By Joe Brewin
Arsène Wenger believes winning Euro 2012 Group D will be crucial for England’s hopes of success in the tournament.
Fabio Capello’s side were pitted with France, Sweden and Ukraine in Friday’s draw, setting up a potential Quarter-Final clash with Spain.
The Spanish will head into the tournament as favourites and, assuming they top their own group, Wenger says avoiding them will be key for England.
“England v France is the first game,” he said. “The difference will be made against the two other teams. I believe Ukraine and Sweden will make the difference.
“It could be a draw in the first game and then it will be about who gets out. But if you think that Spain could finish first in the [related group], it is important not only to qualify but also to finish first in the groups.
“If all the players are available it is difficult to predict,” he added. “England have a disadvantage as they do not have [Wayne] Rooney, who is not only a good player but gives confidence in the dressing room.
“Will [Jack] Wilshere be back? Hopefully. But no one has enough authority to predict a super favourite.
“It is very open. If these two teams come out of the group they can do well. But Sweden are never easy for England and Ukraine are at home.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Dec 2011