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 Euro 2012
shelsoccer
Posted: Feb 10 2010, 08:49 AM


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Qualifying draw for Euro '12 was held a couple of days ago:

A -- Germany, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Azerbijan
B -- Russia, Slovakia, Ireland, Macedonia, Armenia, Andorra
C -- Italy, Serbia, N. Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Faroe Is.
D -- France, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania, Luxembourg
E -- Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Moldova, San Marino
F -- Croatia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Georgia, Malta
G -- England, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales, Montenegro
H -- Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Cyrpus, Iceland
I -- Spain, Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein
(Poland and Ukraine qualify automatically as co-hosts.)

Nine group winners and best second-place team qualify directly. The other eight runners-up go to a playoff.

Discounting the distribution of minnows, there are some pretty balanced and tough groups here. With the possible exception of Group E, I can see at least three legitimate challengers in all the other groups and some with four interesting contenders (e.g., Group A). Top to bottom, Group H may be the toughest but you also have to look at Group C with three World Cup qualifiers.
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Merengue
Posted: Feb 10 2010, 09:21 AM


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I agree with you shelsoccer, there are some pretty balanced groups in this draw and with this being the last 16 team European championship it probably will be the last interesting European qualifying competition. Imagine with 3 teams qualifying from each group, that would take away practically all of the intrigue. UEFA should consider that in coming up with the format for future Euro qualifiers.

Back to this draw, no great rivalries were created in it but I am sure Finland-Sweden, England-Wales and Germany-Austria will ignite local passions, at least in the eyes of fans of the underdogs there. Germany may find themselves playing on neutral ground when they face Turkey in Germany due to the large Turkish population there.

Group C looks to the most difficult to me. Whomever replaces Marcello Lippi as the Azzurri coach won't have any easy time of it.


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Yogi
Posted: Jul 20 2010, 10:23 AM


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Ribery and possibly Benzema and Govou are in trouble as their underage sex scandal seems to be escalating,

Ribery In Trouble

I think after all that has happened Laurent Blanc might be wise to start with a cleen slate and callup almost an entirely new team for France's August friendly, their last game before Euro 2012 qualifying begins. Blanc can later recall some of the 2010 World Cup veterans who he thinks would be appropriate.
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Yogi
Posted: Jul 23 2010, 11:40 AM


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QUOTE (Yogi @ Jul 20 2010, 10:23 AM)
I think after all that has happened Laurent Blanc might be wise to start with a cleen slate and callup almost an entirely new team for France's August friendly, their last game before Euro 2012 qualifying begins. Blanc can later recall some of the 2010 World Cup veterans who he thinks would be appropriate.

Apparently Laurent Blanc is listening to my advice!

http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ap-france-blanc

QUOTE
France coach Laurent Blanc will drop all 23 World Cup players for his first match next month as collective punishment for the team’s embarrassing fiasco in South Africa.

The French federation said Friday in a statement it had granted Blanc permission to suspend the players at the coach’s request.


What is the world coming to when France's coach is taking advice from an Italy fan! biggrin.gif

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ursus arctos
Posted: Jul 23 2010, 12:45 PM


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If only Lippi would have done the same, Yogi.

Blanc's strategem also takes Ribery out of the picture for another couple of months while his court case continues (I would be shocked if Benzema gets picked for Norway).

And if Frey doesn't start under these cirumstances, I take back everything good I've ever said about Blanc!
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Merengue
Posted: Jul 23 2010, 01:25 PM


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QUOTE
And if Frey doesn't start under these cirumstances, I take back everything good I've ever said about Blanc!


Even we non Violas recognize the great injustice it is leaving Frey out of the team.

I suspect, as Yogi postulated in his first post, that soon some of the World Cup players will return but with their legal troubles it may be some time before Ribery and Benzema come back. And a boycott leader like Evra may now be persona non grata with the national team.


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Don Balon
Posted: Aug 26 2010, 12:20 PM


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Still no Sebastien Frey with France but here is Laurent Blanc's squad to play in Euro 2012 qualifying early next month,

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (AS Roma), Adil Rami (Lille), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Benoit Tremoulinas (Bordeaux)

Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yann Mvila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Menez (AS Roma), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris Saint-Germain), Loic Remy (Marseille), Louis Saha (Everton)

9 of the 23 players were on the World Cup team. Blanc was unable to call on Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka, Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, and Lyon defender Jeremy Toulalan, who were suspended by the French Football Federation for their involvement in a World Cup mutiny.


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Merengue
Posted: Sep 2 2010, 02:37 PM


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I think benzema injured his ankle in training and might have dropped out of France's team. Blanc has his work cut out for him.

Portugal's anti doping agency has suspended Carlos Queiroz for 6 months for attemting to disrupt a pre World Cup drug test!

http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=a...ueirozsuspended

The irony is none of the players tested positive for performance enhacing drugs, Queiroz was just upset at the timing, thinking it was interrumpting his team's preparations.

So now Portugal are debating whether to retain Queiroz or look for a new coach. One of their options if they do get rid of Queiroz is none other than Euro 2008 winner Luis Aragones!


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ursus arctos
Posted: Sep 2 2010, 02:40 PM


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Luis Aragones and Cristiano Ronaldo?

It's comedy gold, Jerry.
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Mr. Pither
Posted: Sep 3 2010, 08:19 AM


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I wonder what Portugal will do with Queiroz now that he has been suspended? they play 4 of their 8 Euro 2012 qualifiers before his suspension ends, beginning tonight at home vs Cyprus. Next Tuesday they play at Norway while next month they are home to Denmark and away to Iceland.

I am guessing they are using his top assistant to coach the team tonight and on Tuesday but missing half of the scheduled qualifiers is not something to simply dismiss as, "we will manage until he gets back."

Not surprisingly Bert van Marwijk named his son in law as Netherlands captain now that Giovanni van Bronkhorst is retired. The Dutch play San Marino so they have little to worry about and interestingly Ruud van Nistelrooy's good start to the season in Hamburg combined with Robin van Persie's injury has brought him a recall to the Oranje. It is not certain if van Nistelrooy or Huntelaar will start at centre forward. Robben of course is injured and heitinga is suspended from his World Cup Final sending off. Ron Vlaar will fill in for Heitinga with Eljero Elia likely standing in for Robben. The rest of the team should be the same which line dup against Spain on 11 July in Johannesburg.

Interesting game tonight between Belgium and Germany too. Probably the best looking match on paper to be played today. Michael Ballack has regained the captaincy of the Mannschaft by the way.


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P-I-T-H-E-R ...as in Brotherhood, but with PI instead of the BRO and no HOOD
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Sammy Maudlin
Posted: Sep 3 2010, 12:52 PM


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Jermain Defoe has scored a hat trick in England's 4-0 win over Bulgaria. He and Rooney linked up quite well. The English defense looked a little vulnerable when Bulgaria ran at them as Dawson and Jagielka were the makeshift central defenders but overall England looked pretty good against a mediocre Bulgaria.

Maybe it was not Domenech's fault after all? France 0 Belarus 1!

Portugal and Cyprus are 2-2 at the half. Portugal's once solid defense has looked suspect tonight but offensively Portugal, even without Ronaldo has alot of options and are showing it tonight without the constraints of Queiroz' overly defensive tactics.
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Yogi
Posted: Sep 3 2010, 06:48 PM


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Portugal-Cyprus ended up 4-4! Cyprus twice led in the first half while Portugal twice led in the second half with Cyprus tying the game up for the final time in the 89th minute.

I will write more about Italy in the Azzurri thread but I thought Italy were fortunate to beat Estonia 2-1 in Estonia. The Estonians took the elad when 3rd choice goalie Sirigu pushed away a strong shot right into the path of an Estonian who knocke din the rebound. In the 2nd half Italy scored twice within 3 minutes each time off a corner kick, the first headed in by an unmarked Antonio Cassano the 2nd when Cassano backheeled a low near post corner to defender Bonucci who knocke dit in. A very sloppy game for Italy but Cassano at least stepped up when needed and made two plays to win the game. That was something which was misisng from the World Cup squad.

I do not know what to say about France losing at home to Belarus. That was Belarus they were playing not Serbia, Uruguay or Denmark. For those in the US, ESPN Deportes will show a replay of the game on Saturday so you can see the french train wreck for yourself.
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Alexao
Posted: Sep 3 2010, 08:02 PM


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What happened to Portugal's defense? When Scolari was their coach they had as good of a defense as any national team in the world. In the last World Cup their defense was somewhat vulnerable which is why Queiroz played so defensively. Now they try and open it up a bit and got it for four goals! They have too good of players in defense and midfield to be permitting 4 goals at home to Cyprus.


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Xandão
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Don Balon
Posted: Sep 4 2010, 01:04 AM


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QUOTE (Alexao @ Sep 4 2010, 05:02 AM)
What happened to Portugal's defense? When Scolari was their coach they had as good of a defense as any national team in the world. In the last World Cup their defense was somewhat vulnerable which is why Queiroz played so defensively. Now they try and open it up a bit and got it for four goals! They have too good of players in defense and midfield to be permitting 4 goals at home to Cyprus.

Neither Pepe nor Mendes, both of whom played pretty well in the World Cup sitting right in front of the back four, played against Cyprus. That partially explains their defence problems but only does so partially. Just sounds like a bad game from a Portugal team still in a bit of shock that Queiroz was suspended for so long. They better snap out of it with a potentially difficult trip to Norway coming up on Tuesday.
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Simon
Posted: Sep 4 2010, 02:51 AM


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England played really well last night, but it's hard to get TOO enthusiastic about it. We qualified in great style for the World Cup and look what happened there. It's at least arguable that a couple of the teams we played at the WC were weaker than Ukraine and Croatia, who were in our qualifying group last time out.

England are a good team with some great players, but our World Cup was just surreal. Maybe there's a parallel universe out there in which England played with energy, attacking verve and goals in South Africa? rolleyes.gif
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