Euro 2012: First impressions of the 16 teams and their hosts

By Chris BevanBBC Sport

It is still early days at Euro 2012 but the tournament is starting to take shape.

From Poland's draw with Greece in an action-packed curtain-raiser, to co-hosts Ukraine's victory against Sweden, we have now seen all 16 teams play once.

With the help of BBC Sport's commentary teams at the games in Poland and Ukraine, here's what we have learned about each of the four groups so far - and about the two host countries too.


Results (Fri, 8 June): Poland 1-1 Greece / Russia 4-1 Czech Rep

Next games (Tue, 12 June): Greece v Czech Rep / Poland v Russia

MARK BRIGHT, MOTD at Poland 1-1 Greece

Mark Bright

"I was co-commentating inside the National Stadium in Warsaw for the opening game and, with the roof closed, the atmosphere was really special.

"When Robert Lewandowski scored to put Poland 1-0 up, I got goosebumps because the volume was just incredible.

"I was surprised Poland did not build on the way they started but their fans still celebrated their point long into the night. Outside my hotel, they just didn't stop singing!

"The Russian team were staying at our hotel too and everyone gave them a big welcome back after their great start against the Czech Republic on the same day.

"Russia look really strong - the key game now for the Polish and the Greeks will be against the Czechs because I don't think they will be able to beat the Russians either."

PAT NEVIN, Radio 5 live at Russia 4-1 Czech Republic

Pat Nevin

"I backed Russia to win this group before the tournament started and now I feel even more sure that they will. They were so fluid going forward against the Czech Republic.

"I have been in Poland for a week now and the people I've spoken to are incredibly realistic about the co-hosts' chances.

"They are supporting their team and celebrating holding the tournament but have got no expectations of getting through to the last eight.

"The people I have spoken too are proud of their stadia and how their cities have been developed but I am not a very good judge of that because, before this tournament, Poland was one of only three European countries I had not visited - so I cannot compare it to what it was like 20 years ago.

"I haven't seen any negative scenes, or seen or heard any racism.

"Maybe the most unusual thing to say about all that is that I was in Wroclaw for three days and I didn't see one black person, apart from Theodor Gebre Selassie who was playing at left-back for the Czech Republic.

"That maybe gives you a better understanding of why sometimes there are problems with racism here. We live in a multi-cultural society in the UK, but this country doesn't have that yet.

"That's not to say the people of Wroclaw are racist, just that there are no black or asian people living there."


Results (Sat, 9 June): Ned 0-1 Denmark / Germany 1-0 Portugal

Next games (Wed, 13 June): Denmark v Portugal / Ned v Germany

Jonathan Pearce, MOTD at Netherlands 0-1 Denmark

Jonathan Pearce

"Denmark's tactics against the Dutch were a continuation of the way Chelsea played on their way to winning the Champions League, relying on an ultra-organised defence.

"As my co-commentator Martin Keown said during that game - if England were watching then they should be asking 'why can't we do that?' and use organisation and discipline to overcome more talented teams.

"It will be interesting how Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk reacts to their defeat.

"Will he sacrifice one of his two defensive midfielders against Germany, and bring in Rafael van der Vaart to try to move the ball forward quicker?

"As far as where the opening results leave the group, Germany look set fair to win it.

"But I wouldn't be surprised if the Dutch manage to turn things round and make the last-eight too.

"The cultural differences in Ukraine have made it as different for me as South Korea was in 2002 and, in some parts of Kiev, there is indifference to the tournament like there was in the United States in 1994.

"In certain places, you wouldn't know there's a tournament and in others it's rampant. That may be because it is early days and I've seen other tournaments start like this.

"It is a fascinating and complex country and there is so much history here but it has come a long way in the 10 years since I was here with Arsenal."

GUY MOWBRAY, MOTD at Germany 1-0 Portugal

Guy Mowbray

"Germany's win over Portugal was the first game of the tournament I attended. It was also the most disappointing.

"It was frustrating to see Portugal play so defensively. They proved once they were 1-0 down in the last 10-15 minutes that, if they wanted to attack, then they can cause problems.

"The group is still wide open, though.

"Feasibly, all four teams could have three points going into last round of matches, which I guess is why it was called the 'Group of Death'.

"On the other hand, wins for Denmark and Germany on Wednesday and it is all over apart from deciding the group winner, leaving me commentating on the Netherlands against Portugal in a dead rubber in Kharkiv on 7 June. Clearly I don't want that to happen.

"Ukraine is an interesting country. They are embracing the tournament and the locals are doing everything they can to be welcoming and hospitable.

"But you get the feeling that they are not used to having such a volume of people arriving in their country and wanting to be served.

"The best example of that is when you are in a restaurant. If you order hot food, it comes when it is ready - even if that is when other people at your table are having dessert.

"We haven't seen any examples of bad behaviour, racist or otherwise, since we have been here.

"The worst behaviour I have seen was Germany fans letting off a smoke bomb and throwing paper missiles on to the pitch in Lviv."


Results (Sun, 10 June): Spain 1-1 Italy / Rep of Ireland 1-3 Croatia

Next games (Thu, 14 June): Italy v Croatia / Spain v Rep of Ireland

DANNY MILLS, Radio 5 live at Spain 1-1 Italy

Danny Mills

"There was a really friendly spirit in Gdansk in the build-up to kick-off and some fantastic fancy dress on display - there was a cardboard cut out of King Juan Carlos of Spain and also a procession of Minnie Mouses in polka-dot dresses at one point.

"The Spanish fans were very vocal all night on the eve of the game and they were still wandering the streets when I went for a run the next morning, although a little less vocal by then.

"The game was pretty entertaining too.

"After Italy went ahead, Spain pushed on a bit more and raised their game.

"It was a bit of a wake-up call for the champions - both teams had chances to win and a draw was a fair result.

"Italy will be disappointed because one lapse of concentration cost them. But if they continue to play as well as they did - and they can get through this group - then they could well be a threat."

KEVIN KILBANE, Radio 5 live at Rep of Ireland 1-3 Croatia

Kevin Kilbane

"It was madness in Poznan's main square the night before the Republic of Ireland-Croatia game and very different to my experiences as part of the Ireland squad in Japan and Korea at the 2002 World Cup.

"But the result took the shine off what had been a memorable few days for me, although the Irish fans were still singing at the final whistle.

"Croatia have given themselves a great chance of getting out of this group. The Republic of Ireland will not be giving up yet, but losing their opener leaves them a huge task to get out of their group.

"They play Spain next and there will probably be changes for that game but you have to remember that the Spanish team are so dangerous. If Ireland are too attacking then Spain could open them up on numerous occasions."


Results (Mon, 11 June): France 1-1 England / Ukraine 2-1 Sweden

Next games (Fri, 15 June): Ukraine v France / Sweden v England

CHRIS WADDLE, Radio 5 Live at France 1-1 England

Chris Waddle

"England knew that avoiding defeat was the most important thing. They will take a draw and think they can beat Ukraine and Sweden to make the last eight. Those are the two easiest games in my eyes.

"Does it raise expectations for England? I hope not. I just hope people realise that this is a new team - they have quite a few younger players in the side.

"But Roy Hodgson has done the basics. They play zonal football and they are hard to beat.

"England played like they did in their first two friendlies under Hodgson, by defending in numbers.

"Their early possession was good but, when they were pressurised, they gave the ball away too easily.

"They were also very rigid compared to France, who had much better movement.

"France will be be far more disappointed with the draw, which means it was a very good result for England."

MARTIN KEOWN, MOTD at Ukraine 2-1 Sweden

Martin Keown

"You have to share the joy of the host nation with Andriy Shevchenko scoring two goals because the atmosphere inside the stadium was absolutely incredible.

"Ukraine impressed me. They spread the ball beautifully at times and, with Shevchenko in this kind of form, it is going to be tough for England when they play them in their final group game.

"Sweden, who England play on Friday, had shown nothing to worry us until late on when some Ukraine substitutions left them exposed at the back."