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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Dutch poised for silverware

John Motson: Tips tangerine dream
My predictions from the group stages saw England and Germany emerge from Group A, with Kevin Keegan's side topping the table despite only drawing against the German side.

As winners of Group A, England will take on the runners-up in Group B who I predict will be Italy, despite the fact that many people have tipped Dino Zoff's side to do well in Euro 2000.

Italy will provide a stern test for Keegan's side but I believe after matching Brazil and out-playing Ukraine in the build-up to the tournament, England can complete the Italian job. Zoff's team are already without top striker Christian Vieri and England always raise their game for the big matches.

That leaves Germany playing the winners of Group B and my gut feeling is that host's Belgium will advance as the top team.

Home

Not only are they playing at home but also boast the likes of Branko Strupar and Emile Mpenza, who I believe will cause all sorts of problems for the sides in their group and I can't see an ageing Germany side getting past them in the quarter-finals.


Frank Rijkaard
Frank Rijkaard: Expected to guide Holland to glory
In the other side of the draw I tipped Spain and Holland to top their groups, leaving Jose Antonio Camacho's side facing the small task of getting past World Champions' France.

The French, spearheaded by Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka, will struggle to contend with the tricky Raul who I believe will give the Laurent Blanc a torrid time and help Spain advance to the semi-final.

That leaves Holland and Yugoslavia battling it out for the final spot in the last four and, with the Dutch having home advantage as well as having the strongest squad in the competition, I can't see Frank Rikaard's side having too many problems and so I'm tipping a 3-0 Dutch success.

Quality

We're now left with four quality teams locking horns in an intriguing set of semi-finals.

The first semi would see a spectacular match between the co-hosts, Belgium and Holland. Belgium have matched their Dutch neighbours stride for stride in recent friendlies but on the big stage, I can only see Holland sealing a final slot. These teams drew 5-5 earlier in the season in an amazing friendly and this promises to be a great game.

Frank Rikjaard has had a bumpy ride as coach - he hasn't been able to play any competitive matches and their friendly results have not been that impressive. However, I believe this is Holland's year

John Motson

But Holland will be too strong for Belgium. They're good right through the team. Van der Saar is a commanding, agile goalkeeper and he's got strong defenders like Stam and Numan in front of him.

Seedorf and Davids are a combative midfield pair and Bergkamp and Kluivert combine goalscoring prowess with guile up front.

Plan

If all goes to plan for Kevin Keegan up to this stage, I predict Spain to be their next opponents. Of all the previous hurdles, I think that this could be the one which finally ends England's hopes of glory, and what an emotional day it will be for retiring England captain Alan Shearer.

It would be a great achievement for Keegan's side to reach the semis as this hasn't been the best tournament for England over the years. But I believe Spain will avenge their defeat by England at Euro 2000.

They really do have some exciting players, as we saw in the Champions League campaign, where people like Raul and Mendietta were outstanding.


Raul
Raul: Expected to run rings around Laurent Blanc
However, it sets up a potentially explosive final between Holland and Spain, a match which will please the football purists and should see plenty of goals.

Once again, Holland, who have become a footballing superpower in recent years such is the strength and depth of their squad, should prove too strong for their Mediterranean rivals.

And, just as the French enoyed success on their home turf in the World Cup two years previously, I predict a similar fairytale for the Dutch who will parade the Euro 2000 trophy in their own back yard.

Motty's prediction:

 Group Stage
A
ENG 3 7
GER 3 5
POR 3 3
ROM 3 1
B
BEL 3 5
ITA 3 5
SWE 3 3
TUR 3 1
C
SPA 3 9
YUG 3 4
NOR 3 4
SLO 3 0
D
HOL 3 7
FRA 3 7
CZE 3 3
DEN 3 0
 Quarter Finals
 Winner Group A v Runner up Group B
 England 2 - 1 Italy

 Winner Group B v Runner up Group A
 Belgium 3 - 1 Germany

 Winner Group C v Runner up Group D
 Spain 1 - 0 France

 Winner Group D v Runner up Group C
 Holland 3 - 0 Yugoslavia
 Semi Finals
 Winner quarter final 1 v winner quarter final 2
 England 1 - 2 Spain

 Winner quarter final 3 v winner quarter final 4
 Belgium 2 - 3 Holland
 Final
 Spain 1 - 3 Holland

Search BBC Euro 2000

 

See also:

22 May 00 | The BBC Team
Houllier tips Dutch success
14 May 00 | Ask Albert
Christopher Travis from Frome asks
24 May 00 | The BBC Team
Motty backs Holland and Spain
19 May 00 | The BBC Team
Italian job for Keegan
14 May 00 | The BBC Team
England facing knockout heartache
27 May 00 | The BBC Team
Hansen's verdict on England-Brazil
14 May 00 | The BBC Team
Martin O'Neill
14 May 00 | The BBC Team
John Motson
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