Euro 2012, Quartfinal Predictions!
By: Henry Whitfield
Just when you think you can rest up after a crazy two weeks of Football, Euro 2012 throw’s the knockout rounds at you.
Surprise pick Greece squeaked into the round, but the match up of Spain v France and England v Italy will have fans of the beautiful game licking their lips.
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Czech Republic v Portugal
Portugal will be buoyed by the resurgence of Christiano Ronaldo, who picked his game up and showed the footballing world he’s still here with a masterclass display against the Netherlands.
But will it be enough?
The Czech’s have used sturdy defence, after their 4-1 demolishing by Russia of course, and tough work ethic to break down opponents and seal their spot in the next round.
It will be Petr Cech vs Ronaldo to determine this one, throw in a dash of Nani and a sprinkle of Postiga and you’ll have a win for Portugal and a spot in the semi-finals.
Prediction: Portugal 3 – 1 Czech Republic
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Germany v Greece
This isn’t 2004 and this isn’t a Germany team to be taken lightly.
Greece parked the bus, rode the biggest lucky horseshoe they could find and plumped themselves against tournament favourite Germany in the Semi-finals.
Even the most die-hard of the Greek faithful must see this one as a hopeless cause, we’ve seen bigger upsets, but this is a Germany team locked and loaded from to top to bottom.
Rain or shine, expect Mario Gomez to score and continue his red hot form this season.
Sorry Greece, better luck next time but congratulations on getting this far with Samaras up front.
Prediction: Germany 4 – 0 Greece
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Spain v France
The current holders of the Jules Rimet Trophy and Henri Delaunay Trophy respectively, Spain come into this game without a convincing display in the tournament, (yes they beat Republic of Ireland 4-0, but did they have to do much to do it?)
France started off slow, won then lost in a 2-0 match against Sweden and despite the effort of forgetting the 2010 implosion of this team there were once again reports of a bust-up between players.
Players fighting and arguing isn’t exactly what France want’s heading into a match against the world’s best.
Spain have yet to look like that of 2008 and 2010, but will still be favourites to win this one.
Look no further than Fernando Torres as the answer for Spain, if he can get his shooting boots working then it’s a win but if they toil and find themselves unable to get in gear, don’t think that France will be afraid to pounce.
This game looks far more even on paper or form than any other, but Spain edges this and books themselves into the semi-finals.
Prediction: Spain 2 – 1 France
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England v Italy
Oh England, what have you gone and done now? They forgot to read the script and instead of crashing out of the group stage have pushed through to the knock-out rounds and face a resilient Italian squad.
Regardless of the controversy at home and the scandals abound in Italian football, this Italian squad has been solid in all three displays and the ageless Gianluigi Buffon has continued his dominance of opponents forwards.
While some may see two draws and a solitary win as weak, the Italians drew Spain and a difficult to break down Croatia, finally putting Ireland away in their final match.
England had stumbled into the tournament but after a draw against France, they were able to scramble and pick up wins against Sweden and Ukraine; shockingly finishing top of their group.
This match up is as dead even as it gets, from keeper to midfield to the strikers up front, my heart says England will win and the realist in me says that England can sneak this with a tough Roy Hodgson tactical display.
Will Joe Hart stand tall? Can Pirlo bend it enough? Will Balotelli stay on the pitch? Can Terry’s body hold up?
If England can sneak this, it may truly be a Great Escape.
Prediction: England 2 – 1 Italy
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Batting 6/8 in the first round, let’s hope the luck can continue:
Predicted Semi Final match-ups: England vs Germany, Spain vs Portugal
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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , he’ll be bringing daily updates throughout the entire European Championships.