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[Archived] Euro 2008


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With no home nations in this years tournament, i feel these european championships will not be top of the pops with the british viewing figures.

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The facts are that the English FA employed probably the worst england manager in my life time or was it the players under preforming? Scotland and N.Ireland gave it their best shot but come up short and Rep Ireland failed miserably under the guidance of the very inexperienced Staunton but to be fair their team is going through a transition stage. The biggest shock was obviously Wales not qualifying ;) the 2-1 victory against San Marino was the worst tosh served up by Toshack in another disappointing campaign.

So these are the Austria/Switzerland euro 2008 groups and a little info

Group A

Czech Republic/ Toped their qualifying group above the Germans only losing 1 game. They have Cech between the pipes is probably their star player as Nedved is retired and not coming back according to reports and Rosicky is out injured. I think they have a good team bond and even though it's a big blow missing 2 very influential players, it will be a surprise if they don't qualify from the group.

Portugal/ came runners up to Poland, have many flairs players like Deco, Simao, Nani and one of the greatest players in the world at this time..Ronaldo. If Scolari gets his tactics right and carvalho can keep it tight at the back then they may go one betting this time round an win the whole thing.

Switzerland/ co hosts and the current manager Jakob Kuhn will be making way for Ottmar Hitzfeld in August. I think they will make a fist of it being the co hosts and having home advantage but no competitive international games in 2 years could work against them. Unfortunately or fortunately depending how you look at it, our very own Vogel didn't make the squad.

Turkey/ The big surprise here is ex rovers player Hakan Sukur failed to make the cut. Turkey came runners up in group C behind Greece and have one of my favorite players in Basturk running the midfield. With the war paint on Rustu, i feel he will need to be on top form to win the battle to make the q/final stages.

Group B

Austria/ co hosts and fully expected to be the whipping boys. Even with their team on home turf the Austrian public are praying not to be embarrassed. Alex Manninger the former Arsenal keeper will be very busy i expect and it will be a huge shock if they can progress from the group.

Croatia/ managed by ex toffee bilic, they saw off England at a rainy Wembley to reach the finals. He has installed a team very capable of getting results and they could make a major impact. In recent tournaments they have been to the later stages, sometimes it takes 3 yellow cards to be issued to one player for them to get a red but thats a different story.

Germany/ hard to beat as usual but have suffered the loss of schneider which is a blow to the camp. Runners up to the Czech in qualifying and not much change in their squad since 2006, Ballack is obviously the key for them. Right off germany at your own peril and our the bookies favorites.

Poland/ This will be a debut for Poland in a european championship and qualified in style by finishing top ahead of Portugal which is no mean feat. Coached by Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, the poles will be hoping to beat their arch enemy Germany and make it though to the last 8.

Group C

France/ In the labeled group of death, France were lucky to make it this far after the wee jocks pushed them all the way. With Zidane in retirement, Barthez, Blanc, Dessaily, Deshamps all long gone, it is a very different French side. They still have quality allover the park but like their rugby team, it really does depend what side turns up on the day.

Italy/ The world cup winners lead by new coach Roberto Donadoni will be looking to add the european championships to the trophy cabinet. With Nesta and Totti retired, it's still a top squad full of class acts. Usually slow starters but if that happens here, then they could be a shock early exit.

Netherlands/ Theres no doubt the Dutch have the skill to win the tournament, their problem to succeed has always been a mental issue or a disruptive squad. Van Der Sar will hang up his international boots at the end of the campain and seedorf will not be included. Rovers own ooijer has been selected in the provisional squad and is probably going to be our only representative. Having finished behind Romania in the qualification stage and being drawn in the same group again along with France and Italy, you could say that they will be under dogs.

Romania/ Always hold this nation in high regard, superb qualification campaign and are some peoples outside tip. Mutu with his previous problems behind him is a threat and i wonder if they will bleach the teams hair again.

Group D

Greece/ The current holders qualified in style only losing one game in the process. After the shock of winning euro 2004, they had a disaster world cup qualification and failed to make it. They are now back on the right track but it will be a miracle if they have success again.

Russia/ Guus hiddink's international cv is nothing short of brilliant. It's looks as though he's got some decent players and a side very capable of doing well. If it all clicks into place then the Russians could be the dark horses at a massive 33/1.

Spain/ My tip for the tournament! With the spine of the team being Casillas, Puyol, Fabregas and Torres....they look in good shape. Spain usually bottle it but this year could be theirs imo. Topped their qualifying group and are being led by "the wise man," it's theirs to win.

Sweden/ Henrik Larrson is back! He come out of international retirement for one last shot and i wish him all the best as he is a top bloke and a great footballing pro imo. Sweden were runners up to spain in the qualifiers and their team reminds me of a premiership dream team with most of the players earning their crust in the epl at one point in their career.

Coral Odds for outright winners

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Really good preview, Presty.

I love the Euros. The 16 team format means that there are very few no-hopers in there, and a lot of the European teams can play with technique and flair. Despite them putting us out at Wembley, I enjoy watching Croatia play.

As for the winners, I'm going to defy conventional football logic and pick Spain, which is sessentially the same as picking England. They have the players but never ever ever do it in the major tournaments. I basically pick Spain before every tournament and they ALWAYS bottle it somewhere. The law of averages states that they have to win it sometime.

It might be weird watching it without a Home Nation, but I'm looking forward to it nevertheless.

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Absolutely gutted England didn't make it. Love these international tournaments.

Spain is a very good shout & I wouldn't grumble if they won it.

Personally I think the winner will come from group C, either France, Italy or Holland.

Gonna go with Holland though I think.

Any chance of a poll? To see who everyone thinks will win?

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Let's just hope there's some entertainment.

Or am I asking too much in hoping some of the 'big names' pull their fingers out? France and Italy played some of the most dire 'winning' football imaginable in the last World Cup.

I fear that Italy will simply repeat this - going by the absolute wingless crapness of many of their club sides of late. I recently noted the AC Milan line-up for a Serie A game - Seedorf, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Kaka, with Pippo Inzagi lone striker.... just a depressing lack of faith in wingers and attacking football (even though those players are individually excellent).

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Gonna go with Holland though I think.

Ladbrokes are offering 150-1 on Holland winning the tournament with Huntelaar being the top scorer.

It'll be tough for him to get many goals in that group though.

Germany must be in with a chance with their side of the draw.

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I can't bloody wait to be honest. At least the coverage this time round will be impartial.

There are so many good teams in the tournament that I can't predict a winner however I believe that any one of France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Portugal and Spain will be successful.

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Big Phil to prove his worth and steer Portugal to victory. Romania, Russia or Croatia to complete the upset of the applecart by reaching the Final. Holland to go home without winning a game as the Dutch curse strikes again.

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I suspect the higher motivation levels of an "unsung" country could well prevail again if they have the coaching to be well-organised. Portugal and Russia certainly have the coaching and I suspect Croatia and Romania do as well.

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My fisrt Euro 2008 prediction (cn be changed a little before the tournament starts):

Group A

1. Portugal

2. Czech Republic

3. Turkey

4. Switzerland

Group B

1. Germany

2. Croatia

3. Poland

4. Austria

Group C

1. France

2. Romania

3. Italy

4. Holland

Group D

1.Spain

2. Sweden

3. Russia

4. Greece

Quarters finals

Portugal vs Croatia - Portugal win

Czech Republic vs Germany - Czech Republic win

France vs Sweden - France win

Spain vs Romania - Spain win

Semi finals

Portugal vs Czech Republic - Portugal wins

France vs Spain - Spain win

Final

Portigal vs Spain - Portugal win it.

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Slight Iberian preference there?

For what its worth, I think Russia will be far too strong for the current Swedish side and would beat France in the QF where Romania are the stuff of nightmares for Spain irrespective of how good the Spanish squad is.

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Can't wait and I'm looking forward to it. As mentioned, at least the coverage will be impartial, and I'm sure we'll be seeing the footballing knowledge of the 'pundits' shine through. :rolleyes:

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France will need to step up several gears from their performance against England when they played like almost as big a crowd of strangers as england did. the French crowd were really on their backs despite the fact that they beat us. They have the players to win it but don't seem to have the work ethic and team work that is needed to win a tournament. Mind you, if they do get playing they are pretty good.

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Seriously less interesting without England and I think most of Europe would agree. My money is on France.

It's a fair point that English fans would less interested (though I don't see why you can't just enjoy the football) but to claim that European fans have any sort of particular interest in England's mediocre performers is very strange. I can't imagine that supporters in Holland, Portugal or Spain are decrying England's absence any more than that of Denmark or Serbia.

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I can only really comment on what I hear here in France, but they would certainly much rather have England in the tournament. I think the general feeling is that everyone wants all of the best teams in and, regardless of how poor England were in qualification, most still view them as one of the best sides in Europe.

Fans would get much more excited about a France v England game than they would about France v Croatia.

Everyone has had a laughed at England's expense as a result of their failure to qualify, but I think where Europeans differ from the English is that they don't take a great amount of actual pleasure from the failure. I knew plenty of English people who were very excited by the prospect of either Italy or France not qualifying, they didn't just find it funny, they were actually almost upset when it didn't happen. I haven't met a French person who feels the same way about England.

They'd much rather win Euro 2008 and beat England en route than knock-out Croatia or Romania.

You also have to understand that most of these supporters don't watch England's qualification games, so they didn't see just how bad England were in that phase. They know all of the names and they know that England could be a good side. They also note that England tend to be involved in interesting and/or exciting games in major tournaments (Portugal in 2006 and 2004, France in 2004, Argentina and Brazil in 2002, Argentina in 1998). They're generally good value for money unless you actually want them to win.

I would want to see a European tournament that involved all of the best teams, England still fall into that category for me and they would have the potential to win it if they were involved. I always like to see underdogs progress and it is great if you are a fan of Croatia or whoever else, but I can say that Euro 2004 and World Cup 2002 (and even 2006) were some of the least enjoyable tournaments to watch simply because so many of the lesser nations progressed.

I like one success story, not one big story of failure.

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