EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2012
We are now in the ‘business end’ of the European championships. There have been quite a few surprises notably among them France losing to Sweden 2-0, Greece qualifying ahead of Russia based on the head to head rule (this rule should be scrapped, that is a conversation for another day), Holland previous world cup finalists losing all 3 matches, England topping their group, Fernando Torres scoring goals!
I feel sorry for Croatia. They played fearless football and deserve some empathy. Ireland were a disappointment and ended up with the wooden spoon from the tournament and shared that honour with Holland.
Czech Republic vs. Portugal
I am opting for a Portugal win. My head says Czech Republic my heart says Portugal. Any team with Christiano Ronaldo in it always stands a chance. Is he cocky? Yes. Does he deliver? Yes. If he rises to the occasion and doesn’t shy away from responsibility then it’s their game to lose.
Germany vs. Greece
Germany all the way! They are scoring goals for fun. They have the second best goal difference (+3) in the group stage only bettered by Spain (+5). They are the only team to record maximum points (9) in the group stages. They have a solid goalkeeper (Manuel Neuher), defence, midfield and attack. They are firing on all cylinders. The Greek Gods would have to intervene for them to cause an upset.
Spain Vs France
This is too close to call. It features 2 previous European championship winners. Laurent Blanc has revitalised France and inspired a ‘French revolution’. Other than their loss toSweden which was academic, they have been solid. However they are playing Spain who is always hard to play against as they are guaranteed to enjoy the lion’s share of possession. France will have to press them high up the field and deny them space. I am tipping Spain but would not be surprised if France pulls through.
England vs. Italy
Well, well, well. This promises to be an epic battle. Italy have “super Mario” (Mario Balotelli) and England have Wayne Rooney who is back from suspension and scored the winning goal against Ukraine. They are both temperamental and gifted forwards. Whoever leads the line better wins. I also like Danny Welbeck and Andy Caroll has been useful.Italy is always solid at the back and has a tested Midfield. I am tipping England but this is another great game.
So there you have it! There are going to be twists and turns like a roller coaster. Hold on to your seats, buckle up and enjoy the ride!