Got one post out today already, now need to do the next.
Then I can relax for a little while.
Well, at least until tomorrow, when I have to do my Group E preview.
Thanks Getty Images for having that image of Petr Čech.
GROUP D FIXTURE
- Sun Jun 12, 11pm: Turkey v Croatia, Paris
- Mon Jun 13, 11pm: Spain v Czech Republic, Toulouse
- Sat Jun 18, 2am: Czech Republic v Croatia, Saint-Étienne
- Sun Jun 18, 5am: Spain v Turkey, Nice
- Thu Jun 22, 5am: Czech Republic v Turkey, Lens
- Thu Jun 22, 5am: Croatia v Spain, Bordeaux
- How they qualified: 1st in Group C
- Euro 2012: Champions
- Best Euro position: Champions (1964, 2008, 2012)
- Manager: Vincent del Bosque
- Captain: Iker Casillas
- Key player: Andrés Iniesta. Iniesta has a habit of performing well at big tournaments, being a member of the Team of the Tournament at Euro 2008, Man of the Match in the 2010 World Cup final, and Player of the Tournament at Euro 2012. The Barcelona captain continues to be a valid contributor to Spain.
- Pass mark: After the disaster of the 2014 World Cup, they will want to make at least the semi-finals.
- How they qualified: 1st in Group A
- Euro 2012: Quarter-finals
- Best Euro position: Champions (1976. If you want to be pedantic, that was as part of Czechoslovakia, in which case, their best finish as the Czech Republic is runners up in 1996)
- Manager: Pavel Vrba
- Captain: Tomáš Rosický
- Key player: Petr Čech. The goalkeeper famed for wearing a rugby-style helmet after his 2006 injury has become the greatest goalkeeper in the Premier League Era, with more clean sheets than any other. The eight-time Czech Player of the Year and goalkeeper in their 2004 semi-final run, which made him the keeper in the tournament XI, is the most important player to the Republic’s performance.
- Pass mark: Quarter finals.
- How they qualified: 3rd in Group A (best 3rd placed team)
- Euro 2012: Did not qualify
- Best Euro position: Semi finals (2008)
- Manager: Fatih Tehrin
- Captain: Arda Turan.
- Key player: Nuri Şahin. The midfielder was talented enough to have played in the Bundesliga before his seventeenth birthday, and to have played and scored for Turkey before his eighteenth. A first team player for Borussia Dortmund, Şahin could be doing plenty of engine room work this tournament.
- Pass mark: They need to make the round of 16.
- How they qualified: 2nd in Group H
- Euro 2012: Group stage
- Best Euro position: Quarter finals (1996, 2008)
- Manager: Ante Čačić*
- Captain: Darijo Srna
- Key player: Andrej Kramarić*. Kramarić kicked an astonishing 450 goals in his time in the Dinamo Zagreb youth system, but didn’t get as much time as he would have liked in the senior team. After he complained to the press, he was shoved onto the transfer list, picked up by Rijeka, and kicked 37 goals in 42 games for them. Became Leicester’s £9,000,000 man in 2015, but was quickly found surplus to requirements and now plays for 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany. Not bad for a 24 year old.
- Pass mark: Earn at least two points.
*Man, I really wish WordPress would sort out their issues with č and ć.