Tag Archives: Samir Nasri

Manchester City v Manchester United Preview

City-Utd

The first Manchester derby of the season is here as Manchester City and Manchester United resume their rivalry on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium which could provide vital momentum in the title race.

Roberto Mancini’s City emerged victorious in both the Premier League encounters last season, winning 6-1 at Old Trafford and 1-0 at home before winning the title in the most dramatic style on the final day of the season.

The reigning champions have made a decent start to the defence of their crown and remain unbeaten after 15 games, but it is United who have a three-point advantage at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s meeting. There have been indications that it is already a two-horse race for the Premier League title, with others rivals – Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – struggling for consistency.

City’s participation in the Champions League and even Europe came to an end with a 1-0 loss to the Bundesliga champions – Borussia Dortmund in the midweek, while they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last weekend after a less than impressive performance. United, on the other, were also beaten 1-0 (at home) by CFR Cluj but had already won the group so Sir Alex Ferguson was able to rotate his squad. The 19-time league champions overcame Reading 4-3 last weekend and have been in superb form going forward all season, but it was yet another match in which they fell behind and this time not once but twice.

Ferguson will surely be demanding greater concentration against a team that has the best defensive record in the league and haven’t lost a single game at home since December 2010. The Scot says it would be one of United’s best-ever results if they can win on Sunday.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester City

City’s influential playmaker David Silva will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the Manchester derby at home. The Spanish international missed the Champions League loss to Dortmund with a hamstring injury but remains in contention and is batting to take part on Sunday. Aleksandar Kolarov has been ruled out with a groin problem and Micah Richards (knee) is still sidelined. Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) both should be available for selection, while James Milner (hamstring) is likely to miss out.

Manchester United

Tom Cleverley is doubtful for Manchester United after limping out in the first half of the game against Cluj and will have a scan on his calf injury. Sir Alex Ferguson has also revealed that Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic (both) are struggling to be fit in time for the derby and may completely be ready for the Sunderland game. Antonio Valencia (thigh), Nani and Anderson (both hamstring) have been ruled out of the important clash, while the likes of Robin van Persie and Patrice Evra are set to return to the starting XI after being rested in midweek.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 164
Manchester City Wins – 46
Draw – 50
Manchester United Wins – 68

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

30-Apr-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
08-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
07-Aug-12 – Community Shield – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
16-Apr-11 – FA Cup – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

FORM GUIDE

Manchester City – LDWDD
The Citizens have been unbeaten in the league so far this season and are just three points behind leaders Manchester United in the standings. But they have won just once and drawn thrice in their last five games in all competitions, with the only win coming at Wigan. A win on Sunday will take them above United in the league table on goal difference.

04-Dec-12 – Champions League – Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-1 Everton
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester City
25-Nov-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
21-Nov-12 – Champions League – Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid

Manchester United – LWWWL
The Red Devils come into this match on the back of three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are sitting three points clear of their opponents at the top of the table. But they haven’t hit top gear and their defensive frailties have already been exposed. A win on Sunday will be massive one and will take them six points clear of City at the top.

05-Dec-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 0-1 CFR Cluj
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Reading 3-4 Manchester United
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
24-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-1 Queens Park Rangers
20-Nov-12 – Champions League – Galatasaray 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
The Belgium international scored the only goal in last season’s 1-0 win over United at the Etihad stadium – which won them the title – and was also as solid as rock at the back. The club captain is an inspirational presence for Roberto Mancini, and his match-up against Robin van Persie will see arguably two of the best players in their respective positions battling in a mouth-watering clash. How he copes with the Dutchman and what he can offer going forward will be the key to the outcome of the game, but one thing is for sure – if Kompany is on form, City are a very hard team to beat.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
All eyes have been on Robin van Persie this season, and – even Javier Hernandez has gone past Wayne Rooney in the goal-scoring charts, but numbers alone do not tell the full influence of the 27-year-old on his side. With the Dutch forward being the target man of the strike force, Rooney will certainly drop deeper when United lose possession, and will try to create chances from further back in the final third. His work rate and distribution are very important in clashes like these, and with two strikes in his last league game at Reading, the England forward may be in line for a hot goal-scoring streak.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany (C), Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri; Sergio Aguero.

City XI

City manager Roberto Mancini is likely to recall Yaya Toure back to the squad after resting him for the Champions League game against Dortmund, while David Silva may well recover from his hamstring injury in time for the big game. Joe Hart continues in goal as Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic will play ahead of him in centre of the defence. Aleksandar Kolarov (groin) has been ruled out, which means Gael Clichy could be rushed back after recovering from his ankle injury, but should he not be ready Joleon Lescott could slot in or Pablo Zabaleta could switch sides win Maicon coming in on the right side. Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure are expected to shield the defence as Silva, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri could play in a more advance role. Sergio Aguero is likely to lead the line for the hosts, with both Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko coming off the bench at some point during the game.

Manchester United (4-3-3): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Ashley Young.

United XI

Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to continue with David De Gea in goal after the keeper made his return to first team action against CFR Cluj in the Champions League. Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra are all expected to be back in defence after being rested during the midweek defeat at home. With Valencia and Nani both out, United are expected to play with the same formation (4-3-3) that won at Reading. Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes will make the three-man midfield with Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young further up the pitch, playing on either side of Robin van Persie. Shinji Kagawa is expected to make the bench, while the inform Javier Hernandez will be an option should the visitors need a goal at some stage of the game.

OPTA FACTS

  • 3 – Man Utd have won 1-0 against City three times in their last six Premier League games at the Etihad.
  • 5 – There have been just five goals scored in the last six league meetings between City and United at the Etihad Stadium and no more than one in any of those games.
  • 10 – Robin van Persie is joint-top scorer in the league, with 10 goals alongside Demba Ba, Michu and Luis Suarez – Man City’s top scorer is Carlos Tevez with seven.
  • 36 – City (15) and United (21) have come from behind to win a combined 36 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.
  • 21 – Man City and Man Utd have been awarded more penalties than any other side in the Premier League since the start of 2010-11.

REFEREE

Name – Martin Atkinson
Based – Yorkshire
Age – 41
Games – 18
Yellow Cards – 71
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Manchester City 13/10, Draw 12/5, Manchester United 21/10

PREDICTION

As both teams have pulled away from the rest at the top of the table, it could turn out to be a very close affair decided by a moment of brilliance or a mistake. City will be looking to attack at home and take full advantage of United’s weaknesses at the back, while the Red Devils will hope to avoid conceding the first goal again but have also shown the determination and character to win games from losing positions. With the winner taking the top spot in the league table, both teams will look to get the 3 points. United have the firepower, but City have a very solid defence, making the hosts slight favourites. Expect United to get something out of this one, maybe a high scoring draw.

Predicted Score: Manchester City 2-2 Manchester United

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Steven Gerrard’s Top Five England Matches

It was a sunny afternoon in May 2000 when Steve Gerrard made his promising England debut against Ukraine and more than 12 years later the Liverpool midfielder is set to win his 100th cap for the Three Lions when he captains them against Sweden on Wednesday night.

He may not have picked up any medals with the national team, but he has surely given his all in the national cause on many occasions. Here we have a look at his top five matches for the Three Lions..

September 2001 – Germany 1-5 England

Gerrard scores his first goal for his country as England come from a goal down to achieve one of their most memorable wins in Munich’s Olympic Stadium and revive their World Cup qualification hopes. Michael Owen scores a hat-trick and there is even a rare goal from Emile Heskey.

June 2006 – England 2 -0 Trinidad & Tobago

Gerrard puts the agony of missing out on the 2002 finals through injury behind him by netting his first World Cup tournament goal to seal victory after Peter Crouch nets the opener with only seven minutes remaining.

March 2007 – Andorra 0-3 England

Gerrard single-handedly wins it for England with an inspired second 45 minutes in this Euro 2008 qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona after a dismal first-half performance. He scores twice before David Nugent nets his only international goal.

September 2009 – England 5-1 Croatia

Revenge is sweet for Gerrard and his team-mates after missing out on the Euro 2008 finals as Croatia are hammered at Wembley to secure a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Liverpool skipper and Frank Lampard share four goals with Wayne Rooney the other man on the scoresheet.

June 2012 – England 1-1 France

One can sense the pride as Gerrard leads England into a major tournament – UEFA Euro 2012 – as official captain for the first time. He sets up the opener for Joleon Lescott with a pinpoint cross only for Samir Nasri to equalise. Gerrard was later named in the UEFA team of the tournament.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Manchester City

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Manchester City’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Roberto Mancini.
Captain: Vincent Kompany
Stadium: Etihad Stadium (47,805).
Last season: 1st.
Leading scorer (PL): Sergio Aguero (23).
Odds: Title 5-4. Relegation 1000-1.

In: Jack Rodwell (£13.2m, Everton)

Out: Gai Assulin (Free, Racing), Ahmed Benali (Free, Brescia), Wayne Bridge (Loan, Brighton & Hove), Greg Cunningham (Undisc.,Bristol City), Owen Hargreaves (Released), Andrea Mancini (Free, Valladolid B) Stuart Taylor (Released), Vladimir Weiss (£1.3m, Pescara)

Kits

Key Man – Sergio Aguero
The former Atletico Madrid striker ended last season as the club’s top goal-scorer after securing the Premier League title with the last kick of the season. The Argentine scored the winner against QPR at the Etihad Stadium which won City their first ever league title in 44 years. Aguero had a great first season in England, scoring 30 goals and if he is able to replicate the same form of last season this year, then there is no stopping the reigning Premier League champions from defending their crown.

Opening Fixtures
19-Aug – Southampton (H)
26-Aug – Liverpool (A)
01-Sep – QPR (H)
15-Sep – Stoke (A)
23-Sep – Arsenal (H)
29-Sep – Fulahm (A)

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry; David Silva, Tevez, Nasri; Aguero.

Verdit: City’s mega rich owners saw their huge investments pay dividends with a dramatic final day finish which clinched the title. However, with the eyes now set on conquering Europe, a successful defence of their Premier League crown will prove a real test. So far, Jack Rodwell has been the only player on whom they have splashed cash this summer, but it’s more of adding more depth to the squad than improving the first XI. The strikers they have are just too good and are hitting top form at the right time. Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero are all capable of playing in the first team of any club in the world, while Edin Dzeko is not at all a bad reserve to have. They have the strongest squad in the league and for me, Mancini’s men are the favourites to win the Premier League again this year.

Prediction: 1st.

Arsenal’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Arsenal had a strong end to the season after having started it with one of the worst starts in their history. The Gunners finished third behind the two Manchester clubs, but had to rely heavily on Robin van Persie’s goals.

This summer, Arsenal have already strengthen their attack by signing the likes of Lukas Podolshi & Oliver Giroud from FC Koln and Montpellier respectively, but they are set to lose their talismanic skipper after he announced yesterday that he has decided against signing a new contract. Arsene Wenger will have to dip in the transfer market and buy some players not only to replace Van Persie but also Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who left the club last summer. Here are Arsenal’s potential summer transfer targets..

HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that the club are ready to listen to offers for the France skipper Hugo Lloris, who is valued around €20m. With Wojciech Szczesny highly inconsistent and a bit less experienced, Lloris would be a great signing for the Gunners but they face some competition from a host of European clubs like Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan.

EMILIANO VIVIANO – PALERMO (GOALKEEPER)

With Manuel Almunia having left the Emirates and Lukasz Fabianski not interested in staying Szczesny’s deputy, Wenger has targeted the 26-year-old Palermo stopper Emiliano Viviano – who is co-owned by Inter Milan – as a possible cover. Neither club view him as a potential first choice for the new season, so his agent has been told he can negotiate a transfer. Fiorentina have also expressed a firm interest in Viviano along with some other Serie A clubs.

MAPOU YANGA-MBIWA – MONTPELLIER (DEFENDER)

The 23-year-old is another defender from Ligue 1 linked with the Gunners this season. Yanga-Mbiwa captained Montpellier to the title this season and was their stalwart in defence. The Montpellier skipper would be a very useful signing for Arsenal as they lack some strong backup for Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. It has been suggested the player would cost in the region of £13m.

ABDOU KADER MANGANE – RENNES (DEFENDER)

Abou Kader Mangane, the 29-year-old Senegalese defender who Wenger has previously shown interest in, is another potential transfer target for the Gunners. The 6ft 4in Rennes centre-back will be a major physical presence at the back and will cost around £4-5m. He has also been linked with the likes of Sunderland and Everton in the past.

YANN M’VILA – RENNES (MIDFIELDER)

The 21-year-old will be a perfect signing for the Gunners and will be a rock alongside Alex Song in the midfield. With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri having left last summer, the Gunners need some quality players in the midfield and M’Vila is surely one of those. Arsenal were once reported to be in ‘advanced negotiations’ with Rennes for the defensive midfielder’s services but nothing has progressed since then. The French international who has been capped 22 times would cost in the region of £20m.

LUCAS BIGLIA – ANDERLECHT (MIDFIELDER)

The experience midfielder is a second choice option for Arsene Wenger behind M’Vila. The 26-year-old Argentine international, who has 6 caps to his name, guided Anderlecht to their second consecutive Belgium league title this season. At just £8m asking price, Wenger may go for the cheaper option.

YOUNES BELHANDA – MONTPELLIER (MIDFIELDER)

The 22-year-old Moroccan is one of the upcoming stars in European football having helped Montpellier win their first ever Ligue 1 title. Belhanda was the standout performer scoring 12 goals and assisting 4 times in 28 matches. Wenger has expressed his interest in the versatile winger, who is rated in the region of £15m, but will face some competition from the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.

ALAN DZAGOEV – CSKA MOSCOW (MIDFIELDER)

The 22-year-old had an outstanding UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine and was the join top goalscorer with three goals. The Russian international, who can play anywhere behind the striker, is valued at £13m by CSKA but with just six-months left on his contract,  the Russians may be forced to accept a lower asking price or lose him for nothing.

DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)

The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Van Persie expected to leave, Wenger might try and sign the 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – but will face some tough competition for his signature from Tottenham, who have also expressed their interest in him.

SALOMON KALOU – FREE AGENT (STRIKER)

According to some reports in the England, Arsenal are interested in the former Chelsea forward who has a lot of Premier League experience and a Champions League winners medal to his name. Kalou is for free but will demand high wages and regular first team football. The Gunners will also face some stiff competition for his services from the likes of Lille, Schalke and Premier League rivals Liverpool.

KLAAS-JAN HUNTELAAR – SCHALKE (STRIKER)

The 28-year-old Dutchman, who has a €20m release clause in his contract, will be a ready-made replacement for his fellow Dutch teammate Robin van Persie at Arsenal. The Schalke hitman who has been on Arsenal’s radar for quite some time now, scored 29 times in 32 Bundesliga matches last season as his club finished third. The former Ajax striker is back to his best following disappointing spells at Real Madrid and AC Milan and will be hoping to try his trade in the Premier League.

SALOMON RANDON – MALAGA (STRIKER)

Randon is not very known outside Spain, but the Venezuelan striker is very highly-rated and was Malaga’s top goalscorer this season. According to the papers in Spain, Arsenal are preparing a £10m bid for him as they look to replace Robin van Persie, but at the same time Chelsea are also interested in him and want him as a cover for Fernando Torres.

Spain v France Preview

World champions Spain continue the defence of their UEFA EURO 2012 crown tonight when they take on France in a mouth-watering quarter-final clash at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

Vicente del Bosque’s La Roja have not been defeated in a competitive match since being shocked by Switzerland in the group stages on their way to winning the 2010 World Cup. Meanwhile, Laurent Blanc’s Les Bleus have lost just once, against Sweden in their last match of Euro 2012’s group stages, in 24 games. It therefore promises to be a closely-fought encounter in Donetsk and the winner will go through to face Portugal in the semi-finals.

Both France, 1998 world champions and 2000 kings of Europe, and Spain are two of the highest praised nations over the past 14 years of international football. But there is also an old score to settle, with Spain still stinging from being mugged by a Zinedine Zidane-inspired France in the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup.

TEAM NEWS

Spain

Spain, who lost Carles Puyol and David Villa before Euro 2012 to injury, have no major new fitness concerns. Alvaro Arbeloa, Jordi Alba, Torres, Xabi Alonso – who will win his 100th cap if he plays – and Javi Martinez are all a booking away from a suspension.

France

France pair Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery sat out Wednesday’s training session due to “minor problems”. It remains to be seen whether Yohan Cabaye will return after the Newcastle United star missed the Sweden defeat with a thigh problem.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played – 30
Spain Wins – 13
Draws – 6
France Wins – 11

FORM GUIDE

Spain – WWDWW
18-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Croatia 0-1 Spain
14-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Spain 4-0 Ireland
10-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Spain 1-1 Italy
03-Jun-12 – Friendly – Spain 1-0 China
30-May-12 – Friendly – Spain 4-1 South Korea

France – LWDWW
19-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Sweden 2-0 France
15-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Ukraine 0-2 France
11-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – France 1-1 England
05-Jun-12 – Friendly – France 4-0 Estonia
31-May-12 – Friendly – France 2-0 Serbia

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Xavi (Spain)
The pass master of the Spanish side, the Barcelona playmaker has yet to truly come alive at the UEFA EURO 2012 after being largely stiffled by defensive opponents. But against a France side that likes to play football, Xavi could be the key and finally be able to weave his magic and bring his team back to form.

Andres Iniesta (Spain)
The Barcelona playmaker has been in fine form in the competition, and has been the main driving force behind a Spanish side without David Villa. Deployed on the left side of a 3-man attack, the 28-year-old frequently beats defenders and provides cutting passes, making him a fearful threat for defenders. Mathieu Debuchy, who is still learning his trade at the international level, could well be troubled by Iniesta.

Hugo Lloris (France)
The French skipper has had very little to do in terms of saves made in the tournament so far but thats going to change against Spain today. The Spanish will come and keep the ball and test the keeper at numerous occasions. The Lyon stopper will have to be at his very best to deny the defending champions from scoring an early goal.

Franck Ribery (France)
With Karim Benzema not able to find the back of the net with his national side, it could be down to the Bayern Munich winger to help the French beat Spain and claim a semi-final spot against Portugal, having claimed 10 goals during his international career and 16 this season for the German giants in all competitions last season.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Spain (4-3-3): Iker Casillas (C); Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba; Sergi Busquets, Xavi, Xabi Alonso; David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta.

The world and European champions are expected to lineup in the same 4-3-3 formation that helped them top their group. There won’t be much changes to side that defeated Croatia in the final game, maybe just one with Fabregas coming in for Fernando Torres. The Chelsea striker was disappointing against a tough Croatia side, while Fabregas on the other hand, provided the chipped ball that lead to Jesus Navas’ winner. The 6-man midfield worked well against Italy in the opening group game and will hopefully work well again today.

France (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris (C); Mathieu Debuchy, Laurent Koscielny, Adil Rami, Gael Clichy; Yohan Cabaye, Yann M’Vila; Jeremy Menez, Samir Nasri, Franck Ribery; Karim Benzema.

Laurent Blanc’s men are expected to play with the 4-2-3-1 formation that has served them very well in past, but with a few changes. Arsenal’s Koscielny is expected to get his first start of the tournament in the heart of the defence alongside Adil Rami, in place of the suspended Philippe Mexes. Yohan Cabaye will also come in the side for Alou Diarra after sitting out of the Sweden defeat. Jeremy Menez is also expected to come in for the ineffective Hatem Ben Arfa, with the later seemed to be happy blasting shot over goal rather than passing to his teammates and creating chances.

MATCH ODDS

Spain 8/11 Draw 5/2 France 4/1

PREDICTION

Spain are the bookies favourites to win this game but it’s not going to be an easy on for the defending champions. Spain have a lot of individual talent in their squad but they haven’t performed their best as a team in the tournament so far and this could be the right time to do so against a not so strong French side, who were easily beaten by Sweden the other day. Spain will play their possession football and mostly in the opposition’s half, while France on the other hand, will look to park the bus in front of the goal and hit the Spaniards on the counter. Defending the whole game looks tough against a Spain side who have a good habit of winning tight games even when they aren’t playing their best.

Predicted Score – Spain 1-0 France

Predicting England v Ukraine And Sweden v France

Defending champions Spain and 2006 FIFA World Cup winners Italy joined the likes of Germany, Portugal, Greece and Czech Republic in the last eight of the tournament after winning their respective matches last night. Spain defeated Croatia 1-0 to send the Croatians out, while Italy registered a 2-0 win over already knocked out Republic of Ireland.

Today it’s time for the final two games of the group stage as co-host Ukraine, England, France and Sweden are all in action. Ukraine face England in a do-or-die clash in Donetsk, while Sweden play for pride as they take on France in Kiev. Here are the predictions for the two games..

Date – 19th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Donbass Arena, Donetsk

Prediction – This one is a huge clash for both the teams, but its all overshadowed by the return of one man – Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United star is back after serving a two match suspension and is set to start alongside Danny Welbeck in the starting XI. England need just a draw to advance but it could very dangerous if they play just for a point, while the co-hosts must win to advance. Anything other than a win and they are out. The game is expected to be an open affair with both teams going for the win rather than just defending. England are the stronger of the two sides and with Rooney coming back they are way more stronger. England will come out and dominate the game from the start. As expected Rooney – who will be playing in the hole just behind the striker – will be the key for the Three Lions. England will have most of the possession but Ukraine will create a couple of early chances. England will continue to dominate and will soon be rewarded for their domination just after the half hour mark. Danny Welbeck – who scored the backheel winner against Sweden – will give his side the lead and his United teammate Rooney will play a huge role in the goal. The co-hosts Ukraine will come out on the offensive after the interval and will go out all guns blazing for the comeback but that will leave them vulnerable at the back. The game will be more stretched in the second half and England wingers will love that. Ashley Young and Theo Walcott will trouble the Ukrainian full backs with their pace and with less than 20 minutes remaining on the clock, Wayne Rooney will announce his return with a goal to grab all three points for his country. Ukraine will join Poland as the co-hosts to be knocked out in the group stages, while England qualify for the quarter finals as the second best team from Group D and will face defending champions Spain in the last eight.

Predicted Final Score – England 2-0 Ukraine (Welbeck, Rooney)

Date – 19th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Olympic Stadium, Kiev

Prediction – This is the first and surely the last dead rubber game of this tournament as it has nothing up for grabs. France are in a good position to qualify, while Sweden are already knocked out. France must lose way badly than England not to qualify for the last eight, if the Three Lions lose to Ukraine today. Can’t see that happening at all. With this not being an important game, Laurent Blanc won’t game his winning team and will most probably play all his star players to give them match practice ahead of the potential quarter final clash against Italy. On the other hand, Sweden will play without pressure as they have nothing to lose. This game will be an open game with France dominating the possession. Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery will be the key for Les Bleus as they will dictate the game and create chances for Karim Benzema and Jeremy Menez. Benzema will open the scoring for the French in the first half and then Franck Ribery will score his first goal of the tournament just before the interval. The 2006 FIFA World Cup finalist will take 2-0 lead into half time but after the interval Sweden will get a goal back. It will be their inspirational skipper, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who has been in top form in this competition – with a thumping header from a Seb Larsson cross. Sweden will attack and go for the second goal and test keeper Hugo Lloris but France will hit them on the break and wrap up the game. Samir Nasri will score the third and final goal of the group stages after a brilliant move involving Ribery, Benzema, Menez and the goal scorer himself. The win means France win the group on goal difference and will play Italy in the 4th quarter finals in Kiev itself, while Sweden go back home without a single point.

Predicted Final Score – France 3-1 Sweden (Benzema, Ribery, Nasri ; Ibrahimovic)

Predicting Ukraine v France And Sweden v England

Yesterday, we saw the first team to be knocked out of the tournament in form of Republic of Ireland, as they were beaten quite comfortably by the defending champions Spain in Gdansk. The first game of yesterday saw Croatia denying Italy and earning a point against them. 

Today is time for Group D as England, France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine are in action. The first match sees Ukraine take on France in Donetsk, followed by a must win encounter between Sweden and England in Kiev. Here are the predictions for the two entertaining matches.

Date – 15th June, 19:00 GMT

Stadium – Donbass Arena, Donetsk

Prediction – Ukraine stunned Sweden in their previous game as they registered a comeback win thanks to two Andriy Shevchenko headers, while France were frustrated and held on to a draw by a very defensive England team. Ukraine are on top of Group D and a positive result today will take them a step closer towards qualifications. On the other hand, France need to win to make sure they are in pole position as they head into their final group game against Sweden. France are the overwhelming favourites to win this game and they will play like wise. Les Bleus will completely dominate the possession and will create many chances. Karim Benzema, who has been inform for both club and country this season, will score the opener. Samir Nasri will double the lead just before half time. Ukraine will show their character as they did against Sweden in the second half and Andriy Shevchenko will get one back for the co-hosts from a set-piece. The 2006 FIFA World Cup finalist will continue to dominate the game and create many more chances. With just 20 minutes remaining, Karim Benzema will score his second of the game and end Ukraine’s hope of getting anything from the game. A truly deserved win for Les Bleus which will take them on top of Group D.

Predicted Final Score – Ukraine 1-3 France (Shevchenko ; Benzema, Nasri, Benzema)

Date – 15th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Olympic Stadium, Kiev

Prediction – This is a crucial game for both the teams. England must win or else they face the a difficult task of winning their last game against Ukraine and hoping for results going their way. If Sweden lose this one then they are out of the tournament, having lost their first game against Ukraine. England were defensive against France but today they will look to play some attacking football. It won’t be easy, though, against the Swedes who have a very good record against the Three Lions in competitive matches. Steven Gerrard will be the key for the Three Lions and his role will determine if England will dominate the game or not. Sweden will dominate the game early on and will score during that period. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will give them the lead which they will hold on till half time. After the break, England will dominate and most importantly Steven Gerrard will be in the heart of everything good England create. Danny Welbeck will soon equalise with a clean finish. The Three Lions will dominate more after the goal and skipper Steven Gerrard will hit a stunning winner to knock Sweden out of the competition. A win for the Three Lions means a draw against Ukraine in their next game will be enough for them to go through.

Predicted Final Score – Sweden 1-2 England (Ibrahimovic ; Welbeck, Gerrard)