TEAMtalk’s European Championships Podcast coverage kicks off in style with a look ahead to the first eight games of the tournament and plenty of chat about all 16 teams who will be in action in Poland and Ukraine this summer.
Celebrating their international call-ups for this edition are Jon Holmes, who takes a loose captaincy role in the host’s chair, his TEAMtalk.com colleague Mark Holmes bringing customary flair and unpredictability in an advanced wide position, and a new addition from SkySports.com, Adam Bate – who you may know as @GhostGoal on Twitter – whipping in dangerous deliveries to keep us all on our toes.
Going head-to-head for each match, with the third man as referee, we preview these games:
Poland v Greece – After an opening ceremony of sorts, Adam gets the party stated in Warsaw by backing the Dortmund connection to fire the hosts to an early success, while Mark takes a methodical approach to the Greek challenge in a manner that their finance minister would do well to heed.
Russia v Czech Republic – On to Wroclaw, where Jon attempts to get the unfancied Czechs bouncing by highlighting their lucky streak but runs into a tough, experienced Russian unit marshalled by Mark.
Netherlands v Denmark – Adam pours himself a pint of Oranje juice and happily goes Dutch in Kharkiv, as Jon fruitlessly makes a case for Christian Eriksen and company.
Germany v Portugal – The time has come for Deutschland, proclaims Mark, who sees playmakers all over the park in Lviv. But Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo and plenty of other stars who could produce, according to Adam.
Spain v Italy – Jon lets tiki-taka do the talking as he revels in the style and, yes, steel of the latest Spanish squad. Mark is far from convinced by the reigning champions and points to the reliable Juve defenders who will feature in the Azzurri line-up in Gdansk.
Croatia v Republic of Ireland – Irish eyes will be smiling – and how! – when Trapattoni’s men get stuck in in Poznan. That’s if you believe Adam. However, Jon expects Bilic’s red-and-white checked crew to produce at least one victory at the Euros and explains why this will be it.
France v England – Mark feels traditional values of a strong defence and a target-man up front will provide a ticket to the quarter-finals for the Three Lions, but Adam much prefers his French fancies to deliver in Donetsk.
Ukraine v Sweden – The new sexy Swedes (so says Jon) are bursting at the seams with set-piece specialists and the Zlatan factor. Mark is forced on the defensive as Ukraine’s uglier features are mentioned, and insists the team and the country will defy their media critics.
Have a listen to the Podcast and let us know your thoughts ahead of the opening round of Euro 2012 fixtures by posting a Comment below!