In my Euro 2008 Part 1 I was highlighting the "awesomeness" of the big names in the big teams. But most Euros have seen some unfancied team winning the Championship. Denmark in the 80s and Greece in the last Euro 2004.
Greece although still helmed by Otto Rehagel... geez.. cant even spell his name right.. :) will not be second time lucky as they were soundly beaten by an oldish Swedish squad. A team that has to recall Henrik Larsson back to the side really displayed a dearth of talent coming out from the Nordic team long known for being a consistent performer but seldom seen as a contender. I do not think Sweden can take the cup this time round. Nope. This year's Euro is for the top dogs.
After Round 1 of Group stage, all the top teams actually won their first match rather convincingly but we have bore witness to Netherlands luck and ruthlessness in despatching reigning World Champions Italy. We have also witnessed Portugal's flair and power in their first and second match. Sadly, host Switzerland will have to pack their bags and take a short trip back to their respective homes afer losing to Turkey last night. Portugal was ruthless as they showed class in handing an average Czech Republic a 3-1 footballing lesson last night. Deco, Ronaldo and Quaresma irrepressible may have sent a warning out to the other title aspirants.
Tonight, Germany would want to cement their spot in the next round but Croatia will not be easy prey. Croatia, the team that denied England a spot in Euro 2008 may have started sluggishly in their 1-0 win over co-host Austria, but will probably again rely on their midfield star Luka Modric to power the team ahead together with Niko Krancjar, Niko Kovac and probably Ivan Klasnic. Not heavyweights but maybe enough to do the job against a Germany side who for once oozes with attacking flair in Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Ballack and Klose. But, kind of a suspect at the back with Lehman in goal... hmm... good match tonight?
The other match tonight pits Austria against Poland. Match of great stakes, the loser will probably go home early and it will be ironic if the second host of Euro 2008 face the same fate as their other co-host? Poland have some qualities in them but probably they are still living behind the shadows of the great Zbignew Boniek.
Heck, my favourites for the tournament is undoubtedly, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Spain. I will be devastated if they do not win the cup. Then again, the ball is always round.