After four years of waiting, Euro 2008 is only a day away. If you’re not fit, you better be doing all you can to make it happen, and if you’re healthy, it’s not a great time to get hurt. Just ask Poland about the latter…
Co-hosts Switzerland got a big boost on Thursday, as key midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta has declared himself fit to play after adequately recovering from a sprained ankle.
As for the wife of Swiss coach Koebi Kuhn, she’s currently in an artificial coma, but Kuhn, who has regularly been visiting his wife, should be with his team for their game against the Czech Republic.
Czech Republic right back Zdenek Pospech has been ruled out of the opener due to a virus, though it isn’t a huge loss, as Pospech wasn’t expected to be in the starting lineup. Captain Tomas Ujfalusi should be fit, however, after missing Wednesday’s training due to a slight abdominal strain.
Poland’s Jakub Blaszczykowski aggravated his hamstring injury in training on Thursday, which will rule him out for at least the group stage. His loss will rob Poland of a creative, disruptive presence in midfield.
A Polish newspaper has likely set their team up for an ass-kicking, specially delivered by Michael Ballack and Germany, as the newspaper printed pictures of Poland coach Leo Beenhakker holding up the decapitated heads of Ballack and Germany coach Joachim Low. Not a smart idea, Super Express.
France got a big lift, as captain Patrick Vieira was able to train with the squad on Thursday, which is a positive indication of his ability to play at some point in Euro 2008, though he will still definitely miss their opening match against Romania on Monday.
A quartet of Greece players were able to train on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s training due to groin issues, as Vassilis Torosidis, Angelos Charisteas, Alexandros Tziolis and Christos Patsatzoglou all took part. And, I might as well warn you right now, you can expect more of the style that Greece employed on the way to their shock Euro 2004 win.
Well, it’s time to go bet my life savings on Greece – wish me luck, and I’ll be back tomorrow!