Euro 2008 Group B Final Match Preview & Predictions
Group B will come to the end tonight and every team has a chance to join Croatia in the Quarter Finals. Austria need to beat Germany and hope that Poland do not beat Croatia by a bigger winning margin to have a chance to qualify but they’ll be up against it. Austria’s last competitive win against Germany was in the 1978 World Cup, so history is certainly on the side of Germany tonight.
The home crowd will be willing Austria on and after last night’s amazing events, anything is possible. Germany are missing Jansen, so it looks like Lahm will move to left back allowing Low to choose between Borowski and Hitzlsperger to come into midfield and Fritz to drop back to right back. Doubts are also being raised over the disappointing Mario Gomez keeping his starting place up front with Klose. I’d heard a lot about Gomez before the tournament began but he’s hardly offered anything to the Germans so far and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him dropped. Can Austria cause the biggest shock of the tournament so far? It would be fantastic for the tournament but it looks doubtful. I can see the Germans at least holding on to the draw they need to progress to the next round.
Poland however need to pick themselves off the floor after conceding a last minute equaliser to Austria. Coach Leo Beenhakker joked in his press conference that Croatia would need to play Slaven Bilic’s mum for Poland to have any chance of qualifying but he was very downbeat and doesn’t expect his side to win at all. Is it all reverse psychology?
Bilic can relax, knowing that his boys are through to play Turkey and may rest the 6 first teamers who are on yellow cards and this could give us the chance to see Ivan Klasnic. If you’re not aware of Klasnic’s recent history, it’ll be one of those life affirming moments to see him play tonight after a double kidney transplant at the beginning of last year.
This evening may see a similar result to the Switzerland v Portugal game last night as weakened side go through the motions rather than push for results, but they may also want to impress Bilic that they deserve to start the Quarter Final too. This one could go either way, but I think it may simply peter out into a draw that won’t help Poland.