Euro 2012 has its four semifinalists, and there isn’t much to be surprised about with this group.
Between Portugal, Spain, Germany and Italy, these four countries have a lot of championship hardware. And amongst some of the most storied teams in international play.
Its only fitting that the past two World Cup champions are part of this tournament’s final four.
Italy was able to squeak by the English in penalty kicks on Sunday afternoon to grab the final sport in the Euro foursome. The Italians have almost come full circle since their World Cup victory in 2006, with Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo leading the charges.
While Italy has rebounded from a disappointing World Cup showing in 2010 to grab a semifinal berth, the Spaniards are in the middle of a historic run that could crown them "The Greatest International Team Ever."
They have already won the Euros and World Cup in 2008 and 2010, respectively. A 2012 European championship would them in the conversation amongst the 1960s Brazil team that changed futbol forever.
Spain may be chasing history, but the Germans have looked the part of the favorite thus far in this tournament. Germany leads Euro history all-time with 3 tournament championships.
A fourth seems easily within grasp.
The young Germans took a big step forward in the 2010 World Cup, and now look all grown up with their dominant play in the Euros.
How good have the Germans been?
They were the only team to sweep their entire group and, thus, the only undefeated team in Euro 2012. They also claim the highest-scoring total with nine goals in four games of tournament play.
Amongst their three remaining competitors, Portugal is the new kid on the block. Their last relevant finish in international play was being runner-up in Euro 2004.
In recent history, they have not been able to put it all together. But, 2012 looks like a rejuvenated squad with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani playing at high levels.
A win over rival Spain would be a huge win for the Portuguese’s confidence going forward. In addition, they would be a serious threat against either Germany or Italy with their blistering offensive attack.
The true European soccer powers have made it to the semis. This upcoming weekend could shift the face of international play and crown a new favorite for World Cup 2014.