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A Preview of the Euro 2008 Finals
The upcoming Euro 2008 championship to be held in Austria and Switzerland has captured the imagination and attention of millions of soccer addicts around the world. With sixteen of Europe’s best teams fighting for a place in the annals of football history, expect action, drama and football of the highest order this coming summer. With an eye on the upcoming championships, let’s examine the likely teams to lift the checkered trophy on June 27 in Austria.
The World Champions, Italy certainly seem to be on the stronger side of the paper. The Italians always come with the goods on the big stage, as evidenced by their recent World Cup success, and with the likes of Luca Toni and Alessandero Del Piero in fine form, the Azzuri have a lethal frontline capable of countering trumps. much better. Defense is a slight concern though with Fabio Cannavaro looking a shadow of the player he was at the 2006 World Cup, but with Buffon manning the net, opposition forwards have a lot of work to do to score goals against the Azzurri.
Joint favorites with Italy would have to be France and Portugal. Both these teams have been consistently good at major tournaments over the last decade and will be hoping to erase their shortcomings in recent finals by going all the way this time. France will be without Zinedine Zidane at a major tournament for the first time and will be heavily reliant on Frank Ribbery and Sameer Nasri in midfield to pull their opponents’ strings. However, with Thierry Henry and future Lyon sensation Karim Benzema in attack, expect plenty of goals when France take to the field.
This tournament will finally see Cristiano Ronaldo playing at the height of his powers and the Portuguese will be hoping that the dazzling wing combination of Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma will help them recover from the disappointment of Euro 2004 when they were beaten by Greece on their home turf. . Their Iberian rivals Spain are also hoping they can break their all-time record with a major silverware for the first time in forty-four years. Spain enters the Euro 2008 finals with arguably the best strike force in world football. The likes of David Villa, David Guiza and Fernando Torres have been nothing short of sensational at club level and expect the Spaniards to play a major role in determining the champions of European football’s national competitions this summer.
The Netherlands and Germany will go into the finals of Euro 2008 as dark horses. With a host of superstars to lean on against the odds, both sides are in contention for a place in the finals this June. The Netherlands have been drawn in the group of death alongside Italy and France and much of their performance will depend on the performances of star strikers Rudd van Nistelrooy, Huntelaar and Robin Van Persie.
Other notable contenders include the Czech Republic, Sweden and Romania. With the likes of Adrian Mutu, Peter Cech, Pavel Nedved and Henrik Larsson in the ranks, these teams have the ability to stun the best in the business on their day.
All this will become mere documentation when the official Euro Championship kicks off at short notice. The Championship is notoriously unpredictable, as Greece would prove last time out.
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