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Faster

Euro 2008

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Your such an Italian hater..lol....The defending World Cup Champions will make it out of their group alongside France.

Are you sure about that? They're in a stronger group now than they failed to get through four years ago.

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Are you sure about that? They're in a stronger group now than they failed to get through four years ago.

The reason I doubt Italy is not because I disdain the style and a few of the players, but because they are the oldest team in the tournament and in the most difficult group at any Euro in recent memory being known for notoriously bad starts.

Average age of the teams

Czech Republic - 28.1

Portugal - 26.5

Switzerland - 26.2

Turkey - 26.2

Austria - 26.1

Croatia - 27.1

Germany - 26.3

Poland - 26.4

France - 27

Italy - 28.8

Netherlands - 28.3

Romania - 26.3

Russia - 25.5

Spain - 26

Sweden 28.7

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I think you misunderstand me, Faster. I too am far from convinced that Italy will get out of that group, particularly given their long-term reputation as slow starters in championships.

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I think you misunderstand me, Faster. I too am far from convinced that Italy will get out of that group, particularly given their long-term reputation as slow starters in championships.

I know where you were coming from, I was just backing up my argument that Italy is not a sure thing out of that group.

Just look at last times group of death, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Germany and Latvia, most would have picked Netherlands and Germany, but it was Netherlands and Czech Republic.

I do have one wish, though sometimes a Cinderella is a good story, it is not the best result and would prefer that one of the minnows not win this thing. I think any one of 13 teams can win this, the only ones I would wholly discount are Switzerland, Austria and Russia.

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I wouldn't necessarily discount Russia. And Switzerland do seem to me to have some potential. But Austria don't seem to have much to hope for, I'm afraid.

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I wouldn't necessarily discount Russia. And Switzerland do seem to me to have some potential. But Austria don't seem to have much to hope for, I'm afraid.

There has been much promise about Russia over the past decade, but they don't have home-field and they seem to use that as a crutch. Remember 2002 when they were given a gift of a group featuring Japan, Belgium and Tunisia?

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They're in a stronger group now than they failed to get through four years ago.

At least this time there's no Totti (thanks god!) and no risk of any nordic combined. May be not enough to be confident but a good start though.

..and thank Domenech for not calling your most profitable goleador letting him relax and fresh for our next champions league.

btw aren't you guys getting sick of this argument? :huh:

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I think to talk about a 'nordic combined' is somewhat churlish. It certainly doesn't take account of Italy's inability to get the results they needed. I seem to remember a particularly crucial late equaliser the Swedes got against Italy in 2004.

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Oh gosh! How about relax and just don't weigh every single word I say? The nordic combined was mostly sarcastic than serious, c'mon!

btw what they did in the last Euro really looked as it was a combined (or whatever you called in english) regardless of the fact that, OBVIOUSLY, it was mostly our fault to not have made better results in previous matches of that group.

So, is it me churlish ot is it you biased?

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If you didn't say it, you wouldn't have the problem. It's always easy to make excuses when things go against you. Believe me, we English are world class at it. But sometimes you just have to be honest and admit you weren't good enough.

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Oh gosh! How about relax and just don't weigh every single word I say? The nordic combined was mostly sarcastic than serious, c'mon!

btw what they did in the last Euro really looked as it was a combined (or whatever you called in english) regardless of the fact that, OBVIOUSLY, it was mostly our fault to not have made better results in previous matches of that group.

So, is it me churlish ot is it you biased?

But you and fellow Italians have made numerous statements that you believe there was collusion between the Danish and Swedish teams to post a result that saw both of them through even though the Italy-Bulgaria game was played at the exact same time and there is doubt to how much there was known about the Italian result by the Swedish and Danish or vice versa.

By making statements like this you only portray yourself as bitter, cynical and grounded in a believe that Italy's failure is based on outside influences and not the Italians performance. If we look back further you and your fellow Italians claimed that referee decisions in 2002 cost you winning the game against Croatia and Korea. This is a pattern of excuses and blame by you and your fellow Italians on this board that the negative results are not because of Italy's performance but because of outside influence and Italy's positive results are because Italy is the superior team. Even though similar arguments you make to excuse Italy's poor performances can be used to mitigate their positive performance in 2006. Including very questionable referring decisions in both the Australian and American game and facing the weakest two possible opponents in the first two knock-out games being Australia and Ukraine compared to Sweden and Argentina, England and Netherlands and Spain and Brazil.

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Gosh, Germany probably lost the 1966 World Cup due to an irregular goal. And probably Germany would have reached the 2006 final if the Italians hadn't blown the whistle on Torsten Frings. So what? I guess that every football nation can tell of such experiences. That's bitter and unjust, but such is life. And am I constantly whimpering about it?

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arwebb, you are insanely pedantic.

Faster, PLEASE stop it.. you are getting sicker and sicker with this.

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These are all the pre-tournament friendlies involving the 16 teams

Russia 6 - 0 Kazakhstan

May 24th

Croatia v Moldova

Netherlands v Ukraine

Hungary v Greece

Switzerland v Slovakia

May 25

Turkey v Uruguay

May 26

Sweden v Slovenia

May 27

Albania v Poland

Austria v Nigeria

Czech Republic v Lithuania

Estonia v Georgia

France v Ecuador

Germany v Belarus

May 28

Russia v Serbia

May 29

Netherlands v Denmark

Turkey v Finland

May 30

Austria v Malta

Czech Republic v Scotland

Italy v Belgium

Switzerland v Liechtenstein

May 31

France v Paraguay

Germany v Serbia

Hungary v Croatia

Portugal v Georgia

Romania v Montenegro

Spain v Peru

June 1

Greece v Armenia

Netherlands v Wales

Poland v Denmark

Sweden v Ukraine

Not very taxing for any team really.

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Damn! I just completed a friendlies overview for myself before I saw that you already made one. Did you do it yourself or did you find it on some website?

Well, the Netherlands actually have quite challenging opponents -- with Ukraine, Denmark and Wales. And I'm also surprised that Poland meets a team like Denmark for its final test match, just like Sweden with Ukraine or Turkey with Finland.

But the biggest surprise for me is that Italy has only one single test match before the EURO. Isn't that a little risky?

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Well Portugal and Romania are doing the same against weaker opponents than Belgium.

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Croatia 1 - 0 Moldova

Hungary 3 - 2 Greece

Switzerland 2 - 0 Slovakia

Switzerland gains some points, Greece tumbles.

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2-0 against Slovakia is really not bad, remember that Germany played only 2-1 against Slovakia in their kome EURO qualifier. I really think that Switzerland is gaining its tournament shape.

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Macedonia 1 - 1 Poland

Sweden 1 - 0 Slovenia

So far with the results heading into the tournament, Poland, Turkey and Greece have suffered setbacks and the Netherlands and Switzerland have moved forward. Croatia and Sweden have won, but it doesn't affect my opinions of the teams right now.

I think the worst result is Poland's draw that required a late penalty to avoid embarrassment.

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1. Italy – Defending World Champions with strong defending and goalkeeping and experience put them at the top of the list

2. Germany – Strong forwards, midfield and defense but aging keeping is a question mark. A strong history and a stronger team than in 2006.

3. Spain – Early good playing in 2006 was followed by a disappointing lose to France. On paper one of the strongest teams, more than a decade of disappointments has plagued this team but Spain is stronger now than in any time this decade. Young players and a balanced team could see them far.

4. Portugal – A decade of disappointment was followed by a 2nd place finish at home and 4th 2 years ago. One of the world’s best players upfront and one of the more competent keepers in the back will be a benefit for a team trying to rebound from a disappointment 2 years go, though undisciplined play can lead to trouble for the team in playing a man down.

5. France – An aging team but still a very skilled team that has some young players coming up, though it is unknown if they will step up this tournament. A repeat of success as in 2006 is desired but questionable in attainability.

6. Netherlands – A perennial disappointment since their win in 1988, being drawn in a group with 3 other strong teams could see them out in the round robin. Overall one of the strongest teams, but underachieving and group strength could see another disappointment this time around

7. Croatia – One of the surprise group winners in qualification, they will be without their top forward due to injury. In a group that would more than likely see them through to the quarter-finals.

8. Romania – A group winner and an overall balanced team. In-experienced team and hard group will likely see them out in the round robin, but drawn in a different group would be a likely contender to reach the quarter-finals. Though they could play king-maker in the group.

9. Czech Republic – An aged team with only one bright star in Martin Fenin, drawn against the hosts could see them go out as the host’s victim. A disappointment in 2006 and on the downside of the current generation of players will probably see them a very unlikely winner and a unlikely semi-finalist

10. Sweden – A team that always has the knack to get out of the group, but never go far in the knock-out stages. Drawn against Greece, Russia and Spain this trend could very will continue.

11. Switzerland – With raising stars and with 1 very skilled forward and defender this team could give the home fans something to cheer about, but drawn against two tough opponents could see them out in the first round. Keeping is a question but home field could give an advantage.

12. Greece – The defending champions are unlikely to repeat and will probably burn out in the first round as Denmark did in 1996. With few stars, or higher quality players they will have it tough to get it out of the group

13. Turkey – After a 3rd place in 2002, light has been heard from since and this will be their first major tournament in 6 years, in-experience will be a determent but could surprise in a group with two teams on the way down.

14. Poland – Even with a winning performance in qualification, they are not expected to make any noise in this tournament. In 2006 they were expected to make it out of the group and didn’t, this time Croatia is expected to go through before the Polish side

15. Russia – A strong coach is the best you can say about this bunch. A young team that is in-experienced at major tournaments and no major tournament experience since 2004 where they were the only team to beat champions Greece.

16. Austria – The weakest team on paper and will probably give the Austrians little to cheer about.

My predictions:

Group A

1. Portugal

2. Switzerland

3. Czech Republic

4. Turkey

Group B

1. Germany

2. Croatia

3. Austria

4. Poland

Group C

1. France

2. Netherlands

3. Italy

4. Romania

Group D

1. Spain

2. Sweden

3. Russia

4. Greece

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Yesterday's test match results:

Austria-Nigeria 1-1

Germany-Belarus 2-2

Czech Republic-Lithuania 2-0

Albania-Poland 0-1

France-Ecuador 2-0

Team Germany showed a mediocre performance and was extremely tired at the end of the second half, leading to the Belarusian equaliser. Obviously, the training on Majorca was very demanding. At 1300 CET, Jogi Löw will announce the final squad, sending three players home.

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