England - With a long habit of fucking up major tournaments, dating back just short of 1966, this England team has really had their act together as far as maintaining that losing streak. At least Fabio Capello had the good sense to get out in the heat of yet another controversy that could have been avoided if his captain, John Terry, was not such a colossal scumbag. Sleeping with a national teammate's baby mama? Check! Racially abusing a national teammate's brother during a match for Chelsea? Check! With Terry's judicial trial looming on charges for said racial abuse, which was compassionately pushed back until after this tournament, Capello wisely resigned just a few months before a major international tournament. I always thought there were also just as many footballing reasons to expect disappointment, an apex being Wayne Rooney's two-match ban for violent conduct, and there was certainly a matter of convenience to his resignation.
After two months of rampant speculation over the identity of a new manager, the English FA took their talents in a much blander, safer direction with Old English Dog Roy Hodgson, manager of middling teams such as West Bromwich Albion and (sadly, honestly) Liverpool. It's these less exciting qualities that Woy was likely hired for, as he'll drag these dynamic players through the muck of pragmatism and the mud of discipline. They'll be set up to get results, and should have little trouble advancing from their group.
Puff Puff Pass: Puff Puff!
France - After the sham that was Les Blues 2010, including a full on mutiny in South Africa, there is absolutely no where for this French team to go but up. It's a veritable Mos Eisley of scumbags, though one short as Nikolas Anelka is collecting big paychecks over in China. I'd fancy their chances if the tournament matches were contested with three or four balls, but with football's current one-ball-per-game format, paired with a squad chock full of selfish players, there just aren't enough balls to go around. Frank Ribery would require his own ball, if he weren't out soliciting underage prostitutes ALL THE TIME, and Karim Benzema would just as soon die than pass up a shooting opportunity for a chance to open up the play.
Either the French or the English will meltdown to allow our next team to advance...
Puff Puff Pass: Puff!
Sweden - If I could impart one piece of advice to Swedish opposition, it would follow thusly: DO NOT FOUL them around the box. Between Sebastien Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimvoic, there is almost no place within 35 yards where I wouldn't fancy their chances at a dead ball. You will marvel at the spin of Larsson's kicks, and equally be dumbfounded when Zlatan's appears to not spin at all, as both players are capable of curling balls this way AND that.
I recently heard Zlatan Ibrahimovic reffered to as the bastard love child of Derek Zoolander and Ivan Drago. While this made me laugh, I would swap Ivan Drago for Steven Segal, what with the appaling pony tail and all the karate. As for Zlatan, the player...what a player he is, though he is coming off a relatively disappointing season, where he failed to win a domestic championship for the eigth season IN A ROW. Consider that run paired with his scoring record, and he is a player no team will want to see playing, no matter who surrounds him.
Puff Puff Pass: Puff!
Ukraine - As co-hosts, the Ukrainians will have the adrenaline advantage and little else in their favor. In what could be Andriy Shevchenko's final bow at a major tournament...well, what's Ukrainian for the opposite of a victory lap?
Puff Puff Pass: Pass!