The Euro 2012 seedings were announced earlier today with Croatia grabbing a Pot 1 allocation, ensuring that the Vatreni would not play Europe’s elite on their way to the Championship: Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy, England, Portugal, France, or Russia. The toughest teams Croatia would have to face out of Pot 2 would both be emotional conflicts with Serbia or Turkey; should the balls bounce that way.
There is also the potential for Croatia to draw Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia or Slovenia, and Montenegro in the same group which would cause heated battles in a former Yugoslavia brawl. Thank you Ivica for pointing this out.
Croatia will be clear of England for the first time in two qualifying campaigns. With a restructuring of the national team occurring before our eyes, look for Croatia to easily qualify for Euro 2012. For all those people who are complaining how Croatia can be put in Pot 1, who else would you put before them? Croatia went undefeated through World Cup 2006 qualifying, ended up Euro 2008 quarterfinalists (only losing in a shootout) before finally stumbling in this last World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign. France had to cheat there way into next year’s World Cup, Greece’s run of winning Euro 2004 has finally worn out, and Switzerland, Romania, Czech Republic and Sweden couldn’t get out of Euro 2008 group stage. Serbia, Denmark and Slovakia didn’t even qualify.
I firmly and unbiasedly stand by Croatia’s Pot 1 allocation. Can’t wait for Croatia to play a meaningful game with a clean sheet come late 2010. The draw for Euro 2010 groups takes places February 7th, 2010.