June 8, 2012
Top five long shots with a shot
By Morris Dalla Costa, QMI Agency
|Italy's national football team goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon attends a training session at the Krakow Stadium on June 6, 2012, two days ahead of the Euro 2012 football championships opening. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP)
WARSAW, POLAND - It might not be easy for a long shot to win Euro, but here are five teams that could pull it off:
- Italy: It's bizarre to be naming the Italians as a dark horse but they have enormous off-field issues and didn't have a good run-up to the tournament. However, if any team has a habit of overcoming problems it's Italy, and it still has a lot of talent in the lineup.
- Sweden: Many are discounting the Swedes because they have done little so little internationally of late. But they have a very much in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They are in a group that includes England and France, teams that have issues.
- Portugal: Yes, I know, even with top players, the Portuguese have disappointed at the past three major tournaments. But no one is giving them much of a chance. Less pressure, fewer breakdowns.
- Croatia: This may be the team to watch. Lots of talent and depth, plus the Croatians have learned to play these events. It is Slaven Bilic's last shot as the national team coach and his players want to send him out a winner.
- Russia: The Russians have a tremendous shot at getting out of the first round. While many of their players have trouble performing at the club level, they play well for their national team. Several will be playing for contracts with club sides.