12 June, 2008

Awesome Names of Euro 2008!

Euro 2008 has arrived and with it a cornucopia of improbably named footballers! Here's how I see the European Awesome Football Names Cup 2008 panning out.

First to be eliminated will be Croatia, which includes only the awesomely-named Srna, in its lineup. Greece will fair little better, leaving Patsatzoglou alone up front.

The Czech Republic and Italy will stall in the group stages, with only Ujfalusi and Skacel, and Grosso and Quagliarella, carrying the standards, respectively. It is imperative that Switzerland cultivates more awesomely-named players like Hakan Yakin and Gygax, if it is to compete in the World Awesome Football Names Cup in 2010.

Austria will put in some brave performances, with Ivanschitz, Standfest and Korkmaz and Germany will battle fiercly, thanks to the the awesomely-named efforts of Schweinsteiger, Hitzlsperger and Odonker.

France will really miss Bixente Lizarazu and Zinedine Zidane, although Squillaci, Boumsong and Mandanda will work hard. Portugal features the impressively-named Nuno Espirito Santo, Pepe and Nani, but is unlikely to reach the later stages of the competition. Spain will plop out of the competition too, despite the best efforts of Palop, Capdevila and De La Red.

Thanks to the Gabulov, Bilyaletdinov, Zyryanov and Pavlyuchenko, Russia is likely to make the quarter-finals for the first time ever! Sweden should also make the quarter-finals thanks to Shaaban, Stoor, Ljungberg and Allback.

Poland has pedigree (and lots of 'k's and 'z's); I see Boruc, Bak, Jop, Pisczczek, Gargula, Wawrzyniak and company fighting valiantly, but being beaten to third place by Romania's Popa, Chivu, Ghionea, Sapunaru, Rat, Dica and Mutu.

In another year the European Awesome Football Names 2008 Cup would surely go to Holland, whose awesomely-named squad included the likes of Stekelenburg, Ooijer, Boulahrouz, Heitinga, De Zeeuw, Huntelaar, Kuyt and of course Vennegoor of Hesselink!

But yet again they will be denied in a final, this time by the powerful Turkey, whose squad is strong, deep and full of names that read like Science Fiction villains. I predict that Volkan Demirel (see above), Tolga Zengin, Emre Belizoglu, Gokhan Zan, Hamit Altintop, Rustu Recber will lead the likes of Gungor and Sarioglu to a closely-contested, but well-earned victory.