by Alex Varney

Matt Le Tissier believes England can spring a surprise at the European Championship and advance to the semi-finals.

Exclusive - Le Tissier tips England to reach semi-finals of Euro 2012

England kick off their Euro 2012 campaign against France on Monday with expectations at an all time-low, given star man Wayne Rooney will miss the first two games through suspension and the fact Roy Hodgson was only appointed manager a month ago.

But Le Tissier expects England to get through their group, containing co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden, as well as in-form France, and has backed Hodgson to restore pride in the Three Lions.

“I think we will be quite difficult to beat,” the former England man told H & J. “We might not be the most exciting team in the world but I fancy we can get to the semi-finals.

“The bookmakers are less optimistic. They think England will get knocked out in the group stages. The lowest odds for England to get knocked out are 5/4 and that’s a bit harsh I think because I fancy us to get through the group.

“Anything is possible – we saw what Chelsea did to Barcelona [in the Champions League semi-finals].”