Euro 2008: Handicapping the Group Stage
The European Championships will surely be a magnificent event. Who will survive the group stage? This is Jonathon Murphy's verdict.
Group A consists of Switzerland, Czech Republic, Portugal and Turkey.
This is a tough group with Portugal, Turkey and Czech Republic in it. I think Switzerland will have a go but will not be good enough. The winners of that group will be Portugal. Because of recent form, the runners-up of group A will be Turkey.
Group B consists of Austria, Croatia, Germany and Poland.
This could be a wide open group, and we may see an outsider creep into the quarterfinals. I would favour Germany to win the group, but the runners-up is a hard prediction. Austria and Poland will have to fight for their place, but Croatia will go through.
Group C consists of Netherlands, Italy, Romania, and France.
This is a tough group for any team and a fun group to follow. There will definitely be some interesting games in this group. Sadly, Romania will not be competing in the quarterfinals. So it's a battle against three.
France never quite on top form in Euro. Netherlands also haven't been their best, but they have a good chance. Italy, the world, champions will also be up there.
I think the winner of that group will be the Netherlands and runners up will be Italy. It could be decided on goal difference, and with Romania in the group, goal difference shall be high.
Group D consists of Greece, Sweden, Spain and Russia.
Again, this is another tough group. It has two teams on good form and the defending champions. Greece will not want to go out in the group stage as defending champions and can be good when they want to be.
I would love to see Spain go all the way, and they are also in good form. Russia have something to prove, and with Guus Hiddink as coach, anything could happen.
Sweden usually do well on big occasions and will be up for a battle. I think because of form the winner will be Spain and the runners-up will be Russia.
So I think the quarter finals will consist of:
Spain, Russia, Netherlands, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Portugal and Turkey.
I will report back after the group stages to analyse who are through to the quarters and I shall predict the next results. Keep checking.
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