EURO 2014: What are YOUR predictions?

Yes, Denmark is the right place for this kind of event!

Yes, Denmark is the right place for this kind of event!

On many earlier occasions, John Ryan and I have taken turns ‘sticking our necks out’ and offering predictions for the outcome of major events. This time we want to give YOU the chance to demonstrate your expertise and ability to predict what will happen!

EURO 2014 for men starts in Denmark on Sunday. The format is the now traditional one with four groups of four teams each. Two groups (in Herning and Aalborg) will play Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday, and two groups (in Aarhus and Copenhagen) will play Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Then in the main round, the top three from the Herning group will play the top three from the Aalborg group, with the same system for the top three from the Aarhus and Copenhagen groups.

The composition of the groups is: A/Herning: Denmark, Czech Republic, FYR Macedonia and Austria; B/Aalborg: Spain, Iceland, Hungary and Norway; C/Aarhus: Serbia, France, Poland and Russia; D/Copenhagen: Croatia, Sweden, Belarus and Montenegro. Yes, you have spotted it: Germany did not qualify for this event, and Slovenia is another prominent absentee.

One factor that could be important for the predictions is the unusual number of injuries and last-minute adjustments to the teams. Some other players who used to be key members of their teams have retired since last time. For instance, the French team may be particularly vulnerable for this reason. But it also means that we have the hope of seeing some emerging stars coming to the forefront. And which countries have the deepest talent pools?

It is difficult to imagine that Denmark is not in a good position to compete for the medals. They will have an enormous support of the spectators and the entire country. Moreover, they start out in what may seem to be the weakest group. Iceland is a team with many question marks, and it is tough to anticipate which team will fail to advance from group B. Group C may be the most difficult one to predict. Russia may be the ‘dark horse’ here. Croatia is probably seen by many as the favorite in group D, and here the team that seems to give the ‘experts’ the headaches in Sweden. Will the Swedes be a serious contender or are they destined for a let-down?

Well, I will stop there and ask YOU: who will be number 1, 2, 3 and 4 in this event? Who will be offer the biggest positive surprise, and who will be the negative surprise? Who will win be the Most Valuable Player, and who will win the scoring title? I cannot offer any fancy prices: the competition is just for the honor…