Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Pots are set!

According to BBC sports the "pots" are set for the Euro draw. Meaning the teams have been placed in "seeded" pots numbering 1 - 4, each contain 4 teams. The draw will have one team from each pot selected to make the 4 team groups. Some surprises...and potential for some monster groups -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/internationals/7106753.stm

The Pots:

Seedings for the draw for the 2008 European Championship in Austria and Switzerland:

Pot One:
Switzerland
Austria
Greece
Holland

Pot Two:
Croatia
Italy
Czech Republic
Sweden
Pot Three:
Germany
Romania
Portugal
Spain
Pot Four:
Poland
France
Turkey
Russia

The big surprise, well not that big, is France in the Pot Four. Based on their last two qualification campaigns they get dumped to the back of the bus and given a 4th seed! Granted, had Switerzland and Austria not been co hosting and you had a traditional 1 nation host, France would have most likely been a 3 seed...but still this could prove very interesting. Obviously the strongest from Pot 1 is Holland, the title defenders will be a handful but I think the two hosts will be weak opposition Austria more than the Swiss, but not by much.

Pot 2 is where the metal is - the weakest team are the Swedes, with the defending world cup champs being the strongest team. But based on their campaign no one will want to meet Croatia and the Czechs are always a solid, battle tested team.

Pot 3 is very interesting, with a football powerhouse - Germany, who I think will be out to prove that their 3rd place finish at the World Cup was no fluke. Portugal struggled at times, but have so much talent they are a team to fear. Romania is the clear weak team but had a strong qualifier, besting the Dutch to finish top of their group, drawing and beating the Oranje head to head. And finally the enigma that is Spain, who has an absurd amount of talent but seems to melt when it comes to these big tournaments.

Pot 4 has two teams happy to be there, the World Cup finalist and a tough team in Turkey. Russia is just happy to be present after almost giving away qualification, and being glad Steve Mclaren is in charge or England and not some more quality manager. Poland is a surprise having won their group. Turkey is never a team you want to face, they are just as likely to beat you as they are to beat you up....well maybe only when they play the Swiss. And finally Les Bleus...France qualified from what was evident from the get go a difficult group, but they also made it more difficult for themselves. But they are clearly the most difficult team in this pool, one every team will want to avoid as their fourth seed.

Here are some matches up we would love to see -

  • Turkey in the Swiss group - after the home and away barrage match for the World Cup that ended in groin kicks, purse swinging, tunnel bust ups and out right stupidity it would be a great rematch
  • France and Germany - we almost had them go head to head in the WC finals...while my heart may not be able to withstand such a match up it has been a while since these two nations have met in a meaningful setting
  • Greece and Portugal - 3 years ago the surprise Greeks beat the Portuguese TWICE including the finals to earn the silverware, revenge would be oh so sweet for Ronaldo and friends.....
  • Holland and Germany - any student or fan of football need not ask why this would be a treat to watch....
  • A group of - Holland, Italy, Germany, and France..... again I may not be able to handle it, actually I know I would not be able to, but every game would be on razor's edge. No love lost amongst any of these nations.
  • Greece and Turkey - they faced one another in qualifiers with the Greece ending on top, even though they got trounced 4-1 in the first match up versus Turkey. Absolutely no love lost between these two bitter rivals...imagine what it would be like in a group stage at the Euros...or in knock out rounds?
Of course I am a football nerd so I did my own mock draw and here is what I got as groups -

Group 1
Switzerland
Sweden
Germany
Russia

Ohhh Germany v Russia....wonder if anyone will bring up Stalingrad or the Battle of Kursk.

Germany and Sweden through

Group 2
Austria
Croatia
Romania
France

Phew, France avoids the group of death, see group 4, but barely. They also get the weakest #1 seed. Hopefully this "lucky" draw is foreshadowing of things to come.

France and Croatia through

Group 3
Greece
Italy
Portugal
Turkey

Could be a mini group of death, lots of solid teams. And we get the Greece v Turkey match up

Greece and Italy through

Group 4
Holland
Czech
Spain
Poland

In my draw it came down to either Poland or France in this group....if France had fallen in....woooahhh scary group. As is already not easy.

Holland and Spain through

There is a long long long way to go, but the fun is only beginning! Here is hoping France gets drawn with Austria and not Holland!

Allez les BLEUS

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