Thommo's Euro picks

Each day this week a member of the Soccer Saturday team has made their Euro 2012 predictions. Phil Thompson rounds off proceedings...

Last Updated: 08/06/12 8:22am

Thommo: says England could slip under the radar in Poland and Ukraine

Holland: could go a long way - if their defence holds up

Young: the Man United trickster could play a key role for Englan

Jelavic: Everton striker will be Croatia's big threat

Jelavic: Everton striker will be Croatia's big threat

I think the Euros will be quite exciting as looking at a lot of results pre-tournament, nobody looks as though they're in absolutely outstanding form.

"If you put through some sturdy defensive performances then you can get out of your group and go far, as the likes of Greece and Denmark have proved before."

Phil Thompson

Quotes of the week

Germany, one of the favourites, got an embarrassing defeat to Switzerland in one of their games, although they were without the Bayern Munich players.

But once it goes into the tournament the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland are the ones we've got to be most nervous about.

The Italians are strange ones, they are going into it under the radar and, of course, there is this latest match-fixing scandal, but that's what it was like during the World Cup in Germany.

Through adversity they seem to get stronger, although I'm not sure about Mario Balotelli. We've seen how volatile he can be.

You look at the 'group of death' - Germany, Holland Portugal and Denmark. That is actually quite frightening when you compare that to Group A, with Poland, Greece, Russia and Czech Republic. It's crazy that you've got all those decent teams in one group and then you've got such an easy Group A. That's the way it goes sometimes.

If you put through some sturdy defensive performances then you can get out of your group and go far, as the likes of Greece and Denmark have proved before.

Who's going to win the tournament?

Germany are my pick. Spain are everybody's favourites but I just wonder if the toil of such a hard season, especially for the Barcelona players, might take its toll on them. Andres Iniesta and Xavi have had their injuries to put up with and they are so instrumental in how they play with Xabi Alonso. But there is something nagging away at me that says that Germany, who know how to play tournaments and get results, will do it.

Who will pose the biggest threat to them?

Holland might upset things as they play such good football. I know they were only playing Northern Ireland the other day but look how they dispatched a team like that - there were no ifs or buts, they simply tore them apart. They have got such an attacking line-up but can they defend as well as they can attack?

Who will be the surprise package of the tournament?

Let's put England in there as the dark horses. The expectation level is not there so the burden isn't on England. If we just get through the group stage then you never know. People say attackers win you the games but it is the defences whicho win you tournaments. It was a big loss losing Gary Cahill but I really think the way Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott played together against Norway showed their strength. That will help England and I always fancy us to keep a few clean sheets. With the expectation not there we can afford to defend a little bit deeper and hit people on the break.

How far will England go?

I think England will get through the group and we will have done well to get to the quarter-finals. But you never know, we could get to the semi-finals with a bit of luck.

Who will be England's star man?

I fancy Ashley Young. He's shown that he is adept at playing in different positions and causes problems for people, getting in between the lines and drifting in the space. It's going to be difficult if he continues in this mould when Wayne Rooney comes back, will he be the frontman with Young?

Who will win the Golden Boot?

You've got to have a strong feeling for Robin van Persie to win that. He's got the credentials at the moment.

Who's your player to watch?

Nikica Jelavic has always done very well for me. He's proved himself at Everton, stepping up from the Scottish league, so he could be one of those dark horses, depending on how far Croatia get. It depends whether they progress and if they can get enough service to him.