Smart money's on France to win Euro 2004

ISN'T it extraordinary how times like this – the build-up to major football tournaments – bring out the flag-waving kid in grown men all round the land?I don't just mean those now sporting those silly plastic objects clipped to the windows of every third car you see.

ISN'T it extraordinary how times like this – the build-up to major football tournaments – bring out the flag-waving kid in grown men all round the land?

I don't just mean those now sporting those silly plastic objects clipped to the windows of every third car you see. I mean all those supposed "experts" who should, and in reality probably do, know better than to tip England for glory.

What on earth makes apparently sane people like Terry Venables and even the thinking-man's Frenchman, Arsene Wenger, name England as likely runners-up – even possible winners – at Euro 2004?

Haven't they noticed England's manager still doesn't know what his best midfield formation is? Can they be blind to the fact he persists in picking players out of position?


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Don't they realise he is so out of touch with reality he persists in believing David James and Emile Heskey are players of international quality?

Having said all of which, it does remain possible England might reach the final. Not because they're that good – any team from the top half of the Premiership would surely give them a pasting – but because there are question marks against most of the other teams too.

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The exception is France. The current French side is much better, and more exciting, than their 1998 team who were such lucky World Cup winners.

It is simply impossible to see any other country lifting the European crown on July 4.

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