Euro 2012 Scores: Expected Results Make for Can't-Miss Semifinals
The upsets are no more, and we like it that way.
Sure, watching Greece magically topple Russia in the group stage or watching Arjen Robben turn the blinders on in an upset loss to Denmark are fun. But, at some point, the favorites need to start winning.
Again, upsets and Cinderella stories make for good entertainment, but the favorites make for good football. While it was nice to see some underdogs make it to the quarterfinals, it was even better to see all the favorites and best squads make it to the semifinals.
Who advances to the finals?
Let's take a look at what each team brings to what should be two can't-miss semifinal matchups.
Portugal (Beat Czech Republic 1-0)
What does Portugal bring to the semifinals? I'll answer that question with five words.
Ronaldo, Ronaldo and more Ronaldo.
The second-best player on the planet, and first best in the tournament, hasn't failed to put on a show at Euro 2012—despite sometimes playing less than spectacular.
Against Denmark, a game in which Portugal barely won, Ronaldo blew two easy chances. But, he responded with two goals against Netherlands and the game-winner in the 79th minute against the Czechs.
No matter how well—or not well—he's playing, Ronaldo will never be accused of not being exciting. He's tremendously skilled with the ball at his feet, his pace is unmatched by most and he can score from seemingly anywhere on the offensive side of the pitch.
To watch him on the opposite side of the field as Nani against Spain will be a treat.
Spain (Beat France 2-0)
As beautiful as Ronaldo is with the ball, Spain's entire team is just as fun to watch.
The Spaniards are without a doubt the best squad at controlling the ball, as it is surprising whenever they don't control 60 percent of the possession. They will pass it around in the midfield for minutes at a time and have the ability to completely overwhelm the opposition.
When you have David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Xabi Alonso all in the same midfield, it doesn't get much better than that.
Spain, who at most times this tournament have played without a true striker, can struggle to put the ball in the back of the net.
But, they play the game of football the way it was meant to be played. Pass and move, never hold on to the ball. It's a joy to watch.
How many more goals will Germany score?
Germany (Beat Greece 4-2)
Germany simply knows how to score.
In four matches this tournament, the Germans have been unstoppable, finding the back of the net nine times en route to four wins.
After Mario Gomez scored the first three goals for Germany to start the tournament, their next six goals all came from someone different.
It seems like they have an unlimited amount of weapons up front. They love to attack and, when you watch the Germans, you know you are going to see goals.
Italy (Beat England 0-0, 4-2 on PKs)
Thank goodness England wasn't able to prevail in this one, because Italy-Germany is much more compelling than England-Germany would have been.
While the English are always prepared to have 10 men sit in the back and defend for 120 minutes, Italy will open up and challenge the ever-attacking Germans. Just check out this stat from Sunday's quarterfinal (via the Guardian's Daniel Taylor):
Sorry! Excitement has got to me . . Italy (35 shots, 20 on target), England (9 shots, 4 on target) #apologies— daniel taylor (@DTguardian) June 24, 2012
Andrea Pirlo has had been one of the best players of the tournament, and to watch him operate in open space against the Germans will be fun.
Oh, and Mario Balotelli. Always Mario Balotelli. For everything.
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