Euro 2008 Preview
Despite England not being involved in the finals, there is still a competition taking place in Austria & Switzerland over the weekend. The BBC & ITV might not be happy that the home nations aren’t represented but they’ll persevere and hope that the football fans will stick with them.
Four years ago in Portugal we saw a pretty dour tournament with a winner in Greece that shocked everyone. The Players seemed jaded and out of form, it was a very disappointing Championships to say the least. The fact that England really could’ve, nay should’ve won it obviously still sticks in the throat.
Switzerland are the seeded team in Group A due to the fact that they are co-hosting the tournament. They aren’t expected to do much but a home crowd could spur them on. The Czech Republic are the class of the group and clear favourites. They failed to go beyond the group stage at the last World Cup but much more is expected of them here. Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the best player in the world at the moment, so can he inspire Portugal to great things? I’m not sure and rounding out the group are Turkey. Not a lot is expected from them but this one of the weaker groups so you just never know.
Austria are the seeded team in Group B and they are even worse than Switzerland. Croatia are a lot of pundits dark horses for the whole thing. With players such as recent Spurs signing Luka Modric and Portsmouth star Niko Krancjar running the show, who would bet against them? Germany are well Germany. I don’t need to write a great deal about them as we all know exactly what they are like. Tournament tested and battle-hardened, Germany are never to be overlooked. Making up the group are Poland. The Poles are overjoyed to of made it and they shouldn’t be overlooked.
Group C is the hardest Group of Death that I have ever seen. France lead the way with their array of superstar talent. Next up are the reigning World Champions Italy. They have a new man at the helm but the majority of that squad are still in place. Then we get to my tip to win the whole thing – the Netherlands. I just have a feeling about their squad, that maybe it is time for them to return to the top of the European football tree. However most are forgetting about Romania who actually won their qualifying group. This group is going to be one of the most fun to watch in major tournament history.
Group D has the reigning European Champions Greece as their seeded side. The Greeks did well to win four years ago but they will not repeat this time around. Russia made it to the finals thanks to England’s (well Steve McClaren’s) incompetence. They have a World Class gaffer in Guus Hiddink who could inspire them on to greater things. Spain will not win Euro 2008, they’ll find some way to screw themselves over, they always do, despite all their talent. That leaves us with Sweden and they’ll be decent but are not good enough to win it all.
TalkFootball.co.uk predicts that the Czechs and Portugal will make it out of Group A. Germany and Croatia should progress out of Group B. The Group of Death will see Italy and the Dutch to through and Group D is wide open but Spain and Russia are our tips.