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Euro 2008: Group A Breakdown

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The first of the groups get play underway tomorrow with the following fixtures:

  • Switzerland v. Czech Republic (11:30 EST)
  • Portugal v. Turkey (2:30 EST)

The remaining games in the group will be held on June 11th and 15th.

First In: Portugal. If Christiano Ronaldo wants to make a move to Real, and solidify his Footballer of the Year award, he’ll be leg-faking his squad into the quarter finals while the Group A defenders look for their jock straps. Let’s also not forget Chelsea center defender Ricardo Carvalho and recent acquisition, José Bosingwa at right defense, both go to show the Portuguese squad’s skill in defense in addition to the exciting offensive play.

First Out: Switzerland. Sorry, when you drop a game to the US squad 3-0, I can’t see any way that you get past the quality squads in this group.

The second qualification spot is really a toss-up between the Czech Republic and Turkey. The former are playing with pretty much the same squad that failed to the elimination stage in the 2006 World Cup (losing to Ghana and eventual winners Italy), except for injured captain Tomas Rosicky and veteran defender Pavel Nedved.

Turkey could surprise. In qualifying for the finals, they played in a very light grouping, taking second (Greece won). The squad has a number of players with experience in the German Bundesliga. Their coach, Fatih Terim, is the only one to take a Turkish squad on runs into major tournaments (2000 Euro, 3rd at 2002 WC). Because of the importance coaching plays in tournament-type situations, I’ll pick Turkey should advance as the second place team. They’ll face the winner of Group B (in all likelihood, Germany).

Next, I’ll look at Group B.

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