Before every Euro 2012 match Ian Wright will unleash his inner gambler and predict the score. On this page you’ll find Football Friends Online as well other popular football bloggers from across the web wading into debate to make their expert predictions too.
But as the action gets under way, will they be Wright, or will they be wrong? Follow the #WrightorWrong hashtag on Twitter and lend your voice to the debate.
England v France
Paul Hill- England 1-1 France. Hodgson’s organised banks of four should do enough to frustrate France and get something out of this match. Expect suprise inclusion ‘The Ox’ to torment an out of form Evra and create at least 1 or 2 good chances. England need to be weary of the triple threat of potential match winners in Benzema, Nasri and Ribery.
Ben McAleer- England 1-1 France I went to bed last night thinking France would win comfortably 2-0. However, after thinking about the game-plan Roy Hodgson will likely deploy, a draw is definitely on the cards. Both defensively solid, I can see England nicking a goal early on through Ashley Young before the French regroup and nick an equaliser through likely substitute Oliver Giroud.
Dan Whiteway- England 1-1 France There is a good reason this England team is perhaps the most underhyped in recent tournament history and that is as they are solid and not perceived to be spectacular. France are unbeaten in 21 games (which doesn’t tell the whole story but there we go) and look threatening going forward but a defence of Rami and Mexes looks shaky at the best of times, a situation Messrs Wellbeck and Young can exploit.
George Powell- England 1-1 France. The classic head and heart situation. I think that England have the potential to frustrate France, although, with the French attacking talents of Ribery, Nasri and Benzema, I expect them to score. Having said that Ashley Young, Oxlade Chamberlain and Welbeck will cause the French back line trouble and I can see us nicking a goal.
Scott Balaam- England 1 – 2 France. I want to be optimistic, well relatively and go for a draw but having looked at our history with the French and their squad compared to ours I have to go with France. The key man is going to be Ribery, but with Benzema to get a double.
Brad Smith- England 1 – 1 France. Les Blues are the form team coming into this, but I think England will play solidly and frustrate Ribery and Nasri, stopping the service to Benzema. Expect England to rely on the set piece game, where Terry and Lescott can be key. Neither team can afford to lose, and I fully expect this game to end in a stalemate.
Sweden v Ukraine
Paul Hill- Sweden 2-1 Ukraine- Sweden’s attacking prowess should overcome a Ukraine side spurred on by a home crowd but lacking in real quality other than two talented wingers. Zlatan’s shift to a deeper position may prove key in this game.
Ben McAleer- Sweden 2-1 Ukraine The co-hosts will be looking to perform in front of their fans, but despite the extra push of performing at home, it won’t be enough to outdo the organised Swedes. Andrei Shevchenko will open to scores for Ukraine before Sweden re-group with, who else but, Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play a starring role. Keep an out for young Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Dan Whiteway- Sweden 2-0 Ukraine The last two teams in the tournament to kick off their campaigns and it’s not exactly a case of leaving the best until last. Ukraine go into this tournament ranked 52nd in the world and, if not as big a underdogs as Austria were four years ago, they’re not far off. Andriy Shevchenko looks set to lead the line which says a lot. Despite home advantage, Sweden should have enough quality in the form of Ibrahimovic and Larsson to see them past the hosts.
George Powell- Sweden 1-1 Ukraine. The hosts haven’t played competitive football for 2 years, but they do have a hard working midfield, passionate home support and with Yarmolenko and Shevchenko in the side, they are capable of scoring. Ibrahimovic et al will score too, though, and I can see them creating chances. Their lack of defensive stability could cost them the 3 points here, however.
Scott Balaam- Sweden 1-1 Ukraine. I can see Sweden becoming draw specialist, I fancy them to draw every game. Like their co-hosts, Ukraine will take the lead before Ibrahimovic equalizes – This could be his last Championship to show everyone what he can do.
Brad Smith- Sweden 2 – 0 Ukraine. Sweden have a great midfield, and the likes of Kallstrom and Elm should run the show, whilst Larsson’s free kicks offer another dimension, don’t be surprised if he gets on the scoresheet, and of course Ibrahimovic will be a handful up top. The Swedes will be the main threat to England and France, and expect them to get off to a flyer here, winning the battle of the blue and yellow in the later fixture.