Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

December 3, 2007

Tensions rise in Lucerne ahead of Euro 2008 draw

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 2:23 am

LUCERNE, Switzerland – The draw for the Euro 2008 finals takes place here on Sunday following a night of disturbances with Swiss riot police using rubber bullets to disperse left wing demonstrators.

Over 120 people were arrested in the streets around Lucerne’s Culture and Convention Centre from where at 1100GMT the nervy business of picking the four groups of four teams takes place.

The official motto for Euro 2008 is ‘Expect Emotions’ and there should be plenty of that around with the current seeding system raising the possibility of the mother of all groups of death emerging.With co-hosts Switzerland and Austria and defending champions Greece handed top seed status a group comprising world champions Italy, two time Euro champions France, and European superpower Germany is not beyond the bounds of possibility.With England conspicuous by their absence the only overt sign of anything English here this weekend is Mr Pickwicks Pub situated on the Lucerne waterfront.Slaven Bilic, who as manager of Croatia masterminded the coup de grace that brought a premature end to his England counterpart Steve McClaren’s reign at Wembley in the final qualifier at Wembley, was in confident mood ahead of Sunday’s draw.‘I am not big headed on this one, but I think every manager who watched us and knows about us would not like to play us,’ he said.‘Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t really care. There’s 16 teams in this and you can’t have an easy group. It’s all about the level of difficulty.‘The 14 teams that qualified did it the tough way and on merit. That gives them every hope and reason to beat every team. I am going to see tomorrow how it goes.’ While Croatia are three-time finalists this is new territory for a couple of Euro debutants in Poland, who qualified as winners of their group, and Austria, who along with fellow hosts Switzerland qualified automatically.Greece, who made a mockery of their billing as minnows by claiming the title in 2004, ensured they’d be around to defend their crown by winning 10 of their 12 qualifying games to top their group ahead of Turkey.The other dozen teams have been segregated according to their results in qualifying for not only Euro 2008 but also the 2006 World Cup.Given the curious system that has produced top seeds of a footballling minnow like Austria, UEFA are keen to overhaul the seeding process for Euro 2012.UEFA general secretary David Taylor said: ‘We want a fair seeding system. For 2012 it could well be completely different.‘The (UEFA) president (Michel) Platini and me inherited a system already in place for 2008.’Euro 2008 kicks off on June 7 with matches staged in eight cities – Basle, Zurich, Berne and Geneva, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, and the 50,000 seater Ernst-Happel stadium in Vienna, host of the final on June 29.

Over one million tickets will be distributed for the three-week tournament with organisers reporting this week the cancellation of 20,000 orders believed to be destined for the black market.

Source:khaleejtimes.com

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