Euro 2008: 10 to Impress!

by Matt Quinn

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Players to watch

Matt Quinn gives his run down on who he thinks will the be stars of the tournament. For those of you who are unfamiliar with some of these names we’ve included some video footage to wet your appetite.


1/ Mario Gomez – Germany – Striker

I’ve never really rated Miroslav Klose, despite the fact that he seems to always score plenty in big tournaments. This year, I am certain, he will be completely overshadowed by Stuttgart’s young striker, Mario Gomez. German footballer of the year in 2007, Gomez has earned the inspired nickname, “Mr Reliable” for his impressive goal scoring record. 6 goals in his first 9 appearances for Germany has suggested that he is more than capable of transferring his form onto the national stage. He possesses every attribute a world-class striker should possess, although so does Emile Heskey, and is worth a cheeky bet for top scorer at the tournament. Expect a big move for Gomez soon.




2/ Luka Modric – Croatia – Midfielder

Throughout the years, ive lusted, in football terms, after virtually every creative midfielder on the planet. Rui Costa, Valeron, Xavi, Riquelme, Redondo, Rosicky and now Tottenham-bound Modric have all held my affections for the purity of their play. Pass and move. Simple. Although apparently beyond most English players; highlighted by the defeat at Wembley by Croatia, where Modric out-shone the more lauded likes of Lampard and Gerrard to dump England out of Euro 2008. Croatia are dubbed the Brazil of the Balkans and are my dark horses for the tournament. Whether they are to live up to this tag will be down, in no small part, to their midfield schemers, Niko Krancjar and Modric.




3/ Turan Arda – Turkey- Winger

Nicknamed the “Ronaldo of the Bosphorus”, the young Turkish winger is the main source of hope for his homeland this summer. Can be electric with the ball at his feet and is almost guaranteed a big money move this summer if his performances live up to his hype. Unfortunately for him, Newcastle appear to be heading the queue for his signature. If he can put that thought to the back of his mind, he may be the thrusting creativity that Turkey will need to progress beyond the group stage.




4/ Luca Toni – Italy – Striker

After tipping him to be the top scorer in the last world cup, I’m a bit hesitant to do the same with these Euros….. but gosh darn it, how can anyone ignore his phenomenal scoring record? He may be restricted by playing in the “Group of Death”, but after scoring 36 goals in his first season at Bayern Munich, it is hard to see him not continuing that form for the World champions. A late bloomer, who only received his first cap at the age of 27, Toni is almost reaching the veteran stage of his career but with service from Di Natale and Pirlo, he is my tip for Euro 2008 golden boot. Damn.




5/ Andrei Arshavin – Russia – Midfielder

Basically, I could copy and paste my Modric thoughts into this space. Another beautifully creative midfielder who helped to propel the minnows of Zenit St Petersburg to the UEFA cup final, destroying Bayern Munich along the way. Arshavin is another one who has been inextricably linked with Newcastle United, yet is worthy of a bigger team. He is the pivotal point for all Russian attacks and a lot of responsibility will lie on his shoulders should Russia wish to progress into the latter stages. With Guus Hiddink guiding him throughout the competition, Arshavin is one of the players i’m most looking forward to watching.




6/ Sergio Ramos – Spain – Defender

I was getting a little tired putting in midfielders and strikers in this column so ive now turned to Sergio Ramos. This despite the fact that Spain have the best collection of small, creative midfielders in the whole competition. Trying to pick one from Senna, De La Red, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Silva would have been impossible anyway. Sergio Ramos, on the other hand, is a buccaneering defender who can play equally adeptly at full-back or centre-half and would be a wise bet for any Euro fantasy team. Always capable of grabbing a goal, Ramos has had a fantastic season with Real Madrid and is likely to feature at right-back for Spain. While not as classy as Cafu, his rampaging runs down the flank will be a feature of Spain’s play this summer.




7/ Pepe- Portugal – Defender

Another Real Madrid defender makes my much coveted “ones to watch” list. Alongside the impeccable Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe should form a formidable backline for one of the pre tournament favourites and it will be from this springboard that the likes of Cronaldo, Deco and Simao will hope to weave their magic further forward. Pepe signed last year for Madrid for 30million Euros and while injuries deprived him of a full campaign, he showed enough to live up to his hype as the worlds best defender.




8/ Karim Benzema – France – Striker

Whether France start with Benzema or Anelka alongside Thierry Henry could go a long way to deciding whether they emerge from the Group of Death. Anelka finished the season on the bench for Chelsea, while Benzema ended his season on fire, claiming France’s player of the year award. France would be unwise to ignore the talented Benzema as it is he and Ribery who ‘Les Blues’ are looking towards for their next golden generation. An electric striker with composure beyond his young years, Benzema could be ready to fully announce his arrival on the world stage and ensure Man United pay an extra £5-10 million, should they wish to secure his services. Which is never a bad thing.




9/ Arjen Robben – Holland – Winger

If Robben manages to stay fit, he should be the star of the tournament. Whether it be Chelsea, Madrid or Holland, two things are sure. When Robben is available he is a certain starter and a genuine match-winner. A team deprived of his talents always seem lacking in thrust and inspiration and I fully believe that this tournament will finally see the Dutchman gain the recognition his frail physique has so far deprived him. Overall, im not sure what to expect from Holland, especially with the unkind draw proving to threaten their chances before they start. If Robben plays to his potential, I am tipping them to emerge with Italy from Group C.




10/ Zlatan Ibrahimovic- Sweden – Striker

Martin O’Neill has called him the most overrated player on the planet and I have never seen anything from the giant Swede to suggest otherwise. He is, however, highly coveted in world football and has, by all accounts, had a tremendous season for Inter. His talent is beyond question, although the meagre service he is likely to receive from the Swedish midfield may bring out his more petulant side. While not being his biggest fan, I am not blind enough to suggest he can’t be a major star at this tournament. Sweden are the perennial dark horses, solid but unspectacular, but with Zlatan, they may just have enough variety to cause a shock or two.

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  • dexylongshot

    Top stuff Matt. Deffo fancy Toni as top Goalscorer the way he’s been banging them in in the Fatherland and fancy Gomez to get the nod over Poldolski up front with Klose. Bit worried about the germans at the back though, i reckon we could see them in another penalty shoot-out!

  • Bakes

    Great article, Matt. Can’t disagree with any of it. Really looking forward to seeing Modric. Can’t believe he will be playing for the Spuds next year. Sad state of affairs.

  • Darren

    when Edurdo signed for us there was talk that he was coming to Arsenal too, but once again it was all talk. I’m really looking to seeing Portugal to be honest, Charisma (SP) Nani & Ronaldo, so much pace and excitment!

  • dexylongshot

    Yep, they will be showboating for fun.
    I’m gonna set up a UKFF fantasy football league tonight, probably with Metro cos it’s free and easy to join.
    I’ll send out all the details tomorrow, the winner can wins some ukff goodies. How sad does goodies sound!

  • Tim

    Some top players, the list is endless
    I’ve gone for David Villa to outshine Torres and pick up the top scorer. Its a market worthy of some outsider shots, baring in the mind the team making the final will only play 6 games. Jan Koller and Ribery at 50/1 are worth a punt

    One point on Arshavin, he is suspended for the opening two games, so if Russia don’t get out of their group he’ll only play once……………:(

    Portugal or Germany to meet Spain in the final

  • dexylongshot

    Right chaps, if anyone fancies a bash, i’ve just set up a league for some Euro 2008 dreamteam action, more the merrier and all that, the winner of our league at the end can win a Euro 2008 game courtesy of EA Sports and maybe i’ll be able to wrangle a signed photo of Miss UFF winner Elke or something!!! you never know, you might win the proper 1st prize from metro which is 15 grand or What Ronaldo makes when he fancies a kip, alright for some.

    Anyway, here’s the details.

    Log onto:

    Hit the “register here” button half way down on the left,
    then fill in all your details and put the screen-code in at the bottom.

    This takes you to the main team page.
    There is a tab for joining an existing league. This is where you put in the league name and password which is;

    League name is: ukfootballfinder Euro2008 League
    Password is: noengland

    It will then send your details to the administrator which is moi, this takes a bit of time but you can still register your team anyway and make changes up till the first game on sat.

    It’s dead simple to play, each player has a value but instead of Millions, they use stars and you have to make a team with 11 players using 75 stars. All the instructions are on the site.

    Piece of P*ss. So pass onto all your mates and let’s get the banter flowing. When the final league is complete after the 1st game, we’ll set up another blog page for discussion and general abuse!!!

    So, let’s play!!!!

  • Tim

    I’ve applied for the league



  • billy nomates

    Good blog Matt, what do you think of Turkey chances??

    I’m gonna join the league tomorrow, do we win a night out with ELKE!!! 🙂

  • Tim

    I won………….. 🙂

  • Darren

    nice one Tim, a packet of sausages are in the post!

  • Tim

    is that it?!!!?

  • dexylongshot

    They are lincolnshire ones!

  • Darren

    no I’m joking of course, as the comp was a total farce we all gave up. Metro u suck!!

    We can send u a new EA game once our new batch comes in. Xbox360 or Ps3?

  • dexylongshot

    i posted this on sat with regards to the Metro ****-UP!

  • dexylongshot

    PS: It’s at the bottom of the comments!

  • Tim

    Thanks, PS3 would be good…..

    Will have a look at the comments Dexy

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