Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Euro 2012 Quarterfinal Predictions: Cutting Eight Down to Four

Seven out of eight is a pretty good run. Winning seven of eight games in any game, any league. Seven of eight rolls at the craps table. Seven of eight PKs scored. Seven hits in eight at-bats (that's baseball, folks). All in all, a pretty good run.

England's Best Hope
What am I rambling about? Of course, it's horn-blowing 101: I got seven of my eight Euro 2012 quarterfinalist predictions correct. Woo-hoo! That and a buck (that's a dollar, folks) will get you a newspaper to burn in the outdoor fireplace later today.

My only miss was the Czech Republic; I had hosts Poland making it through--winning as a matter of fact--in Group A. Oh well, can't hit 'em all. I got Greece knocking off the Russians and Sweden not having enough legs to topple either France or England.

So now we have new matchups in the quarterfinals starting on Thursday. The Czechs take on Portugal, and my personal biases aside, how does Portugal not advance here? Portugal is playing well and escaped the Group of Death on a high note with two straight wins. Not to mention that Cristiano Ronaldo has found redemption-and his scoring touch, the defense has been solid and the team is intact.

On Friday, Germany goes head-on with Greece in a really intriguing matchup. I'm tempted to say 4-nil Germany and be done with Greece, but 2004 still tortures my brain and I will never, ever count out the Greeks.

The weekend promises to be epic--well if you're into big names. Spain-France opens the festivities Saturday and the pundits are actually trying to paint Spain with the brush of a declining team. Ramos can't defend. Torres can't score. Too much is on Casillas. Blah,  blah, blah. If only the rest of the tournament had Spain's talent and experience. France, meanwhile, was God-awful against Sweden and played half-heartedly with nothing on the line. I'm a firm believer in a short tournament that resting players and taking a day off is fatal. It's too hard to ramp back up, and if Spain doesn't win 3-0, it will be an upset.

England-Italy, meanwhile, is going to be interesting. Hopefully the sun is out and I can hit the beach Sunday afternoon here in New England and waltz back into the house in time for penalty kicks. Because these two are going to sleepwalk and bore us to death for 120 minutes and then England will be up against it in PKs. And England and PKs are toxic.

My predictions:

Czech Republic vs. Portugal (0-2)
Germany vs. Greece (2-1)
Spain vs. France (4-1)
England vs. Italy (0-0, 1-4 PKs)

Euro 2012 semifinals predictions

Spain vs. Portugal
Germany vs. Italy.

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