Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spain named top seeds for Euro 2012

Defending champions Spain will head the list of group seeds in next month's draw for the Euro 2012 finals.

The 2010 World Cup winners will be in Pot 1 along with the Netherlands and co-hosts Poland and Ukraine on December 2, European football's ruling body UEFA announced on Wednesday.

Poland, 28th in the European rankings, will be in Group A and 15th-placed Ukraine in Group D for the 16-team tournament, the last before an expansion to 24 nations.

Pot 2 comprises three-time champions Germany, 1968 winners Italy, England and Russia -- who as the Soviet Union won the first tournament held in 1960.

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Greece, the 2004 champions, are the only qualifying group winners in Pot 3, which also features the best runners-up Sweden and playoff winners Portugal and Croatia.

Denmark and two-time champions France won their qualifying groups, but face the prospect of being drawn with two other major nations after being put in Pot 4 due to a low coefficient rating for results over the past few years.

Playoff winners the Republic of Ireland and the Czech Republic are also in the bottom pot.

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Meanwhile, Turkey coach Guus Hiddink has agreed to stand down from his position after failing to qualify from the playoffs.

Tuesday's 0-0 draw in Croatia meant a 3-0 aggregate defeat for the 65-year-old Dutchman, who won just seven of his 17 matches in charge.

Hiddink ruled out a return to the Netherlands, where he had been wanted by Ajax, but has been linked with a possible position at his former English club Chelsea.

"I'm not ready to retire, I like to be involved with a team on a daily basis, but maybe I am ready to step out of the limelight a little bit, away from the cameras," he told Dutch website Voetbal International.

"Hopefully I will still be involved but perhaps it will be as an adviser or a consultant."

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