Nov 22, 2007

Possible Scenarios Of Euro 2008 Final Stage Groups

All 16 teams have been set and UEFA has even been kind enough to lay out their draw seedings for us (seeing as there is no way anybody without advanced degrees in both math and Byzantine administrative history could figure it out on their own). There will be four groups of four with the top two teams advancing to the quarterfinals. Those groups will be drawn Dec. 2, with one team taken from each of the following pools:

Pool 1: Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Netherlands
Pool 2: Croatia, Italy, Czech Republic, Sweden
Pool 3: Romania, Germany, Portugal, Spain
Pool 4: Poland, France, Turkey, Russia

If you ask me, this whole thing makes no sense. You could end up with completely uneven groups, or ones that are pretty well-balanced, or a combination thereof. Which, uh, would be exactly what might happen with a completely random draw. But hey, that's soccer bureaucracy for ya.

Obviously, all the teams in Pools 2, 3 and 4 will be hoping to be drawn with Austria, who are clearly the worst of the 16 finalists. You could have Austria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey in one incredibly weak group. Or Holland, Italy, Germany and France in a Group of Death. You could end up with traditional (and political) rivals in the same group, for example Greece with Turkey, Russia with the Czech Republic and/or with Romania, or Germany with just about anybody. You could also have France and Germany in a group, or Switzerland with Turkey, which might get ugly after their last game in '06. It might also be interesting to see Switzerland and Croatia in the same group, as Croatia's Mladen Petric (he who scored the goal that ended England's qualification hopes) grew up in Switzerland and played most of his career with Swiss clubs. Or Switzerland could be grouped with three of its four neighbors (France, Germany and Italy). There are obviously many possibilities.

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