Euro preview – Group A – Dexy stylie

by Dexy Longshot

Thursday, June 7th, 2012
 

After all that boring Jubilee flag-waving carry-on, we can now say, wham bam thank you maam for moving the 2 day holiday back a week later than usual when London saw more rain than Noah ever did. Nice one your Maj, nay mind, I’m sure you was nice and rainproof under your hat and you got the nation nice and ready for the main event. It’s Euro time and at least I can leave my St George flag and bunting up for another week or 4 if we’re lucky. I can also blot out the sunlight on the side of my gaff too with my Irish flag that’s has been in the loft for 10 years.

If this competition is half as good as the previous tournament, we are in for a right royal treat. The quality of the football in Switzerland and Austria was top notch, goals galore, surprises (Croatia), heartache (Turkey), it had it all apart from a home team to cheer on, maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much as a true neutral. This time, I’ve got 2 teams to cheer on and believe they both have the tools to qualify and set up a mouth-watering tie with Roy’s Lions vs Trap O Toni’s Green Machine. It might not be pretty but no one will give a monkeys if it gets us to the semis, (remember Greece 04?).
So it all kicks of proper 5pm Friday at the Warsaw national stadium. I’m missing that game as I’ll be heading out to Ibiza to watch all the action in the sun with the fanatical fans who go absolutely mental when they see their beloved team in action, yep, those Paddy bars will have the best Craic on the Island! Go on you Paddys, go on you Lions, one of you, please bring it home!

Here’s the first of my 4 day run-down of groups and I’m putting the teams in the order I think will decide the quarter final matchups. I’ll also be putting in my usual Dexy’s Diamond. Some will not be quite as obvious as you think so if you are on the lookout for any Dreamteam bargains, take a shufti and then Muller me when they don’t get a minute of action. So here’s A, the over groups will here on their opening days if you want to have a quick swot up before you hit the pubs and bookies!

Group A
Russia
Dutchee Dick Advocaat is at the Russki reins and I can see them winning Group A quite comfortably, possibly setting up a tie with his homeland in the next round. They murdered the Netherlands in the Arshavin inspired quarter in 2008 and I wouldn’t write them of this time either. They have plenty of experience and are undefeated in their last 14 games including the 3-0 spanking of Italy last week. They will most likely link up in a 4-3-3 looking for goals because they are a bit iffy at the back. Plenty of attacking options With Arshavin on the left flank joined by one of Kershakov, Pavluchenko or even Fulham’s Pogrebnyak.
Dexys Diamond – Look out for youngster Alan Dzagoev, the attacking midfielder will be looking to join in the attack at every opportunity,if he regains his fitness in time for the opener sitting just behind the front 2.

Czech Republic
The Czechs enter this tournament in a time of transition. Stalwarts such as Koller, Jankulovski and that naughty boy UjfaLusi have been moved on and new blood has been injected. It has taken some time to gel and qualification in Spain’s groups is never an easy ask but recent form suggests they will just have enough to get out of the group. With Petr Cech in brilliant Champions League winning form and an organised new look defence, they will be hard to break down as they were in beating Montenegro 2-0 & 1-0 in the play-offs. With Rosicky back on form in the middle, cutting some triangle shapes with the widemen and full-backs, the energetic Czechs would be favourites to top the group if it wasn’t for their poor goals return. Baros is getting on now and isn’t the player he was in previous championships winning the golden boot in 2004 before slipping up against Greece in the semis.
Dexy’s Diamond – Michel Kadlec is a decent full back who along with Selassie will be overlapping the wingers further upfield. Michel also takes the odd penalty and I’d fancy him to nick a goal in the coming fortnight, he got 4 in qualifying don’t you know.

Poland
The joint hosts will have fanatical support and Stadium familiarity on their side but I’m not sure it will be enough, even in the so called easiest group. They are the lowest ranked team in the tournament with high expectations from their fans but I can’t see too many Pozman dances in the stands. Luckily for team manager Franciszek Smuda, The Poles didn’t have to qualify but their friendlies record over the last few year’s show they would have struggled. Arsenals keeper Szczesny will be seeing plenty of action I fear in his team’s goalmouth.
Dexy’s Diamond – Jakub Blaszykowski of Dortmund is the team captain and will be operating on the right of the pitch. With Pizazech behind him and main striker Lewandowski to his left who I’d fancy to get a goal or two (He got 22 in the Bundesliga this season), Jakub will see a lot of the ball before getting blown out at the group stages….at least he won’t have far to walk home.

Greece
After the highs of 2004 & the low of 2008, 2012 could be the lowest of the lot and that is just the debt fiasco. The Greeks ain’t got much to smile about at the moment but if they get 3 points in the Poland opener and a draw against the Czechs, the Gods may be smiling on them come the decider against Russia who may be qualified by then and taking a breather. Topping their group on a healthy 24 points, they pipped Croatia and it was down to Portugeezer Fernando Santa who has transformed the 2004 style into a more attack minded unit while keeping the strong pressing & organised game of 8 years ago. If they can get some points on the board against the hosts, they have a slim chance and then who knows?
Dexy’s Diamond – In a team built on robust defending, Torosidis will be a strong attacking outlet as well when in possession on the break. The Olympiakos Captain ain’t got a bad shot on him either.

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