This article is from OnlineSportsFanatic.com.
Euro 2008: My Guess
This group includes four teams capable of moving on. Many people’s pick to win it all, Portugal, is obviously the favorite in this group, and have the player who many see as the top man in the world in Christiano Ronaldo. The Czech Republic is anchored by one of the world’s top goalkeepers, Petr Cech, and have a very good striker in Milan Baros, the top goal scorer in Euro 2004. Switzerland was good enough to advance in the 2006 World Cup, albeit in a weak group. Turkey is a team that played very well at the 2002 World Cup, so we know they can play under the bright lights. However, in this group, I give Switzerland and Turkey a slim chance of moving on past the plainly stronger squads of Portugal and the Czechs. They just have more talent all over. Portugal wins the group, with the Czech Republic coming in second.
I think the clear cut favorites in this group are Croatia and Germany. Croatia, despite the retirement of star striker Dado Prso, still has a very strong squad and could contend for first place in this group. Germany is led by Miroslav Klose up front, and the third place finishers at the World Cup are my favorite to win this group. Host Austria is not a very good team, and just don’t have the quality players needed to contend. Poland is a decent squad, but don’t have the firepower to stay with Croatia and Germany. Germany wins by a slight margin over Croatia, however this may be decided in their match on June 12<sup>th</sup>.
Group C, or the Group of Death, features four teams in the world’s top 12, and this one is shaping up to be a great battle. After today’s matches, Holland has to be the favorite. They have perhaps the world’s top striker in Ruud van Nistelrooy. Arjen Robben should be back for their match with France. Italy now has quite a hole to dig themselves out of. France and Romania battled to a draw today, and I was not impressed at all by the French team. However, I think they will rebound to take second in this group behind Holland. Romania has the defense, but not the offense to advance. Italy just doesn’t have the young legs to compete in the Group of Death. Holland will place first, with France right behind.
I think we all know who the favorite in this group is. Spain is a very talented team. Casillas, the keeper, along with Puyol and Sergio Ramos are the men who keep balls from going in the net. Fernando Torres and David Villa are the guys who do the scoring. It will be a hard fought battle for second though. I don’t give Sweden much of a chance in this one. Striker Zlatan Ibramovic is a top scorer in Serie A, but can’t seem to find the net in international play; he hasn’t scored since 2005 for Sweden. The battle will be between defending champion Greece and Russia. I give Russia the slight edge here, simply because they always seem to be a tough out. I see Spain running off with first, and Russia stealing second.
In the first quarterfinal, we have Portugal against Croatia. Croatia is a tough squad to beat, but Portugal is playing great right now, and they are the favorites to win the whole thing, so I like them to advance to the semis. They will face the winner of the Germany-Czech Republic match. I think Germany just has too much for the Czech squad to handle, and they move on. On the other side of the draw we have Holland squaring off with Russia. Holland escaped from the Group of Death looking good, I expect them to look good against Russia, and get a win. Spain and France do battle in the other match. Despite a disappointing qualifying campaign and a second place finish in Group C, the French knock off the underachieving Spain squad.
Portugal-Germany. What is sure to be a great match and happens to be a rematch of the 2006 World Cup Third Place match will swing in the favor of Portugal. They get their revenge on Germany for that World Cup match and advance to the Finals, the same place they found themselves 4 years ago when they were upset by Greece in front of a home crowd. Holland squares off with France in the other semifinal, in a rematch of the game that took place just two weeks prior. The Dutch squad have been playing top quality soccer at the right time, and they move on to the finals.
What a match this would be if it were to take place. Holland has Van der Sar, van Nistelrooy, Sneijder, Robben…the list goes on. Portugal has Nani, Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho, Ricardo Carvalho. Case in point, both of these teams are star-studded, but Portugal prevails in this one. It will be a hard fought battle, but Portugal is hungry for its first Euro championship ever. The wait is over, and Portugal is your 2008 Euro champion.