The European Soccer Championship 2008 will start on June 7 with the match between Switzerland and the Czech Republic. I'll travel to Germany to be closer to the action, perhaps even catch a game live in Austria, one of the host countries (together with Switzerland). I hope this will be a lively thread throughout the tournament (which ends on June 29) and that I will be able to contribute from over there.
For starters, here are the four groups in the preliminary round:
A: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey
B: Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland
C: Netherlands, Italy, Romania, France
D: Greece (the def. champion), Sweden, Spain, Russia
Conspicuous by its absence is England, basically b/c of a chronic weakness, goalkeeping. Their goalie managed to lose the decisive match in the qualifying round against a team (Croatia) already qualified.
In the preliminary round, the teams in each group play each other, round-robin fashion. A win gets you 3 points and a tie 1 point. The two teams with the most points in each group advance to the quarterfinals (I'm not going into the tie-breaking rules here). Group C is generally considered this year's "group of death"--it is indeed a pity that at least one of the perennial European power-houses (Italy, France and the Netherlands) will not make it past the first round--and Romania is no slouch, either. I also think that Germany's group is stronger than the Germans want to believe.
So, let's see what happens...
1 day ago