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Ruby’s not Russian to back England at Euro 2012

by Sean Goff | June 5, 2012
Ireland v Russia 2011

WARRIOR: Ireland’s Richard Dunne gets across to tackle Russia’s Aleksei Berezutskiy

He may be the best National Hunt jockey of his generation but when he’s not booting home the winners Ruby Walsh will be feet up in front of the TV watching the footie.

And the Kildare man is no impassive observer either at Euro 2012 as he told the Paddy Power Blog team fresh after giving Paddy Power punters the steer on swerving Maybe in the Epsom Oaks and lumping on Camelot in the Derby.

 “I’m not a f****** soccer genius or anything but I’ll be watching it alright,” Walsh said. “I think England will struggle in Group D more than Ireland in Group C . Roy Hodgson is a good manager but it’s difficult to put a team together in such a short space of time.

“England will struggle to score goals. People confuse the Premier League. It’s not all about English players except for a few at Manchester United or Arsenal.

“You take Robin Van Persie out of the Arsenal side and they are half the team without him.

Goal scorers

“It’s a huge ask of Andy Carroll or Danny Welbeck to go to their first Championships and replace Wayne Rooney (suspended for the first two games) as England’s main goal threat,” said Walsh.

Ruby did fancy Frank Lampard to be England’s top goalscorer at Euro 2012 before a thigh strain ruled the Chelsea midfielder out of Roy Hodgson’s squad last week.

No divided loyalties

And while Ruby may spend most of his time riding big-race winners for Paul Nicholls in England, there is no divided loyalties when it comes to supporting Giovanni Trapattoni’s Boys in Green.

“Trap has made Ireland very hard to beat. It mighn’t be the most entertaining brand of football, but we have to be realistic,” he said.

“We are not Spain or Germany so we have to adopt a style that suits us. I think we’ll get out of Group C purely because we’ll be hard to beat.”

And that’s a viewed also shared by Paddy Power’s Euro 2012 columnist Robbie Fowler.

“I can see us getting five points. We could beat Croatia in the opener, maybe get a draw with Spain and draw or even beat Italy who could struggle to score goals,” Walsh said.

Going to war with Balotelli

And Walsh isn’t convinced that an Italian front line led by Mario Balotelli would cause Richard Dunne to hide under the bed ahead of what could be the pivotal game in Group C.

 “Look, going to a championship is like going to war and I’d f****** hate to go to war with Balotelli at my back.

“The Irish lads have great team spirit they’d fight in the street for each other, the English lads less so but the rest of them …”

And in case you think Walsh will slip into the ususal armchair punditry mode and play it safe by opting  for Spain at Euro 2012, think again.

“I don’t fancy Spain to win outright,” he told the Paddy Power Blog team.

Spain will miss key players

“Without David Villa they are a different side. No team has ever won three championships in a row and Carles Puyol is a big loss.

“He’s the backbone of the side and I don’t think his replacement Gerard Pique will be as effective.

Look, Enough pussy footing around now Ruby, who’s going to win Euro 2012?

Russia can go far. They’re in a weak-looking Group A  and have a good chance of winning it and going on to win Euro 2012 outright.

 “They should have beaten Ireland 7-0 in Moscow except for the heroics of Richard Dunne and Shay Given.

“Germany are always good at tournaments and the Dutch have a chance if they go to play football but if they just want to start kicking everyone, they’ve no chance.”

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