Euro 2012: Who will finish as champions?

By Chris BevanBBC Sport

The European Championship kicks off in Warsaw on Friday and finishes in Kiev on 1 July.

Sixteen teams will contest the tournament, including defending champions Spain and joint hosts Poland and Ukraine.

But who will get their hands on the famous Henri Delaunay Trophy?

We spoke to 16 BBC pundits, commentators and journalists to find out who they are tipping - with the caveat that not all predictions may work out precisely because of the nature of the draw.

Ten of them said Germany would triumph, with only five going for defending champions Spain. The Netherlands got one vote as winners but were heavily backed as semi-finalists, as were France.

England? Only one pundit, Alan Shearer, backed them to reach the last four.

Do you agree? Send us your 1-2-3-4 predictions on Twitter,external-link using the hashtag #bbcsportsday.


Alan Hansen

1. Spain 2. Germany 3. Netherlands. 4. Portugal

Who will win and why?

"It is the usual suspects in the final for me. Spain won it last time and they won the World Cup in 2010. They have got the best players so they are the favourites and rightly so, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will win it, and it will be close.

"As well as the Germans and the Dutch, I think Portugal are in the mix too. Cristiano Ronaldo has been unfortunate before now to play in Portuguese sides at major finals that have been really negative, so he has not shown in tournaments how good he is."

[Alan's predictions recognise three of his heavily-fancied teams are all in Group B. However, he is tipping the two teams that qualify to do well at Euro 2012.]

How will England do?

"The golden age for this generation of England players was from 2006 to 2010 and they probably aren't as good now as they were, which is why people don't expect them to do well.

"Before then, when you looked at English teams on paper it was frightening how many great players they had, but they under-achieved.

"This time they are not sub-standard but they do not have so many great players.

"They could still do well but I think they will do well to reach the quarter-finals."


Alan Shearer

1. Spain 2. Germany 3. Netherlands 4. England

Who will win and why?

"Spain have got experience of winning major tournaments and they play the best football - you can guarantee they are going to have 65% and 70% of possession whoever they play against.

"That is the way they play and, more often than not, they turn that into goals.

"Germany will go close and, as for the Dutch, I am looking forward to seeing Robin van Persie because he has played more games and scored more goals for Arsenal than ever before. Now he has to try to carry that into a major tournament."

How will England do?

"I have picked England to reach the semi-finals because I am English, I am patriotic and I want them to do well - in fact I am desperate for them to do well.

"We are not good enough to win it yet, though. It has not been ideal preparation leading up to the tournament, we have got our main striker out for the first two games and I think it will be very tough to get out of the group."


Gary Lineker

1. Spain 2. Germany 3. Netherlands 4. Italy

Who will win and why?

"I have tipped Spain to win the last two tournaments, and I think they'll win this one too.

"Germany have a young side packed with talent and they are good enough to reach the final. I can see the Dutch getting out of the group and reaching the semi-finals but no further."

How will England do?

"A match in the knockout round awaits England but who knows how far they can go beyond that."

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Mark Lawrenson

1. Germany 2. France 3. Spain 4. Netherlands

Who will win and why?

"I am going to say Germany to win the tournament.

"However, I think France have got a really good manager in Laurent Blanc, they have had some fantastic results and they have got the best team spirit they have had for a long time.

"They will be my dark horses."

How will England do?

"This is the first tournament I can remember where I have been covering England and everyone is playing down their chances - normally, everyone is building them up.

"I think that's a bonus and I actually think it might mean they have a better than expected tournament.

"Being without Wayne Rooney for the first two games might mean we actually get more of a club-type team spirit, rather than an international one.

"That is exactly what England need because, sometimes when we watch them, it doesn't look like their team spirit is particularly good. That could be key for them this time if they can get it right."


Lee Dixon

1. Germany 2. Spain 3. Netherlands 4. France

Who will win and why?

"Germany, if only because everyone else will be picking Spain! I think the youthful Germans will be strong. Tiredness could play a part for the Spanish."

How will England do?

"France will win our group and so England will play Spain in the quarter-finals and lose.

"Let's hope I'm wrong and we win the group and beat Italy and go on to win it!"

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Chris Waddle

1. Germany 2. Netherlands 3. Spain 4. Italy

Who will win and why?

"I saw Germany take England apart in the final of the Uefa Under-21 Championship in 2009 and a few members of that team went to the 2010 World Cup.

"Everyone loved watching them in South Africa but they were a bit naive and got caught out a couple of times. I think they are closer to the finished article now, and I think they will have a big say at Euro 2012 and at the 2014 World Cup."

How will England do?

"The problem I see is scoring goals because, apart from set-pieces, I don't really see an awful lot, especially without Wayne Rooney for our first two games.

"We can't make good players great and going into this tournament, I have got to say there are several teams better than England, whether we like it or not.

"England will do well to get out of their group. If we don't, then let's not look at the Brazil World Cup as being the be-all or end-all either. Let's build a team for France 2016. That's when Roy Hodgson should be judged and that's when I'm going to judge him."


Jan Molby

1. Spain 2. Germany 3. France 4. Poland

Who will win and why?

"I expect the Germans to be strong. They are in a tough group but I think they will come through that and go a long way.

"I'm backing Spain to defend their title, though. They have the best players and the most experience. I also think they have got a lot of options on the bench, because they are going to take a lot of young players who are ready to break into their team.

"Poland are one of host nations and in a group where they should get through to the quarter-finals. As a host nation in the quarter-final a lot can happen."

How will England do?

"There isn't a lot of expectation for England heading into this tournament and I think if they get out the group by finishing above France or Sweden then I think they will have done well."


Robbie Savage

1. Netherlands 2. Spain 3. Germany 4. France

Who will win and why?

"I fancy Holland. I like the way they play their football, and they have got a player who is on fire in Robin van Persie.

"Spain will still be strong, though, and I am looking forward to seeing Fernando Llorente up front for them. Germany, with Mario Gomez leading their attack, will be a real threat too."

How will England do?

"Hodgson is a man of vast experience at international level. Tactically, England won't concede much. They might not play beautiful, attractive football but they will be hard to beat and will retain the ball and counter-attack.

"He will have them well set up and well drilled, and that might be enough to get them out of their group.

"I actually think Hodgson will do fantastically well and I hope he does, to shut people up."

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John Motson

1. Germany 2. France 3. Spain 4. Netherlands

Who will win and why?

"I'm going for Germany because they have a bright young team which they have carried through from the World Cup, and the most youthful squad at the tournament.

"There is also the fact that they have a few Bayern Munich players who will be anxious to make amends for their disappointing defeat by Chelsea in the Champions League final. I think that will be a huge motivation for them."

How will England do?

"England will do well to get out of a very difficult group.

"Getting to the quarter-finals is probably as much as anyone is expecting and everyone will be delighted if they manage that. Going any further would just be a bonus."


Guy Mowbray

1. Germany 2. Spain 3. France 4. Netherlands

Who will win and why?

"Germany had a strong squad in South Africa two years ago, and now they are even stronger because they have got two years more experience and have also introduced more talented players like Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle.

"France are my dark horses but Spain will push Germany closest. People say they have already peaked - and they have - but they are still up there and there is one tournament, if not two, left in that group."

How will England do?

"England? The best we can hope for is winning it, because you can always hope.

"But let's get out of our group first, be it in first or second place, and that will do.

"Then see what happens because it is knockout football and anything can happen in a one-off game. Greece proved that when they won it in 2004 and many teams have proved it down the years."

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David James

1. Germany 2. Spain 3. Netherlands 4. France

Who will win and why?

"Germany, simply because the progression the nucleus of their squad has made from Under-21 level.

"They were not fancied much going into the last World Cup, but produced some fantastic form. The natural progression of that two years later is as a force to be reckoned with."

How will England do?

"England's group is tough to get out of, France and Sweden are decent and Ukraine, having played them a couple of years ago in World Cup qualifiers, on home turf will be tough too.

"Home turf as we know ourselves always pushes you that little bit further. England will struggle to make the last eight."


Steve Wilson

1. Germany 2. Spain 3. Portugal 4. France

Who will win and why?

"As someone who has been lucky enough to see a lot of their games, it's been fascinating to watch Germany's progress over the last three tournaments close up.

"The emergence of Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira at the 2010 World Cup was magnificent. Now they have Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle threatening to make a similar impact in 2012.

"I reckon it's will be another Spain versus Germany final, with Germany edging this one."

How will England do?

"I have England down to lose a quarter final against Spain in Donetsk, but that is with a slightly optimistic hat on. It could be that they are out at the group stage.

"A place in the semi-final would be a big surprise. I fancy France to beat England in the first game, England to beat Sweden in the second, and that will probably leave Roy Hodgson's side needing to beat Ukraine in the final match; easier said than done on Ukrainian soil.

"If England do a lose a quarter-final I think we should recognise that as a sort of success. If they go out at the group stage it would be disappointing but not that surprising."


Jonathan Pearce

1. Germany 2. France 3. Netherlands 4. Spain

Who will win and why?

"Germany are two years older, two years wiser and they have got some great talent in that team.

"Spain are many people's favourites but they are perhaps coming to the end of their cycle. They were suspect defensively at set-pieces in their friendly against England last autumn and I suspect one or two of their players have peaked."

How will England do?

"I'd expect Hodgson to get England organised in every department but if we qualify for the quarter-finals that will be a result because we are in a very tough group. Traditionally we don't do very well at the European Championship either."

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Danny Mills

1. Germany 2. Spain 3. Netherlands 4. France

Who will win and why?

"The Germans are incredible how they play in tournament football. They have a few players who will be better for their experience in the 2010 World Cup. They have been there and done it and their Bayern Munich players will be looking to kick on as well after their Champions League disappointment.

"Spain and the Netherlands also have the potential to go and win it. There is no doubt that France have fantastic quality too but they have character flaws where they could implode at some point."

How will England do?

"England will do well to get out of their group. Realistically, they are going to do well to get two draws from their first two games against France and Sweden, especially without Wayne Rooney.

"Then, even if they beat the hosts, Ukraine, in their final game, making the quarter-finals could depend on other results."


Pat Nevin

1. Spain 2. Netherlands 3. Germany 4. France

Who will win and why?

"I wouldn't be surprised if Spain won it. It would be a good thing for football but their players are getting tired, everyone knows that.

"Something tells me Portugal are going to have a good tournament but I am going to agree with a lot of people who say that the Netherlands are going to be a real threat."

How will England do?

"The good thing for England is that they have got a very decent group to get out of if they play to capabilities.

"They will be organised and structured because that's what Hodgson is very good at and I think there is enough good players there. A lot of negativity around them but they have actually got the basis of a very good side."


Mark Bright

1. Germany 2. Spain 3. Netherlands 4. France

Who will win and why?

"The young team that Germany had in South Africa has matured and they have quality right through their side, as well as a solid work ethic.

"Joachim Loew's side are in a difficult group but I think they will win it and will be too strong for whoever they face out of Group A in the quarter-finals.

"Then they have the ability and mental strength to win the European Championship for the first time since 1996."

How will England do?

"If you look at the world rankings, England are the fifth-best team in Europe.

"So, whether there is hype around them or not, England will go into the tournament as one of the fancied nations, who should be aiming for a semi-final place.

"In reality, it will be difficult for us to get out of our group, although I'd like to think we will make the quarter-finals.

"England should be better than looking to defend and nicking goals on the break but it might work.

"And, having seen a lot of Fulham under Roy Hodgson when he was in charge at Craven Cottage, I know that if he gets his team working in the right way, he will stick with those combinations no matter whether he has to leave 'star' players out or not.

"So, if Danny Welbeck does well in the first couple of games, Hodgson will stick with him rather than bringing Wayne Rooney back in after his suspension."

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