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Poland's Blaszczykowski injured his right thigh and will miss the whole tournament. I think he had a good chance to start in right midfield, so definitely a bit of a blow for them.

On a more general note, who is everybody rooting for (apart from Austria, but only a miracle could give us more than 3 games)?
I want Spain to do well, as always, and as always believe that they should be among the favourites. No other team in the world can leave calibres such as Cesc Fabregas and Xabi Alonso on the bench and still have such a great midfield. A lot will depend on the defense though (apart from Puyol and Sergio Ramos).
Not rooting for, but who else I think will do well: France (if someone forced me to bet on anyone, it would be them. Benzema could be the star of the tournament) and Portugal (almost the same as with Spain. Nani and Quaresma most likely only on the bench...).
 

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Poland's Blaszczykowski injured his right thigh and will miss the whole tournament. I think he had a good chance to start in right midfield, so definitely a bit of a blow for them.

On a more general note, who is everybody rooting for (apart from Austria, but only a miracle could give us more than 3 games)?
I want Spain to do well, as always, and as always believe that they should be among the favourites. No other team in the world can leave calibres such as Cesc Fabregas and Xabi Alonso on the bench and still have such a great midfield. A lot will depend on the defense though (apart from Puyol and Sergio Ramos).
Not rooting for, but who else I think will do well: France (if someone forced me to bet on anyone, it would be them. Benzema could be the star of the tournament) and Portugal (almost the same as with Spain. Nani and Quaresma most likely only on the bench...).
Italy, Sweden, Russia and Spain - in that order.
 

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As usual I'm rooting for Sweden and the Netherlands, all my other favourites didn't qualify...

My guess is Portugal, for the simple reason of Ronaldo, if he could keep his top-form. Spain has great potential, but isn't that what we say every two years? I wouldn't mind France reaching the semis, as I would have a ticket for the game then. ;)
 

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One of my toes tells me Portugal will indeed win it. I just don't know which one.
 

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There are only three teams in the tournament that have realistic chances to win it and Spain, Portugal or Holland are none of them ;)...
 

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I`m basicly all for Austria, but for the sake of good neighbourship I`ll keep and eye on Sweden and wish them well. As for winners? Spain. Some day they`ll need to get it right. The players theyve got in their midfielders and forwards are close to insane in terms of quality although their defence might let them down. France should progress far as well.
 

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I would love to see Spain win it but I can't see that. This team lacks the cynicism required to win such a tournament. They can play great and will lose, others will play shit and win it, as usual. Further, I don't see the one guy in Spain's midfield to make the difference, to spark the offense.
Italy won't win it - wrong coach, wrong selections, injuries.

Realistically, France or Portugal will win it. Romania will shock many, Croatia could surprise and if Russia gets its act and Pogrebnyak together, they could reach the semis. It's easily the best generation of Russian strikers for decades. Even Kerzhakov won't be missed. On the other hand, the Russian mentality is frightingly similar to the Austrian.
 

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.. and if Russia gets its act and Pogrebnyak together, they could reach the semis. It's easily the best generation of Russian strikers for decades. Even Kerzhakov won't be missed. On the other hand, the Russian mentality is frightingly similar to the Austrian.
Russias problem, despite lots of good players, is they never look impressive outside Russia. Hiddink is a shrewd and clever coach but not even he managed to change that during the qualification and I think Russia will turn out one of the biggest disappointments in this tournament. Alongside Germany and Croatia. One out of the latter two wont even progress into the quarterfinals.
 

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You could be right, but this time everything could be different. :)

However, I see the danger for both Croatia and Germany. Both seem to be overconfident and could neglect their obvious weaknesses in favour of the undeniable strengths both teams possess. Both teams look shaky in defence and vulnerable to aggressive opponents.

We didn't mention Greece. Hard to predict and maybe fielding too many old players, but another tough opponent.
 

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I don't think Greece has a realistic chance to survive the group-stage.

Pogrebnyak is out of the Russian squad I think, quite a blow for them. However, I'd prefer Spain and Sweden anyway. ;)

The first two matches were entertaining, but definitely not top-class football, despite some minutes when Portugal really pressured Turkey. Overall an impressive first game by Portugal that could easily have ended in a debacle for the Turks. Ronaldo looked like he could keep his form, an impressive performance especially in the second half. Apart from that I'm happy that Sionko performed so well, my man of the match in the opening game.
Also some horrible refereeing mistakes already (imo two reds for Turkey, lots of wrong decisions in both directions in the first game) and an imo stupid openening ceremony.
 

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We didn't mention Greece. Hard to predict and maybe fielding too many old players, but another tough opponent.
Italy and France were amongst the oldest teams at WC and were the finalists. They are amongst the favorites now and still have old squads
 
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