Day: May 23, 2008

Euro 2008 – Group A

It’s that time again. The closing date for the squad lists to be submitted to UEFA for Euro 2008 is the 28th of May, but we already know enough about who will be there and who won’t to be able to start having a look at the groups for the finals of this year’s European Championships. This year’s finals haven’t been without controversy already, with numerous complaints about the seeding of the competition. The four seeds are Switzerland, Austria, Greece and the Netherlands, with Switzerland and Austria being seeded as the hosts, Greece earning their place as the holders and the Netherlands, on the basis of UEFA’s hilariously complicated co-efficient system that calculated the average number of points obtained in qualifying and in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. This idiosyncratic way of doing things has, of course, thrown up a “Group Of Death” (Group C, which features the Netherlands, Italy and France), but has also done a couple of the other “bigger” nations a favour. Anyway, first up, here’s a look at Group A. Switzerland – What Are Expectations Like? Well, not as low as they are for their co-hosts, Austria. Switzerland have had a reasonably favourable draw and have got half a chance of getting through the group stages, though there won’t be too many people staring in disbelief if they do get through. Their key match...

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Football League Play-Off Preview

It’s that time of year again, when Wembley fills with expectant supporters for the play-off finals. Over the course of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, three matches will be played that decide who will be in what division next season, and it’s time to have a look forward to those three matches, starting with Monday’s match between Stockport County and Rochdale. Stockport and Rochdale may well be comparatively near neighbours geographically, but whilst one of them has never been promoted, the other has had a tumultuous fifteen years or so, which resulted in the near closure of the club and an eventual take-over by the club’s own supporters. They’re now trying to undo the damage that was wreaked upon them by the previous owners, and their place in the play-offs is no small surprise in itself. Stockport County vs Rochdale: If you’re under the age of about 40, you won’t be able to remember Rochdale playing in any division other than the basement of the Football League, though whether you call it Division Four, Division Three or League Two probably depends upon your age. Since being relegated into Division Four in 1973, they have barely troubled either end of the table (although they did have a close brush with the drop in 2004, and managed a play-off place in 2003. Celebrating their centenary appears to have had a beneficial effect...

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