Matthaus tips Spain for Euro 2008 title


Matthaus feels that Spain have a good enough squad to challenge for the title, although he also rates the French very highly. Meanwhile, he expects World Champions, Italy, to be eliminated in the first round.

“I won’t change my opinion: The Spaniards are my favourites. They have already failed so many times before, and this is now their turn.”

According to Matthaus, Spain come into the competition with a brilliant squad, and of all the great players they have, he has been particularly impressed by Fernando Torres, who he thinks was one of the most efficient strikers in the Uefa Champions League this season.

The 1990 World Cup winner believes that in some teams, like Barcelona for instance, the foreigners are no longer the stars, and this proves the quality of Spanish players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Matthaus wasn’t surprised by Raul’s exclusion from the Spanish squad, and for him the reason the Real Madrid striker missed out was due to the abundance of talent at Luis Aragones’ disposal.

But the former Bayern Munich captain doesn’t think the same can be said about Italy, who he feels have a number of players who are past their prime. These include Fabio Canavarro, Christian Panucci, and Marco Materazzi. He doesn’t expect the Italians to pass the first round.

“France will be the champions of Europe, Holland will advance from the group stage, and Italy will be eliminated.”

Meanwhile, Milan defender Massimo Oddo insists that all his hard work has been wasted after Italian Roberto Donadoni left him out of the Italy squad for Euro 2008.

The Azzurri coach announced his provisional 24-man squad on Tuesday afternoon and there were a few surprises.

However, Oddo received a surprise he didn’t expect and he is disappointed with the former Milan midfielder’s decision to leave him out.

“Two years of sacrifices have been completely wasted within the space of just a few weeks,” Oddo said.

“It really burns me inside at having been excluded from the squad and to be honest I never expected it.

“Two years of sustained availability and responsibility have gone up in smoke.

“I could have easily reached a good level with just weeks to go before the Euros.

“I was expecting, at the very least, a survey of my fitness by the coach before making a decision like this given the fact that trust and consideration should come first to Donadoni.”

Antonio Cassano was the surprise inclusion in Donadoni’s side, but one of the 24 players will be sent home when the final 23 is submitted to Uefa next week.