It's anyone's tournament

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

GROUP A

Switzerland -- A host nation benefits from the emotion of playing at home. But the Swiss are already complaining about the noise, late hours and inconvenience. Never been a major factor in a national tournament and won't be this time.

Portugal -- A team on the verge of winning on the national stage. Finalists in Euro 2004, semi-finalists in the 2006 World Cup, the Portuguese play a fluid style. Can they retain their composure when things turn difficult and make the breakthrough?

Czech Republic -- Very dangerous. Often underrated. The Czechs usually put on a good display in major events but have had off-field issues this year. Can they overcome injury to a top midfielder? More questions than usual for the Czechs who made the Euro semi-finals in 2004.

Turkey -- It's a different look for Turkey. It will settle on quickness after looking for consistently since finishing third in the 2002 World Cup. How quickly we forget. This is Turkey's first appearance in a major tournament since then.

GROUP B

Austria -- The other host with no chance. They don't have much scoring or inventiveness. This is their first appearance in a major tournament in 10 years. Not much of a surprise in that.

Croatia -- Everyone's favourite underdog. They didn't present well in the 2006 World Cup so they cleaned house. They got younger, quicker and more skilled. Eliminated England from qualifying and are a threat here.

Germany -- A sleeker, more creative side than has been their tradition. They know how to win and now look better doing it. One of the favourites heading into the tournament. A three-time winner of Euro and a finalist two other times.

Poland -- Poland is improving. It may not have enough talent or big tournament experience yet but the team impressed in Euro qualifying and is well coached. Never sure how Poland will perform but handle with care.

GROUP C

Italy -- Only one starter missing from World Cup champion team. Pressure is on them to do well. For once, it is a team known as much for its offensive ability as it is for keeping goals out. No sure thing in this group though.

France -- Expected to be strong but has some questions to answered since the retirement of key players and age of others. Unlike some teams, did not get stronger as Euro qualifying went on. Key tournament for French coach.

Netherlands -- An enigma. Great talent. Great possibilities. Always manages to make noise but often fails to play up to potential. Has made it at least to the Euro quarter-finals since 1984. In tough this time.

Romania -- Easy team to overlook in this group but that would be foolish. Finished first in qualifying group. Had a 14-game unbeaten streak. Has a flare for attacking football but shows discipline on defence. May be be Grim Reaper in Group of Death.

GROUP D

Greece -- Defending champion has heard the word fluke the past four years. Would love to prove to critics it can play the same disciplined style again. It's difficult to play perfectly two Euros in succession.

Russia -- Playing in Russia is difficult. This is not Russia. A team that lacks top quality players to make a difference. Difficult to believe this team finished ahead of England in qualifying. Not the same team that has done well in Euros past.

Sweden -- A small soccer nation, this is its fourth Euro tournament. They can be difficult. No one sure how well they'll do but have heard good news in recent weeks on star players.

Spain -- Is that a victory we see in the future or another massive disappointment? Equal to any nation on talent in this tournament. In the past, lacking in heart, desire and togetherness. Maybe this time.


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