Euro2012 Semifinals Preview
If you have been following the Eurocup the same way I have then you have been sitting on the edge of your seat on a daily basis. In what has already been described as one of the best Eurocup’s in recent memory, the four remaining teams are poised to keep up the trends. In my group stage picks I got 6 out of 8 correct. In my quarterfinal predictions I got 3 out of 4 correct…damn you England. Now for my semifinal predictions, I feel that I will be batting 1.000 with these. Geographically, these final two matchups are close, but talent-wise these teams are nearly identical. With Spain versus Portugal and Germany versus Italy, soccer fans around the world are going to have their eyes glued to their televisions for the next two days.
What a matchup this is. With arguably the two best wingers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, Portugal will look to face off with the best overall team in the world, Spain. Spain comes with an endless list of talent that seems to hit you from every angle. Led by midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi, Spain passes the ball with such precision that they are pretty much guaranteed to have the advantage in possession every game. Spain has been know to toy with their opponent and strike just when they give their competitor enough hope that they might survive this pointless battle. In Spain’s quarterfinal win against the French, Spain seemed to control the ball the entire game and it looked like they could have won 8-0 rather than the 2-0 they finished with. To beat Portugal, Spain is going to have to play around less and attack more. Portugal has two weaknesses, one is they have no talent at the striker position and two is that they lack fluid ball movement up and down the field. Cristiano Ronaldo has quieted the skeptics that feel his international play isn’t up to his league play, by leading the Euro’s with 3 goals already and poised for more. To score a goal is one thing, but to score a goal on a defense consisting of Sergio Ramos, Girard Pique and Alvaro Arbeloa is a whole other. Sure Ronaldo is the best scorer in the world, some might argue Lionel Messi, but Spain is the best team in the world and since Ronaldo is really only receiving quality passes from Nani and Moutinho, I expect his chances to score to be slim. This will be a close game throughout but I just feel that Spain is destined to make it to the Finals one more time.
Prediction: Spain wins 1-0
There wasn’t a person in the world that didn’t predict Germany to get to this point in the competition. Italy on the other hand has been trying to clear their shitty image and become a respectable face on the international level once again. Germany seems as good as ever as they swept through the group stage with 3 wins for the first time in their countries history and then they slammed the Greeks into a block of Feta cheese. Sweeping through the group stage is good, but sweeping through the “group of death,” is near miraculous. The Greeks were good but they stood absolutely no chance against the uber-talented Germany squad. Bastain Schweinsteiger is arguably the best midfielder in the world and he is one of 8 Bayern Munich superstars that plays for Germany. With other brilliant players like Klose, Muller, Ozil, Gomez, Podolski, and Kroos, Germany has no shortages on ways to hurt you. Italy will have their hands full as they try and slow down this juggernaut of a team. Led by hot-tempered striker, Mario Balotelli, Italy will try and use the same tactics that they used on England for Germany. Keep the game close and don’t lose. Balotelli had multiple chances to put one into the net but failed every time he tried. For Italy to stand a chance Mario is going to have to find the back of the net at least once. Even though Italy dominated the time of possession and pretty much the whole game against England, the game still came down to penalties. Andrea Pirlo, one of the oldest players Italy has at 33, made one of the classiest penalty kicks I have ever seen which seemed to shift the shootouts momentum into the Italians favor. Gianluigi Buffon will have his hands full trying to save the dozens of shots I am predicting Germany to have on net and in the end it will all be a just a little too much for him.
Prediction: Germany wins 2-1
These are my predictions and I hope if you don’t agree with me you are willing to tell me why…