‘Final’ Predictions – Spain v. Italy

Instead of having our picks and preview together, @ArizonaSecrets wrote a magnum opus of a preview earlier today that you simply must read if you care about us, football, or shirtless Andres Iniesta. Also, please realize we’re giddy that we pulled off a pun in this title without you knowing. 

Our final picks before Euro 2012 comes to a close are:

 July 1, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Spain v. Italy

Spain

(2-1)

Spain

(2-1)

Spain

(1-0)

Spain

(2-0)

It seems that all of our bloggers are with Spain for the final in their effort to win three straight major tournaments. It may come down to goal prediction to decide which couple is purchasing dinner for the other.

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Seminfinal Match – Germany v. Italy

Yesterday showed us that a team can actually take the wind of the Spanish sails, as Portugal played a brand of high pressing football that saw Spain only able to complete a little over 400 passes, well below their average of 677 a game. The game that was decided by penalties somehow did not see Cristiano Ronaldo take one, a gaffe of epic proportion by either the coach Bento or cocky CR7 himself. Spain is through to the final again with an opportunity to be the first team to win three major tournaments in a row (yayyyyy the Confederations Cup doesn’t count guys) and the first nation to win consecutive European Championships. The legacy of this Spanish dominance could never be undersold if they are to succeed.

What, that you were beaten by the better team or that you didn't take a pen?

Injusticia.

Their opponents, however, will be determined today. Germany look to find their way back to the final after losing four years ago to Spain but will need to go through Italy first. Italy is playing with a rejuvenated Andrea Pirlo, who has certainly made a case for himself as a Balon D’Or finalist with his impressive showings for club and country this year. The panenka he scored in penalty kicks against England was so beautiful that Sergio Ramos decided not to send airmail to the moon when he attempted his pen yesterday, but rather imitate the beauty and the grace of the immortal Pirlo’s penalty. Germany went through Greece with a new lineup in the quarterfinals and there was no need for Die Mannschaft to take penalties with their show of dominance (although we are curious as to whether Manuel Neuer would’ve taken one as he did in the Champions League). Below are two beautifully done lo-fi recaps of each team’s quarterfinal match courtesy of Tim at When Saturday Comes.

I hope you enjoyed those as much as I have. Anyway, for our picks we’ll continue to predict scores despite nobody correctly guessing the winner would come out on penalties after a 0-0 draw yesterday.

 June 28, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Germany v. Italy

Germany

(2-0)

Germany

(2-1)

Germany

(1-0)

Italy

(1-1)

Semifinal Match – Portugal v. Spain

The Iberian Derby is upon us as Portugal, the runners up in Group B will face the winners of Group C, who also happen to be the reigning European and World Champions, Spain. Portugal has title aspirations that will allow them to shed the reputation of not being able to win a major tournament, a surprising distinction when you consider the history that football has in this country and some of the great players to play for A Selecção das Quinas (like Eusebio and Figo to name a couple). It was only four years ago that Spain, another country with a rich footballing history, heard the same kinds of criticisms (despite the country winning the 1964 European Championships) but silenced them all after winning the Euro in 2008 and then the World Cup in 2010. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo looks primed to launch his country on a similar run, although they will need to unseat the current World Champions in this tournament to prove their worth, much like how Spain did in the 2008 Euro quarterfinal match against Italy.

Fans of La Liga, or just casual Clasico watchers, will see plenty of familiar faces in this matchup with Real Madrid and Barcelona stars taking the pitch in Donbass Arena, Ukraine. Barcelona players Victor Valdez, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, and Pedro Rodriguez will trade in their blaugrana kit for La Furia Roja’s. Real Madrid’s Los Merengues, however, are split amongst the squads (courtesy of playing in La Liga but coached by Jose Mourinho who is from hell Portugal). Representatives from last year’s La Liga winning squad on Portugal include Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Somehow managing to get along with their blaugrana counterparts on Spain’s national team are Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa, and the Man Of The Match against France Xabi Alonso.

Both couples are knotted up again with the same amount of points as we enter the last three games. To make things interesting, each blogger has been asked not only to predict the winner, but also the final score (for a possible bonus point). Here are our picks:

 June 27, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Portugal v. Spain

Spain

(1-0)

Spain

(2-1)

Spain

(3-2)

Spain

(2-0)

Remember to follow our coverage on this very website but also on Twitter.

Quarterfinal Match – Spain v. France

Yesterday the gridlock between the two couples was broken as Amanda’s Big Fat Greek hopes were dashed to bits after a stunning display by the Germans. There will be no change in the standings today as all bloggers have chosen Spain to beat France.

La Furia Roja (isn’t it time for a new name Spain?) will try to exorcise the demons of last being eliminated from a major tournament by France in World Cup 2006. Since that tournament, the two countries couldn’t be more different in terms of footballing accomplishments. The Spaniards have won the previous Euro and World Cup, while the French are a picture of infighting and self-destruction at nearly every competition.

One cannot deny, however, how talent rich both of these teams appear to be on paper. While the French team does not have the same depth as their Spanish neighbors, they have a true number nine striker in Karim Benzema that even Spanish eyes must envy in this tournament. The Spaniards know all too well of Benzema’s brilliance since he dons the Real Madrid kit as his club. The Spaniards will start with David Silva and Cesc Farbregas as the fifth and sixth midfielders in their lineup today, with Cesc serving as the false number nine. The embarrassment of riches for Spain is clear when you look at the players watching the game from the bench (Fernando Llorente, Fernando Torres, Javi Martinez, Victor Valdez, Juan Mata to name a few), however it will be up to the starting eleven to play with pace and pass with precision to break down what is sure to be a French wall in defense. Expect that much of the first 30 minutes to be played in the French half with no less than nine players for Les Blues behind the ball. Croatia’s model in the last group game and to a certain extent, Chelsea’s Champions League victory over Barcelona will will guide French coach Laurent Blanc’s game plan today.

Our picks are as follows:

 June 23, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Spain v. France

Spain

Spain

Spain

Spain

A few last things of note, today’s match is being played in Donbass Arena in Ukraine, marking the first time that Spain will play away from Gdansk, Poland. France played their first two group games against England and Ukraine (a tie and a victory respectively) at Donbass Arena in Donetesk, Ukraine. Also, remember to follow all the action on our Twitter account (@GdanskIfUWant2).


Quarterfinal Match – Germany v. Greece

Cristiano Ronaldo’s svelte hairstyle slickly headed a ball past the Czech captain and keeper Petr Cech to give every blogger the result they expected. Now that Portugal has secured their place into the round of four it is up to the Germans and Greeks to decided their fate. No, we’re not awaiting a major decision on the Euro crisis from these two countries today. Instead, all eyes are on Poland as the winners of the group of death, Germany, will try to advance like the runners-up of their group did yesterday. Greece has a history of surprising many at the Euro, but this is an incredibly tall task against a German team with title aspirations.

Greece will be without captain and goal scorer Giorgos Karagounis on yellow card suspension, a stark reality that even he is still struggling to believe. Meanwhile, word out of the German camp is that top goal scorer Mario Gomez may start the game on the touchline as well, a move that, if true, befuddles us all.

 June 22, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Germany v. Greece

Germany

Germany

Greece

Germany

It looks like Amanda will continue to stay the course with her pet pick Greece, while the rest of us are continuing to have faith in the Jogi Low’s German squad.
Don’t forget to follow the action with us on Twitter!

Quarterfinal Match – Czech Republic v. Portugal Predictions

The quarterfinals are upon us! Today we see the winners of Group A, the Czech Republic, take on the runners up of Group B, Portugal. Coming into the Euro, the Group A winners were ranked 27th in the world, whereas the Iberian team with the the second best player in the world was ranked 10th. Before we get into our picks for the start of the knockout round, it’s time we review how the couples and bloggers have been doing. Follow the jump after for our picks today.

Couple Points

Individual Points

Cáit

 36

 18.5

Brendan

 17.5

Amanda

 36

 18.5

David

 17.5

As you can see, the girls are carrying the weight for both couples, each tallying 18.5 points for their prediction, but the guys are not far behind their counterparts. Together we’re knotted up at 36 points a piece, which makes the road to glory even more tantalizing. If we haven’t divulged this before, there’s no point in keeping it a secret anymore: the winning couple will be bought dinner by the other couple. No longer can a couple earn five points for sweeping a day, but we promise a new wrinkle for the semi-finals and final.

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