Looking Forward To Euro 2012
By Jim Bonner
Updated Sunday, 3rd June 2012
Pompey presence in Poland and Ukraine.
The past domestic season has been one of the worst I can ever remember as a Pompey fan, so I'm quite looking forward to Euro 2012 when it kicks off this Friday.
Portsmouth fans may well recognise a few familiar faces who once donned the royal blue. Here are the players that once played at Fratton Park and are now representing their countries at this year's tournament.
In Group A it is a case of the forgotten men, or at least you'd want to forget them. A year ago, Kostas Chalkias was voted into the worst ever Portsmouth team and yet goes to Euro 2012 as the tournament's oldest player at 38-years-old.
Going to Poland with him is Greek compatriot Theofanis Gekas. Prolific at other clubs, Tony Adams and Paul Hart clearly didn't rate him as he played barely a minute of football at Fratton Park before going to Germany where he continued to impress.
Some people may have forgotten that Milan Baros of the Czech Republic played for Portsmouth during the second half of the 2007/2008 season, although he never once found the net for us.
In Group C there is only one ex-Pompey player who might be worth keeping an eye on. Niko Kranjcar can hardly get a game for Tottenham these days but you'd expect him to be a key figure in Slaven Bilic's plans.
Stephen Henderson and Liam Lawrence were hoping to be called up by Giovanni Trappatoni's Republic of Ireland squad but neither made the cut.
Younes Kaboul was primed to join up with the French squad to take on England and co. in Ukraine but he has been ruled out by injury. It may also be surprising to see that Lassana Diarra was never called up by Laurent Blanc.
As for the England squad, a former Pompey player of the season in Glen Johnson will no doubt start at right back in Roy Hodgson's team but Jermain Defoe will surely be on the bench.
As for England, how will they do in this year's tournament? Expectaions have been lower than ever in my lifetime and going by the two friendlies that have been played against Belgium and Norway, I would say we're solid but very unspectacular.
There is a possibility of a group stage exit given that France are a better team, Sweden have always been the bogey nation and Ukraine are the hosts but I think England will scrape through and get knocked out by Spain in the quarter-finals.
But who will win Euro 2012? I think Germany are the favourites but the Netherlands will also pose a huge threat. I don't think Spain will win it due to a lack of options up front. Torres is out-of-form and has been for months whilst David Villa is irreplaceable.
Still, it should be a good watch overall and some much needed football respite before the inevitable struggle that will hit Portsmouth FC in the 2012/2013 season.