European Championships 2008: Group B

13May08

European Championships 2008: Group B

With the final sixteen teams decided and the Euro 2008 finals due to kick off soon, it’s time to place your bets on this immensely popular football tournament. If you are trying to get the heads up on which team to bet on in Euro 2008, this article will help you by taking a look at the potential in Group B.

Qualifying for the European Championships as Group E winners, Croatia go into Euro 2008 lying thirteenth in the FIFA World Rankings, and have been drawn in Group B alongside hosts Austria, and tournament favourites Germany and Poland.

Not content with topping their qualifying group, Croatia also masterminded England’s failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals, beating them twice including a 3-2 victory at Wembley in the final qualification game.

Coached by Slaven Bilic, Croatia, whose squad includes a number of current Premier League players in the form of Portsmouth’s Niko Kranjcar and Vedren Corluka of Manchester City, is tipped to make an impact in this year’s Euro finals. Another Premier League player, Arsenal’s Eduardo, is due to miss the Euro 2008 tournament after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle in a Premier League match against Birmingham City in February.

There is the also the certainty of more Croatian talent moving to the Premier League after this year’s European Championships, as Tottenham recently equalled their transfer fee record of £16.5 million to sign Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb. The creative midfield player will certainly be at the heart of any Croatian success this summer and also light up the Premier League next season.

However strong the potential for the current crop of Croatian representatives, tournament favourites Germany will be a tough challenge, and group qualification still remains a credible objective.

Holding fifth spot in the FIFA World Rankings and qualifying as runners-up in Group D, Germany came third in the 2006 World Cup and will certainly be looking to build on that with much of the same squad.

With seasoned professionals including Michael Ballack of Chelsea, Miroslav Klose of Werder Bremen and David Odonkor of Real Betis named in Joachim Loew’s Euro 2008 squad, Germany boasts experience from some of Europe’s top domestic leagues.

With three World Cups and three European Championships to its name, the German team is certainly a hot candidate to lift the winner’s trophy this summer.

Hosts Austria gained automatic qualification in return for their hospitality. In recent history, they have struggled to qualify for major finals, their last being the World Cup Finals in 1998. The weaker of the host countries, Austria, are 102 in the FIFA World Rankings and so, with little expectation placed upon them, could be this summer’s Cinderella story.

Although unable to boast the talent levels scattered across European leagues by group competitors Croatia and Germany, Austria does have some Premier League recognition in the form of Emanuel Pogatetz of Middlesbrough, who has won both league and cup titles in his native country.

Completing Group B are Poland, who qualified as runners-up in Group A. Ranked 28 in the FIFA World Rankings, they are likely to be contesting second spot and qualification to the knock-out stages and, as they proved with a 2-2 draw against Portugal to reach the finals this summer, they are more than capable of challenging the big names in the competition on their day.

Leo Beenhakker’s squad for the Euro 2008 championships is likely to include the familiar name of Manchester United’s reserve keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Looking to back a team for success in the European Championships? Bet365 has a comprehensive catalogue of betting coupons for Euro 2008 that will ensure you don’t have to miss any of the betting action in this year’s Euro Finals. With betting options including individual match betting, together with bets on group winners and the tournament winners, bet365 has all the bases covered to satisfy all your Euro 2008 betting needs.

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