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Euro '08 Preview–Group B

Group B Final Prediction (teams in bold advance):

1. Germany — 7 points

2. Croatia — 5 points

3. Austria — 2 points

4. Poland — 1 point

Tomorrow will be a busy day on the Euro 2008 front, as final rosters have to be submitted. As of right now, five of the 16 nations participating have already trimmed their squads down to the 23-man limit, so simple math tells us that 11 countries will make their final cuts tomorrow.

Here at EPL Talk, I’ll be previewing Group C, which is this year’s “Group of Death” — Holland, Italy, France, and Romania. I’m planning on handling it like I did on Monday, that is, I’ll break it down into two parts, put one up in the early afternoon and the other up by the evening. During that break, I’ll be posting the final squads for the countries that haven’t already released theirs. To keep the posts short, I’ll start by doing the nations in Group A, then a separate entry for what’s left of Group B, then Group C, and then Group D. Basically, tomorrow you’ll first see my breakdown of France and Holland, then the final rosters, then my previews of Italy and Romania.

So until then, have a good one, everybody.

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  1. Michael

    May 28, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I think the fact that Podolski and Klose have done it before at this level and the fact that they’re teammates and have a good idea of what the other will do, they’ll get the starts, but if Podolski comes out flat, I can see Gomez stepping in and replacing him.

    I didn’t mention Jansen because I really haven’t mentioned any of the players I thought would be coming off the bench. If I did that, these already long previews would be even longer, so I just go with what I believe the starting lineup will be.

  2. Jack

    May 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Did you really fail to mention Marcell Jansen and Mario Gomez when previewing Germany? Jansen will likely start on the left and Podolski? He’s got little chance of starting ahead of Gomez.

  3. Lonnie

    May 28, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I don’t know about actual points totals or order of finish but my money is on Germany and Croatia to advance. Poland were good in qualifying but were in a weaker pool of teams (Portugal excluded). They beat up the weaker sides and either drew or lost against the more competitive sides in the group. Austria may nick a point off of Poland but anything more will be a big upset.

  4. Barney

    May 28, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Poland to surprise in this group. Germany to struggle. Austria 4th but you might get to see what a good player Andreas Ivanschitz is – he has been real quality for Panathinaikos.

  5. Ivan

    May 28, 2008 at 1:35 am

    For Germany. Odonkor should make the final cut, i’m a big fan but was surprised he managed to get himself into a strong germany squad considering he has had an injury ridden season at Real Betis. Mario Gomez if he gets himself fit will and should partner Klose upfront.

  6. Django

    May 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Oh no intent to have you change it, I was just bullshitting more than anything, great previews, keep up the good work.

  7. Michael

    May 27, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve got to be honest with you Damir, I think this will be the third most competitive group of the four, behind Group C and Group A. The final point margins may not truly indicate this, but I think we all know that there is a big gap in quality between the top two teams in the group, Germany and Croatia, and the bottom two, Austria and Poland. The reason I’m excited to watch these games isn’t so much for the soccer itself, but for the historical and ethnic backgrounds of the countries involved, which I touched on briefly above.

    Concerning Poland, you may be right, I may be underestimating them and selling them short, but I just don’t see the talent and I don’t see where they’re going to pick up their points. They’re just not good enough to beat Germany or Croatia in my opinion, and I can’t see them beating Austria (even though on a neutral field, I’d takae Poland) on Austrian soil.

    As for your point about home field advantage, you can’t even compare Germany and Austria in that regard. Germany is a much, much better team than Austria and could’ve reached the semi-final of the last World Cup even if it wasn’t played in Germany, whereas Austria likely wouldn’t have even qualified for this tournament if they weren’t a co-host. Home field advantage is significant when it comes to two evenly-matched teams or teams that are close, like Poland and Austria. As I just said, I can see Austria getting a draw in that game and I’m going to go out on a limb and say they pick up a point against Croatia, who is a much better team.

  8. damir

    May 27, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    After Group C, I rate this as the most competitive group. Why?
    Well It’s simple, even though Eduardo is out for Croatia they’re still able to win games. And that was shown at Wembley (I know Dudu played, but he didn’t score).

    And mate, if you’re talking sense, I’d hate to see stupid. Because Poland, with ONE point!? That’s just insane. They’ve been strolling through the qualifications. They have a better chance to advance than Hervatska.

    Then, Austria with two draws? They’re a host nation, so that won’t happen. I though Deutschland wouldn’t do anything in the ’06 WC but home field advantage is a BIG one.

    Then, check out who’s been scoring all the goals for Bayern Munich lately, it’s been Luca Tonia and Frank Ribery, no sight of Miroslav Klose. I admire the guy because he can score, but I’m just saying, he’s dropped in his performances at the wrong time. I dig their striker core, and apart from a solid, solid midfield, I see a leaky defense.

    Just because I don’t see a lot of conservative play in these match-up’s I’m going to go with low points for the teams that advance, even lower than 7.

  9. The Gaffer

    May 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm


    I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you’re nuts!

    The host country (or two, in this case) always does better than most people imagine especially with the home field advantage.

    Venezuela did better than most people expected in Copa America, just as one recent example.

    The Gaffer

  10. Kartik

    May 27, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Austria will not get a point

  11. The Gaffer

    May 27, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Dave and Michael,

    Not sure why the Group A story is generating a 404 error and won’t allow comments. Must be the spirits in the material world (reminds me of a song by The Police)!

    The Gaffer

  12. Michael

    May 27, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Actually wait, looking at it again, I never even called it a freak “accident” in the first place, I called it a “freak injury”, which it was. So with that in mind, I’m not going to change it, but still Django, I see where you’re coming from.

  13. Michael

    May 27, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I know what you’re saying, and I’ll go back and change my wording right now to make it sound less controversial, but we see poorly timed, studs-up challenges all the time that don’t result in what happened to Eduardo. On that basis, I said it was a “freak accident”, but I definitely see your point.

  14. Django

    May 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Great previews Michael, very helpful. One thing though…not sure I would call Eduardo’s fibula turning into a right angle by Martin Taylor’s boot a “freak accident”. When I hear “freak accident” I think bird flying into someone’s head or the earth beneath the pitch cracking in two, not a poorly timed, studs-up challenge that makes Cesc Fabregas cry.

  15. Michael

    May 27, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Dave, thanks for the heads up about the Group A preview, I’m not sure why that error page pops up when you try and comment but it does that for me too. Can’t explain that one, but at least it’s viewable.

    As for your first point, you’re correct, I completely forgot to mention Eduardo da Silva’s absence. With Croatia’s one striker system, he’ll be missed, but I think they’ll be able to cover for him because they still have some dynamic wing players. My apologies for not mentioning that; that one is all on me. It slipped my mind partly because Eduardo was injured back in January, but that’s no excuse.

    Thanks for the correction.

  16. Tippo

    May 27, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I think Germany will top this group. However, Poland had good qualification but they dont tend to do well at tournaments and so I may see Croatia joining Germany in the next stage.

  17. Dave M

    May 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    What? A Croatia preview with no mention that they’re without their top scorer from qualification?

    Also, I got 404 errors when I tried to access the earlier (group A) postings, so look no further when you wonder why there are no comments.

    Very informative, though – thanks.

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