Saturday, 16 June 2012

Euro 2012 Update

TN5 give their view after the second round of group games

We are well and truly into Euro 2012 now and all but Ireland have one last chance to secure qualification for the last 8. Who will make it and is TN5’s pre-tournament verdict likely to be accurate?

Group A

A wide-open group in which any of the teams can still qualify – or go out. Russia have certainly been the most impressive to date having emerged as outside contenders for the title. A draw against Poland put their qualification on ice, but they should have no trouble seeing off Greece to secure their last 8 place.

Poland have impressed in both games, with some fine attacking football and a real star in the making in Lewandowski. However, two draws mean they go into a shoot out with the Czech Republic knowing only a win is good enough to progress. The Czech’s looked poor against Russia in the opener, and were gifted two early goals against Greece. They’ll be looking to hang on for a draw against Poland to sneak through at the expense of the home nation.

Greece still have an outside chance, but there has been nothing so far that would suggest they have enough to cause Russia any problems in their final group game.

TN5 Verdict: We predicted Russia and Poland at the start and we are sticking with it. Russia look almost certain to get the result they need against Greece, and they could also spring a surprise in the quarter finals against Group B’s runner up. Poland must win against the Czech’s, but we fancy them to keep the home nations dreams alive – although it will be short lived with Germany the likely opponents in the quarter-finals.

Group B

Back to back defeats leave highly fancied Netherlands on the brink of elimination. The Dutch have created the chances but failed to convert them. They now need a 2 goal victory over Portugal and rivals Germany to do them a favour against Denmark to go through.

Germany need a point to make sure of qualification and have looked the best team in the tournament so far. It’s going to take a special performance from someone to stop them going all the way.

Portugal’s late winner has put them back in it, but they will need to overcome a desperate Netherlands if they are going to progress, and that’s not going to be an easy task. While Denmark’s opening day win against the Dutch might just be the result to take them through. A draw with Germany MIGHT be enough to take them through.

TN5 Verdict: We went with Germany and Netherlands, but it might be just too much for the Dutch to qualify. Second place is wide open and any team could progress. We think Netherlands will get the result they need against a very average Portugal (ending Portugal’s hopes) but with a draw being enough to see Germany winning the group, Denmark might just get the point they need to send the Dutch home early. A quarter final with Russia though might just be as far as the Danes go.

Group C

Ireland are the first team definitely out of the competition after two disappointing performances and results. With only pride to play for, we could see some changes to their line up for the final game.

These changes could help Italy. Like Poland, Italy have put in two decent performances, but no wins leave them desperate for victory on the final day. A win will almost certainly put them through though.

And that leaves Spain, who continue to impress with their total domination of the possession, and Croatia to fight it out. Spain put 4 past Ireland, but were gifted many of the goals and their lack of goal scoring ability could come back to haunt them in future rounds. They won’t concede many, but could come unstuck by not finding the net often enough.

Croatia have put in two good performances, but may just come up short from a very difficult group unless they can perform a miracle against Spain.

TN5 Verdict: Italy will get the victory they need against Ireland, and Spain will see off Croatia for our pre-tournament prediction to come through. And with the teams from this group playing the qualifiers from Group D, we wouldn’t be surprised if both make it to the semi-finals -  although for Spain, Torres will not be the one to score them the goals to take them all the way, and this could be their ultimate downfall.

Group D

England got their much needed victory, but only just! Goals for each of the strikers is encouraging, with the returning Wayne Rooney adding to the attacking options, but the manner in which they conceded the two goals was disappointing. However, they are now just one point away from the quarter-finals and must be expected to progress from the group stages now.

France were far more comfortable with an impressive victory over host nation Ukraine, with Cabaye in fine form as predicted by TN5. It’d difficult to see how they won’t get at least a draw against the already eliminated Sweden to set up a tasty looking quarter-final against probably Spain or Italy.

After a great opening game result, for Ukraine it’s looking like they will be out at the group stage unless they can manage an unlikely victory over England.

TN5 Verdict: France will get a victory over Sweden to secure top spot in the group, with England doing enough to join them in the quarter-finals. Both will face tough ties, with England going no further and France really having their work cut out to reach the semi-finals.  

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