Euro 2008 mulligan

Some idiot suggested in this space a couple of weeks ago that France would win this year’s European Championship.

In the words of Steve Czaban, how’s that working out?

France folded like a two-day-old crepe in Euro 2008. “Les Bleus” provided an uninspiring draw against Romania, got their butts handed to them by Holland in a 4-1 loss – their worst defeat in international play in 50 years – and went out with a whimper to Italy, 2-0, on Tuesday.

The good news here is that I hate France, so this is one of those rare times when it doesn’t really bother me that the team I picked to win the tournament didn’t survive the group phase.

I did, however, rightly predict that Italy would right the ship and thanks to a brilliant piece of control from Luca Toni that forced Eric Abidal into a red card-laced penalty, the Azzuris live on to face Spain in a tasty quarterfinal.

I talked it over with my friend and resident soccer expert Greg Phillips and he said it was OK if I pick a new team to win the final. I’ll do that tomorrow after the quarterfinals are set.

But I will try my hand at picking today’s winners:

Sweden needs a draw to advance to the knockout stage while Russia needs a win when the two clash today.

The Russians get back Andrei Arshavin from suspension in time for today’s do-or-die battle, but I get the feeling that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Swedes will squeeze out a goal and advance with a 1-0 win.

Spain may field its second team in a meaningless match with the lowly Greeks. How awful have the Greeks been in this tournament? They’ve managed to make the French look good.

Anyway, Spain’s second team will be way too much for a unconfident side that has nothing left to play for. Give me the Spainards, 2-0.



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