Dastardly Draw For Euro Cup

The placid Swiss city of Lucerne was convulsed by drama on Sunday as UEFA officials executed the Euro 2008 draw. Gasps of incredulity echoed round the room as a 'Group of Death' emerged, squashing several of Europe's top teams into one shooting match.

Group C is the controversial cluster. World Cup finalists Italy and France will clash again in this first phase fight, and they'll be joined by Romania and the Netherlands in the same group. Needless to say, the managers of these teams struggled to find cheery words after the line-up was announced. Indeed, in a city that's famed for William Tell and his apple-shooting stunt, UEFA officials were lucky that Group C candidates weren't armed with crossbows for Sunday's draw.

However, it wasn't all pain and stupefaction. Joint host nations, Austria and Switzerland, are universally regarded as terrible, and the teams that made it into their groups are feeling pleased as punch. Portugal should have an easy run in Group A, and Poland may hit it lucky with Group B. Suffice it to say, the bookies are hard at work.


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