Sunday, June 01, 2008

Countdown to Euro 2008

Having watched the Azzurri easily see off Belgium 3-1 in a friendly it is time to turn the attentions to more serious matters. Austria and Switzerland beckon for Euro 2008. Can Italy do the double and add the European crown to their World Cup win two years ago?

This has never been a great tournament for Italy. Our last win came in 1968. That means they have never won it in my lifetime (see, I'm not as old as you thought). It is a record it would be nice to change.

The group, of course, is tough. Holland, Romania and France present stern opposition. I'm inclined to think a winning start could be vital this time around. Hence, the pressure will be on to beat Holland next Monday night. I believe that Donadoni's men can progress but their style of play is not without its risks. If it all clicks, however, it should be good enough to go forward (with France, yet again, possibly?).

The other groups look feeble in comparison. They have done their best to get host nation Switzerland through in a group including the Swiss, Czech Republic, Portugal and Turkey. Everybody is tipping Portugal to have a great tournament (on the back of Ronaldo) but I hope they might trip up. That would leave Switzerland and the Czech Republic to progress.

Slightly stronger is Austria's section with Germany, Croatia and Poland. The poor Austrians may be the worst nation ever to host a tournament but I suspect they might sneak a draw somewhere. Just the same, it looks like it should be Germany along with either Croatia or Poland to progress. I've a hunch it could be Croatia.

Finally, Greece, Sweden, Spain and Russia go into battle. Surely, you would think, Spain can't mess up that group. Yet, I believe, that is quite within their compass. They should sneak through, my guess is along with Sweden.

If everything went to my plan you would end up with something like this in the quarter finals - Italy v Sweden, France v Spain, Czech Republic v Croatia and Germany v Switzerland. If that was the case, would it really be such a shock to get Italy v France AGAIN in the semi-final with Germany v Croatia in the other match.

After that, I don't dare to predict but you can see the way my thoughts are heading. Certainly, if Italy make it out of their group they have a good chance of getting to the final. That would be fantastic.

Forza Azzurri!


patcook said...

Its going to be a very hard run for Italy. I just hope the Italy France game at the end of the group stage isnt a must win for the Azzurri.

ginkers said...

I fear it might be but, like you, I hope not. I have to say, it would be most unlike the Azzurri to get through easily.