Monday, June 21, 2004


Okay, so I didn't make any predictions beforehand, but believe me when I say that France and Portugal were my pre-Euro 2004 favourites. Perhaps if I add in that Spain were my dark horses (they're always my dark horses on the basis that they must win something at sometime, musn't they?), you might believe me.

France and Portugal remain my favourites. Can I add in Germany as my new dark horses? Are you allowed to claim Germany as a dark horse?

This has got to be one of the worst German sides in any major tournament. Okay, the Euro 2000 team might have been worse. The World Cup 2002 side made the final, but had such an easy ride there that they were flattered.

But, I've got a nasty feeling that the Germans will hit a spawny patch. Their next opponents, the Czechs, have already qualified for the quarter-finals. Holland should beat Latvia 18-0. But, that'll make no difference if the Germans can ease past what's likely to be a below strength Czech side.

And, watch out for the distinct possibility of Germany coming up against England in the Semi-Finals.

Of course, the latter relies on England avoiding a banana skin against the skillful and dogged Croatians. I hate games against these kind of teams. There's bound to be at least one sending off and one player reaching his second yellow card thereby missing the quarter-final. This blogger has a sneaking feeling that Croatia will win 2-1 overcoming an early goal by Rooney (who'll go on to get booked).

Portugal: uninspiring. Figo looks a tired player and Nuno Gomes aside the host nation did not look sharp. If I see one more Ronaldo step-over I think I'll be sick.

France: also uninspiring. Zidane has been a tower - overcoming his poor form for Real this season. But, several French (Thierry Henry, raise your hand) look like they don't fancy it.

All is bound to change in the knock-out phase.

STOP PRESS: Owen Hargreaves has recovered from the shits and will be available on the bench. Good news, methinks.

:: Posted by pete @ 12:55