. Denmark has a ton of young talent. Portugal, of course, has Cristiano Ronaldo.
Brutal isn’t even the right word. Unfair would be more accurate. And unfair might be correct, too, considering the names that make up Group A. As co-host Poland entered the group as the seeded team ahead of Russia, the Czech Republic and Greece. How bad is that? The best player in the group might be Russia’s Andrey Arshavin, who’s so out of form at Arsenal that he came off the bench to sub out a teenager in a Carling Cup match earlier this week.
So while we’re guaranteed to lose two of Germany, Holland, Portugal and Denmark, we’re also guaranteed to see more of somebody out of Group A. It’s just not right.
Elsewhere, Spain and Italy should have no trouble in Group C, and England got a workable draw in Group D.
Of course with England, that just means the heartache will be that much worse.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Largely agree with Mike’s take on the overall field, so I’d like to focus on some of my dream matchups.
To start, while I agree that Group B is unfair, I will suspend my outrage long enough to savor matches like Germany-Portugal and Denmark against The Netherlands. Prior to the draw, if someone had predicted either as a final, it wouldn’t have seemed crazy.
As for England’s path, the group is navigable, but look at that potential quarterfinal challenge: almost certainly Spain or Italy, and a likely Group B survivor in the semis. I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise that winning Euro 2012 means a difficult road, but it gets much harder in a hurry.
I would also be lying if I didn’t relish a Poland-Russia tilt. Really, anytime I can invoke world history on Twitter during a match, I’m pretty happy.