All Euros Eve

Tomorrow kicks off the best non-World Cup soccer tournament in the world.  The UEFA Euro 2008 tournament consists of 16 teams who have gone through the qualifying process and will attempt to be crowned the Champions of Europe.  Most of these games can be seen on ESPN or ESPN Classic, so make sure to tune in, it’s good stuff.

This year’s tournament will be held over the next 4 weeks in Switzerland and Austria with the Final being held June 29th (or 28th here, I don’t know time conversions) in Vienna, Austria.  There are four groups of four teams each, with the top two from each group advancing to the knockout stage.

Most people have tabbed Portugal as the odds-on favorite because of the creative Cristiano Ronaldo.  ESPN is doing their best to market the Portugese because of their style and flair, I guess hoping that it will make the average American sit down and watch their exciting play.  Their in a group with Switzerland, Turkey, and the Czech Republic, so I don’t think they’ll have much trouble advancing to the second round, but I don’t think they have to win the entire tournament.  They’ve never won it before and some people think Ronaldo has a habit of wilting in big games.  I don’t think he’ll make it through the entire tournament without having a poor game and that will cost his team.

Another trendy pick is Spain.  Fernando Torres leads the Spanish attack, and they have a fairly solid defense, so I think they can make a run deep into the tournament.  They’re quite capable of winning it all, but like Ronaldo, their entire team has a habit of wilting in big spots.

The current World Cup holders, Italy, also have a very good shot at winning the title.  I can’t stand the Italians, as their brand of soccer is terribly defensive and boring.  They also have perfected the art of diving and that is something I can’t get behind.  They will have to get through a “Group of Death” also, since they are matched up with the Netherlands, France, and Romania.

The Germans are my pick to win it.  They shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Croats, Austrians, and Poles in their group.  Michael Ballack is one of the best in the world and will lead this team deep into the tournament.  They would have to beat the Portugese on the way to the Final, but I believe they are the better team.  I think they’ll face Italy in the Final and be victorious in a very slow-paced game.

I’ll be most interested in watching the Dutch, as their style of play is always up tempo and fun to watch.  The individual skill on their team is always something I’ve been amazed by.  They have produced some of the best players in the world, but can’t ever seem to put it all together.  Their style is just too individualistic, but it does make for some great soccer.

Anyway, that’s just a short preview and prediction for the month long tournament.  At least tune in for a couple game, you may enjoy it.

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2 Responses

  1. I will most certainly enjoy another victory…diving or not.

  2. […] games set up quite a final this afternoon between Spain and my pick, Germany.  Unfortunately, I can’t give any sort of thought or analysis on Spain’s 1-0 […]

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