Tuesday, May 27, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008 Preview

With the Euro 2008 tournament coming up in little over a week, I give to you my Euro preview.

The 16 team tournament has been broken up into these 4 groups.

I'm listing the teams in the order I believe they will finish in group play.

Group A:
Czech Republic

Group B:

Group C:

Group D:

To me there are 5 teams that have a possibility to win Euro 08. They are Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Lets take a look at each of these 5 squads.

Italy Preview: Italy comes into Euro 08 as the defending 2006 World Cup Champions. Italy boast a strong lineup that includes the best goalkeeper in the world in Gianluigi Buffon and some of the best defenders in Fabio Cannavaro of Real Madrid and Marco Materazzi of Inter Milan.  The Italy attack will be lead by two of the best scorers from 2008, Luca Toni and Alessandro Del Piero. Del Piero scored 24 goals this season for Juventus which lead all of Serie A while Toni scored 39 goals for Bayern Munich which lead all of the Bundesliga. You have to think with two of the leading scorers in Europe on the same side Italy should score goals in bunches.

France Preview: France comes into Euro 08 as the 2006 World Cup runner up's, with a roster resting heavily on the strength of its midfield. The French squad includes the Bundesliga Player of the Year Franck Ribery as well as Chelsea players Claude Makelele, Florent Malouda, and the captain Inter's Patrick Vieira. All of this talent and I've still failed the mention the best player of them all, Barcelona striker Thierry Henry. Henry has scored 44 goals in international competition and was the 8th highest scorer in the qualifying rounds for Euro 08.  Look for Henry to lead the way in scoring and France to at least the Quarterfinals.

Germany Preview: The German team comes into the tournament as the 3rd place finishers in the 06 World Cup, and as a team that has gotten better over the past 2 years. Germany is lead by the attacking trio of captain and Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack, and Bayern Munich teammates Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. Both Klose and Podolski were among the top 10 in scoring for the Euro 08 qualifying games with Podolski scoring 8 goals and Klose 7. Ballack recently lost in the Champions League Final and will be looking to win this tournament. Look for Germany to make it to at least the semi-finals.

Spain Preview: The Spain national team is coming off a disappointing result in the 2006 World Cup where they failed to make it past the round of 16. Spain looks to be a favorite this year due to the young talent they have. Their 3 main attackers Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, and David Villa are all under 26 years old. Torres had a spectacular season with Liverpool in 2008 scoring 33 goals for them. Fabregas scored 13 goals and led the Premier League in assists with 24. David Villa led the Spain national team in scoring during the Euro 08 qualifying games, netting 7 goals. Defensively, Spain is backed by the great captain goalie Iker Casillas of Real Madrid and the most capped player of the team, defender and captain of Barcelona Carlos Puyol. The one man that is missing on this years squad is former captain and Spain's all time leading scorer Raul. Without Raul it will be difficult for Spain to win Euro 08, but the young players definitely have the talent to do it.

Portugal Preview: Portugal is coming into Euro 08 as the 4th place finishers in the 2006 World Cup, and the winners of the "Most Entertaining Team" award winners. Portugal also lost in the finals of the last Euro tournament to Greece. The biggest name as we all know on this squad is Manchester United midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo had a monster 2008 scoring an incredible 42 goals while leading Man U to the Champions League and Premier League titles. Ronaldo also led Portugal in Euro 08 qualifying goals with 8.  While we know how talented Ronaldo is, the real question with Portugal is who else will step up? Former captain Luis Figo has left the squad leaving behind a team full of young players. Only 6 players on the 24 man roster are over the age of 30. Exciting youngsters such as Nani, and Ricardo Quaresma must step up in order for Portugal to win. In all likelihood what will happen is Ronaldo will simply put the team on his back and carry the team to the semi-finals.

Even with these great teams, we know that anything can happen in the Euro tourney as seen by Greece's win in Euro 04 (Greece had 100:1 odds to win). 

My prediction: Italy over Portugal in the Finals.


Monica 08 said...

I agree on 2 things with you:
1) your predictions for all the UEFA EURO 2008 groups.
2) the possible winners Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal

Although I think it's a race between Italy & France above all. I hope Portugal gets to the final but I know it will be hard to compete with strikers like those of Italy, they have the leadership in the team that Portugal lacks, with Figo gone, France has Vieira, and other experienced leaders/ captains.

Monica 08 said...

"In all likelihood what will happen is Ronaldo will simply put the team on his back and carry the team to the semi-finals." I hope it's not just Cristiano Ronaldo, too much pressure on him. He couldn't "carry the team" in the friendly, in February 2007, Brazil-Portugal where Portugal won 2-0. After he was substituted, Portugal scored the 2 goals. I say what would carry Portugal to the semi-finals is the whole team playing as a team of 11 players.

Aznal said...

I cannot see Portugal making it, being that C. Ronaldo is a panzy who cries about everything, then takes advantage of little boys and girls. I'm guessing Spain over Italy. I think Fabregas is the highlight of the team and will prove to be a admirable opponent.