So this afternoon sees the opening two matches in Euro 2008 and it will one of the co-hosts, Switzerland will open proceedings for us against the Czech Republic in Basel.
Whilst I appreciate that no host nation has failed to qualify from a group in championship history, I feel that Switzerland are easily the weakest side in Group A. I cannot see them holding the Czech Republic at bay today and I think the Czechs will win 3-1. Karel Bruckner is a wily coach and he’ll have plenty of tricks up his sleeve to lead his team to victory today. Baros and Koller should have too much for the Swiss backline to handle and should drive the Czechs forward to victory.
The second game this evening in Geneva is a tantalising clash of two spiky teams and could quite easily see a 22 man brawl kick off at any moment. Portugal, on paper, are a great side but they’ve not gone the extra mile when they looked like they could win. The occasion seemed to get to them when they got to the final in Euro 2004 but they’ve got plenty of talent and experience to deal the Turkish this evening.
Turkey finished behind Greece in qualifying and are a long way from the side that got to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup. In Hatim Altintop, they’ve a powerful striker of the ball but they lack overall quality to trouble the Portuguese. This one I think will be 2-0 to Portugal but it could be more about counting the bookings and sending offs than the goals.
So after the first games, I think wins for both the Czech Republic and Portugal and hopefully two great games.