June 7, 2008

Euro 2008 kicks off

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Yes, it’s time for that lovely tournament that takes place smack-dab in between World Cups. It’s the European Championship — better known as Euro (insert year here). So what can we expect from this year’s edition besides more flopping than the Boston Celtics? A ton of skill, a bunch of upsets and some really drunken afternoons for North American soccer fans.

So how about we break down the groups and get a some insight on how it’ll all go. It should also be noted that I’m wearing my official Germany Euro 2008 jersey while writing this so it may be slightly biased.

Group A: Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. shouldn’t have any problems in this group. If you’re playing fantasy it is worth the steep investment to have him on your squad … The Czechs are dealing with some injury problems — most notably losing their key midfielder Tomas Rosicky — and have even been trying out a new 4-5-1 formation … The Swiss may have surprised some at the World Cup but don’t expect too much from the co-host. The only way they’ll make it through is if the Czechs falter … As for Turkey, well thanks for coming out.
Picks to advance: Portugal and Czech Republic

Group B: Austria, Croatia, Germany and Poland.
Germany shouldn’t have any problems in this group; their backups could play and they would more than likely still advance … It should be noted that Poland has never beaten Germany. This is the first time the Poles have qualified for the Euros … Croatia had an impressive record in qualifying and should not be overlooked. They will miss striker Eduardo but shouldn’t have a problem moving on … Austria is miles behind everyone else in Euro 2008. They’ll be lucky to score a goal.
Picks to advance: Germany and Croatia.

Group C: France, Italy, Netherlands and Romania.
There’s always one “Group of Death” in these types of tournaments and this is it. The defending World Cup champs in the same group as the runners up? That’s how tough it is. France will be playing a more offensive-styled game with two strikers (Henry and Benzema) … The Netherlands are a team that everyone is picking to go far and shouldn’t disappoint, they’ve made the semi-finals the past two Euros … Italy will be without captain Fabio Cannavaro and might not advance because of that loss. They were also slow to get moving in qualifying under their new manager who is admittedly learning on the job … Romania is a threat to no one and may go down 0-3.
Picks to advance: France and Netherlands.

Group D: Greece, Russia, Spain, Sweden.
Defending champions Greece won’t surprise anyone this year; they’re ranked eighth in the world by FIFA. Their big problem is offence but their defence keeps them in games … Sweden is often over-rated and shouldn’t be going too far … Russia’s qualification bounced England and made the Soviets look legit. They look like they could be a darkhouse team in the tournament … Spain will always have a great team that doesn’t live up to its potential. They could win it all if they play to their max.
Picks to advance: Spain and Russia.

2 Comments

  1. [...] fear down my spine and a sense that the game wouldn’t be the cake walk I expected. I’ll never take the Turks for granted with a “thanks for coming out,” statement. They’ll be even better when Nuri Sahin joins the team in the not-too-distant [...]

  2. [...] and in case you were wondering, my picks to advance went 6-for-8 with only the Czechs (who would’ve picked Turkey?) and the French (damn Italians) [...]

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