2008 Euro Soccer Predictions
by Doc's Sports - 04/17/2008
Attempting to forecast a major soccer event this far in advance is arguably tougher than any major sport. The reason for this is the majority of players are still in heated competitions in all sorts, such as their respective domestic leagues, UEFA Champions League and international friendly matches. You also add on top of that the grueling amount of wear and tear that players must deal with throughout the course of training and match play, it's always tough to decipher which teams and players are truly fit for a month long run at this summer's Euro 2008.
But that's also the fun of it, trying to come up with accurate 2008 Euro soccer predictions and put together of what you think is going to occur in this highly acclaimed soccer event. And hey, this is my job, so what I put down on paper should be a little more educated than a random shot in the dark. I've followed European soccer fluidly for the most part since I concluding successfully handicapping the 2006 World Cup. A lot has broken down since Italy claimed the title, and a long and strenuous qualifying process ended this past fall with 14 teams advancing to tournament play along with the two co-hosts. As of now, here's what I see happening this summer in Switzerland and Austria.
Outright Champion - Spain (6/1)
A very strong unit, Spain are the darlings that always are seen as the team with overwhelming talent that never put it together, kind of like soccer's version of the Phoenix Suns. With good experience gained in the 2006 World Cup and its players gaining confidence in Europe's top-flight domestic leagues, I think this is the year they find success atop this event.
Semi-Long shot Champions
The Dutch aren't a big favorite to capture glory this summer, but you cannot label it as a shocker if they won Euro 2008 either. Armed with a talented squad and one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Netherlands has some intrigue here.
Last time the European Championship was played in 2004, host and long shot Greece shocked the soccer world by winning the tournament. Switzerland would fit that mold again, as the co-hosts do not have a major advantage on talent, but they certainly have skilled players. I could see a run in them, backed by home supporters. Also similar to what we see in 2006 with Germany's third place finish hosting the World Cup that summer.
Top Goalscorer Prediction
It's not enough just to predict the best player to come away with this winning prop bet. You need to have his team advance deep enough to have enough games and chances to rack up the goals throughout the tournament. Nonetheless, this is a very fun prop wager to follow outside of side plays in this event.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal - 8/1
The world's top player on one of the stronger teams in this tournament, he is the most obvious play based on how he has played for Manchester United over the last two months.
Fernando Torres - Spain - 12/1
The Spaniard's coming out party was the summer of 2006 in the World Cup, and ever since he has stepped his game up. Torres signed a major deal with Liverpool and his first year with the Reds he is on his 'A' game for sure.
Karim Benzema - France - 33/1
Here's a reach. France plays in the toughest group to begin the tournament and Benzema falls behind the shadow of his fellow striker and countryman Thierry Henry. However, his striking has been wonderful for club team Olympique Lyonnais, as well as qualifying with France.