“We’re staying home, we’re staying home, we’re staying, England’s staying home”
Yes, with an absence of WAGs, beer-bellied chavs and excessive St.George’s flags in Austria and Switzerland this summer, we can all truly enjoy the EUROs in a relaxed manner, free from the fear of penalty fluff-ups, perennial under-performance, and more shocking play that a game of water polo in an electricity station.
But who will you support? While this topic has been done to death in most of the major papers, it ain’t been done here! I’ll be rooting for, well, Spain I suppose, although my confidence isn’t exactly sky high (it’ll be a lot like supporting England then). My tips are France and Germany- expect a final between those two. And in the mean time, let’s lead off with a look through the four groups that make up this summers tournie…
Group A- The Group of Hope
First up is, appropriately enough, Group A. I’ve called it the “Group of Hope” as any of the four teams could easily get through. The general consensus is that Cristiano Ronaldo, sorry Portugal, will end up on top, while the remaining position will be a three-way between Turkey, Switzerland and the Czechs. My hunch is that Turkey will just pip those chocolate and cheese-makers to it, with Czech (minus Rosicky) propping up the Group in 4th.
1. Portugal, 2. Turkey, 3. Switzerland, 4. Czech Republic
Group B- The Group of Dreams- If You’re German
The most clear-cut group in the tournament. Germany will win it, and Croatia will come second. Poland third. Austria forth. Not much else to say is there.
1. Germany, 2. Croatia, 3. Poland, 4. Austria
Group C – The Group of Death
Every tournament has one, and this year its the unlucky Romanians who take there place in a group made up of three historically great football teams. Luckily for Romania, the Dutch are past-masters, and are unlikely to do much in this group. The really tight, and crucial call for the quarters, is who will win it. While France have perhaps the strongest squad in the tournament- Ribiery, Makelele, Malouda, Evra, Gallas, Vieira, Anelka, Henry, plus newcomers Samir Nasri and Karim Benzema- I get the feeling that Italy, as always, will somehow emerge on top.
1. Italy, 2. France, 3. Romania, 4. The Netherlands
Group D – The Other Group
Group D. Its the sort of group you can imagine England being placed in- not particularly strong, but with enough teams that could do something to give you pause for thought. That’s exactly what Spain will be thinking as they take on Russia, Greece and Sweden. Sweden are past it these days, but you can’t write off the Greeks after their unbelievable victory in ’04. Surely they can’t do it again? Russia would be a sure pick for 2nd place if they had Arshavin available for the first two games, but as he’s out suspended I think they might just manage to sneak it.
1. Spain, 2. Russia, 3. Greece, 4. Sweden
And Finally…The Bets
With no internet at home any more- well no computer at all- all my blogging, emailing and internet betting is being done, err, away from home. Due to this, my tips may be rather infrequent. However I’ve led off this tournaments money give-away, sorry betting, with two from the first round of games…
Switzerland to beat the Czechs 2-0 (11/1)
#Steve’s Tip# German to draw with Poland (11/4)
Other Tips include…
Croatia 3, Austria 0
Romania 1, France 1
Greece 2, Sweden 1
We’ll see how many I get right!