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Germany to win the trophy, Italy to flop, Benzema to be top scorer - Goal.com's Euro 2012 predictions

Germany to win the trophy, Italy to flop, Benzema to be top scorer - Goal.com's Euro 2012 predictions

Bongarts

Euro 2012 kicks off on Friday in Poland and Ukraine. But who will win the tournament? Who will flop? Which stars will shine? Goal.com's 16 team experts make their predictions

We're only hours away from Euro 2012 kicking off. As always, before the start of every major tournament, comes the fun of predicting the biggest winners and losers.

Goal.com's 16 team experts have stuck their necks out on the line as they attempt to gaze into the proverbial crystal ball and anticipate the outcome of seven categories: the winners, top scorer, dark horses, the biggest flop, best player, young star of the tournament, and their respective country's finish.

Will they have the magic touch, or the Pele jinx?

GROUP A

 Ryan Hubbard
 Poland Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: Poland
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Mesut Ozil
Best young player: Maciej Rybus
Poland prediction: Semi-finals



 Mike Paterakis
 Greece Expert
Winner: Netherlands
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: Ukraine
Flop team: Portugal
Best player: Robin van Persie
Best young player: Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Greece prediction: Quarter-finals


 Max de Haldevang
 Russia Expert
Winner: Spain
Top scorer: Robin van Persie
Dark horse: Croatia
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Xavi
Best young player: Mario Gotze
Russia prediction: Quarter-finals



 Mark Smith
 Czech Republic Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: Croatia
Flop team: England
Best player: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Best young player: Mario Gotze
Czech Rep prediction: Quarter-finals



GROUP B

 Stefan Coerts
 Netherlands Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: Poland
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Mesut Ozil
Best young player: Jetro Willems
Netherlands prediction: Semi-finals



 Michael Hansen
 Denmark Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Robin van Persie
Dark horse: Poland
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Best young player: Danny Welbeck
Denmark prediction: Bottom of group



 Cristan Nyari
 Germany Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: France
Flop team: Spain
Best player: Mesut Ozil
Best young player: Andre Schurrle
Germany prediction: Winner



 Luis Mira
 Portgual Expert
 
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: Poland
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Mesut Ozil
Best young player: Yann M'Vila
Portugal prediction: Group stage



GROUP C

 Ben Hayward
 Spain Expert
Winner: Spain
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: France
Flop team: England
Best player: Andres Iniesta
Best young player: Mario Gotze
Spain prediction: Winners



 Mark Doyle
 Italy Expert
Winner: Spain
Top scorer: Karim Benzema
Dark horse: Russia
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Andres Iniesta
Best young player: Alan Dzagoev
Italy prediction: Group stage



 Luke Matthews
 Croatia Expert
Winner: France
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski
Dark horse: Poland
Flop team: England
Best player: Franck Ribery
Best young player: Yann M'Vila
Croatia prediction: Quarter-finals



 Peter Staunton
 Ireland Expert
Winner: France
Top scorer: Wesley Sneijder
Dark horse: Greece
Flop team: Germany
Best player: Franck Ribery
Best young player: Kyriakos Papadopolous
Ireland prediction: Quarter-finals


GROUP D

 Michael Yokhin
 Ukraine Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Aleksandr Kerzhakov
Dark horse: Sweden
Flop team: England
Best player: Andrea Pirlo
Best young player: Mario Gotze
Ukraine prediction: Group stage



 Svend Bertil Frandsen
 Sweden Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Mario Gomez
Dark horse: Ukraine
Flop team: Portugal
Best player: Mesut Ozil
Best young player: Yann M'Vila
Sweden prediction: Quarter-finals



 Robin Bairner
 France Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski
Dark horse: France
Flop team: Italy
Best player: Mezut Ozil
Best young player: Andre Schurrle
France prediction: Quarter-finals



 Wayne Veysey
 England Expert
Winner: Germany
Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo
Dark horse: Croatia
Flop team: Netherlands
Best player: Mezut Ozil
Best young player: Mario Gotze
England prediction: Group stage



THE FAVOURITES

Winner
Germany are the clear favourites amongst our experts to lift the Euro 2012 trophy, as 10 of the 16 picked Joachim Low's side as the winner. Defending champions Spain only had support from three of our experts, while two backed a resurgent France for success, and only one favoured Netherlands.

Top Scorer
If Germany were the red-hot favourites to claim glory in Poland and Ukraine, then Karim Benzema is the main contender to become top scorer, with eight of our experts predicting the France striker to bag the Golden Boot. Robin van Persie and Robert Lewandowski garnered two votes each.

Dark Horse
Group A's co-host Poland have been pegged as the team most likeliest to surprise with five of our experts choosing them as the dark horses. Croatia and France are also expected to go far in the tournament as three each from our panel predict they will impress. Ukraine earned two votes.

Flop
Two teams featured prominently in this category, and it's no surprise that they are the two nations struggling most in the build-up to the finals. Crisis-hit Italy was the pick to become the flop with seven votes, while injury-ravaged England received four. Two of our experts see Portugal as the major disappointment.

Best Player
Like all the categories so far, there was one clear favourite to emerge as the star of Euro 2012. Mesut Ozil left his peers in his wake as seven of our 16 experts believe the Germany playmaker will be the best player, with Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger trailing with just two votes each.

Best Youngster
The star of the future was the most closely-contested battle. Five of our experts choose Mario Gotze to become the best young player of the tournament, while highly sought-after Yann M'Vila won the backing of three panelists. Kyriakos Papadopolous and Andre Schurrle picked up two votes each.

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