Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Denmark-Spain and other EURO qualifiers

Danes call Spain their "onde aand", or bad spirit, ever since the painful defeats inflicted by the Iberians on the Danes in 1984 and in 1986. For this EURO-2008 qualifier, it seemed that what the Spaniards were fearing most was the danger of some unruly spectator invading the pitch, even though the game was being played in Aarhus and not Copenhagen after the misshap against Sweden.
I must admit, that I didn't watch the match, under my present condition, but on the Spanish magazine Marca there was a debate raging on whether Sergio Ramos' goal was the best of a Spanish national team ever. This is surely a big remark, considering all the great goals of Spanish history.
Otherwise, this group F is quite clear: with Sweden winning 3-0 against Liechtenstein, only Northern Ireland could potentially upset the two top teams.

In group D Germany's goalless draw against Ireland put them firmly in next year's European Championsship, likely to be followed by the Czhechs.

Group B, with some great footballing nations, is one of the most interesting ones. as three teams are bitterly fighting for the two spots. Surprisingly, the mighty Ucrainians are out of this struggle after losing 3-1 to the ever-fighting Scots, who have now taken to the first spot in the group, ahead of World Champions Italy and France. A bit unexpected I guess, but well-deserved for a Scottish team that seems to be on its way back into the world limelight. With a victory away in Georgia, Scotland will qualify for sure, leaving either France or Italy out.

In group G Romania is looking more and more likely to participate after defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in Bucharest. next game against Luxembourg can seal it for them, while the Netherlands are ahead of Bulgaria bya couple of points.

Portugal took a small step towards the EURO-2008 by defeating Azerbaijan 3-1 in group A, at the same time as Finland only drew against Belgium. this puts them on equal points on second spot, but with Portugal one game ahead of the Finns. They are both trailing Poland by 6 points on first place. The Poles are only a game away from sealing their participation as well.

The defending champions from 2004, Greece, after winning against Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-2, are leading their group C four points ahead of Turkey. Next match will be between these two rivals, and that may be the only hope for Norway on third place.

Finally, in group E, England seems to have found its way. They defeated Estonia 3-0, and is now on second spot after Croatia, who won 1-0 against Israel. England's big test will be next match, against Russia in Moscow. The Russians are trailing England by five points, and will need to win to keep hoping for participation.

It is looking more and more clear what the EURO-2008 will be like!

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