Rooney and England learn their fate

Relief was the main reaction as England learned who they will face in next summer’s European Championship finals. Fabio Capello’s team were drawn in Group D alongside France, Sweden and the co-hosts Ukraine.

Capello greeted the draw with cautious optimism. England beat Sweden in a recent friendly, France are undergoing a period of transition, and Ukraine’s preparations for the tournament have been indifferent. Capello was pleased to escape Group B where Holland, Germany, Portugal and Denmark will battle it out to progress to the quarter-finals.

"All the games will be difficult," Capello said, "but I know all the teams we will play against. France are a really good team and difficult to play against, Sweden have good organisation, and we played Ukraine in qualifying for the World Cup. But all the games in this tournament will be difficult."

The French coach, Laurent Blanc, suggested that England would be favourites to win the group, with the other three teams striving to qualify, although Capello won’t be making the same assumption.

Wayne Rooney’s appeal against his 3-match suspension will be heard by a UEFA committee, and England are hoping that he will be given the chance to play in the last group game, against Ukraine. The manager has already told Rooney that he will be included in the squad regardless of the length of his suspension.

England’s decision to base themselves in the Polish city of Krakow means they will now face 4,000 miles of travelling to their group games in Kiev and Donetsk. Their opponents will all be based in Ukraine.

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