Now that the UEFA Euro 2012 group play is over, the knockout stage features two teams that stand very little chance of making a deep run in the tournament.
Out of the eight teams remaining, the two teams with the worst chance to make it through the end of the tournament happen to come out of the same group. The Czech Republic and Greece both advanced out of Group A and have difficult draws in the quarterfinals.
The Czech Republic's defense is one of the worst that remains in the tournament and they were exploited in the group stage. After being throttled by Russia 4-1 in their opening game, the Czechs made adjustments in the next two games. Against Greece and Poland the Czechs allowed only one goal in two games.
After a loss to Germany in their first game, Portugal seem to be playing their best right now. Cristiano Ronaldo finally found the back of the net (twice) in their last game against the Netherlands. The Czech defense will be tested. Portugal has an explosive offense, and they will be tough to beat if Ronaldo plays the way he did last game.
Another reason the Czechs are unlikely to advance is they will be without Tomas Rosicky for Thursday's match against Portugal. Manager Vladimir Smicer is not planning on Rosicky being available, so it will be surprising if he gets on the field. They were able to make it through the group stage without Rosicky, but missing him will make it even harder for the Czechs to pull off the upset.
The other team from Group A, Greece, made it through to the knockout round by beating Russia and held the advantage in the tiebreaker.
They also have a difficult task in the quarterfinals. Greece will take on Germany on Friday. The Germans entered Euro 2012 as the tournament favorites, and they made it through the "Group of Death" undefeated. By allowing only two goals in three games, Germany's defense will give Greece headaches all game.
The Germans are led by striker Mario Gomez, who he is always a threat to score. Greece has to figure out a way to contain him, but their defense should be up for the challenge. They are able to play strong defense, so Gomez may have limited chances to score.
Although their defense is solid, Greece's offense will struggle to get anything going in the quarterfinals. They will need Sotiris Ninis to step up and give them an offensive boost. If he gets on the field for an extended period he needs to make it count. The team scored three goals in three games, and they are relying on a team effort to make it through to the semifinals.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is proving to be more than adequate for Germany. He will look to stop any scoring chances for Greece.
Future matches also factor into why the chances of advancing for the Czech Republic and Greece are not looking good.
If the Czechs manage to get past Portugal they would likely face Spain in the semifinals. With Germany looming on the other side of the bracket, it is doubtful the Czechs will make a run through the powerful field. They need to find a way to slow down Portugal's offense, but ultimately they will come up short.
Greece's defense keeps them in games, but Germany look like the best team in the tournament. It was a tough draw for Greece, but a semifinal match against England/Italy would be tough as well. England won two games and tied once in Group D while Italy finished second in Group C. After tying Spain in the first game, the Italians had a letdown by earning a draw against Croatia. If they managed to get to the finals, Greece would most likely face Spain (or Portugal).
The competition for both teams will be too much to handle and they will see their Euro 2012 dreams end in the quarterfinals.
Czech Republic vs. Portugal (Thursday)
Germany vs. Greece (Friday)
Spain vs. France (Saturday)
England vs. Italy (Sunday)
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