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An unlikely top scorer, winner and thriller; here's the teams most likely to...

Do a Milan Baros, a Greece 2004 and a Spain v Yugoslavia.

Greece's Theodoras Zagorakis lifts the European Cup trophy in 2004.
Greece's Theodoras Zagorakis lifts the European Cup trophy in 2004.
Image: Matthew Ashton/EMPICS Sport

1) … do a Milan Baros

The Czech Republic forward’s disproportionate effect in international football actually goes beyond a single tournament.

Baros has never been consistently productive at club level yet has always been thoroughly prolific for his country, with a goal every two games.

His summer in 2004 still far surpassed that, though, as Baros top-scored with five goals and drove Czech Republic to the semi-finals. The point, however, is not that Baros was a poor player or anything like it. Rather, that he was an unfashionable one. And the key to identifying an equivalent this summer is actually spotting a few trends.

The most important are a capable team and an open group. Step forward Alexander Kerzhakov. The striker has accelerated his goalscoring in recent years and, after having seemingly leapfrogged Fulham’s Pavel Pogrebnyak in Russia’s recent games, looks set to lead a formidable team in a forgiving Group A.

At present, you can get him at 50-1.

2)… do a Greece 2004

We know the drill here. Sure Giovanni Trapattoni has spent enough time talking about. And, to be fair, the history of this tournament does not make it anyway outlandish.

In truth, the reality of the group probably renders the task a little too difficult for Ireland… even if they shouldn’t be discounted completely. Again, a better bet possibly comes from Group A, where any of the four teams can feel confident of winning the group and then only require a bit of momentum to possibly take them to an all-or-nothing final.

Likewise, a compact but competitive team like Denmark — having already beaten Portugal in qualifying — may well benefit from a group in which all of the supposedly superior teams take points off each other before then meeting an easier side from Group A in the knock-out stages.

3)… do an Italy 2004

Well, the likeliest example of a big team to fall badly and early could well be the Italians themselves, especially given the different difficulties of their group and their build-up.

The only thing about that is, despite the evolution manager Cesare Prandelli has overseen, the team has form.

Italy, of course, went out in the first round of the 2010 World Cup. It is, however, the finalists of that competition who may well come under the starkest threat. Spain, as well know, are fatigued and haven’t exactly got any gimme fixtures. The Dutch have other problems in their make-up of what is, tactically, a broken team and an even more difficult group.

4) … do a Spain 4-3 Yugoslavia

When the draw for any international tournament made, the immediate attractions are the most elite of fixtures. Think Brazil-Portugal in the 2010 World Cup; France-Italy in the Euro 2008 group stage; Holland-France 2000.

Now remember the actual reality of those games.

They range from the disappointingly drab to plain dead rubbers. By contrast Italy-Slovakia 2010; Turkey-Czech Republic 2008 and Spain-Yugoslavia 2000 were anything but. And, at the time, none of these games were exactly true heavyweight clashes between equals. They were actually open enough to allow a considerable amount of drama.

And, when you look through this summer’s fixtures, there are a few equally unobvious games that may well prove enticing and enthralling: Czech Republic v Poland, Spain v Croatia.

Now visit our dedicated Euro 2012 mini site>

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