It is the second biggest game on the soccer calendar behind the World Cup Final and tomorrow’s Euro 2008 final between Spain and Germany has the potential to be a great final. Some of the matchups that we will be paying close attention to tomorrow are:
Goalkeeper: Advantage Spain
Spain’s Goalkeeper Iker Casillas has solidified his reputation as one of the worlds top goalkeepers (at least according to some blog) while Germany’s keeper Jens Lehmann has looked shaky in almost every game.
Defense: Advantage Spain
Germany’s traditionally strong defense has been open up way too easily this tournament. Their full backs were run ragged by the Turks on Wednesday and this has to be an area that Spain will look to exploit.
The Spanish defense has not attracted many headlines, which it not necessarily a bad thing. Central defender Carles Puyol has barely put a foot wrong all tournament.
Midfield: Advantage Germany
German leader Michael Ballack has been one of the stars of this tournament and I expect him to dominate the middle of the field on Sunday. Ballack has had great support from wide men Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski are both having great tournaments and look a constant goal threat while Torsten Frings will add some power if, as expected, he returns to the starting lineup.
Cesc Fabregas will start on Sunday for Spain and how well he plays will have a huge baring on the game. If Fabregas is playing well then Spain can play at a faster tempo and Xavi can push forward more to support Torres. A fast tempo suits Spain. A slow tempo suits Germany.
Forwards: Advantage Germany
With the loss of David Villa, Spain will play Fernando Torres in a lone striker role which is not his best position. I think that Torres has been disappointing and I expect to see the Spanish league top scorer Daniel Guiza will probably take over during the second half.
For Germany, Miroslav Klose has scored in the last two games and is beginning to regain the confidence that made him the 2006 World Cup’s top scorer. The German height advantage is something that will they will try and take advantage of with lots of crosses from Schweinsteiger and Podolski aimed towards Klose.
Cup finals are notoriously hard to predict because you never know if the fear of losing overcomes the willingness to be adventurous. I am hoping that Sunday’s Euro 2008 matches the excitement and drams that the tournament has provided and expect to see Spain win by the odd goal, 2-1 or 3-2.