With only two months left before kickoff, many have started making predictions about which one of the 16 teams competing in the Euro 2008 finals will bring home the caveatted trophy. A research group from the Swiss bank UBS crunched through historical data for all teams participating in the competition and has made a number of educated predictions about the predicament of many of them. In a nutshell, UBS predicts the following will happen in the Euro 2008 soccer competition:
- Hosts Austria and 2004 runner up Portugal will be eliminated in the group stage.
- Hosts Switzerland will make it as far as the semis beating three-time trophy holders Germany.
- Euro 2004 holders Greece will be eliminated in the quarter finals by World Cup champions Italy. There will be no repeat for the Greek team that surprised the soccer world winning the 2004 contest.
- Italy will beat the Netherlands in the semifinals and advance to the final where it is destined to finish in second place unable to become both the World Cup and European Championship holder.
- The Czech Republic will be the lucky team to bring home the Euro 2008 trophy defeating the 2006 World Cup holder Italy just as they did in the past when they beat Germany in 1976.
So, all these sound like reasonable predictions. Germany are the favorites to win the tournament but the favorites don’t always win. Similarly, the host nations often do well in such competitions; one recent example is Portugal’s second place finish in 2004. Greece was the outsider in 2004 and they are not a team with a long history of success in European Championship and World Cup competitions. Even though many agree that the current squad is much better and more complete that the team that won the trophy in 2004, the other teams are now paying attention and will not be surprised by the Greeks.
The European Championship will start June 7th, 2008, and it will be co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.