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Group D 'could have been worse'

Published: Friday 2 December 2011, 21.21CET
With Ukraine, Sweden, France and England, Group D is far from easy, but Oleh Blokhin, Erik Hamrén, Laurent Blanc and Fabio Capello know it could have been even tougher.
by Bogdan Buga, Martyn Hindley & Alfredo Rodríguez
from Kyiv Palace of Arts

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Published: Friday 2 December 2011, 21.21CET

Group D 'could have been worse'

With Ukraine, Sweden, France and England, Group D is far from easy, but Oleh Blokhin, Erik Hamrén, Laurent Blanc and Fabio Capello know it could have been even tougher.

UEFA EURO 2012 Group D is far from easy but the coaches of Ukraine, Sweden, France and England agreed the draw could have been even tougher.

It could have been better, it could have been worse. The games will show everything
Oleh Blokhin
I'm really satisfied that we have three games here in Kyiv, a fantastic city, and we can have three games here
Erik Hamrén
We are in an even group, with favourites England and three others that have their chances to qualify for the second round
Laurent Blanc
We know that if we get through we will have the possible chance of playing against Spain or Italy in the next round – that is tremendous
Fabio Capello

Oleh Blokhin, Ukraine coach
My reaction is quite normal – I believe we got good teams, there are no bad teams here. This is one of the best European Championships, where the best European teams are represented. Therefore I feel fine about it. It could have been better, it could have been worse. The games will show everything.

It's positive [playing Sweden and France after recent losses to them], because the team wants a return match. When I spoke to the guys, and from what they said, I think they want that return match. The England team is the England team, although recently the English national team haven't been achieving top results in the European Championship or the World Cup. But English football is among the best in Europe. They are a good strong team.

Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
I'm satisfied. It's going to be a tough group with three good teams – England, France, two big nations, and as a home team Ukraine will have a lot of energy. So we are the underdogs, of course. But I'm really satisfied that we have three games here in Kyiv, a fantastic city, and we can have three games here. It's going to be really good for our supporters to have the camp in Kyiv.

At the last EURO we won the first game and lost the second two. So [the opening game against Ukraine is] not so important any more. You have to win them all if you are going to go further. But of course the first game is always important.

Laurent Blanc, France coach
What groups are not difficult tonight? All the groups are tough and an even harder one is Group B. Let's not forget that we could have been in Denmark's position. In a draw you are never satisfied, but I think it could have been more dangerous and more difficult for France. We are in an even group, with favourites England and three others that have their chances to qualify for the second round.

We've played [England] recently but it will be different as it will be a competitive game in an official competition. They will certainly have a player less, as Rooney will be suspended for that game as it is the first game. France v England is always tough, it's always hotly contested with a lot at stake. These are games we enjoy playing and I hope that will be the case for this one.

Fabio Capello, England coach
It will be difficult as we face France in our first game but we will be looking to win. We know that if we get through we will have the possible chance of playing against Spain or Italy in the next round – that is tremendous.

All the teams are very good, because they have got to this tournament because they are really very good. We have found a good place [for our base], we are happy with the facilities and we will stay in the same place in Krakow. I hoped we would get the chance to play Spain or Italy in the quarter-finals.

Group B is a very, very difficult – with Portugal, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, that is very tough. The best group was probably Group A but we are happy to be in Group D. It is a tough group but it is better than Group B.

Group D schedule
Monday 11 June

FRA v ENG, 18.00CET, Donetsk
UKR v SWE, 20.45CET, Kyiv

Friday 15 June
UKR v FRA, 18.00CET, Donetsk
SWE v ENG, 20.45CET, Kyiv

Tuesday 19 June
ENG v UKR, 20.45CET, Donetsk
SWE v FRA, 20.45CET, Kyiv

Last updated: 26/10/12 14.10CET

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