The Rambler :: blog

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Euro 2004 Predictions 

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I've been playing around with the BBC's Score predictor which, while not completely faultless (it puts teams with the same points, but different goals scored, in the wrong order), is at least a good way of seeing how the tournament might pan out.

So, my predictions?

Group A and B (fingers crossed) seem pretty straightforward: England and France and Spain and Portugal will get through, and both England and France have it in them to reach the semis. I think England, after losing 2-1 to France and finishing second in the group, will face Portugal in the quarters (who come out on top with a draw with Spain, and a superior result against Greece). Group D is tough to call, but the least happy have to be the Germans, who have every chance of not making it out of the group stages. A draw with Germany in the last game is enough to see the Czechs into second place in the group, behind Holland.

Group C, for me, is the really interesting one, and not the focus of most of the media build up. Italy are in real trouble here: they're traditionally slow off the blocks, and I don't think they've necessarily exorcised their World Cup demons (forget iffy referees - you lost because you tried to defend for 70mins). Denmark in their first game will not be a preferred choice, and with Paolo Maldini retired from left back, the lightning fast Danish wingers could cause some real trouble. Italy lose 1-0, and this pretty much sees off their chance of making the quarter finals. Denmark and Sweden get through, and the last game of the group - between the two of them - is a play off to see who gets to face Holland or the Czech Republic. Probably Denmark will face the Czechs, marginally the nicer draw, unless Holland decide this is the time to throw a hissy fit. But even if they decide to play together like nice boys, their match with Sweden will be a draw, and some shocking penalties will gift the game to the Scandinavians.

The Czech Republic may be a game too far for the Danes however, and the Czechs go through in normal time to meet England in the semis. You may draw your own conclusions at this point, but France shouldn't have any problem getting past Sweden. However, Scandinavians like upsets, and the French are prey to them, so who knows?

How semi-finals pan out is always anyone's guess, but mark my words, most of the big teams will be gone by this stage - I wouldn't advise putting any money on Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal or Spain.

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