Quarterfinal Match – England v. Italy

After a long night of playing some football of our own last night, our post is somewhat belated but with a tie at halftime we don’t feel too terrible about posting the picks now.

 

 June 23, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 England v. Italy

England

England

England

Italy

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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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My Favorite Moment of the Group Stage

I thought it would be helpful to look back on the group matches before looking forward to the knockout round which start today. Looking back on all the group games, this blogger has selected one of the most memorable moments in the tournament on which to reflect.

He can’t believe it either…

Not many people expected Greece would beat Russia in the final game of Group A and qualify for the quarterfinals, well my girlfriend saw it coming but not many others. The Hellenic blue-white were as starved for goals as their economy is for cash. The defensive-minded Greeks needed to beat a surging Russian team and also continue to play its’ brand of stalwart defending.

Just before the first half concluded, the Greeks grabbed hold of those three points on a Giorgos Karagounis goal. It was amazing to see the counterattack pan out for a Greece team that seemed to be awfully close to giving up a Russian goal all half. The goal injected life into the team heading into half to continue its’ unwavering defending.

That beautiful strike that beat the Russian keeper low and to his left was not, however, the most memorable moment in the tournament for me. The most memorable moment would come later in the game when the goal-scoring Giorgos would be egregiously booked for diving in the box. Most firm-handed referees will signal for a flopping player to get up should they go down in the box and possibly give them a stare down, however the Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson would have none of those deterrents and instead reached for his yellow card and booked the national hero Karagounis in the 60th minute. The salt in the proverbial wound stung when replays showed the Russian defender actually was at fault for taking the Greek goal scorer down by sticking out his leg once he was beaten.

Luckily, Greece would hold on to win and finish second in Group A, but the most memorable part of the upset and the entire group stage, for me at least, was the reaction of Giorgos after being booked unfairly and then the moments following when he realized that he was carrying a card into the match already and would miss the quarterfinal matchup against the winner of Group B should Greece hold on to win. Every fan watching at home, no matter their allegiance, spiraled down the emotional pitfall that Karagounis exhibited for the next five minutes of the match as he ran up and down the pitch. I was absolutely gutted for the guy and although I still feel badly for him having to sit out the quarterfinals, re-watching the display of emotions reminds us of how greatly invested the players on the pitch are for their national side.

Please enjoy the following .gifs to relive the agony that Karagounis felt after his harsh booking. It’s like a sad song that is terribly affecting but you’re better for knowing and singing along.

Amazing, isn’t it? Please share your favorite moments with us on Twitter or in the comments. Get ready for today, because it is the start of the Quarters!

Day 12 – Group D Predictions

Everybody called it correctly yesterday and we all are hoping to do the same today. All bloggers correctly chose Italy and Spain yesterday and everybody has selected France and England for the last matches of the group campaign. Sweden can only hope to play spoiler today to the surging Les Blues, as they are already knocked out before their matchup against France in Kiev. England, meanwhile, take on the joint-host nationUkraine with an added weapon–Wayne Rooney who has recently been lifted from suspension. The Man Utd. man will try to power the Three Lions through to the quarterfinals. His arrival probably mean that Andy Carroll will start the game on the bench, considering the success that Welback has enjoyed thus far at the Euro. Ukraine will fight to remain in contention for the European crown, but will need a win to advance as opposed to England’s appetite for anything but a loss. Anyway, here are our picks, but follow the jump for a most harrowing reintroduction of England’s number 10.

Group D

June 19, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 

Sweden v. France

 

France

France

France

France

 

England v. Ukraine

 

England

England

 

England

 

England

We’re unsure if Rooney is ready to make up for lost time with goals or red cards…or rape?

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Day Eleven – Group C Predictions

Group C will be decided today, however it appears all of the bloggers are decided that it will be Italy and Spain advancing. Italy needs to win and need help to advance whereas a winner in the Croatia-Spain match is through. Both Croatia and Spain can advance if they agree to tie, but it does not seem as likely as the rags would lead one to believe. Instead, expect both Croatia and Spain try to come out ahead of the group and avoid the winners of Group D. Here are our picks:

Group C

June 18, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

Italy v. Ireland

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Croatia v. Spain

Spain

Spain

Spain

Spain