Euro 2008: The Ones To Watch

Posted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Wondering what games to watch at Euro 2008? Sports journalist Mark O'Haire shares his 'unmissable' matches.

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland all failed at the first step, leaving no home interest in Euro 2008.

But look closely and the famous faces from the Premier League may not be too far away.

Will you support your favourite stars as they bid for glory against the cream of European football or will you use the competition as a chance to cast your eye over your club’s latest recruit?

Heavyweights Italy, France and Germany have all been tipped for the title but who will you be backing when Euro 2008 kicks off on Saturday afternoon?

As well as picking out the surprise packages, we’ve selected the matches that simply can't be missed.

The Unmissables

Every two years a major international tournament throws three or four of the competition’s best teams together into a “Group of Death”.

Euro 2008 is no different to the rest with Group C taking centre stage.

Italy will go head-to-head with France in a repeat of the World Cup final two years ago whilst Holland have been thrown into the mix.

Romania complete the “Group of Death” and although they’ve been written off before the competition has started, expect them to put up a good fight.

Not to be missed:

  • Holland Vs Italy – 9th June (7.45pm) ITV
  • Holland Vs France – 13th June (7.45pm) BBC1
  • France Vs Italy – 17th June 7.45pm BBC1

Group B has seen old rivals Germany and Poland plucked together for the second successive tournament.

The Germans should have enough to brush aside Poland and hosts Austria but Croatia offer a different proposition.

Slaven Bilic’s side were impressive in qualifying for the tournament and despite losing star striker Eduardo, pose a serious threat to their more illustrious opposition.

Not to be missed:

  • Germany Vs Poland – 8th June (7.45pm) BBC1
  • Croatia Vs Germany – 12th June (5pm) ITV

Co-hosts Switzerland are joined by the fancied Portuguese, Czech Republic and Turkey in Group A.

Portugal will be led by Cristiano Ronaldo and should finish group winners but the fight for second looks like an interesting battle.

The Czech Republic are an ageing force, Turkey are coming back to their best with a bunch of talented youngsters whilst the Swiss cannot be discounted on home soil.

Switzerland against Turkey will not be attractive for lovers of the beautiful game; the last time the two teams met, the game descended into a mass brawl on the final whistle.

Not to be missed:

  • Portugal Vs Turkey – 7th June (7.45pm) ITV
  • Czech Republic Vs Portugal – 11th June (5pm) ITV
  • Switzerland Vs Turkey – 11th June (7.45pm) BBC2

Despite underperforming in major competitions, Spain are being strongly recommended for a decent bet this time around.

With Fernando Torres firing on all cylinders, the Spaniards have a settled squad and should ease through Group D.

Current champions Greece surprised everyone by taking the title in Portugal last time around and could raise eyebrows again by knocking out Sweden and Russia.

The Swedes lack strength in depth and have been hit by injuries whilst Russia tend to leave their best form in Moscow.

Not to be missed:

  • Spain Vs Russia – 10th June (5pm) BBC1
  • Greece Vs Sweden – 10th June (7.45pm) ITV
  • Greece Vs Spain – 18th June (7.45pm) ITV

The quarter-finals are screened live by BBC and ITV and run from the 19th June – 22nd June with both channels showing one of the semi-finals live each – 25th June and 26th June.

Make a date in your diary for 29th June (7.45pm) when the final will be contested live on BBC1. 

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