This upcoming Saturday June 6th EURO 2008 begins, the largest soccer tournament in the world aside from the World Cup. True soccer fans would venture the statement that EURO is a better tournament than the World Cup due to the equality of most teams that qualify for EURO as opposed to the World Cup where teams such as Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Togo and Trinidad+Tobago hope to SCORE a goal, let alone WIN a game. However, to be fair EURO does miss the Brazilian and Argentinian teams and the skill that they bring.
This year, the favorites are the same (for the most part) with most picking Italy, Germany, Portugal, France and Spain to win EURO however one of the best clubs in the world, England, failed to qualify and will not be able to participate. With these clubs come some of the best players in the world, with Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal leading the way, coming off one of the best years in recent memory for his club Manchester United.
Also, advocates of EURO love to point out that the best soccer in the world is played in Europe with the English, Italian, German and Spanish leagues considered without a doubt to be the strongest leagues in the world.
My pick this year is Spain, led by a pair of strikers that are at the top of their games as well as some of the best players in the world: Fernando Torres (Liverpool of England) and David Villa. My sleeper pick to make the semifinals is the Czech Republic as they will perform MUCH better than their lackluster World Cup performance from 2 years ago. Look to see Portugal and Italy to fill out the semifinals.
Updates will be posted throughout.