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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.

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  1. Paul Bestall

    June 17, 2008 at 6:42 am

    It’s certainly set up for a clash of styles in Thursdays QF. On paper, Portugal should, on paper, easily beat them but we all know that sometimes football doesn’t work that way. Germany are reknowned for getting further than their performances merit. This time though, I think they may get a tanning.

  2. tampasoccerfan

    June 16, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    They should have a decree against Germany and Austria playing football: those two teams made the ball cry today. Germany’s 3rd place finish 2 years ago under Klinsy was obviously a fluke on the wings of hosting the tournament. They have consistently being horrendous for the last decade or so. I know they are through and can be dangerous, but they were horrendous: not just today, but in all three games(Come on, they were “brilliant ” against an amateur Poland team: give me a break).
    Anti-football today. Hope Portugal not just beats them, but humilates them.

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