Tuesday, June 17, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Day 12 Previews

Group play concludes as Russia and Sweden will meet to determine the final quarterfinalist. Defending champion Greece will look to avoid finishing dead last at this year's tournament as they face Spain.

Russia vs. Sweden
The venue: Stadion Tivoli Neu, Innsbruck, Austria
The broadcast: ESPN, 2:45 pm ET
The storyline: Russia will need to win the game to advance to the quarterfinals, while Sweden need only a tie. Russia took a gamble adding midfielder Andrei Arshavin to the roster, but that gamble may pay off Wednesday. The Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder missed the first two games due to suspension, and while coach Guus Hiddink has made no promises about his inclusion in the line-up, expect him to play a key role in Russia's attack. Sweden are unsure how much striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be able to contribute after the Swede's leading scorer left at halftime Saturday suffering from a recurring knee injury.
The prediction: Sweden take the early lead, Russia equalize, and then the Swedes hang on for a 1-1 draw. Is advancing to face Holland really a prize?

Greece vs. Spain
The venue: Stadion Salzburg Wals-Siezenheim, Salzburg, Austria
The broadcast: ESPN2, 2:45 pm ET
The storyline: Unless they earn at least a draw here, Greece will finish Euro 2008 last among the 16 teams, four years after winning the tournament. Spain will be looking ahead to Sunday's quarterfinal against Italy, so don't expect to see many of the starters.
The prediction: Typically I've been picking against the teams with nothing to play for in this last round of games, but Greece have looked so bad, I can't even see them beating Spain's B squad. I'll at least give the Greeks a goal, but Spain win 2-1.

No comments: