Group B


The co-hosts are universally considered to be the weakest of the 16 teams in this year's finals and given they have only managed 2 wins in their last 16 games and suffered 7 defeats it's easy to see why. Defence is by far the teams 'strong' point, four of Austria's back five play outside their domestic leagues at relatively modest clubs. Playmaker Ivanschitz, once hailed as the Austrian Beckham, has failed to live up to the potential he showed earlier in his career. The cupboard is so bare in attack 38 year old Ivica Vastic, the only striker to hit double figures, makes the squad.

Key Players : Manninger, Ivanschitz, Vastic
Strengths : Reasonable defence
Weaknesses : Poor midfield, toothless attack

Prospects : Red hot favourites to join Belgium as the only European Championship co-hosts to fail to get out of the group stages.


Bilic's team breezed through qualifying and completed a double over England. Pre tournament optimism took a major knock when top scorer Eduardo was ruled out following a sick ankle injury. Croatia's talented midfield trio of Modric, Kranjcar and Srna provide the platform for the teams technical attacking game. Klasnic has made a timely return from career threatening kidney failure and should partner Petric in attack. The duo have good scoring records at this level. The Kovac and Simunic centre back pairing is Croatia's achilles heel.

Key Players : Modric, Kranjcar, Petric
Strengths : Creative midfield given strong support by full backs Corluka and Pranjic
Weaknesses : Centre backs. Lack midfield muscle

Prospects : It would be a major surprise if they don't follow Germany into the knockout stages


The World Cup semi-finalists were the first team to qualify for the Euros. Low has inherited a dynamite, young side built to attack. Lehmann is the weak link in an otherwise excellent defence marshalled by the hugely under-rated Mertesacker and the injury prone Metzelder. Ballack and Frings sit in midfield while the full backs and wide midfielders provide ammunition for a deep pool of forwards which include Klose and Stuttgart's brilliant Mario Gomez who could be one of the stars of the tournament.

Key Players : Metzelder, Ballack, Gomez
Strengths : Strong in every department
Weaknesses : Lehmann. Germany's trademark high offside trap makes them susceptible to balls over the top and through the middle

Prospects : Germany should take advantage of a plum draw to ease into the semi-finals and set-up a meeting with Portugal.


Poland topped their qualifying Group Bhead of Portugal though admittedly rode their luck to steal a point in Lisbon. Bak and Jop are slow, lumbering centre backs thought do have considerable power and size. Boruc is a superb last line of defence. Beenhakker plays with 2 DMs - Dudka and Lewandowski and relies on the pace of his wingers to carry the counter attacking threat. Smolarek, the teams standout player, can play on either flank or in attack.

Key Players : Boruc, Krzynowek, Smolarek
Strengths : Powerful, physical side, good on the break
Weaknesses : Slow centre backs, will struggle to score

Prospects : How they react to almost certain defeat in their opening game against Germany is crucial to their chances. The Poles must beat Austria in their second game to stand any chance of making the next round.

Group Qualifiers : Germany & Croatia