We have now made it through the group stages at Euro 2012 and there are some great looking matchups in the quarterfinals. England and France are the last two teams to advance through the group stages and France did not do themselves any favors by losing to Sweden. They must now face the previous Euro winners and the 2010 World Cup winners. One good thing they can take away is that Spain did not look very good in their last game against Croatia either.
Let’s take a look at all the matchups we will be seeing in the quarterfinals. England will play Italy, Spain will play France, Portugal will play the Czech Republic, and Germany will play Greece. All of the matchups look good, but I would have to say that Germany have the best looking quarterfinal matchup. Greece have looked alright at the Euro’s, but Germany came into Euro 2012 as one of the favorites and look as though they are coming into their own as the tournament goes on. This is not good news for Greece. It will also be interesting to see if Mario Gomez can continue to score goals while wearing the Germany jersey. He has a tendency to be a streaky scorer, so that will be something to look for.
As I said above, France and Spain will be playing each other. Both teams are coming off bad performances and will be looking to improve. Spain had a difficult time breaking down the Croatia defense and their own defense looked shaky at times. When your country’s success is riding on Fernando Torres scoring goals, there could be issues. I understand he performed well against Ireland, but Ireland was arguably the worst team at Euro 2012.
Portugal against the Czech Republic is the game I am looking forward to the most. Both teams lost their opening games, but have rebounded quite nicely. Portugal has been much better than I originally thought. Their defense has been solid and if Ronaldo can find the goal scoring form he has with Real Madrid, Portugal could have a good run in this tournament and surprise many people.
The last matchup is England against Italy. Both teams have had decent showings at Euro 2012, and not many people expected these teams to be at this position before the start of the tournament. At first glance, you would expect a very defensive-minded game from both sides with both teams looking to score on the counter-attack. Wayne Rooney scored on his return to the national team today, and will be hoping to net some more. No matter how this game turns out, England fans must be happy with the job Roy Hodgson has done with this national team side. With a very short amount of time on the job and mounting injuries before the tournament began, reaching the quarterfinals can be considered a success.
All of these games should be fun to watch and, if the tournament keeps going the way it has, should produce a lot of goals. So far, every game at Euro 2012 has produced at least one goal. The teams I think will advance to the semifinals of Euro 2012 are England, Germany, Portugal, and France. The biggest omission that you will notice is Spain. I think Spain’s run will finally come to an end. Their passing looks nice, but at times the team struggles to create chances. If they are unable to find a goal with short passes, they don’t have a plan B to go to, especially with the lack of strikers in the squad. The players in France jerseys had a bad game against Sweden and I see them coming out with great energy and stealing a goal against the Spanish.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
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