Friday, June 6, 2008

Euro 2008 Group C Preview


Ah France, land of vine and grape, sumptuous football, and really old footballers. Lilliam Thuram, Patrick Vieira, Claude Makelele, and Gregory Coupet, between them, are almost 400 years old, but they'll all be in action for les Blues. Rising star Karim Benzema is one to watch, as is manager Raymond Domenech, who in the past has used astrology to help with team selection. Seriously. Oh and there's also Thierry Henry poncing and pouting his way round the pitch.

Prediction: Will reach semifinals, lose, Domenech will blame the Scorpios.


Defending world champions Italy come flying into Euro 2008 on the strength of abject humiliation of Serie A sides in the Champions League. Still, they are loaded with talent in every position, and also, have you ever noticed Italian footballer hairstyles never change. I mean never. Compare the 1982 squad of Rossi et al with Pirlo, Perrotta, and Gattuso. Same hair! Is it perhaps the secret to Italy's continued success? No, it isn't.

Prediction: Marco Materrazi will kick people and Italy will win it.


They've been called lots of things: underachievers, bottlers, chokers, and bottlers again. Yes, it's the Dutch, who are from Holland, and The Netherlands. Glorious failure is in their DNA. Talented Dutch squads have been losing tournaments for three generations. Will this year be any different? Well, yes - they really aren't that talented anymore. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, if healthy, will provide pace and whinging-at-referee theatrics, and the reliable Edwin Van der Sar will be, er, reliable, but this Dutch side will flatter to decieve.

Prediction: Ignore the above. They're going to win it all.


Jesus H. Christo, how many countries are there in Europe? Seems like I've written a hundred of these. So, Romania: they aren't all vampires. Some of them are good footballers. Good enough to escape from the Group of Death (tm)? Probably not, unless the Dutch really bottle it. Adrian Mutu can still turn on the style, but he'll need lots of help from his castle-dwelling, garlic-wearing teammates.

Prediction: It should be obvious I really don't know anything about Romania.

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