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)

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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)

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