Euro 2008 Prospects

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Euro 2008 Prospects

Group A

1. Portugal (seven points). Will record a hard fought victory over the Czechs to capture first place in the group in the second match and then will drop two points to the defensive minded Swiss who will be playing for pride.

2. Czech Rep (six points). First game will show a return of form to the Koller and Baros combination and they will be unstoppable against the Swiss. Their second game will be a disappointing one goal loss to the Portuguese, but they will rebound and outclass the Turks to grab second place.

3. Turkey (three points). After being demolished in their first game by the Portuguese, the Turks will recover and record a plucky win over Switzerland to give themselves hope. However, they will be shot down by the Czechs in their final game.

4. Switzerland (one point). Will be outclassed and despite the positives that will be taken from a promising final match display against Portugal their cup run will end there in disappointing fashion. Start looking forward to the maturing of the squad for 2010 though.

 

Group B

1. Croatia (seven points). They will edge this group on goal differential. Professional displays against Poland and Austria will show the excellence of the outside mids (Modric and Kranjcar) and slick passing will prove too much for the hosts and the eastern European country.

A very strong performance against Germany will gain them a draw and their close passing game will yield more goals against the group light weights.

2. Germany (seven points). Will also dominate the games against the two light weights, however, the Austrians and Polish will be more able to defend against the direct German assault. Expect a late goal to win the game against Poland and an efficient performance against Austria.

3. Poland (three points). Will perform admirably against Germany, and then have a promising performance against Poland that will yield three points. However, their final match will be for them as they will be danced around by the creative Croats.

4. Austria (no points). What can I say that hasn't already been said. Worst team at the Euros and it will show.

 

Group C

1. Italy (seven points). Strongest team in the tournament. They will gain a draw against the Dutch in their opening game before an efficient performance sees off Romania and the game of the group stages sees them knock off the French.

It will prove to be a brilliant exit for all of the 30 somethings that are most likely playing in their last international tournament.

2. Netherlands (five points). The draw against Italy will buoy them to gain a somewhat surprising victory against the French. They will go into the final game of the group with four points and play efficiently but will continue their problems against the Romanians and only grab a draw... but it will be enough to see them through.

3. Romania (four points). This will be an introduction to what the Romanians can be for World Cup 2010. They will capitalize on their chances against the French in their first game to cause one of the upsets of the tournament. And even though Italy will see them off and they will only be able to grab a point against the Dutch, it will be all positives.

4. France (no points). They will miss Vieira more than they believe. The hole will haunt them against the young Romanians who will expose whatever chances they can get. France's infamous ability to waste opportunities will also come back to haunt them as they will miss good chances in all three games that will leave them asking what could have been...

 

Group D

1. Sweden (five points). Will find it tough against Greece in their opener and will only be able to grab a draw, which will be repeated when they play against Spain. Will come out in the final game and grab a well deserved victory over Russia to book their passage as surprising group leaders.

2. Greece (five points). Good draw against Sweden will invigorate the counter-attacking and set-piece side. They will use the same tactics to their advantage against Russia and grab a hard fought win.

Will then find a plucky goal in the most aggravating game of the tournament against Spain to win it 1-0. Everyone will wonder how the Spaniards did not find the net with the plethora of chances that they will have.

3. Spain (four points). Opening day demolition of Russia will give them the hope that they have put their recent form behind them and have found the ability to win soundly. But then a defensive mistake will cost them two points against Sweden, and the loss of confidence resulting from this will lead to Spain underachieving for yet another year.

4. Russia (no points). The groups whipping boys will do nothing but send Guus Hiddink to find another international team to manage with a bit of a higher profile. They just don't have enough attacking threats to cause an impact, and Andrei Arshavin can't carry a national team as he sometimes does with Zenit.

 

Quarters

Czech v Germany. Germany will outlast the Czechs in a hard fought and entertaining match. After trading early goals the game will be energized by a goal before half time from the Germans and the Czechs won't be able to recover.

Portugal v Croatia. This is an interesting match up. Two relatively young attack minded sides. Chances galore and entertaining midfield play. Portugal wins it due to the higher quality of their center defenders esp. Carvalho.

Italy v Greece. No Euro 2004 repeat, sorry. Italy will outclass the Hellenic nation all over the pitch and will firmly represent their tag as tournament favorites in one of the most impressive performances in the tournament.

Netherlands v Sweden. The Dutch will have just enough class to grab a hard fought victory here. Sweden will go down fighting, but this will have been too much on their returning star Henrik Larsson.  He won't be able to play up for the big game as much as one would expect, and the Swedes will struggle to fill the gap.

 

Semis

Germany v Portugal. Germany will take another hard fought victory in this match and please the regional fans. Look to have some bad blood spilt during this game however as the tempers of some of the Portuguese could boil over at this point.

Italy v Netherlands. Another year of penalty heart break for the Dutch!! They will play a fantastic game and choke from 12 yards yet again. Italy's professional nature shines through and sees them into the final.

 

Final

Germany v Italy. Germany just edges this in another game of what could have been. A mistake at the back for Italy and a couple missed chances will grant the Germans their first victory in the competition since 1996.

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