Group D sees two of the most unpredictable teams in world football slotted together. While France have made a mess of their last two international campaigns, England have failed to win anything since their World Cup win in 1966. Throw Sweden and Ukraine into the mix and we have an absolutely intriguing Group D to watch out for.
On paper, England and France are favorites to go through. But with an inspired Zlatan Ibrahimovic in form, Sweden are no pushovers. Likewise Andriy Shevchenko would be looking at this as his last opportunity to make his mark on the international stage and Ukraine would be motivated in doing well in front of their home crowd.
After missing out the World Cup in South Africa, Sweden looked almost certain to miss the flight to Poland and Ukraine as well. A pretty average qualifying campaign required the Swedes to win their last game against Netherlands. The Swedes did deliver the result beating the Dutch 3-2 and earned their place in the Championships by finishing as the best runners-up.
Though Sweden have always been seen as the team with great potential, they have always failed to make it count on the international stage. Though, defence has always been the strength for Erik Hamren’s side, they showed that they can attack as well averaging 3 goals per game during the qualifiers, a feat matched only by Spain, Germany and the Dutch.
Key Player: Though Sweden are more comfortable playing as a team rather than relying on individuals, one figure they will look up to will be the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ibra, as he is fondly known, is coming of the back of an impressive season where he smashed home 35 goals for AC Milan and as the captain of the Scandinavian side, will look to provide the inspiration that Sweden might just need to reach their glorious heights of the 1992 Euro Cup where they reached the semifinals.
Other Stars: Andreas Isaksson, Olof Mellberg, Sebastian Larsson, Johan Elmander
Prediction: Group Stages
Though Sweden might be expected to ease through in their opening fixture against hosts Ukraine, it only gets tougher from there on for the Swedes. With France and England as the other two teams in the group, it is difficult to see Sweden qualifying for the knockout stages. But the rejuvenated Swedes are more than capable of pulling a surprise and knock one of the heavyweights out in the earlier stages of the tournament.