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My tips for Euro 2008 – The Group Stages

So many passionate nations, world-class players, and thoughtful managers will grace this summer’s European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, but only one country will ultimately prevail and cover themselves in glory and success.

Here I give my views on who will win the groups outright, who will perform spectacularly and who will leave themselves with a ton of regrets crashing out at the earliest stage.

Group A

Czech Republic
Portugal
Switzerland
Turkey

This is a very interesting group which can be debated very thoroughly as to who will progress. Normally, Portugal and Czech Republic would be clear favourites to make the knockout stage, but as Switzerland are joint hosts of the competition and will have their mad supporters roaring them on, it makes things much more difficult to predict.

In fact, host nations have such an impeccable record of doing well in their own tournaments that I genuinely believe Switzerland will scrape their way out of this group, along with Portugal as group winners. Nobody can doubt the quality and experience in the Portuguese camp with the likes of Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho and Nuno Gomes in their ranks.

My Prediction for Group A final standings:

Portugal
Switzerland
Czech Republic
Turkey

Group B:

Austria
Croatia
Germany
Poland

This is surely the easiest of all the groups to predict, as the powerhouses of Germany look like they will dominate the rest of the pack. Croatia are a very good side too though, proven by their double defeats of England in qualifying.

It will take an almighty effort from Poland and joint-hosts Austria to knock the two big guns off the top two spots, because despite also having the crowd behind them, Austria certainly don’t possess that same quality that fellow hosts Switzerland have.

My Prediction for Group B Final Standings:

Germany
Croatia
Austria
Poland

Group C:

France
Holland
Italy
Romania

Well, well, what a treat we have in store with Group C – ‘the group of death’. I think we all know Romania will be finishing bottom of the pile and probably ending up with zero points after three unbelievably difficult fixtures against three of Europe’s elite footballing nations.

I actually quite fancy Holland in this tournament, especially with their quite awesome strike force of Van Nistlerooy, Kuyt, Robben and Van Persie. It would have been even better if Ryan Babel hadn’t have injured himself, but surprisingly you may think, I predict them to finish top of the group, with world champions Italy joining them in second place.

My Prediction for Group C Final Standings:

Holland
Italy
France
Romania

Group D:

Greece
Russia
Spain
Sweden

We all know what a quality team Spain have, but every time a major tournament comes around they fail to deliver the goods. This year may just be their year though, and I think it is quite certain that they will top this group.

It is then between Russia, Greece and Sweden to battle it out for a top-two finish, and I think the brilliant strike force of the latter will help them to a knock-out phase place.

My Prediction for Group D Final Standings:

Spain
Sweden
Russia
Greece

So, those are just my opinions on how this summer’s group stages will pan out, what are your views?

We’re certainly in for a terrific feast of football this June, enjoy it.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. cristi-Romania

    June 14, 2008 at 5:45 am

    well SAM…right now Romania is second…so looks like you’re a bad tipper…and i hope u lost a lot of money betting against Romania

  2. Anon

    June 11, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Unlucky losers, doubting Holland!! they beat Italy 3-0, Shows how bad hollands defense is!!! Wayyyyyyy SPAIN TO WIN! Ive got money on them xD

  3. Michael

    June 2, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Haha I wouldn’t go as far as Paul by any means, but we do agree that Romania can beat a Dutch side that is very, very weak in the back and in the defensive midfield.

    Sam, no offense, but I don’t think I’ll listen to your promises concerning teams in this tournament; after all, you’re the one who said Luis Figo was in the Portugal squad despite the fact that Figo hasn’t played for Portugal since the 2006 World Cup.

  4. Paul Bestall

    June 2, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Why will Romania not beat Holland? Romania finished top of the group to get to Euro 2008, which featured the Dutch and beat them in Budapest qualification and drew in Holland. Romania can easily beat the Dutch and a misfiring French side. Italy will be a different matter. Mutu is on fire at the this season and they play great football. Oh, and of course I tipped them to win Euro 2008. lol. 😉

  5. Jack

    June 2, 2008 at 2:20 am

    I assume you didn’t see Italy’s first XI against Belgium, devastatingly efficient. Holland may have an “awesome strike force,” but how should we refer to a backline that includes Gio and Melchiot? Oh yeah, terrible.

  6. Sam Dalton

    June 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I can promise you Romania will lose all to both France and Italy, and defintetely not beat Holland – their only chance is nicking a point off the Dutch really.

  7. Michael

    June 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Bishopville Red, I have Romania beating Holland, but I just can’t see them getting a point from either France or Italy. In any other group, I would’ve picked Romania to go through in my previews, but they got the unfortunate draw.

  8. Bishopville Red

    June 1, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    You grossly underestimate the Romanian squad, Short on superstars, but strong on team concept. Same team that beat your choice for group winners in the qualifying round.

    They’re going through Holland and France are going home. you heard it here first.

    SB

  9. todd

    June 1, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Holland will be very lucky to get through. I’m looking for spain to take it to the end.

  10. mike

    May 31, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    “awesome strike force of Van Nistlerooy, Kuyt, Robben and Van Persie”

    ‘awesome’, ‘strike force’ and Kuyt should not be in the same sentence.

  11. betsy's bolton bum baster

    May 31, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    good group a picks sam, only thing is figo isn’t in portugal’s team anymore. he’s retired from the international game.

    holland to win group C could very well happen. i would still be a little surprised if they do but not much. that group is brutal.

  12. Michael

    May 31, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    No chance that Holland wins Group C..no chance

  13. Chad

    May 31, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Figo is certainly not in Portugal’s squad.

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