Tough draw for holders, English
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Defending champions Spain and 1968 winners Italy will clash in Group C of UEFA EURO 2012 after the draw for next year's finals was made on Friday.

The Republic of Ireland and Croatia make up the pool, with the top two sides progressing to the quarter-finals.

England were drawn in Group D with co-hosts Ukraine, Sweden and two-time winners France.

"England are one of the biggest nations in football," France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris told Tele Lyon Metropole. "They'll start as favourites in the group...Behind England, the Ukraine, Sweden and France will fight for second place."

It's a difficult draw but a great draw.
Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder

In a mouth-watering Group B, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal were all drawn together, while co-hosts Poland will face Greece, Russia and Czech Republic in Group A.

"It's a difficult draw but a great draw," Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder told Dutch television channel NOS. "We know our three opponents very well. If we manage to beat them and get out of the group, we'll be well placed to win the tournament. I'm confident."

The three-week long tournament, which runs from 8 June to 1 July, will be hosted by four cities in each country -- Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Poznan in Poland; Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv in the Ukraine.

Poland will face 2004 winners Greece in the opening game on 8 June.

Groups for UEFA EURO 2012:


Group A

Poland
Greece
Russia
Czech Republic

Group B
Netherlands
Denmark
Germany
Portugal

Group C
Spain
Italy
Republic of Ireland
Croatia

Group D
Ukraine
Sweden
France
England