Euro 2008 Group C Preview: The Group Of Death
This tournament's group of death really does live up to its name, as it features the World Champion Italian side, World Cup runners-up France, as well as Holland, and Romania.
Three of the four (with Romania being the exception) are well-known amongst the best of the best, and there are many players in their lineups who are amongst the top class in Europe.
Luca Toni: A prolific striker as well as an experienced one; should be a force to reckon with for any back line.
Gianluigi Buffon: Arguably the best keeper in the world, and possibly best-dressed too.
Alberto Aquilani: It could be this young midfielder's coming-out party.
Thierry Henry: Will he dazzle the masses on the international stage one last time? Or take a flop, like his last season at Barcelona?
Karim Benzema: The next great French striker will only make an impact if Domenech utilizes him, as it has been rumoured that he is not particularly fond of the young attacker.
Franck Ribéry: France's playmaker—if anyone were to carry France on their shoulders, it would be him.
Samir Nasri: The next Zidane?!?
William Gallas: Simply put, the best defender in the world.
Edwin van der Sar: Old Faithful guarding the old onion bag
Ruud van Nistelrooy: In great form and has something to prove this tournament, which may also be his last.
An unknown team to most, but there is one threat that may lead to multiple upsets of Europe's strongest.
Adrian Mutu: If you don't know him, get to know him, because by the time Group C has been wrapped up, every single player and coach in that group will know it.
This group is a nightmare for anyone formulating predictions or odds, but the group winners will most likely be Italy. It would be safe to say second is up for grabs, but so is first, and with that first prediction, Netherlands look like the best bet for second spot.
France needs a new coach. Domenech has done them well, but has not utilized the fresh bunch of players he has been given effectively.
Romania will probably come in third, but don't be surprised if they grab second place and sneak through to the next round. Also, if that happens, you might just start thinking about what happened in 2004 with Greece.
Italy is essentially the same side they were in 2006, minus a few players due to injury, retirement, or better players filling their place.
Holland usually flops, but if there was ever a guy to put one's faith in when it came to football miracles, than that's Marco van Basten.
The fact is, this group is unpredictable, despite these, or any other predictions. One thing is certain, though—it should be a hell of a ride to watch.
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