The crystal ball changes from minute to minute. This is a tough one. If the Dutch show up the way they did against Italy and the French show up the way they did against Romania, it’s relatively easy to call the Dutch winners. However, I think the Dutch drop a bit, even with Van Persie possibly starting and the French do better simply because the Dutch will not have 10 men behind the ball like Romania. There will be more space for the French midfield. I also think Andre Ooijer and Joris Mathijesen are going to have a much harder time with Benzema and Anelka/Henry/Gomis.
Domenech needs to start Nasri so that there is more speed and energy going forward else the French midfield will be overrun by the faster Dutch set up of Van der Vaart, Engelaar and Sneijder. Toulalan and Maka should be enough to slow down the Dutch and give the defense numbers against Ruud and company. Unsure of how solid Gallas and Thuram are in the middle of the park since Romania didn’t really test them. Should be a barnstormer.
I still can’t figure out how to call it, but I think there will be goals and I think its a 2 all draw, with the French the more likely to win the game. Will update once we know the Italy v Romania result.
Pre-game prediction: France 2 Holland 2
Ruud and Benzema will score… Continue reading
With the injuries mounting on both sides – Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Ryan Babel out for the Dutch and Cannavaro and possibly Panucci out for Italy – it’s going to be interesting to see if the Dutch can score and if the Italians can defend! I think it will be a bit of both but the Italians should normally score more than the Dutch if the two wingers (Babel and Robben) are out. However, since this is the first game in the group, I predict a scoring draw. Should be fun to see if Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar start up front for the Dutch and Toni and del Piero on the other side. I prefer the Italian midfield with Pirlo, De Rossi and Gattuso to Van der Vaart and Sneijder.
France will benefit from Vieira being out as it will get Ribery more of the ball. Benzema is going to clean up with Ribery and Henry (or Anelka or Gomis or Gouvou if Henry is injured) playing with him up front. Looking forward to seeing Nasri out there at some point. France wins.
With all the injuries, I may have to change my initial prediction on who comes out of the group. If Van Persie and Robben don’t come back by game 2, Italy and France could move on. Don’t count Romania out (Mutu is still the man at Fiorentina), but I just don’t think they will be able to surprise anyone in the group as every point counts. I’ll stick with the Dutch and French for now.
|Monday, June 9, 2008
||Stade de Suisse Wankdorf