Shamik Das

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Austria and Switzerland set for festival of football

It's time: The Euro 2008 logo

• Wating over • Germans favourites • Dutch looking good

ALL eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo tonight as Euro 2008 kicks off with Portugal playing Turkey and co-hosts Switzerland taking on the Czech Republic in Group A.

The Manchester United winger will look to put the will-he-won't-he Real Madrid row behind him as he leads out his country, hoping to go one better than the runners-up medal he received four years ago.

In Luiz Felipe Scolari, dubbed Big Phil by the tabloids, they have the only manager to have won the World Cup, and he will be hoping to complete the double by winning the European Championships before leaving Portugal at the end of the tournament.

The favourites, however, are Germany, who have arguably the easiest group of all, Group B, pitted against Austria, Croatia and Poland, with perennial under-achievers Spain also tipped to do well, having been drawn against holders Greece, Sweden and Russia in Group D.

Here we go: The Euro 2008 mascots    Euro Pass: The official Euro 2008 match ball

Group C is the inevitable "group of death", with world champions Italy facing France - who they beat to win the World Cup - the Netherlands and Romania, who finished above the Dutch in qualifying.

My choice is Holland. With several players set to quit after the tournament, this is a last chance for success for the likes of Manchester United legends Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Edwin Van der Sar.

They also have some good, young players in Ajax's Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Real's Wesley Sneijder, while many more are approaching their peak, such as Hamburg's Rafael Van der Vaart, Arsenal's Robin van Persie and former Chelsea midfielder Arjen Robben.

All they have to do is beat Italy, France, Romania, Greece, France again and then Germany. Failing that, they can just chill out on the banks of the Danube, sipping a pint of Grolsch while watching the world go by...

Watch Switzerland v Czech Republic live on BBC1 at 5:00
Watch Portugal v Turkey live on ITV1 at 7:45


Anonymous goalcentre said...

My choice is also Holland. I made a small bet on them to win this year's Euro 2008. :)

08 June, 2008 06:44

Blogger Shamik said...

I'm feeling very smug right now! ;)

15 June, 2008 13:54


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