As he prepares to lead his side into battle with England on Saturday, Belgian captain Vincent Kompany has outlined his belief that the Three Lions can pull off a shock victory in Poland and Ukraine.
England take on Belgium at Wembley in what will be their final preparation for Euro 2012, and Manchester City captain Kompany believes the Three Lions can justify 9/1 odds for tournament success.
He told The Sun, “England are definitely my pick of the bunch as the surprise team at the Euros.”
After experiencing Premier League glory with City this past season, Kompany will be disappointed to not be making an appearance at the European championships.
The fact that Belgium are not participating in the tournament could aid England though, as they bid for back-to-back friendly victories prior to their appearance at the competition.
Meanwhile, former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson has also offered his belief that the Three Lions should have no trouble in progressing past the group stage this summer.
In his Times of India column, he wrote, “Despite Rooney’s unavailability, I would think that England should easily reach the knockout stage from the group and their real test should start from there.”
Eriksson, who managed the country between 2001 and 2006, led the nation into three major tournaments, including Euro 2004, and England were quarter-finalists in each of these competitions.
He knows better than most the scrutiny that new England boss Roy Hodgson will come under during the tournament, but praised the bravery of his squad selection and feels it will stand England in good stead to progress from the group at 1/2.
“I would give the thumbs-up to Hodgson for the way he went about picking his squad and had the courage to drop someone like Rio Ferdinand after considering his fitness worries,” he wrote.
England are 13/8 to win Group D, and with someone of Eriksson’s experience maintaining such faith in them, they look well worth investment at that price.