Euro 2012: Bold Quarterfinal Predictions and What to Watch for
The Euro 2012 quarterfinals have begun, and Portugal and Germany have already advanced to the semifinals.
Now Spain, France, England and Italy are left to battle for the final two spots.
This list will predict the shocking outcomes of the last two remaining quarterfinal matches at the European Championships.
From Jermain Defoe to Karim Benzema, many have yet to prove themselves at this tournament. These matches may change everything, and we may see a surprising outcome to an exciting group of fixtures.
Karim Benzema Will Score His 1st Goal
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Karim Benzema will finally score his first goal of the competition in this match, as France are the only team to have scored more than once against Spain's current squad.
The fact that Spain have never won a competitive match against France will be a definite advantage. It will be a psychological reassurance for the young French side.
Benzema also has the advantage over Iker Casillas. They are teammates at the club level, and the young striker may know the goalkeeper's weak spots.
Also, expect French rising-star Olivier Giroud to cut through the Spanish defence.
Fabregas Will Be Spain's Hero
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Spain's "false nine" will be there to equalize and put Spain back in the game.
Cesc Fabregas has the advantage of playing alongside Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Laurent Koscielny and Patrice Evra in the Premier League. This will be more of an advantage to Fabregas. He will be able to navigate across the familiar faces in the French defense and score.
If Fernando Torres can play at his best, then France will have another target to block. Another player Del Bosque may choose to play is Jesus Navas.
The combination of Fabregas, Torres and Navas may see the French defence crumble. Spain will indeed win.
Final Score: France 2-3 Spain
Balotelli Will See Red
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
The unpredictable Mario Balotelli earned 10 yellow cards and two red cards this season. The Italian has often been involved in on-pitch outbursts with the opposition, teammates, fans and referees.
When playing against England, the familiar faces and English hooligan chants may be enough for the talented Manchester City striker to lose his focus—and his temper—and earn a booking.
The loss of Balotelli may be too great for Italy to recover against a promising English squad.
Mario Balotelli will also face his Manchester City teammates Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner. This may be more of an advantage to the Englishmen, as they will be able to predict Balotelli's movements better than other teams.
England Treble: Carroll and Defoe Will Score
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe will become the heroes for England.
They will each score a goal, along with a possible goal by either Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard, to put the English through to the semifinals.
Italy have only twice been knocked out in nine appearances at the quarterfinals of a major tournament. England, on the other hand, have lost 10 quarterfinal matches. England and Italy have only faced each other once at the Euro Cup—in 1980, when Italy won.
However, Roy Hodgson has the advantage of having previously managed Italian sides Inter (1995-99) and Udinese (2001). Therefore, he may be familiar with the Italian defensive style of play.
With a new generation of young and fast-paced forwards in the lineup, Hodgson could possibly break down the defence.
Final Score: Italy 1-3 England