A moo point, basically …

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(Long football post. You have been warned)

The Euro 2008 football tournament kicks off today (has kicked off already in fact as I type), and it promises to be an awesome one for two reasons –

1. England is not playing. Hence, the english media will be forced to realize that there are more important things (and better teams) to look at, and better news to report than what clothes WAGs wear.

2. There is no clear favourite – Spain and Netherlands are favoured to go far, and history says that they are the South Africans of European and World Cup Football i.e. chokers with an inability to perform when the situation demands. Germany and Italy join them more because of their record than on current form.

I cheer, as always, for Italy and Germany – my 2 favourite European national teams. Although Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini are gone while Fabio Cannavaro is injured (my favourite player of WC 2006), Italy still have a good defence and wonderful finishers in Alessandro Del Piero, Di Natale and all to win crunch games. Germany are awesome because they have wonderful individual performers – Ballack, Klose, Lahm, Podolski and Tongue twisting Schweinsteiger – and they have awesome team spirit.

My feelings for France are similar to those for Arsenal – love their football, love even more to see them lose. With Frank Ribery and Thierry Henry injured and Trezeguet not picked because of random reasons, things are going to be tough. And given that their co-groupies are Italy, Holland and Romania (who have an awesome striker in Adrian Mutu), their task becomes tougher. Yay :). They do have one of my players to watch for the tournament – Samir Nasri. Damn you Arsene Wenger – One can’t help but admire his eye for talent.

Spain have all the star players but play the wrong formation, because of which Fernando Torres will end up being ineffective. Plus they have minimal team coordination- kind of like the English national team actually. They have good players though – Casillas, David Villa, David Silva, Iniesta and their most underrated player – Xavi Hernandez. If only they can stop being good only on paper …

Portugal have an awesome defense and a spectacular midfield – Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma, Deco and all. Problem is, they have a specacularly average collection of Forwards in Nuno Gomes and Postiga.  That might just prove to be their undoing, unless Ronaldo decides to do his country a huge favour and replicates his brilliant club form of 2007-08. Their coach Scolari is very good, but he just might end up restricting the free flowing football of his wingers, which would be a real crying shame.

Holland are not as good as everyone is hollering them to be – unnatural formations, not too good defenders, midfielders playing out-of-position, injured players (Babel, Robben, Melchiot) or players returning from injury (van Persie) – not good tidings for a ‘favourite’. They do have match winners like vNistelrooij and Sneider though …

My dark horses for the the tournament have to be Croatia and Russia. They have a lot in common –

– Instrumental in knocking out England in the qualifying phase.

– Good coaches. Russia’s Guus Hiddink is in fact a miracle worker, having shown his versatility with Holland, South Korea, Australia and now Russia. He is my first choice to replace Sir Alex Ferguson two/ three years later when he says he’ll retire. Or maybe not – SAF is irreplaceable 😦

– Young, interesting midfielders. Good goalkeepers. Somewhat easy qualifying groups. And a lot of confidence in themselves, which always helps.

Not that I don’t think Sweden, the Czechs or Greece are bad or anything, but I wouldn’t really put my money on them to enter the last four.

Players to watch: Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema (Fra), Mario Gomez, Hitzlsperger (Ger), Sneijder (Ned), Torres, Silva, Villa (Esp), Quaresma, Ronaldo, Bosingwa (Por), Modric (Cro), Akinfeev (Rus), Quagriella (Ita), Larsson, Wilhelmson (Swe), Behrami, Vonlanthen (Sui)

Hopefully there’ll be an Italy-Germany final – Cheers to that 🙂

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Written by sujaybedekar

June 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Posted in europe, football

Tagged with ,

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