Roy Hodgson’s team will line up against France on Monday without Jack Wilshere, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill and Wayne Rooney. The former quartet are all sidelined and the Manchester United man might only get to play one game this summer considering he is suspended for two games.
England were actually made favourites to win Group D when the draw was made, although it is France that have displaced them and Les Blues look one of the best tournament bets at 13/8 (Coral free bets) especially considering they are strong favourites to beat their opponents on Monday.
Laurent Blanc’s team served up a 4-0 thrashing of Estonia on Tuesday night to serve their intention ahead of Euro 2012, with Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery looking in imperious form ahead of a meeting with Ashley Cole and John Terry.
Blanc seems to have galvanised the French side following the horrendous 2010 World Cup campaign which made England seem positively successful and the form of Samir Nasri and Florent Malouda suggests that the Three Lions might have their work cut out.
Even so, Roy Hodgson can be comforted by the fact that Joe Hart is a safe pair of hands in goal, while Joleon Lescott has just won a Premier League winner’s medal with Manchester City and should strike a decent understanding with Terry at the back.
If you think England can triumph against adversity, then odds of 15/8 (Blue Square bookmaker) are available that Steven Gerrard and Co win the group and set up a quarter final against the runner-up of Group C which looks as though it could be Italy or Croatia.
Nevertheless, it’s not a straight shoot-out between France and the English, with Ukraine looking to squeeze between the two and they will be hard to beat on home soil, especially if Andriy Shevchenko can serve up some final quality performances for what will be his last major tournament.
Many will consider the Ukrainians to be overpriced at 5/1 (Sky Bet free bets) and the same applies to Sweden (6/1) who are playing in their fourth consecutive European tournament and look a far more attractive prospect under Erik Hamrén.
If you are looking to take on England (and an opening defeat against France would make things tricky), then a France – Ukraine straight forecast is on offer at 8/1, while a France – Sweden bet is a 10/1 chance and it does appear as though the French are head and shoulders above every other team in the group.