Euro 2008: Les Bleus, Azzurri Set for KO

Andrew BarrySenior Analyst IJune 15, 2008

This year's tournament has seen the rise of Croatia, Turkey and Romania and has seen the demise of the Czech Republic, France and the World Champions Italy.

There is no surprise to me personally, that all those sides are set to fall before the quarters. They are all well past their sell-by date and have aging bones at every position.

The most surprising of those flops has been France. They had the youth in reserve, but chose experience over pace. Nasri, Benzema and Gomis are all capable of starting, yet Domenech chose Henry, Anelka and Malouda over them.

They are set to pay big time.

Italy have simply shown their true colours. When faced with something difficult they give up. A 3-0 thumping by Holland showed Cannavaro is severely needed and a 1-1 draw with Romania displayed their lack of cutting edge.

Reports in Italy suggest Donadoni is set to be axed on the back of two poor years since their triumph in Berlin. The tactician behind that famous victory, Marcelo Lippi, is tipped for a return.

However, Italy, unlike France, don't have the youth to inject and will be vulnerable in their upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign. They would need a series of surgeries on their 30+'s to stand a chance in future tournaments.

Many of you will sit there thinking, "Hang on, both of them can still qualify from Group C and win Euro 2008."

It's mathematically possible, yet realistically, there is no chance.

The runner up would face Spain, and if the Spaniards bottled it, it would leave a rematch with Holland who beat both teams by a combined score of 7-1.

The old guard had better move over as Croatia and company are taking their places at the top table.