I cannot believe, its been four whole years since we saw a true finals master class from La Roja (Spain) as they put the Azzurris (Italy) to the sword in such a devastating manner that had previously not been seen in a show piece final. Well that Spanish side is four years older, a few of the members of that squad have either retired or are sunbathing in the Middle East. This year, the French look very much like they are destined to win another tournament they are hosting, just like in 1984 and 1998. Now I am not one to compare eras or squads; but this is a talented French squad with age on its side; its average age is probably lower than the other two sides and those sides were either at their peak or nearing their peak.
In 1984,France had the magnificent Michel Platini, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse, Joel Bats and Luis Fernandez (the youngest player in the side at that time); now for me this finally achieved what they were capable of after a great showing at the 1982 World Cup in Spain; it was only ideal they won the competition as host.
In 1998, France had the legendary Zinedane Zidane, Laurent Blanc, current French manager, Didier Deschamps as captain; young trio of Patrick Vieria, Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet; it was a team that was on the treshold of greatness especially with the sprinkling of young talent from their highly rated football academy. This French team like its elder brothers from 1984 had also gotten knocked out at the semi final stage of a major competition only two years earlier; so there were some similarities with both sides.
Do, I think this French side can win it on home soil and replicate what their predecessors had done; I think they can; however on like the class of 1984 and 1998; this particular French team lacks the solidity in defense those two teams had, I worry about the French back four and I feel that this is their Achilles heel.
So, if its not the French; who else can win the Euros, is it the Germans, the Spaniards, Italians, Belgium maybe or can the English finally deliver a prize to their ever demanding public. Of course, there are some outsiders; the likes of Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, Czech Republic and Croatia;who would be looking to tap into the spirit of the Greeks from 2004, also looking to win it.
If you ask me, I am leaning towards the Germans, forget whatever issues they may have in defense; I think they have a very capable bunch at the back and of course they are what we call a proper tournament team.