Monday, June 18, 2012

Euro 2012 Update*

Euro 2012 has been full of surprises already. Four teams are in the quarterfinals, not all of them expected to be there. Four teams have been eliminated. Some of them anticipated longer stays in Poland and the Ukraine.

One thing I really like is that teams are winning their way into the quarterfinals. There were no draws this weekend, no tie-breakers needed. Teams that won advanced, teams that lost were eliminated.

Czech Republic 1, Poland 0
When the Czechs are expected to do well, they fail. When they're expected to fail, they do well. It's not a complete shock that they advanced to the quarterfinals, but it is a surprise that they won their group. They'll play Portugal on Thursday.

Greece 1, Russia 0
The good news for Polish police is that the Russians are leaving. No more marches through Warsaw. Greece was in 4th at the start of this match, and needed to win to advance. That's what they did. It's amazing what happens when people have to work to get by. Maybe the Greek people will learn what a work ethic is. They'll play Germany on Friday.

Portugal 2, Netherlands 1
The Group of Death was a confused mess before Sunday's games. The permutations were too complicated for even the most advanced supercomputers to calculate. But the teams knew their jobs: win. Cristiano Ronaldo did his job: score. He netted both goals for Portugal, silencing his critics. I picked the Netherlands to win this tournament, and now they exit having lost all 3 of their games.

Germany 2, Denmark 1
The Germans won all 3 of their group games for the first time ever in this tournament. What's kind of scary is that they never played to the absolute best of their ability. Guys like Thomas Müller are still struggling to find their form. And if they do, Achtung! (warning).

Germany faces Greece on Friday in a battle between creditor and debtor. North Sea vs. Mediterranean. Work ethic vs. vacation 8 weeks a year.

Today's games:
Croatia vs. Spain
Italy vs. Ireland

Italy should beat the Irish, which would give them 5 points. Croatia and Spain each have 4 points, so a draw would give each of them 1 point. With the tie-breakers, a 2-2 draw between Spain and Croatia will see both teams advance. Both teams should and probably will play for the win. And Spain should win.

That being said, if it's 2-2 between them with 15 minutes left, don't expect to see either team take any chances. And don't write off the Irish, who could make Spain and Croatia very happy by drawing with Italy.

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