SPORTSLINC

ANALYSIS OF EUROS: A SPORTSLINC SPECIAL

We asked our football correspondent here at SportsLinc, Scott Russell to analyse some of the teams taking part in the Euros and explain why they have or maybe have not lived up to the expectations and hype showered upon them before the tournament kicked off last Friday.

These are Scott’s thoughts.

  1. France

Hosts who have plenty of possession but not quite producing in the final third to kill games off. Giroud has missed three or four guilt-edged chances. However host nations usually reach at least the quarter finals.

2. Romania

They have speedy wingers and look to use them in every attacking move. Happy to let the keeper kick long and high to the striker. Second ball then picked up off striker. Nearly worked against France. Good draw against Switzerland.

3. Russia

A team in turmoil. No stand-out player. Majority play in Russia rather than European leagues. Look off the pace. First round exit likely.

4. Switzerland

Never going to score lots of goals. Some good individual players who try to play quick ball to feet. Prefer holding on to lead rather than try to chase game. Majority of players in Under 21s who lost to Spain in Euro U21 Final in 2011.

5. Albania

Did well to qualify for finals. look to hold two banks of four when defending and break quickly on counter-attack. A point will be classed a success.

6. Ukraine

Predictable team. Play with wingers who cut in and look to feet rather than hitting an early ball in. Target man number nine but service to him has been poor. Defence of 34, 35, 35 and 36 years of age. Need next generation to come through.

7. Hungary

Beat dark horses Austria 2-0 to upset the odds. Thirty-seven-year-old Gera ex West Brom was outstanding as he dictated play and acted as heartbeat of team. Not to mention 40-year-old keeper Kiraly who for superstitious reasons wears baggy jogging bottoms and listens to Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My life’ pre-match!

8. Iceland

Smallest nation in the Euros slated by Ronaldo defensively. Their top division contains village teams so they are not going to have the same quality as Portugal. Managed the game well though and kept things simple. Doubled up on Nani and Ronaldo. Force teams to play around them. Fill middle of the park so difficult to break down.

There is only one player in the squad whose name does not end in ‘son’ and that is 37-year-old striker Gudjohnsen who was an unused substitute in first game.

However Bulgaria had 10 players whose names ended in ‘ov’ in one game.

9. Portugal

Rely on Ronaldo but he is not a team player. They never play outstandingly well in group stages but always seem to progress. Lots of pace throughout the squad and have an experienced defence. They will either scrape a draw or hammer home three or four.

10. Belgium

One of the favourites but key players not performing including Hazard and Benteke who struggled in last season’s Premier League.

Origi of Liverpool was in blistering form for his club but after injury has looked less sharp. If he plays he can only improve. Sure to start against Sweden. Belgium can’t score.

11. Czech Republic

Held on against Spain for 87 minutes thanks to good saves from Cech. Didn’t create much. Ageing team with few players at Premier/Championship level. Only 22% possession against Spain.

12. Sweden

A team that lack quality in nearly all areas of the pitch. Need Ibrahimovic to play well if they are to progress. He was quiet against the Republic of Ireland but still did enough to force equaliser with the cross for own goal.

13. Turkey

Will battle and don’t mind putting in a tackle. Quick to claim free kicks when little contact made. Top players ply their trade in Italy. Struggle in matches when tempo is high. They like to slow game down.

14. Croatia

Beat Turkey 1-0 thanks to Modrich’s world-class dipping volley from 25 yards. He and Rakitiz in midfield ran the show. Play will go through these two. Defence is old and will be found out against better opposition.

 

Agree or disagree with Scott?

email sportslinc@hotmail.com with your thoughts.

 

 

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