Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Euro 2008 Group Play Review

Now that group play has finished, we know which teams advanced, and what the Quarterfinal matchups are.

In my Euro 08 Preview I predicted who I thought would advance. Lets see how I did.

Group A
My Prediction: Actual:
Portugal          Portugal
Czech Republic Turkey
Switzerland      Switzerland
Turkey             Czech Republic

Portugal played how I thought they would, and I was 15 minutes away from being right about the Czech Republic. If only the Czech could have held on, I would have been right. Turkey was a surprise for sure.

Group B
My Prediction: Actual:
Germany          Croatia
Croatia            Germany
Poland             Austria 
Austria            Poland

I thought that both Croatia and Germany would advance from the group, but who saw Croatia beating Germany when they played? As far as Austria and Poland are concerned, I should have thought my prediction out a little more and realized that with the home crowd behind them, Austria wouldn't finish in last place. 

Group C
My Prediction: Actual:
Italy                 Netherlands
France             Italy
Netherlands    Romania
Romania          France

The group of death really could have gone any way. I decided to go with 2 of the favorites, Italy and France to advance. My prediction was ruined by the combination of the Dutch being sick, and France having Henry and Vieira hurt. Thanks a lot France.

Group D
My Prediction: Actual:
Spain                Spain
Sweden            Russia
Greece               Sweden
Russia              Greece

Spain won the group pretty easily, and I think look like the best team so far. Going into the final games I was correct on which teams were advancing. However, Sweden decided to completely abandon their offense and play for the draw against Russia, and they paid for it. Greece was a big letdown, not even getting a point in group play.

So Lets Recap:

Of the possible 8 teams that could advance to the Quarterfinals, I got 5 of them.

Of the 5 teams that I said could win it all, 4 of the 5 advanced (thanks for nothing France).

Italy gave me a scare, but my pick for Italy over Portugal in the finals can still happen.

Quarterfinal Matchups:
Lets take a look at the upcoming Quarterfinal games.

Portugal vs. Germany
A dream matchup for sure. Portugal played very well its first two games but lost its last game. Germany played its best in the last game. Who will stop Ronaldo? Other then Podolski for Germany, no one is creating chances. Klose is invisible, and it took a free kick for Ballack to wake up. I gotta think Portugal will advance.

Croatia vs. Turkey
A surprising matchup due to Croatia winning group B. Turkey was 15 minutes away from being eliminated, while Croatia won group B pretty convincingly. I think Croatia moves on.

Netherlands vs. Russia
The Netherlands seem to be everyone's new favorite to win it all. I don't know if I can go that far, but I think they cruise through Russia in this one.

Spain vs. Italy
A nightmare matchup if your Italian. Spain proved against Greece that they have the deepest team of anyone in the tournament, and David Villa is playing on another level right now. Italy has always been known as a slow starter in tournaments, and play differently after group play. Even without Pirlo, I gotta say Italy moves on, and the label of underachievers stays with the Spanish.

The team of the tournament so far is a tie between Spain and the Netherlands. Spain easily won their group and proved they are the deepest team. The Netherlands showed their all out attack and dominated two early favorites, Italy and France. Both teams have the ability to go all the way.

Player of the tournament so far is David Villa. He is the leading scorer of the tournament with 4 goals, and was a main reason why Spain won its first 2 games.

What did you think of the teams that advanced? Did you see it coming? What's your prediction for the Quarterfinal matchups? Who is the team of the tournament so far? The player of the tournament? 


Monica 08 said...

Portugal - Germany I agree with Bastian Schweinsteiger- who can stop Simao, Joao Moutinho, and Deco? If there's no midfield linking to the forwards, then there's not much CR7 can do. I hope it's a 3-1 so Ricardo can redeem himself from the embarassing result in the 2006 world cup.

France I thought it would be the big chance for Benzema and Samir Nasri to shine on the big stage. Unfortunately Domenech left Benzema on the bench in the 2nd game and put none other than Gomis.

Matti said...

Portugal - Germany was a heart-breaking match (I was supporting Portugal). I think Portugal should have won: Germany's 3rd goal (Ballack's header) was only scored because Ballack was blatantly pushing the defender off him, unfortunately the ref did't seem to remember that this was illegal and allowed it anyway. (Ballack, usually a player I like, pissed me off this game, also diving very obviously. I HATE divers.)
The last 15 minutes were played almost entirely in Germany's half, the Portuguese looking very convincing.

Now that Portugal is out, I'm supporting the Nederlands, although I think their defense is not tight enough to survive past the semi's.

Spain has been playing beautifully this tournament, and I think there's a good chance they will knock Italy out, but that should be an excellent game whatever the result.

I think the final will be either Spain or Italy v. Germany.