Euro 2008 Group A preview

by Dexy Longshot

Thursday, June 5th, 2008
 

Czech Republic

The Czechs topped their group in the qualifiers losing just once and leaving tournament favourites Germany clinging on in 2nd (how’s that work out?). With Cech between the sticks, it’s no surprise they go into the competition with one of the stingiest goals against figures. I can’t see them conceding much in the group stages & with over 200 caps between them, the back four know each other’s tackle ability well, a bit too well! Randy captain Tomas Ujfalusi was found with 4 other team players and a gaggle of brasses’ at the team hotel after their defeat to Germany. Team boss Karel Bruckner nearly resigned over the scandal. Fellow brass-rubber Rosicky is out injured so Reading’s Marek Matejosky could step in like he did against the Germans where he scored in qualifying. Young striker Martin Fenin is also a star in the making if he can get a look-in up front. For all there experience at the back though, I don’t think the Czechs have enough to win it, especially if they pick up injuries or get a few suspensions. After 6 years at the helm, Bruckner is signing of after the tournament and it would be fitting if could do it with the trophy. He got them to the semis the last time round and I fancy them to do the same again.

Dexy’s Diamond

Big Jan Koller was cruelly injured in the last world cup when, after scoring in the opening game against the USA, he caught a nasty gammy and was stretchered of which ruled him out of the tournament and the Czechs chances went with it. Hopefully, he won’t have such bad luck this time and I predict the 35-year-old Nuremberg forward to get on the goal trail. His record at international level is 52 goals in 83, which is fantastic. His presence at set pieces alongside Baros or Fenin will be a giant headache for the other group A teams.

 

Portugal

Portugal interestingly lost only once en route to the finals but still came 2nd in their group behind Poland & I think this may be their time. One thing is going to make or break the last tournament hosts Euro campaign and that is Ronaldo’s form. The player of the year can win this tournament on his Jack Jones if he performs like we know he can. 1 assist and 8 goals in qualifying will put him in every dreamteam going and I fancy Portugal for at least a semi spot, something they achieved at their last 3 big tournaments. Boasting an excellent spine with Ricardo in goal, the watertight centre-halves Pepe & Carvalho & Deco in midfield, they stand an excellent chance. Along with Ronny is back flipping Wayne Sleep wannabe Nani. The Manc fringer seems to get better with every game but will he be playing at all? Will Big Phil play with him, Ronny and Queresma in the same team or opt for Simao out wide. The current forward Almeida isn’t much cop on his own with only 2 goals in 8 games so may make way for Ronny up front. Oh Phil, Gene Hackman never had decisions like this, not even in the Poseidon adventure!

Dexy’s Diamond

The player I’m hoping to get minutes on the pitch is Ricardo Queresma. I remember him and Ronaldo on the flanks in an under 21 game around 6 years ago. Queresma was on an equal with the winker then and was eventually snapped up by Barcelona. After struggling at the Nou Camp, he was sent back to Porto but has improved fantastically & recently helped them land their 3rd title. He is simply divine on the ball I would pay to watch him, I just hope Scholari can accommodate his undoubted talent in a team already bursting with showboaters.

 

Switzerland

I wouldn’t bank on the Swiss even with home advantage on their side and a good defence, the cheese-makers just won’t cut it with a group boasting the Czechs and Portugal. New Liverpool signing Philipp Degan will play at the back with Senderos & Djourou. Other players I like the look of are the skilful playmaker Johann Vogel, Tranquillo Barnetta and the free-scoring Alexander Frei who had an excellent World Cup. I’m looking forward to the game against the Turks purely because of the aggro factor! In the Istanbul World Cup qualifier in November 05 it all kicked of big styly, even the coaches we’re throwing right-handers! Lengthy bans and fines were eventually dished out from a certain Sepp Blatter who is Swiss! guess what team got of lightly? Set your Swiss clocks for this one, when the red mist of both sides descends on Basle, it could be cloud cuckoo time on the pitch!

Dexy’s Diamond

In a team bereft of world-class players, Tranquillo Barnetta or Barney as he is known is one of the exceptions. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has a wicked shot on him and isn’t scared to put the boot in where it matters (which will probably be needed against the Turks) He just missed out on the best young player award at the last World Cup where the Swiss went out on pens to the Ukraine. Poor Barney hit the woodwork so he’ll want to put on a good show in front of the home fans with a Swiss screamer this time!

 

Turkey

In 2002, a team consisting of a young Emre and the sassy Hasan Sas overcame the odds to secure 3rd place in Asia. I doubt they’ll even reach the group stages this time with Portugal and The Czechs in their group. Coach Fatih Terim surprisingly dropped 100-cap legend Hakan Suker last month so he may decide to play a 4-5-1 with Aurelio holding in midfield, Tuncay, Basturk, Emre & Arda in front with Nihet spearheading the attack. Farim is known for his fondness of tactical changes so he could play something completely different if things are going pear-shaped, 3-2-5 anyone? The young side face Phil’s mob in their 1st match before the Swiss game I mentioned up top. Terim has installed a tough mentality in this team and we all know how that can work in big tournaments (look at the consistent Germans). It might well come down to the last game against the towering Czechs and I think this will be their swansong. They are a bit iffy at set pieces and with Koller about, It’s gonna be an early Turkish bath for Fatih Terim & Co.

Dexy’s Diamond

Nihet Kahvecki has impressed this season at Villarreal and will be the main goal threat for the Turkish after the surprising Suker omission and he is double confident it too. “I’m now 28 and I feel completely ready to take my chance. I see the Euros as the next vital step in my career. I’m scoring regularly and full of confidence, I couldn’t ask for more on the eve of this Championship”. Talk about blow your own trumpet, I tell you what Nihet, you’d better ask for a Final ticket son because you won’t be getting there with this Turkey side!

 

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  • Mike

    what are the odds on all these games ended 0-0? I simply can not pick a winner. Portugal are slow starters, Turkey are Turkey, The Czechs used to good and the Swiss are at home.

    Surprise result will see Turkey beat Portugal but still fail to qualify!!

  • billy nomates

    Turkey are a strong, my local doner supplier says they are almost has good as 2002 and has put a ton on them to get through the group. I can see the swiss rolling over but the czechs under-rated again, they qualified well and I fancy a stalemate with Ronnys mob, it could all go to goal difference. Does anyone no if Nani will start?

  • Mike

    Nani plays second fiddle to Queresma, who is a great player but obviously over shadowed by you know you. I’ve seen him play live, he is by far the most skillful player I have seen. A total showboater but someone like Fergi could sort him out I reckon.

    Turkey thrashed Greece 4-1 first game in their group but struggled some what, I don’t think they are as good as 2002. Sukar has hung is boots and Tugay will collecting his pension soon

    The Swiss will win this group on goal difference

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Real Madrid’s interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo takes a new twist as the winger says he would like to play for the Spanish club.

    Ronaldo’s on his way, Darren Fletcher here we come!!

  • Dexy

    Remember , there’s only a few more hours to join up the UKFF dreamteam comp. Ideally you wanna get your team in by 5 Friday arvo. He’s the gumph.

    Log onto:
    http://eurofantasyfootball.metro.co.uk/

    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.

  • Aslan

    Darren fletchers off to arsenal hope to god!!….. Ronaldo isn’t leaving for shite!!!! Quadrouple next season…

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    he’s better than Eboue!! He is leaving dude, get over it, see you much, you can’t replace a 41 goal a season midfielder, I guarantee that won’t happen in the Premier League for another 10 years!

  • dexylongshot

    Has anyone noticed how much Nani resembles counceller Murray frpm the Only Fools & Horses Batman episode?

    Portugal looked pretty decent and how good is that Pepe, two in the net from a defender. no wonder they are bigging him up as the future No1 Center back in the world.

    Was a bit disapointed with the Czechs, they will need a better performance against Portugal & Turkey to get through.

  • http://n/a Aslan

    gotta disagree with you on the pepe being the next top defender comment there dexy…..He was by far average on the defending side of the game and he really should be playing as an attacking midfielder or holding at least not a centre back !! I think I’ll tip the czech’s to win the group by winning their next two games !!

  • Ashley

    i dnt no about u people but um a strong portugal support and nani is guna be a better version of ronaldo because i hate ronaldo he juz shows off too much….and and czech’s arent going to win because portugal has got this one in the bag homiie

  • dexylongshot

    I’d start Querasma’s over Nani at the mo, although Nani has time on his side, if only he didn’t dive o much, it must be that grease on his Rick James barnet. I think Pepe is the money. Real Madrid have got finally got a decent center-halve. Be good to see Koller fair against him and Carv tonight. I wouldn’t like to call it on that, maybe a draw 1-1?

    Still looking forward to the turkey/swiss game, let the aggro commnce, how many yellows are we going to see, 5/6 …..a red!!!!

  • dexylongshot

    no koller, what a turn-up, baros is poop but then again look at his record in th euros.

    1-1 so far as predicted. Could go either way!

  • Mikie

    gotta say, the Portuguese are looking good, as the commentator rightly pointed out, bring on the next generation of Portugal players!!

    Defensively strong, midfield can split a defence and score the goals to take them all the final. Germany v Portugal, I’m already licking my lips at the prospect

  • dexylongshot

    Poor old Switzerland, knocked out in the 92 minute, sickner.
    What a game though, the 1st 20 mins was drab, then the heavens opened at it was more like a water polo game, what a Tapin 4 Hakin Yakin! he will never score an easier goal, the ball stopped right in front of him 2 yards out, even peggy would have got that in! The 2nd half was the best i’ve seen so far in the tournament, proper end to end stuff with chances for both sides, each knowing deep down that a draw probably wouldn’t be good enough for either. The last 20 was so breathtaking. I thought it was game over when the swiss broke away 4 on two but somehow the turks got away with it. 5 mins later Arda was on his toes up the other end and after a slight deflection, hysteria in every kebab shop from Billericy to Bodrum. Magic!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    what a game!! The commentator jinxed Cech by constantly saying he’s the best keeper in the world. Gutted or what?

    Winning goal was class.

    No one will want to play the Turks in case they get beaten up after or during the game. Sending off was a joke.

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