No Gimmicks Needed » EURO 2008 – Group D

EURO 2008 – Group D

In the last part of this EURO 2008 preview Group D is the main subject. Current European Champions Greece, Spain, Russia and fan favourite Sweden are the teams that make up Group D.




Spain

GK Iker Casillas (27, Real Madrid, 75/0)
GK Andrés Palop (34, FC Sevilla, 0/0)
GK Pepe Reina (25, FC Liverpool, 9/0)
DF Raúl Albiol (22, FC Valencia, 4/0)
DF Fernando Navarro (25, RCD Mallorca, 0/0)
DF Carlos Marchena (28, FC Valencia, 40/2)
DF Carlos Puyol (30, FC Barcelona, 59/1)
DF Joan Capdevilla (30, FC Villarreal, 15/1)
DF Sergio Ramos (22, Real Madrid, 31/5)
DF Álvaro Arbeloa (25, FC Liverpool, 1/0)
DF Juanito (31, Real Betis Sevilla, 23/2)
MF Andrés Iniesta (24, FC Barcelona, 22/5)
MF Xavi (28, FC Barcelona, 55/5)
MF Cesc Fàbregas (21, FC Arsenal London, 24/0)
MF Santi Cazorla (23, FC Villarreal, 0/0)
MF Xabi Alonso (26, FC Liverpool, 41/1)
MF Marcos Senna (31, FC Villarreal, 8/1)
MF David Silva (22, FC Valencia, 12/2)
MF Rubén de la Red (23, FC Getafe, 1/0)
ST David Villa (26, FC Valencia, 30/13)
ST Fernando Torres (24, FC Liverpool, 47/15)
ST Sergio Garcia (24, Real Zaragoza, 0/0)
ST Daniel Güiza (27, RCD Mallorca, 2/0)

Many people think that Spain’s defense is superb, but I don’t see it that way, yeah it’s quite good, but not THAT good, in my opinion the reason that Spain doesn’t concede many goals is that they play with only one striker most of the time. The midfield however is superb, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Silva, Alonso, these guys don’t have to hide from anybody, they can mess with the best and pass the test. Torres, Güiza & Villa all had very good seasons but they have to prove that they can score a lot for the national team too.
Theoretically Spain should be one of the favourites, but they always underachieve in the tournaments and I believe that their defensive tactic hurts them. If they played offensive I could see them going to the final, but with their current tactic I guess they’ll lose in the quarter-finals.

Greece

GK Antonios Nikopolidis (36, Olympiakos Piraeus, 86/0)
GK Konstantinos Chalkias (34, Aris Thessaloniki, 15/0)
GK Alexandros Tzorvas (25, ORI Creta, 0/0)
DF Georgios Seitaridis (27, Atlético Madrid, 55/1)
DF Nikolaos Spiropoulos (24, Panathinaikos Athen, 4/0)
DF Traianos Dellas (32, AEK Athen, 41/1)
DF Loukas Vyntra (27, Panathinaikos Athen, 18/0)
DF Vassilios Torosidis (22, Olympiakos Piraeus, 12/0)
DF Sotirios Kyrgiakos (28, Eintracht Frankfurt, 37/4)
DF Giannis Goumas (33, Panathinaikos Athen, 45/0)
DF Paraskevas Antzas (31, Olympiakos Piraeus, 22/0)
MF Christos Patsatzoglou (29, Olympiakos Piraeus, 28/1)
MF Angelos Basinas (32, RCD Mallorca, 87/7)
MF Stylianos Giannakopoulos (33, Bolton Wanderers, 74/12)
MF Georgios Karagounis (31, Panathinaikos Athen, 72/6)
MF Konstantinos Katsouranis (28, SL Benfica, 48/6)
MF Alexandros Tziolis (23, Panathinaikos Athen, 8/0)
ST Georgios Samaras (23, Celtic Glasgow, 17/3)
ST Angelos Charisteas (28, 1.FC Nürnberg, 64/18)
ST Dimitrios Salpingidis (26, Panathinaikos Athen, 19/1)
ST Theofanis Gekas (28, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 26/6)
ST Ioannis Amanatidis (26, Eintracht Frankfurt, 25/3)
ST Nikos Lyberopoulos (32, AEK Athen, 59/13)

Yeah, yeah Otto Rehhagel doesn’t play “modern” football, who cares, he always gets the most out of his teams. The defense is of the typical Rehhagel kind, tall, strong, tough & experienced, it won’t be easy to score against them. The midfield is full of solid, experienced players but it’s not that good when compared to the other teams. The strikers can score, but they’re not very reliable, it’s the weakest part of the team and will most likely be responsible for the downfall of Greece.
Greece is out to prove that their win four years ago wasn’t a fluke, but in my opinion it was and I don’t see them advancing in this group, they lack creativity and offensive power, King Otto might have an ace up his sleep though.

Sweden

GK Andreas Isaksson (26, Manchester City, 53/0)
GK Rami Shaaban (32, Hammarby IF, 13/0)
GK Johan Wiland (27, IF Elfsborg Boras, 5/0)
DF Mikael Nilsson (29, Panathinaikos Athen, 44/6)
DF Olof Mellberg (30, Aston Villa, 79/4)
DF Petter Hansson (31, FC Stade Rennes, 31/1)
DF Fredrik Stoor (24, Rosenborg BK Trondheim, 4/0)
DF Daniel Majstorovic (31, FC Basel, 12/1)
DF Andreas Grangvist (23, Helsingborg IF, 2/0)
DF Mikael Dorsin (26, CFR Cluj, 10/0)
MF Tobias Linderoth (29, Galatasaray Istanbul, 73/1)
MF Niclas Alexandersson (36, IFK Göteborg, 105/7)
MF Anders Svensson (31, IF Elfsborg Boras, 87/15)
MF Fredrik Ljungberg (31, West Ham United, 70/14)
MF Kim Källström (25, Olympique Lyon, 53/8)
MF Sebastian Larsson (23, Birmingham City, 0/0)
MF Daniel Andersson (30, Malmö FF, 60/1)
MF Christian Wilhelmsson (28, Deportivo La Coruna, 48/4)
ST Zlatan Ibrahimovic (26, Inter Milano, 49/18)
ST Johan Elmander (27, FC Toulouse, 32/11)
ST Henrik Larsson (36, Helsingborg IF, 93/36)
ST Marcus Allbäck (34, FC Kobenhavn, 70/29)
ST Markus Rosenberg (25, SV Werder Bremen, 19/6)

Sweden has the most overrated fans in the world, yeah I said it, they only chant two things “stand up if you’re swedish” (in swedish of course) and “Sveeeeerige, Sveeeerige”, still everybody says that their fans are so great, I say NO! And when I was at one of their games during the last World Cup I didn’t see any blonde big breasted females which they supposedly have. Anyway let’s talk about the team. Sweden’s defense is getting weaker, right now it’s still good, but not like in the old days. Källström, Wilhelmsson, Ljungberg, Linderoth are all good players but not superstars or game changers. Upfront Ibrahimovic is getting better everyday, but the other forwards are above average at best.
Overall Sweden has some good players and they have the advantage that they’ve played together for quite some time, but I don’t see them getting past the quarter-finals, they’re not deep enough and don’t have enough top players.

Russia

GK Igor Akinfeev (22, CSKA Moskva, 18/0)
GK Vladimir Gabulov (24, Dynamo Moskva, 5/0)
GK Vyacheslav Malafeev (29, Zenit St. Petersburg, 15/0)
DF Vasili Berezutski (25, CSKA Moskva, 26/1)
DF Renat Yanbaev (24, Lokomotiv Moskva, 0/0)
DF Sergey Ignashevich (28, CSKA Moskva, 36/3)
DF Aleksey Berezutski (25, CSKA Moskva, 30/0)
DF Denis Kolodin (26, Dynamo Moskva, 11/0)
DF Roman Shirokov (26, Zenit St. Petersburg, 2/0)
DF Aleksandr Anyukov (25, Zenit St. Petersburg, 29/1)
MF Dmitri Torbinski (24, Lokomotiv Moskva, 8/1)
MF Sergey Semak (32, Rubin Kazan, 44/4)
MF Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (23, Lokomotiv Moskva, 20/2)
MF Konstantin Zyryanov (30, Zenit St. Petersburg, 10/1)
MF Yuri Zhirkov (24, CSKA Moskva, 17/0)
MF Igor Semshov (30, Dynamo Moskva, 24/0)
MF Vladimir Bystrov (24, Spartak Moskva, 17/3)
ST Ivan Saenko (24, 1.FC Nürnberg, 6/0)
ST Andrey Arshavin (27, Zenit St. Petersburg, 33/10)
ST Pavel Pogrebnyak (24, Zenit St. Petersburg, 8/3)
ST Roman Pavlyuchenko (26, Spartak Moskva, 14/4)
ST Dmitri Sychev (24, Lokomotiv Moskva, 38/15)

Russia is on the rise, at the club level AND on the national team level, they’re the reason bloody England is not qualified, that alone gets a thumbs-up from me. Akinfeev will be one of the top goalies in the next couple of years. The defenders are not invincible, but they know each other from their home club so they at least have a little advantage. They lack a star in the midfield but they have very solid players there who all know how to play. Arshavin, Pogrebnyak & Sychev are dangerous offensive players and probably the best players on the team.
Russia has good talented players that are in good form at the moment, but because they don’t have a star player that can win a game on his own I don’t see them going into the semi-finals.

Prediction:
1. Spain
2. Russia
3. Sweden
4. Greece

In this group all teams are on a kinda equal level, they all have solid players, but neither team is great or unbeatable. Spain has the most talented squad in this group so I figure that they’ll finish 1st. Greece won’t be underestimated this time and they don’t have the quality to beat one of the other teams (if the other team is playing at 100%). Russia & Sweden both could advance but I’ll go with Russia cause they’re on a high right now, but if Pogrebnyak can’t play because of his injury, then I’ll change my pick for 2nd place to Sweden.

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