DIEGO MARADONA BELIEVES Germany are favourites to win Euro 2012, and thinks Giovanni Trapattoni will need “the luck of the Irish” to emerge from group c .
Joachim Loew’s men were beaten by the Iberians in the final in Austria four years ago, but the legendary Argentine believes that die Mannschaft can go one better this time around, even though they have been drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.
“Germany, my tournament favorites, won every game of qualification with Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller up front and the young midfielders Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira,” Maradona wrote in The Times of India.
“Bastian Schweinsteiger and his side should qualify (for the knockout stages) without problems.
“Loew knows his players well and the defence led by Philipp Lahm, and Holger Badstuber and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will concede few goals.”
However, Maradona still feels that Spain, who are in Group C with Italy, Republic of Ireland and Croatia, will cruise into the quarter-finals.
“Vicente Del Bosque can rely on world champions Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, David Silva, Andres Iniesta and Fernando Llorente to win the group easily,” the former Napoli ace pointed out.
“Spain are the favorites but they have lost Puyol and David Villa to injuries.”
Meanwhile, Italy’s preparations have been overshadowed by the Scommessopoli match-fixing scandal and an injury to Andrea Barzagli, but Maradona still believes they will make the last eight at least.
“Italy are struggling for identity, despite being led by Andrea Pirlo in midfield and (Mario) Balotelli and (Antonio) Cassano in attack,” the Al Wasl coach mused.
“The veteran Juve defence of Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini should allow midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Daniele De Rossi to launch classic Italian counterattacks. But coach Cesare Prandelli will have to galvanise his team to win points and matches.
“Ireland have striker Robbie Keane, together with Damien Duff and Keith Andrews in midfield, but it’s hard to see coach Giovanni Trapattoni advancing in this group without the luck of the Irish.
“Spain and Italy are my favorites to advance to the quarter-finals.”