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Europe to England: Get Out. Now.

So with England's colossal failure today at Wembley and Russia's narrow win over Andorra, the Euro '08 field is set:

Switzerland
Austria
Poland
Portugal
Greece
Turkey
Croatia
Russia
Romania
Netherlands
Italy
France
Czech Republic
Germany
Spain
Sweden

The biggest disappointments in qualifying:

1. England
(huge gap)
2. Ukraine
3. Denmark

By the way, soon-to-be-former-England-coach Steve McClaren is scheduled to run a clinic during the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention in Baltimore Jan. 16-20 (insert joke here).

The final draw for Euro '08 will take place Dec. 2 in Lucerne.
The tournament will take place June 7-29 in Switzerland and Austria.

Your early thoughts on the favorite(s)?

By Steve Goff  |  November 21, 2007; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  World  
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Next: Giving Thanks for Cup Qualifying

Comments

I'll take Spain as the early favorties followed by Italy, Germany, and Portugal.

Posted by: Ed Ho | November 21, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I just can't stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: DC United Fan | November 21, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I'd take Spain as a favorite, though they'll probably choke in the Semi's or something like that.

Germany, Italy and the usual suspects as well.

Posted by: Chimaera | November 21, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

McClaren imparting all of his soccer know-how in a coaches clinic?? Uhhh, what happens after the first 30 seconds??

Posted by: Hmmm | November 21, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm torn between wanting to laugh hysterically at England's failure, and the fact that England's best player today plays in the MLS, and actually being sad that Euro 2008 will be deprived of two of my favorite players, Rooney and Gerrard.

Posted by: G-Dub | November 21, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

It would be easy to say the usual suspects are favorites - Italy, France, Germany, with perennial underachievers Netherlands, Spain and Portugal right there with them. But I can see an outsider giving these teams a hard time, someone like the Czechs. However, I ultimately think it'll either be Portugal or Spain, both with great young talent. And I'd love to see a duel between Fabregas and Ronaldo.

Posted by: Luis | November 21, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I like Spain as the favorite.
And with their fans behind them, Croatia can hang with anybody.

Posted by: d, dc | November 21, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I see Portugal and Spain tearing teams up with Ronaldo and Fabregas respectively. They are the greatest players in Europe right now.

How can Ukraine be a disappointment? They were in by far the toughest group, with Scotland, Italy, and France.

Posted by: BI | November 21, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Assuming its core players stay healthy, Spain has to be a favorite -- but high expectations have been an albatross for Spain historically. Perhaps Germany can rekindle some of its World Cup magic . . .

Slightly different subject: there is speculation on BBC that Beckham has played his 99th and final cap, but why wouldn't he be selected for friendlies down the road (clearly by a new manager)? After all, he certainly did not let his team down.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Section 304 | November 21, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Analysis of the day on the Greg Ryan-style goalkeeping change: "McClaren must have felt just like Chancellor Alistair Darling in the wake of the Child Benefit data crisis, blameless for the blunder but culpable all the same."

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=197492&cc=5901

Posted by: FC | November 21, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

My Favorites for next year are Germany and Portugal.
Spain will not win; I don't care how much talent they have, they will not win anything.

Posted by: Red Devil | November 21, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

There might be speculation - but it sounds like Beckham wants to get that 100th (and more) cap

"Without a doubt. I'm not retiring," said former England captain Beckham.
"I said that the moment I was taken out of the team and the moment I came back into the team and I'm not stepping down," said the England midfielder.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/internationals/7106741.stm

Posted by: emanon | November 21, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I love it. Can we please stop all the talk of England being a world class team? They are average at best and have maybe 3 world class players (Becks, Terry & Gerrard--Rooney scoring once every three years automatically disqualifies him from world class status, well, maybe a world class nut stomper)

Favorites: Germany has been destroying teams with a B-team for pretty much this whole process. I don't think they've had Ballack on the pitch for any of the matches. They are the favorites by a country mile.
If Spain can find a way not to choke (which they won't) they could take it all. They have a ridiculous amount of talent on that team.
Italy is in shambles but along with Germany, they are the only other team that always seems to make noise.
France is a long shot. Too many aging players. Probably not even worth listing here. Simply not the same team without the master, Zidane.

Darkhorses: Czech Rep & Portugal

Posted by: papa bear | November 21, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

It really did go as expected except for England. Sweden/Denmark was a toss-up and I'd put Sweden as having been the slight favorites (tiebreaker = Ibrahimovic). Ukraine not making it past Italy and France isn't really an upset, just a tough group (though they should've put up more of a fight).

Group A: Poland over Serbia may be a little suprising based on talent.

Group C: Turkey over Norway was a toss-up, slight edge to the Turks IMO going in.

Group E: Russia over England is considered a huge upset.

Group F: Sweden over Denmark after Denmark blew it with a fan on the pitch.

Group G: Romania were favored over Bulgaria.

It's remarkable how predictable it was besides England falling short.

Fifa rankings aren't great and reflect what happened in qualifying but:
3 Italy 1387 -2 -101
4 France 1271 2 51
5 Germany 1245 -1 -85
6 Spain 1226 1 48
7 Netherlands 1207 -2 -39
8 Portugal 1203 0 34
9 Czech Republic 1174 2 92
10 Croatia 1155 0 4
11 England 1137 -2 -28
12 Romania 1086 0 49
13 Scotland 1049 1 24
14 Greece 1034 1 94
16 Russia 960 10 109
20 Poland 837 -4 -89
21 Norway 830 8 67
22 Ukraine 828 -5 -72
24 Sweden 821 -4 -67
27 Serbia 786 -5 -91
28 Turkey 771 -7 -112

* #42 Switzerland and #88 Austria are in as hosts.

Noone lower than #28 qualified on the pitch.

The only upsets by current rankings are #16 Russia over #11 England, #28 Turkey over #21 Norway.

#13 Scotland and #22 Ukraine were stuck in with #3 Italy and #4 France (the recent WC finalists). #27 Serbia being the only other top 28 team not to qualify.

Going back to Aug 2006, Denmark started #17 to Sweden's #20. Serbia was #33 to Poland's #30. Turkey was #28 to Norway's #49. Russia was #33 to England's #5. It really is all about England.

Posted by: undrafted | November 21, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I have no problems with laughing at England.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Take that Kelly. That's what you get for dumping me.

Posted by: sitruc | November 21, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I meant take that England. Now stop trying to convince us all you're great and you're our team. Watching soccer coverage on television, you'd think England is our national team at times.

Posted by: sitruc | November 21, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Spain has a lot of talented players but I am not 100% sure if they can go all the way, I like them to. Germany and Italy play always winning approch not necessarily an attractive football so I suspect these two are the favorites.

Posted by: td | November 21, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

i'm english and i'm glad we didn't make it. we need a drastic shakeup. sacking the entire FA followed by mcclaren would be a good start.

however quotes like this are just rubbish:

Can we please stop all the talk of England being a world class team? They are average at best and have maybe 3 world class players (Becks, Terry & Gerrard--Rooney scoring once every three years automatically disqualifies him from world class status, well, maybe a world class nut stomper)

apart from perhaps brazil the majority of national teams are comprised of 3-5 world class players and the rest.

Posted by: dashiel | November 21, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Also FA or English people complanining about too many forigners in EPL is completely none sense. If the home boys are good they will shine no matter what. The reason EPL is known is because of the talented forign players that they bring quality into the game and that's why attract fans from around the globe and makes it special. Since the EPL can afford to pay big money no douth in mind they should have those telented forign players. I wish MLS can afford to pay too so all the eyes will be on the American games!

Posted by: t | November 21, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

-Highlights, anyone?

Posted by: Glaucon | November 21, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Even though I know that Spain has a history of being choke artists, I feel something different about this team. Maybe its Pujol and his attitude. I think they're going to take it this time. Plus, this team does not have 3-5 world class players, it has 11 from top to bottom, plus guys like Morientes warming the bench! What they USMNT could do if they had a Morientes!

Posted by: timoteo | November 21, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I might agree that England has a few world class players, but the problem is that none of these guys are true strikers. Rooney is getting there but he's always going to be somewhat withdrawn. Beckham is still very good, but he's slipped down a tier or two. England are stacked in the central midfield and defense, but that leaves holes all along the flanks. Other top tier teams just don't have as many holes.

Dumping Robinson for Carson seemed like the right move. But throwing a 22 y/o GK (Carson) with less than 2 years of being a club starter into his first caps the week of the pivotal qualifying game ... That's questionable. There was no good answer. It's too late since playing Robinson has prevented breaking in other alternatives. Foster seems like the rare quality English keeper that's been needed. My pick would've been Robert Green, second David James.

Posted by: undrafted | November 21, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

There will probably be two groups of death in this competition. Top seeds go to Greece (won in 2004), Austria & Switzerland (host countries) and Holland or Germany depending on how the final UEFA rating goes (this rating bears no resemblance to the FIFA rating that was previously posted).

My heart is with Holland who have always made it out of the groups in every competition they have been in. However, they have lost their goal scoring ability for some strange reason. I think Germany and Italy are both dangerous because they are defensively sound. Spain is appealing but has blown hot & cold during qualifying (almost lost to Iceland which would have put their qualification in jeopardy). France is aging and with Englands not making it has the burden of the worst manager of any team in the competition (Domenech is absolutely weird).

Posted by: Orange 14 | November 21, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere, Charles de Gaulle is laughing and rubbing his hands together in celebration of that fact that he finally got his way.

Oui, c'est l'Europe, depuis l'Atlantique jusqu'à l'Oural, c'est toute l'Europe, qui décidera du destin du monde!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO91RXg8Kq0

Should have been James and Beckham. Reports sound like SWP was useless. Poor Carson.

Posted by: Nogra Rover | November 21, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse


I've learned to never pick spain or portugal, who always seem to come up small.

when in doubt, germany or italy.

Posted by: never ever | November 21, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorite England stat:

Rooney 14 goals in 40 int'l matches
Crouch 14 in 24.

Crouch has an excellent strike rate. Rooney, simply good.

That second Croat goal. Yikes

Posted by: Nogra Rover | November 21, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

My favorite England stat:
Rooney 14 goals in 40 int'l matches
Crouch 14 in 24.
Posted by: Nogra Rover | November 21, 2007 08:18 PM
**************
For comparisons to the USMNT
Someone has already mentioned Twellman
he has 6 goals in 29 int'l matches
Ching has 5 goals in 25
EJ has 11 in 31 matches
Dempsey has 9 in 35 matches
Donovan 34 in 96 (would not have guessed he has played almost the same number of matches as Beckham)

[source: http://www.ussoccer.com/common/stContent.jsp_16-2007MNTStats.html ]

Posted by: emanon | November 21, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Biggest disappointments? What about Scotland. Euro 08 is less without them. Despite the horrible penalty given to Italy at the end, they deserved to go through. Glad England's out. Go Spain! They'll just break my heart like they do every 2 years.

Maybe the Netherlands can somehow work it out. Germany is young and France is Old. I'm guessing Italy will probably win it all. :(

Posted by: gallegoscot | November 21, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

England is such a disppointment! Israel gave them a lifeline and they failed miserably!
I guess Gerrard and most of the pundits will go back and whine about the number of foreigners in the Premier League and similar rubbish as the reasons for their defeat! They wil be looking for scapegoats as usual.....

Posted by: Charles | November 21, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

for those who haven't seen it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vROdBK8Ws0A

Posted by: delantero | November 21, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The English Tabloids are having a field day

"USELESS, pathetic, insipid, spineless, desperate, rubbish and all those other words we are not allowed to print in the nation's favourite newspaper.

England are the joke of European football. "

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/article491412.ece

"Dire England give it away with Wembley horrorshow"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/football.html?in_article_id=495535&in_page_id=1779

"McClaren axed after Euro exit"

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/article492787.ece

Posted by: Pedro Burrito | November 22, 2007 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Okay, here's a possibly reDONKoulously stooopid question, but I'll ask it anyway:

Noo Yawk Pink Cows have stated their desire to get a new coach with MLS experience.

Given the fact that every rule is meant to be broken, what are the chances of NYRB's breaking with that promise and hiring McLaren, once the English FA sacks his @$$?

Posted by: Juan-John | November 22, 2007 2:21 AM | Report abuse

As I am stationed in England right now, I cannot wait to go to work this morning. Copies of the front page of the Sun will be posted on every door in the building.

Posted by: Eric | November 22, 2007 3:31 AM | Report abuse

FA already announced he's been sacked. I'm surprised it took them so long.

Don't forget Denmark was penalized three points because an idiot fan ran on the field. had their qualifying not been poisoned by that fool, they might have made it, but you can't blame the players.

Forca Portugal!

Posted by: Troy | November 22, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

undrafted in November 21, 2007, 7:07PM post says it all; well done.

Posted by: 12th man | November 22, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Same teams as usual:

Germany, Italy, and France as favorites; Netherlands and Portugal right behind them.

Everyone knows why England choked: to many foreigners in the EPL. Spain will do nothing at the Euro, they'll probably get to quarterfinals and lose, maybe get to semi's if they get lucky, but I dont expect them to.

Like Spain, top teams are filled with foreign talent at key positions; further, most coaches at top teams are foreign. Not to be a xenophobe, because we got to recgnize the quality of play in the EPL and Spain at the club level has increased tremendously, but has done so at the expense of the National teams. That is why the usual teams will be competing for the titles and it is no t likely a team like England or Spain will win a Euro or World Cup - its up to them to find a balance between the two.

Posted by: Vic | November 22, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

For comparisons to the USMNT
Someone has already mentioned Twellman
he has 6 goals in 29 int'l matches
Ching has 5 goals in 25
EJ has 11 in 31 matches
Dempsey has 9 in 35 matches
Donovan 34 in 96 (would not have guessed he has played almost the same number of matches as Beckham)

[source: http://www.ussoccer.com/common/stContent.jsp_16-2007MNTStats.html ]

Posted by: emanon | November 21, 2007 08:56 PM

*********

I will go out a limb here and say that on average Crouch, Rooney and co. have gotten their goals against tougher opposition than Donovan and company.

I will also go out further on my other limb and say that teams like Guatemala, Haiti, El Salvador (who the US likes to play a lot and at home) would get absolutely destroyed by European teams.

The comparison just made makes absolutely no sense.

Posted by: Vic | November 22, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The seedings are up on the UEFA site: http://www.uefa.com/competitions/euro/news/kind=1/newsid=623231.html
Holland ended up in the first seed, Germany, Spain, and Portugal in the third group, with France in four. How about this one for a "group of death:" Holland, Italy, Germany, & France. Yikes!

Posted by: Orange 14 | November 22, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I think the amount of foreigners in the EPL is just another reflection of how England are overrated, not at all the cause. Maybe the talent pool just isn't that good. Maybe the reserve system in England is a joke and youth development isn't comparing well with systems abroad. The players are generally overpaid and overvalue their own abilities. That there is much more the problem. Of course hiring a decent manager would've been enough to avoid this.

Posted by: undrafted | November 22, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

So, there's too many foreigners in the EPL? And in Spain? When's the last time either national side won a tournament?

England didn't even qualify for USA 94 and you could hardly say there were more (talented) foreigners in the last days of the First Division than there are now in the EPL.

Plain and simple it's the unwillingness of the FA to cross the EPL by scheduling more friendlies and "B" games to get more players into the mix. The England roster is almost exclusively made up of the same 12-15 names each time there's a game to be played. At the expense of the other 20-30 players who should be developed on the international stage. It's a shame it took so long for Gareth Barry to break through. It's a shame Kevin Nolan has 1 cap (if at all). It's a shame that a defender who has won the European Cup, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup, and the UEFA Cup retires from international football because he can't get a game at his regular position unless 3 or 4 people are out injured. The FA could take a page from the USA and run camps during league downtime. Schedule an excess of friendlies to get players experience on the international stage even if they are against lesser lights like Australia and Jamaica. Players like Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney don't need a run out in those games. Use some of the U-21's and fringe players like Nolan, Agbonlahor and Young to get them experience. Then when the time comes you don't have to rely on the old warhorse Beckham to make an unfit appearance or give another cap to a worthless no-talent like Jenas when injuries crop up.

But what do I know?

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: JayRockers! | November 22, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

They are overvalued. Just think of John Terry. I don't see any special in him you keep hearing about Terry Terry. I don't understand how they can rate him as a great player!
Now the McClaren is sacked and Croatia has beaten England I wonder if Abramovich will give Mercedes to the Croatian players. If he does though it will be an unlawfull thing to do and set a very bad example.

Posted by: td | November 22, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

John Terry overvalued? I cannot fathom why anyone who has watched Terry play for England or Chelsea would call him overvalued.

First, he did not play yesterday, since he has been injured and just returned to workouts a couple of days ago. His absence was felt on perhaps all of the Croatian goals. When he plays, JT makes himself a solid presence in the middle, limiting opponents' attack options, and he makes more that his share of spectacular tackles.

You should also note that Roman Abramovich did not pay one pence in transfer fees for Terry, who is a product of the Chelsea academy system and was on the team when Abramovich bought it.

Posted by: ho | November 22, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Terry's pretty good, but having top players just at CB (with mediocre keeping at best) and 2-way CM (Gerrard) won't take anyone very far. These posititions can't carry a team. They create few goals. They can't stop all goals. So Terry world-class or not is besides the point. It's the lack of Henry's, Totti's, etc (and especially the dropoff when comparing reserves) that keeps England out of that top tier.

Posted by: undrafted | November 22, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Undrafted, you just described the Italian national side that won the World Cup; Grosso, Cannavaro and Gattuso were more vital to that team than Totti who did not have the best tournament.

Posted by: Red Devil | November 22, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Good point, but Totti, Pirlo, and Del Piero were still there. France 1998 with Zidane, Brazil 2002 with Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and others. Pirlo/Kaka for AC Milan last year. Sure there's an odd exception, but most World Cup's and Champions League winners have a top notch creative player or two (the big contracts usually go to attackers/difference makers). Even lacking creative quality, a top tier team at least has someone decent up top to finish. The mere presence of these standouts can setup less creative players to have chances (like Grosso's goal). Maybe Rooney will be that player for England, but for years now that player in the attack has been missing.

England have some very good players, a few that are among the best. But the team has some glaring holes and questionable depth that keep it out of the top tier. 2nd tier teams can still do pretty well, but probably not if they don't recognize areas that need compensation (the depth up top and on the flanks just isn't "world class").

Posted by: undrafted | November 22, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I will go out a limb here and say that on average Crouch, Rooney and co. have gotten their goals against tougher opposition than Donovan and company.

I will also go out further on my other limb and say that teams like Guatemala, Haiti, El Salvador (who the US likes to play a lot and at home) would get absolutely destroyed by European teams.

The comparison just made makes absolutely no sense.

Posted by: Vic | November 22, 2007 08:50 AM
-------------------------------------------
Yes and No - Certainly the US plays a lot more soft friendlies and the Gold Cup doesn't mean much. But to reach the WC or to the Euro Championships the groups aren't that stacked, so those goals may not have come against the greatest of competition. For example here is the 2006 WCQ for CONCACAF's final stage and England's group. They're really very comparable.

CONCACAF: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Panama

UEFA G6: England, Poland, Austria, N. Ireland, Wales, Azerbaijan

Posted by: Mike | November 22, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why the US doesn't play friendlies with England, Germany or France. I think that will be very good for the US team and I think it will also have a huge crowd to watch them play.

Posted by: td | November 22, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

England failing to advance in Euro '08 means a happy thanksgiving for Alexi Lalas and the LA Galaxy. No more worrying about losing Beckham for any period of time.

Side note: Can we use the raised ticket prices to get some more money to the backup players and maybe get some depth in MLS?

Posted by: Brian | November 22, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

By the way, soon-to-be-former-England-coach Steve McClaren is scheduled to run a clinic during the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention in Baltimore Jan. 16-20 (insert joke here).

The clinic is entitled "How to take it like a Man!" or "Pull up your big-girl thong - and play some Futball"

You choose...

Posted by: BobF | November 23, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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