TN5 give their view on the group games and the quarter finals
The group games are completed and we’re into the knock out stages. Who has impressed so far, who will go on to win, and how did TN5’s group stage predictions go?
A mixed bag in terms of TN5’s group-stage predictions. We got Group A completely wrong! We never saw Greece beating Russia and we fancied Poland to edge out the Czech’s. The shock of the tournament saw Greece going through against a fancied Russia, and Poland’s worst display of the campaign saw them offer very little against a limited Czech Republic. Both teams are going to really struggle against their quarter final opponents, after qualifying from without doubt the lowest quality group in the tournament.
In Group B the much fancied Germany eased through as predicted, but it was Portugal not Netherlands who joined them. The Dutch were the biggest disappointment of the tournament and Ronaldo came good just at the right time to take Portugal through at the expense of an unlucky Denmark. Both teams will be expected to reach the semis and perhaps meet again in the final.
Spain dominated Group C as expected, however they looked limited in attacking options (which may sound strange considering they have scored more than anyone). Italy performed well in all their three games and justifiably join Spain as predicted by TN5. Croatia had their chances and were unlucky to go out, but I’m afraid Ireland were the poorest side in the competition. Spain and Italy face cracking quarter finals against their Group D opponents.
And finally, England surpassed all expectations to take Group D, with France joining them as per TN5’s prediction. Both had their moments, but also showed their limitations as they edged out Sweden and Ukraine. It may depend on which version of the teams turn up for the quarter finals as to whether they will progress.
The Quarter Finals
Czech Republic V Portugal
The Czech’s have recovered well since their opening-day mauling by Russia. However, it took two early gifts from Greece, and an inept performance from Poland to hand them top spot in Group A. Portugal on the other hand have shown their attacking prowess against both Denmark and Netherlands. It’s difficult to see how they won’t have too much for the Czech’s.
With Spain waiting for them in the semi final, don’t be surprised if Portugal stifle Spain’s ‘tippy tappy’ football and hit them hard on the counter to book a place in the final.
Germany V Greece
Greece scraped through against the odds and have gone as far as they are likely to get. They would be underdogs against any of the quarter finalists, but the fact they are playing the best team in the competition in Germany means this is the end of their Euro 2012 road.
Germany will follow up this victory with a semi final win against England, (meeting Portugal in the final), and will lift their first major trophy since 1996.
Spain V France
Still many peoples’ favourites, Spain continue to dominate the ball in every game they play. However, the cutting edge of previous campaigns is not there and it will be a lack of goals that will ultimately cost them. Torres is not the answer, but they will persist with him if they use any forwards at all.
France had the better of their game against England and were impressive against Ukraine, but the Sweden game showed their vulnerability. With Cabaye missing they lacked the link player they so desperately need and even if he returns they won’t have the fluidity or defensive strength to overcome Spain.
After edging past France, Spain’s luck will run out as they hit a brick wall against Portugal, missing out on becoming the first team to win three major tournaments in a row.
Italy V England
We believe England would have had a better chance of qualifying against Spain, hitting them on the counter attack. Against Italy, it’s pretty much two very similar teams. Defensively fairly solid, a pass master in midfield (Gerrard/Pirlo) with hard work and the occasional showing of brilliance from the supporting cast. This is the closest of the quarter finals to call and therefore, as it’s England, we will go for the Three Lions to match their best ever Euro performance and reach the semi-finals.
However once there, a superior Germany will be too much for us, but it will be a gallant failure like Itailia ’90 and Euro ’96 once more, rather than the poor recent tournament showings.
So there you have it, Portugal and Germany meeting again in the final with Germany champions of Euro 2012.