The last thing Euro 2008 needs is a repeat of 2006 World Cup result As they’ve already proved with a big defeat to Holland, and narrow escapes against both Romania (Buffon’s late penalty save) and France (got to play majority of game against ten men), the 2008 Italy is nothing to be feared. Spain should [...]
Holland can play part in France & Italy’s demise. But should they? If Romania beat Holland this evening, France and Italy will go out of Euro 2008. That’s the simple equation. Normally, I’d favour the Dutch to beat the Romanians, but the thing is, they really don’t need to. Marco van Basten’s side are already [...]
Will Guus Hiddink guide the Russians to glory? RUSSIA (Group D) Group mates Spain (10 June, Innsbruck), Greece (14 June, Salzburg), Sweden (18 June, Innsbruck) Three most valuable players 1) Igor Akinfeev Brilliant young goalie, with a nice line in saving penalties. 2) Andrei Arshavin Twinkle-toed playmaker, so important to his country’s hopes that he [...]
Will Zlatan and his blond team-mates have more fun at the Euros? SWEDEN (Group D) Group mates Greece (10 June, Salzburg), Spain (14 June, Innsbruck), Russia (18 June, Innsbruck) Three most valuable players 1) Zlatan Ibrahimovic Hugely talented, but mentally fragile – you never know if you’re going to see Amazing Zlatan or Amazingly Crap [...]
Please don’t underachieve again SPAIN (Group D) Group mates Russia (10 June, Innsbruck), Sweden (14 June, Innsbruck), Greece (18 June, Salzburg) Three most valuable players 1) Iker Casillas Probably the best goalkeeper in the world, and with a suspect defence in front of him, his brilliant shot-stopping skills will be needed. 2) Fernando Torres Yet [...]
Can the defending champions shock Europe again? GREECE (Group D) Group mates Sweden (10 June, Salzburg), Russia (14 June, Salzburg), Spain (18 June, Salzburg) Three most valuable players 1) Giorgos Karagounis Proved his immense worth to Greece at Euro 2004 – he’s a clever, dynamic, tenacious midfielder, although at 31, he’s less dynamic these days. [...]
As far as we are aware, this is the only official Euro 2008 song performed by the coach of the country in question’s thrash metal band. It is of course Croatia’s Slaven Bilic and his band Rawbau with their own unique brand of rock music and red-and-white chequerboard patriotism.
Another sad story of in-fighting and underachievement? HOLLAND (Group C) Group mates Italy (9 June, Bern), France (13 June, Bern), Romania (17 June, Bern) Three most valuable players 1) Edwin van der Sar Vastly experienced and cool of head, unlike many of his young team-mates. 2) Rafael van der Vaart I was going to name [...]
Will they find the Group of Death just a bit too scary? ROMANIA (Group C) Group mates Don’t ask… but if you must know: France (9 June, Zurich), Italy (13 June, Zurich), Netherlands (17 June, Bern). Ouch. Three most valuable players 1) Adrian Mutu (pictured, above) The controversy-courting striker has matured greatly since he left [...]
Pies’ headline of the day! Leo Beenhakker, the Dutch coach of Poland’s national team, apologised yesterday after a Polish tabloid newspaper, Super Express, published a mocked-up image of him holding the severed heads of Michael Ballack and German coach Joachim Low, along with a headline demanding the slaughter of Germany at Euro 2008: “Leo, give [...]
Without Zidane, can they escape the Group of Death? FRANCE (Group C) Group mates Romania (9 June, Zurich), Netherlands (13 June, Bern), Italy (17 June, Zurich) Three most valuable players 1) Franck Ribery A revelation for Bayern this season, and will be expected to take over from Zinedine Zidane as France’s creator-in-chief. Potentially the star [...]
German fans get their own anthem If you watch this video enough times, the chorus will get stuck in your brain, and not in a good way. I’m sure there’s a sly dig at the English not qualifying in there too, but my German is too rusty to figure out what it is exactly. Hit [...]
The lowdown on the hard-to-pronounce Poles POLAND (Group B) Group mates Germany (8 June, Klagenfurt), Austria (12 June, Vienna), Croatia (16 June, Klagenfurt) Three most valuable players 1) Artur Borac Poland’s No.1 keeper is one of the most underrated in Europe; his back-ups, Tomasz Kuszczak and Lukasz Fabianski, are very good too. 2) Ebi Smolarek [...]
With no England to back, which team will you cheer in Austria & Switzerland? Which team will you support at Euro 2008 ( polls)
Another four minutes of Euro trash Apparently, this is the “Official Song” of Euro 2008. Which means there are two official songs for the tournament: this, and Shaggy’s Like a Superstar, which we posted up yesterday. No idea why. Hit or Miss? It’s catchy in a euphoric, Euro-dance way, but it’s no World In Motion. [...]
Meet the tournament favourites GERMANY (Group B) Group mates Poland (8 June, Klagenfurt), Croatia (12 June, Klagenfurt), Austria (16 June, Vienna) Three most valuable players 1) Michael Ballack An undeniable world-class act, and in fine form for his club in the last couple of months. Having missed the 2006 World Cup final in his homeland, [...]
The first of several songs for the Euros This is just one of the official songs for Euro 2008. It’s slightly less annoying than Crazy Frog, but that’s about the highest praise we can give it. Pure Euro disco nonsense. Hit or miss? A huge, sliced miss into Row Z.
Italian captain injures ankle ligaments, will miss Euros Cannavaro, who led Italy to World Cup victory in 2006, has been ruled out of Euro 2008. The central defender will have surgery on his left ankle in Vienna so he can remain with Italy at the team’s training camp in Austria. It’s a big blow for [...]
Can England’s conquerors go all the way? CROATIA (Group B) Group mates Austria (8 June, Vienna), Germany (12 June, Klagenfurt), Poland (16 June, Klagenfurt) Three most valuable players 1) Luka Modric Tottenham’s next saviour is a wonderfully gifted playmaker, with a fine eye for a pass. 2) Niko Kranjcar Had a fine season at Portsmouth. [...]
The best snaps from yesterday’s friendly in Port of Spain T&T’s fans: prettier than England’s fans.
The worst team in the Euros? Almost certainly AUSTRIA (Group B) Group mates Croatia (8 June, Vienna), Poland (12 June, Vienna), Germany (16 June, Vienna) Three most valuable players 1) Emanuel Pogatetz Middlesbrough’s Mad Dog is back in favour, after falling out with Austria’s management before the 2006 World Cup. His brand of tenacious defending [...]
The tournament’s dark horse? Not really… TURKEY (Group A) Group-mates Portugal (7 June, Geneva), Switzerland (11 June, Basel), Czech Rep. (15 June, Geneva) Three most valuable players 1) Nihat Kahveci The attacking midfielder (pictured), who can also play up front, had a fine season for Villareal and will be one to watch. 2) Tuncay Sanli [...]
This is how the Swiss roll (lame pun alert)… SWITZERLAND (Group A) Group-mates Czech Rep. (7 June, Basel), Turkey (11 June, Basel), Portugal (15 June, Basel) Three most valuable players 1) Alexander Frei Recently became his country’s leading all-time scorer. The Swiss rely massively on his goals, but he rarely lets them down. Frei seems [...]
THEN: Ronnie Ekelund has the strange claim to fame of having played Premier League football for two seasons without ever having signed for a Premier League club. The story goes that Barcelona boss Johann Cruyff and his old friend Alan Ball, then Southampton manager, were reunited when the two clubs stayed at the same hotel. When Cruyff asked his old mucker what he would like as a parting gift, Ball replied: “A left-sided midfielder.” He woke the next morning to find a Barcelona tracksuit-clad Ekelund waiting in the lobby. The Dane soon linked up well with Matt Le Tissier and made an impressive start to his Saints career. He scored five goals in 17 appearances. A permanent move never materialised because Ekelund refused to have surgery on a back injury. He had brief loan spells at Manchester City and Coventry City, but injuries prevented him making an impact.