I thought it might be fun to distract ourselves from Liverpool after Lucas's injury just for a bit, because the Euro 2012 draw has just been completed. The draws for these tourneys are just so much fun, aren't they? Breaking from work to watch online, and sitting there and dreaming off all the work you'll miss as you finally get to see what the actual matches will be. Sadly, the first slate of games from this summer Group of Extraordinary And Wonderful Death fall on a Saturday, so you can't miss any work for that. But you'll get your chance, probably on the Monday when England kick off against France. This time Gerrard shouldn't be able to land a perfect through ball to Thierry Henry on a backpass, but only because Henry won't be in the squad.
-Group A very well may be the worst group of any European Championship or World Cup I have ever seen, and it doesn't even contain Saudi Arabia. It makes for an easier passage for the host, and a tournament is always better when the host gets the locals excited. Seriously, which of these games are you going to go out of your way to watch? Sure, the opener because it's on a Friday afternoon and it'll be summer and you're not going to do anything at your job anyway. There was a time when the Czechs were a very tasty team, but Pavel Nedved hung up his boots long ago, and they had to raise Karel Paborsky from the dead in 2004, so that's not happening again. Russia always disappoint, though I'm sure we'll be treated to one celebration of Andrei Arshavin telling us all to be quiet. Not that we were talking, but he'll do so.
-Oh my god, Group B. The complete antithesis of the previous group. I won't miss a game. Even Denmark, who at first blush appear to be the weak sister, are traditionally hard to beat. With Agger and Skaer in central defense that trend will continue. This group also sets up Portugal to thoroughly embarrass themselves, and who doesn't want to see that? Then again, so could the Dutch, which would only be slightly less hilarious. Sadly, as much as I think we'd all like to see The Hun bounce out in the group stage, that's probably not happening.
-Group C seems pretty cut and dried. Ireland will make things hard on Spain and Italy for about an hour, but both will eventually break through. It feels like Croatia peaked about four years ago, but if Italy are in their goofy phase, they could pip them. Not that many problems for Spain here.
-Though England would have bought and or murdered several people to get into Group A, this is second best. Playing the hosts is never fun, and will be tricky. But past that you've got a France squad that you simply never know what you're getting out of, and the traditional 1-1 draw with Sweden. Basically, England will have to beat France and draw with the home-standing Ukranians to get out. But neither is an impossible task, and Capello's England tend to save their best games for their stiffest tests...except for that whole Germany in South Africa thing (though If Lampard's goal had rightly counted, it's a totally different match).