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Euro 2008 Draw analysis

Article Published: Monday 3 December 2007

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2010 Football World cup squads

World champions Italy were placed in the same group as the Netherlands, France and Romania at the Euro 2008 draw here on Sunday.

The Italians and French came through the same qualifying group to reach next summer's finals in Austria and Switzerland

At-a-glance guide to the Euro 2008 groups after the draw on Sunday:

Group A: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey
Even with home advantage Switzerland will be struggling to make it into the next round against the likes of Portugal, out to go one better after coming up short in the 2004 final. Turkey only just scraped through to the finals unlike the slick Czechs, semi-finalists in 2004 and favourites to go through with the Portuguese.

Group B: Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland
Germany, despite not winning a match at a Euro since their 1996 final success, are in pole here. Upwardly mobile Croatia, who famously did it for England in qualifying, will fancy their chances of going through on the Mannschaft's coat tails although Poland impressed on their path to their first finals, topping their table. Co-hosts Austria, the lowest ranked team ever to appear at a Euros, are set for a baptism of fire.

Group C: The Netherlands, Italy, Romania, France
The mother of all groups of death producing the latest chapter in the long running Italy v France rivalry. Raymond Domenech warns that the treble-seeking French are undergoing a period of "reconstruction" and they could struggle. The Dutch, semi-finalists in 2004, qualified with a game to spare, while progressive Romania won't be taken lightly by the big three.

Group D: Greece, Sweden, Spain, Russia
Otto Rehhagel's Greeks gate crashed Euro 2004, leaving many a so-called superpower nursing bloody noses, and set up their title defence with the best record of any of the 14 qualifiers. The Swedes scraped through to the finals behind perennial underachievers at this level, Spain, while the young Russians, in the care of the canny Guus Hiddink, will fancy their chances of doing something they didn't accomplish four years ago -making it past the first hurdle.

Sapa-AFP


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