The Azzurri Leading Euro 2008 Group C

by : Claudia Beckford

As the EURO 2008 approaches all 16 teams which will participate in the international competition get set and ready to play their group rivals. Of the four groups the Italians have been selected along with Romania, the Netherlands and World Cup runner up bitter France.

Les Blues' will be indeed one of the strongest rivals to defeat as after the 2006 World Cup the French Coach Raymond Domenech began to shift this direction and new talent was added to the team to replace the empty spot left by the ex galactico Zidane. Domenech has called to training a total of 29 players from which he will decide the 23 that will participate at the EURO 2008.

"You can't say there won't be problems, won't be any injuries," Domenech told RTL radio station on Wednesday. "We have to think ahead. Everyone has to stay vigilant and ready. I envisage all the possibilities."

On June 9 France will meet Romania in the opening round game; this will certainly be a very interesting game as Romania Coach Victor Piturca has also began his preparations for the European championship which include 14 players from the local league besides Inter Milan captain Cristian Chivu and VfB Stuttgart striker Ciprian Marica who Piturca hopes would be able to play as he is still recovering from an injury.

On the other hand, we have the current World Champions the Azzurri whose football has been very steady and has delivered many triumphs; but we know the Italians have only captured one EURO Cup title back in 1968. It is true that Italy is the favourite to win this tournament due to reasons such as their strong game and their excellent level of players. But there is still a question left unanswered regarding the current 44 year-old Italian Coach Roberto Donadoni who has been with the Italians for a relatively short period.

Donadoni who previously replaced Marcello Lippi has a contract which expires at the end of the EURO 2008; but he has been offered an extension in order to secure his place with the team. Until now Donadoni has not accepted the agreement and stated "To me the current situation does not represent a problem." "I am going into it (Euro 2008) with great enthusiasm."

Previous to Donadoni's announcement of his 23 players Italy will participate in the last friendly game versus Belgium at the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence next May 25th. It is believed players such as: Pippo Inzaghi, Alex Del Piero and Antonio Cassano will be part of the roster.

Nevertheless; the Italians' face a very big task ahead of them but the team has one of the best chances to make this dream come true for many around the world; as well as for their countrymen at home land where the sport of football was horrendously hit by a wave of match-fixing scandals and some of the most recognized teams were moved down to the Serie B and their points removed.