English fans will be hoping England can avoid a defeat against host country Ukraine tonight, and advance to the quarter finals of the Euro 2012 Championships.
Wayne Rooney – let’s hope he has a good game tonight
The England displays at the World Cup in South Africa were simply embarrassing, but to be fair to Roy Hodgson and his players, they’ve put in two decent performances in the first two games of Euro 2012, albeit they seemed to lose the plot in the first 20 minutes of the second half against Sweden, last time out.
But after being well in control in the first half of that game, and leading through a classic Andy Carroll header, England went down 2-1 after 59 minutes, and few of us thought they could come back.
But they did come back, and showed fight and spirit, and Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was the lightning rod that allowed an excellent result, and a good comeback by England.
Roy Hodgson seems to have generated good team spirit in the squad, and we expect Wayne Rooney to come in for Andy Carroll tonight, and be paired with the impressive Danny Welbeck, his team-mate at Manchester United.
If Theo Walcott has recovered from a tight hamstring, he will likely come in on the right wing for former Newcastle winger James Milner, whose defensive qualities may be needed in the quarter finals, if England get that far.
Ukraine’s best ever player Andriy Shevchenko is only 50-50 for the game, because of fluid on the knee, and on paper it should be a fairly easy game for England, with England ranked 6 and the Ukraine ranked 52 in the latest FIFA rankings.
But that means very little in these competitive games, and indeed until Spain scored their winner after 88 minutes against Croatia last night, a Croatia late goal would have meant the reigning World and European Champions would have been eliminated.
We hope for a good England display, and if the defense can play well, and not have any bad spells like they suffered against Sweden, and if Wayne Rooney can play somewhere near his best form, England should win this game.
A win could even see England head the group, and that would mean getting Italy in the quarter finals, otherwise we’ll have to face World Champions Spain.
But if England get through, there has to be a decent chance that England can make it to the semi-finals, and that would have to go down as a notable success for Roy Hodgson and the team, given the circumstances in which Roy took over the England job in early May.
We are hoping for an England win – but we’ll take a draw to get through to the quarter finals.