Having gone 4 for 4 on his Euro 2012 Quarterfinal predicitions (including calling Italy-England to go into PK’s and Germany to blow out Greece), the Nation now turns his attention to the Semis. Based on the picture accompanying this post, you can probably guess that I’m predicting a Spain-Germany final.
Wednesday, 6/27: Spain vs. Portugal
This isn’t like the good old days when the Pope decided to split the the New World in half between these two Iberian neighbors. One will have to triumph over the other fair and square, and it will be Spain. Jordi Alba will have his hands full containing Cristiano Ronaldo on Portugal’s right side. But on the flip side, unless Spain starts Pedro or Mata, Alba will be the only player starting who will provide some width on the Spanish side. Ronaldo will need to be aware of Alba flying down the left, especially with Iniesta playing on the same side as well. Spain barely needed to take their foot off 2nd gear versus France, as France decided to play a double full back formation on the right side to try to contain Spain. It didn’t work. Expect Portugal to go forward more than France did since any success depends on Ronaldo rampaging, but it won’t be enough. The Nation thinks Spain will win tomorrow in an exciting game. The bigger question on my mind — who will the girls squeal more for at the stadium and bars tomorrow: Ronaldo or Fernando Torres?
Thursday, 6/28: Germany vs. Italy
There’s no stopping the Germans. Italy might be playing a more defensive style on Thursday than they did on Sunday vs. England. It was weird actually to see another England playing pretty much everyone behind the ball and waiting to counter (basically how Italy has played for ages, for the most part) while the Azzurri were constantly on the attack and probing for a goal. The Germans have too much depth and talent, and their speed on the attack and counter attack will be problematic for an Italian back four who might be missing their best defender in Giorgio Chiellini. The scoreline might be close, but it’ll be deceiving as it will be a comfortable victory for the Germans.