Fifa Ranking: 65
Manager: Franciszek Smuda (Since October 2009)
Captain: Jakub Blaszczykowski (Kuba)
Star Players: Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski
Penalty Taker/s: Jakub Blaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski
Poland's Euro 2008 campaign was one to forget. They finished bottom of Group B with just one point. They failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup due to a very disappointing qualifying campaign. After this, Franciszek Smuda was appointed as manager to restore pride to the Polish national team.
Poland qualified for Euro 2012 as co-hosts. This means that for the past two years they have not had any competitive international matches. They play their home matches at the National Stadium in Warsaw and have the significant advantage of playing their opening two games at their home ground. Home support for Poland can guide them through Group A. However, due to the overwhelming hopes and expectations on the co-hosts, the young squad could crumble under the pressure.
Poland's results in non competitive matches have been positive. They drew 0-0 to a strong Portugal side and drew 2-2 to Germany. Had it not been for a 94th minute goal from Cacau, Poland would have run out winners against their close rivals. Poland have also managed to beat teams such as Hungary, Belarus, Georgia, Norway, Moldova and a second string Argentina side. They have also gained positive draws away to South Korea and at home to Mexico.
A lot of pressure will be on the shoulders of the three Dortmund men. Piszczek, Kuba and Lewandowski have had a fantastic season with their club and now it is time to reproduce that club form at the international level. Lewandowski scored 22 goals and provided 8 assists in the Bundesliga this season. Kuba scored 6 goals and provided 9 assists in the league this season. Both Kuba and Lewandowski are Poland's main attacking threats and these two have been scoring for their country in the friendlies.
Poland have an ideal opportunity to qualify from Group A. They have avoided any of the big nations in the group stages and will have the support of the home crowd during their matches. Although they are a young squad, they have a number of talented players who can shine at the big stage. Their confidence has improved due to positive results in the friendlies against difficult sides. Their aim is to qualify from Group A and they should feel confident enough to progress from the weakest group out of the four.
Fifa Ranking: 14
Manager: Fernando Santos (Since July 2010)
Captain: Giorgos Karagounis
Star Players: Giorgos Karagounis, Dimitris Salpigidis, Theofanis Gekas
Penalty Taker/s: Giorgos Karagounis
The Euro 2004 winners failed to defend their title at Euro 2008. It was a terrible defence of their title as they lost all three group games. At the 2010 World Cup, Greece went out at the group stages after gaining just one win. A lot of blame was placed on the negative tactics deployed by Otto Rehhagel.
Under Fernando Santos, Greece qualified top of the Euro 2012 qualifying Group F. They finished two points ahead of Croatia and remained undefeated during the qualifying campaign. However, Group F was arguably one of the the weakest qualifying groups. Furthermore, Greece's performances during the campaign were not the greatest. They drew at home to Georgia and almost drew 0-0 away to Malta. A lot of their points came from late winners or equalising goals. They scored an 84th minute equalising goal against Latvia, a 94th minute winning goal against Malta and a last 10 minute double against Georgia to secure qualification. They scored the fewest goals of any of the group winners and struggled to score in the first half of the qualifying games.
Greece have struggled in their non-competitive matches. They recently drew 1-1 at home to Belgium, even though Belgium played most of the second half with 10 men. They lost 3-1 at home to Romania and drew 1-1 at home to Russia.
Greece are heavily relying on their 'old guard' ahead of this tournament. Karagounis, Katsouranis, Salpigidis and Gekas are all over the age of 30. However, these four players remain the heart of the Greece national team. Other than Kyriakos Papadopoulos, there is not much rising talent in Greece's Euro 2012 squad.
This looks set to be another disappointing major tournament for the Euro 2004 winners. They have struggled under the reign of Fernando Santos and are heavily relying on the older players. Greece struggle in the first half of games and struggle to score. An early exit is very likely.
Fifa Ranking: 11
Manager: Dick Advocaat (Since July 2010, resigning after Euro 2012)
Captain: Andrei Arshavin
Star Players: Andrei Arshavin, Alan Dzagoev, Roman Pavlyuchenko
Penalty Taker/s: Roman Pavlyuchenko
After losing 4-1 to Spain in their first game of Euro 2008, Russia defied all odds and reached the semi finals of Euro 2008. They faced Spain once again but lost 3-0 to the eventual champions. Russia failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup as they went out to Slovenia on away goals in the playoffs. Dick Advocaat was brought in to secure qualification to Euro 2012.
Under Dick Advocaat, Russia qualified with ease from Group B. They topped the group with 7 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss and with just 4 goals conceded. However, the Russian national team faced criticisms for their performances during the qualification campaign. Accusations of complacency and laziness came as a result of the 0-0 draw with Armenia and the 1-0 win over Macedonia.
Russia have gained mixed results from their friendly matches. They gained a well deserved 2-0 win away to Denmark and a 1-0 win at home to Serbia. However, the negative results come from the 1-0 loss away to Iran and the 0-0 draw at home to Cameroon.
Advocaat has the luxury of choosing from three quality strikers. Pavlyuchenko, Pogrebnyak and Kerzhakov are all fighting for a spot in the starting eleven. Pavlyuchenko is a clincal striker with an eye for goal whilst Kerzhakov and Pogrebnyak have been in fantastic form for their clubs. Kerzhakov has scored 18 goals in the league for Zenit whilst Pogrebnyak has been sensational since joining Fulham in the January transfer window.
Russia have a talented squad and an experienced manager for this campaign. This combination is central to success and Russia should be regarded as potential dark horses at Euro 2012. Key players such as Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko and Pogrebnyak are rediscovering their form following January transfer moves. Alan Dzagoev is a rising star and he can make his mark at Euro 2012. Russia are defensively strong and have dangerous attacking options. They should top Group A but there is always a worry of complacency with the Russian national side, especially as the manager will resign after the tournament.
4. Czech Republic
Fifa Ranking: 26
Manager: Michal Bilek (Since October 2009)
Captain: Tomas Rosicky
Star Players: Petr Cech, Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros
Penalty Taker/s: Michal Kadlec
Czech Republic suffered a devastating end at Euro 2008. They led 2-0 during the final group game, but three goals in the last 15 minutes sent them crashing out of the tournament. The disappointment did not stop there as Czech Republic failed to qualify for 2010 World Cup.
Czech Republic were drawn in a difficult qualifying group with World Champions Spain. As Spain dominated, Czech Republic struggled and were in a battle with Scotland for 2nd place. A controversial last minute penalty against Scotland allowed Czech Republic to gain the advantage over Scotland in the bid for second place. Czech Republic managed to secure 2nd place and convincingly beat Montenegro in the playoffs. Czech Republic's main problem during their qualifying campaign was their inability to score. They only managed to score 12 goals, the lowest out of all the finalists during the qualification stages.
Czech Republic have suffered mixed results during their non competitive matches. The positive results came from the 4-0 win against Ukraine and the 1-1 draw to the Republic of Ireland. However, there were many negative results. They lost 3-0 to Norway, 4-2 to Croatia and had goalless draws against Peru and Japan.
The Czech Republic side is clearly lacking in quality. Although Tomas Rosicky has rediscovered his form and Petr Cech has been outstanding for Chelsea, the Czech Republic side seems weak. The midfield and attack lacks quality and depth. Milan Baros has struggled for Galatasary this season and has often found himself on the bench. Tomas Necid has just returned from a long term knee injury so he will not be at his best during Euro 2012.
This Czech Republic side will struggle at Euro 2012. The defence looks vulnerable, whilst the midfield and attack lacks depth and quality. Under Michal Bilek, Czech Republic have struggled. Although they have the advantage of playing all three group games at the same stadium, Russia and Poland will cause this Czech side problems. A shock early exit is on the cards for Czech Republic.