Euro 2012 Bracket: Clashes That Will Determine Quarterfinal Berths
With just a few teams having already secured a place in the quarterfinals at Euro 2012, the last few days of the group stage should provide the most exciting football that the tournament will see.
Reputations, jobs, transfer values and so much more will be on the line this week when the final round of group-stage matches intensifies.
Let's look at the three most exciting clashes remaining that will determine quarterfinal berths.
Portugal vs. Netherlands
This is by far the best matchup of the final round of group play. Both of these squads came into the tournament with so much hope, but the loser of this match could easily find themselves leaving the event early.
Who will win this match?
The Netherlands sit at the bottom of Group B with no points, and must beat Portugal and have Germany beat Denmark to have a chance at making the quarterfinal. They have everything to lose and must not try to be heroes, but instead play a team-oriented game.
For Portugal, if they win, they're in. It's that simple. Cristiano Ronaldo must have the spectacular performance that we haven't seen from him in a while for Portugal to defeat a desperate Dutch team.
Since both teams love to push forward and attack relentlessly, this match should be one for the ages.
England vs. Ukraine
England's impressive come-from-behind victory against Sweden was a huge confidence booster for the Three Lions, but now they must defeat Ukraine, one of the host nations, to advance to the group stage.
With France likely to defeat Sweden and secure one of the berths into the quarterfinal from Group D, the English cannot take any chances with Ukraine, who have quality players who must be defended properly in the attacking third.
Luckily for England, world-class forward Wayne Rooney will be eligible to return after serving his two-match suspension for a red card. Rooney will be the game-changing goal scorer England needs to advance into the quarterfinal.
England is always a fun side to watch, so you cannot afford to miss any of this match.
Spain vs. Croatia
Two of the best teams of the tournament have been Spain and Croatia, who are currently tied atop Group C with four points. Since it's hard to imagine the Italians not defeating the Irish in the other Group C match, the loser of this Spain and Croatia clash will almost certainly fail to make the quarterfinal.
This match will be a battle of the midfields, where Spain's Andres Iniesta and Croatia's Luka Modric will look to set their forwards up with quality scoring chances that can be converted into crucial goals.
If you want to watch a match with an exciting pace and beautiful skill, then you must catch every minute of this Group C clash.
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