30 Days & Nights

Until the latest football bonanza kicks off with Switzerland versus the Czech Republic in Basel. It’s going to be quite odd here in the UK with no home nations competiting in a tournament for the first time since USA 94 but everyone I’ve talked to is really looking forward to it without the numbing pangs of expectation that usually accompany our ultimately glorious failures.

Everyone seems content to choose a team to follow and I think the international nature of league football these days allows people to know so much more about the competiting nations to give us far more knowledge as neutrals than ever before. I’m really looking forward to it as USA 94 saw some marvellous matches that didn’t really get the publicity they deserved, especially Romania’s 3-2 victory over Argentina and Bulgaria beating the defending champions Germany 2-1. If we get two games as good as those too, I’ll be very happy.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the site and hope you find my posts interesting and informative and don’t dwell on my bad jokes too much. If you’ve any suggestions for me or questions or general chit chat, please feel free to post.

So I’m going to start the ball rolling with my potential winners. Romania. They’ve quietly crept through a group that included Bulgaria and finished top above Holland. Two out of the last four tournaments have been won by rank outsiders and I’d love to see it happen again. They’re coming with no illusions or expectations and play an expansive fluid game that will suit the group of death. France, Italy and the Netherlands will do well not to undestimate them and no-one thinks they’ll qualify from the group let alone win it! So I’ve put my marker down and expect ridicule by the bucket load.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope I can do the site justice.

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11 Responses to 30 Days & Nights

  1. Kartik says:

    Welcome, and good stuff! Romania is for me also an intriguing side that could really shock some folks this summer.

  2. damir- says:

    WHAT!?
    ROMANIA!?
    Hahaha.
    My friend you have to realize that all competitions are about momentum…

    If the Giants played the Patriots in week 7, it would have been a 53-17 scoreline to the pats…. but they were worn out and the Giants had the momentum going into the super bowl. I’m sure that only the Americans will understand this one.

    But you obviously haven’t considered the nation that knocked out England, and that being Croatia. They’re pretty damn competitive and even without Eduardo they can put up goals.

    I see Italy winning the whole thing.
    Here’s my breakdown:
    -Turkey: Just not enough in them to overcome great teams.
    -Cecz Rep: No Rosicky, no wins.
    -portugal: never win big or when it matters, and even though Ronaldo maybe be outstanding, he’s only good when he plays for United, and all I see him doing for Portugal is crying, no joke. I have yet to see him win a game for Portugal and not cry.

    On second though I won’t go in depth about every team and group.

    I’ll just say that a home nation can overcome high obstacles and high in the Alps, I see Switzerland and Austria creating some magic of their own.
    I didn’t think Germany would of done as good as they did in the 2006 world cup but a 3rd spot was the result, not too bad.
    So you can’t discount Germany either. They always have bad blood in their veins, maybe it’s because of their history and hatred towards other nations, w/e but they’re a talking point.
    Also someone wrote on here that Poland was beginning to look like the Poland of the 80′s, to which I strongly disagreed to and I still do, they will choke and lose like Spain always does.

  3. Paul Bestall says:

    Hi Damir,

    For my sins I’m a massive NFL fan, so I know exactly where you’re coming from and as a Spurs fan really looking forward to seeing Modric at White Hart Lane. I’ll be happy if Croatia win it. Bilic has got them playing some lovely football. Agree about Poland too, they’re nothing like that great side of the early 80′s which I can just about remember!! Lets just hope it’s a cracking tournament for all the right reasons.

  4. Tim says:

    I think Spain is going to finally come good in a major tournament.

  5. Sanjay says:

    Romania are a good team, and at the very least deserve the tag of ‘dark horses’. Looking at their squad, english fans know Adrian Mutu quite well but for the wrong reasons. The striker has reinvented himself at Fiorentina holds the key to his country’s hopes. But Mutu apart, Getafe’ Cosmin Contra and captain Christian Chivu of Inter Milan should lend vital experience to the defence. Also watch out for Stuttgart’s Ciprian Marcia.
    Romania’s problem though is that they are drawn in a very tough group with world champions Italy, finalists France and the mercurial Dutch. If they are to make it out of the group stages, I think they have to beat the Dutch and then draw one of the other games or both.

  6. Blake says:

    I have a feeling it’ll be Spain’s tournament, too. Player for player, I think they have the most talented squad in the tournament. It seems that they can never quite win when they need it, but I think they’ll overcome that hump and walk away with the crown. Come on Spain!

  7. eplnfl says:

    Looking forward to your ideas on Euro 2008. It will be a good addition to this site.

    My sense is from the more recent competitions that it is hard for the big nations to be focused on what is a second level event. I am by no means saying it is a meaningless or 2nd rate competition. Just saying a player for a major Italian, German, Spanish, etc. club, will he risk his club future to go all out to win? For a World Cup, yes, for Euro 2008, I say not. This may explain why some middle size and smaller countries may have better chances to win then expected.

    So, I will be watching every chance I get and like Croatia or Holland’s chances, and keep a eye on the Czech Republic.

  8. Sanjay says:

    When I was looking at the teams in this competition and how many I feel have a legitimate chance of winning it, I was amazed. Out of the 16 teams that are taking part in the competition, I believe that 10 have a decent chance of winning it or atleast getting close.
    Spain, Netherlands, Romania, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Sweden( a lot of people dont agree with me here) and Czech Republic are the 10 that I think have a chance. Of the 6 remaining nations, Greece are defending champions while we all know about Russia from their qualification campaign. Which leaves out Poland, Turkey, Austria and Switzlerand. Poland who were winners of a qualification group containing the likes of Portugal, Serbia, Finland and Belgium. And Turkey, who were the 3rd place team in the 2002 Fifa World Cup. So really its the 2 host nations who can be considered as truely ‘weak nations’. And again one of them-Switzerland qualified for the 2nd round of the world cup as group winners and left the world cup without having conceded a goal…..
    Hence, it promises to be a fun and competetive tournament…

  9. Paul Bestall says:

    Some great comments there. Good to see that a lot of people are backing Spain, I do have a soft spot for them as my family originate from Catalonia. I have to agree, other than Euro 64 ( and even I’m not that old to have been around then), they’ve never delivered when it mattered. They are England’s underachieving cousins. All the quality and pedigree, all the big names, but no modern international silverware. I’d love Spain to win a major tournament, I think they deserve to win one tournament in the modern era surely. If Denmark and Greece can win a European Championship and France a World Cup, why not Spain??
    Sanjay, you obviously have a feeling for Romania too. They should have done better in the mid nineties, any team with George Hagi at his prime in deserves recognition. What a wonderful player he was.
    I think it’s going to be a belting competition for us all to enjoy.

  10. Patrick says:

    Za Hrvatska! Go Croatia. The team that eliminated England will prevail, and Chelsea will swoop in and take their manager.

  11. Ivan says:

    Love to see Ricardo Quaresma have a big tournament with Portugal however that NT has obvious flaws. Upfront without Pauleta who himself was poor when at the major tournaments there is a problem. They have a few promising CFs but no one that stands out, Makukula and Almeida will be there but can’t be relied on. International football is tight and they may be able to progress without a recognised or top class CF. Some youngsters have progressed but then again some of the veterans or experience folk from the last world cup and last euros have retired or their form has been lacking i.e. Figo, Pauleta, Deco, Miguel, Maniche, Ricardo…

    Holland are also in with a shout but obvious weaknesses on paper is their defence. However in practice defensive record in qualifying is fine. The problems were however evident against Austria mainly due to an inexperience back line at international level. Most of the dutch aren’t optimistic especially under Van Basten’s reign.

    Spain have arguably the strongest squad along with Italy. Spain have talented players all round however personally i see a problem at the heart of defence. You can never accuse Puyol of playing without heart however at times he looks school boy with his decision making.

    France without Zidane but will carry with them veterans from many previous tournaments such as Thuram, Makelele, Viera, Henry etc will be interesting. Not only does their manager pick the team on the basis of what zodiac sign you are but i’m afraid he may rely on the experienced players way too much. I think Clichy should play LB but according to Domenech’s selection policy, Abidal looks likely to retain his spot despite a poor season. The same can be said about Viera and Henry (even Malouda). What are France to do without the creative figure of Zidane…i guess they will heavily rely on Ribery.

    On a last note i wouldn’t bet against the Germans…

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