Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can Rooney fire England to glory?

England's Euro 2012 hopes were given a boost last week when Uefa reduced Wayne Rooney's suspension to two games.

The Manchester United front man was originally handed a three-match ban after being sent off for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic during England's 2-2 draw with Montenegro in October. The ban was reduced on appeal. Rooney will now be available for England's final Group D game against joint hosts Ukraine.

There was some debate over whether England boss Fabio Capello would take the controversial 26-year-old to Poland and Ukraine. It appears the debate is now over following Uefa's decision. Those looking at the England Euro 2012 odds should remember this.

Rooney is arguably England's only world-class player and will be keen to make amends after losing his cool in his last competitive outing for his country. If England need a result against Ukraine, they will be confident of getting it with a fired up and fresh Rooney at their disposal.

The draw itself was relatively kind to England. They avoided the “Group of Death” and a group stage meeting with Spain. The real threat to their hopes is France, the same France side which played them off the park at Wembley last November. Ukraine and Sweden bring with them their own dangers.

Ukraine will be a difficult proposition in front of their home fans, particularly in the final group game, while Sweden have been something of a bogey side for England over recent decades. Although, England's friendly victory over the Swedes last month broke a 12-match winless run and will have given England and Capello a good look at their game two opponents.

It won't be easy, it never is in a major tournament, but with a revitalised Rooney in their ranks, England have an outside chance.

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