So who will win the European Championships? As we learned in the 2004 tournament, when Greece surprised the field, it isn’t easy picking the winner of such a competitive tournament. That won’t stop me from giving you my predictions of how the 2008 Euros will go.
Germany is the favorite, but not many people seem to be picking Zee Germans to lift the trophy. Neither am I. No, I’m not picking a complete long-shot like Romania or Switzerland (though I like both teams to pull some shockers), but I won’t be going with Michael Ballack and Co.
Euro 2008 is as wide-open a tournament as any in recent memory, but there is one team I see with the elements on the field and the path on the schedule to be crowned champions when the final is played a month from now.
Here is how I see the tournament going:
Portugal will win the group as expected, and will have a much easier time than most other group leaders. The Czech Republic the second choice by most but I think the loss of Tomas Rosicky will prove too much. Switzerland will be the second qualifier in the group, making full use of home-field advantage to edge out the Czechs. Turkey will be fun to watch but I just don’t see them having what it takes to advance.
Germany should be thanking somebody for the group it wound up in. While Group C is truly a Group of Death, Group B is a Group of Blah, with only Croatia looking capable of challenging the Germans. German wins the group while Croatia pushes them for the top spot before settling into second place. Poland and Austria will be out-classed.
The toughest group in the field is very tough to call but we begin and end with the reigning world champions. Italy has too much class not to finish on top if this loaded group. France is the second choice and while the French haven’t looked good in recent friendlies, I see them straightening things out and advancing. The Netherlands has talent but I have concerns about their defense and actually see Romania edging the Dutch out for third place and making a real challenge for second place in the group.
A tougher group than some people realize, Group D features the defending champions as well as a team many, including myself, like to win this year’s tournament. Spain will top this group with relative ease. The brutal battle will be for second place, with Sweden, Greece and Russia all being capable of advancing. My pick is Sweden to survive.
Portugal edges Croatia in one of the more entertaining matches of the tournament. Germany holds off a feisty challenge from Switzerland, which won’t have the luxury of playing at home. Italy knocks out Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden. Spain beats France and gets some revenge for their 2006 World Cup loss.
Portugal proves just a bit too strong offensively for a Germany defense that can’t slow down Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco. Fernando Torres takes advantage of the absence of Fabio Cannavaro as Spain edges Italy in a truly memorable semifinal.
Talk about a star-studded final. Ronaldo and Deco vs. Torres and Fabregas. In what will be one of the most entertaining finals in tournament history, Spain beats Portugal, 2-1, to win the 2008 European Championships.
Now it’s your turn. Who do you see winning the tournament and why? Share your thoughts on who will win Euro 2008 below.