Germany-Spain: Previewing the Euro 2008 Final
Tomorrow is the big day!
We will see the much-anticipated Euro 2008 final. This year, the participants are two of football's giants, Spain and Germany.
The Spaniards never were able to put it together, until now. After dispatching of every team in the group stages, Spain ridded themselves of the '06 World Cup champs, Italy, in penalties. They followed that by dispatching with upstart Russia, in a 3-0 triumph.
The road was a little tougher climb for Germany. After suffering a minor upset to Croatia, the Germans defeated Austria to move into the knockout stages, never a fun task. The Germans pounced on a lazy Portuguese side, and finally rid of them completely in a 3-2 triumph after 90 minutes.
In the semifinals, Germany found themselves in a surprisingly tough matchup with the under-manned Turkish side. It took a Phillip Lahm 90th minute strike to cultivate Germany into the finals.
So who holds the advantage? Let's investigate.
Jens Lehmann has looked very beatable all tournament, and he has really played a lackadaisical tournament. If Spain can rock Lehmann's ship early, the Germans will have far more work than they expected in order to win.
His counterpart, Iker Casillas, has been rock solid in every game, and has done what has been needed to win. Isn't that all it is now? It doesn't matter if you win ugly anymore, as long as you get the results.
Both defenses are hard to judge, mainly because of the inefficiencies the two have had. You can't make a solid prediction on what is to happen. Sergio Ramos has been the only dominating player out of both sides, and the Spaniards are more star-studded.
Germany, on the other hand, are much more offensive, and attack more often than not. Because of this, I can't give either team the nod here. It's a tie as far as I'm concerned.
As much as I'd like to give this to Spain, because again, Spain is more star studded, the Germans have been much more physical, and much more on the attack all tournament long.
Michael Ballack is an intimidating force right up the gut, and I'm not sure if Spain knows how to exactly deal with it. I'll give a slight nod to Germany, which evens it up, matchup-wise.
Another slight advantage to the Germans. Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, and Bastian Schweinsteiger overall are much more dangerous then a David Villa, Daniel Guiza combination. Villa will need to be stopped, and if he can't, we could be in for a long night. It could go either way as well.
Overall: Spain wins on Penalties, 2-1!
I feel that if Spain can overcome the attack the Germans bring, and sneak a couple by Lehmann, they will be in great shape. I feel Jens will be on his game tomorrow, though, and I sense that the Germans will throw everything they have at Spain in order to avoid penalties.
Spain is very dangerous in spot kicks, and they showed it in downing the World Cup champs. Cesc Fabregas in the 57th minute off a cross, and Miroslav Klose in the 83rd minute with a strong left boot for the equalizer. Spain wins 3-1 on penalties.
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