Group C has been billed as the so-called ‘group of death’ of Euro 2008 with three of the biggest names in European International football set to go head to head. Italy, France and Holland will have all been thinking that their luck was out when the draw was made and Romania will have also been wondering what they have done to deserve being drawn in what is by far the toughest of the four Euro 2008 groups.
Italy are the narrow favorites to win Group C but France and Holland aren’t too far behind in the Euro 2008 bookmakers odds for Group C winner, whilst Romania’s chances have been as good as written off before a ball is kicked. As current World Champions, Italy will be many peoples choice to secure a quarter final match against the runner-up of Group D. However, since that dramatic penalty shoot out victory over group rivals France in Germany two years ago, the Azzurri have a new coach in Roberto Donadoni and a squad of players that isn’t getting any younger, particularly in defense, an area that has been key to Italy’s success for many years and for that reason it may be worth taking Italy on with either France or Holland.
France have been big performers on the top stage for over a decade now and whilst many critics argue that they are going through something of a transitional period, they still have enough quality and experience to make their presence felt in Euro 2008. If players such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele can all perform to their best then France could well be a major force and one more than capable of getting revenge over Italy for the World Cup final defeat.
Out of the three Group C ‘big guns’, it is Holland who are the team fancied most to be heading home early from the championships. However, Marco van Basten’s side will not be afraid of meeting either France or Italy and will be confident of getting enough points to see them finish in the top two. The Dutch have a talented squad which includes the likes of Arjen Robben, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Edwin van der Sar and if they perform well they have every chance of making it to the later stages of the tournament.
Romania completes the group but cannot be expected to cause any sort of an upset, they aren’t a bad side and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them cause an upset in one of their matches but it is unlikely they will have enough to finish in the top two.
With three heavy-weights in Group C it is tough to call which of Italy, France and Holland will finish top and it is equally as difficult to predict which will be heading home early. However, given the potential weaknesses in Italy’s defense, it may be worth opting for a surprise exit for Donnadoni’s side in the group stage with France and Holland qualifying.
Euro 2008 Group C Betting Odds [http://euro2008.betting-directory.com/groups.php]