Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Stage Is Set



Non-soccer fans will find irony in the headline of this article, seeing as how soccer players are known for dramatic over-exaggerating injuries in an attempt to draw fouls. For those of us who acknowledge the over-dramatic actions, but still find a love of the game; the headline is clear. The stage for Euro 2012 is officially set.

The group play round of the tournament ended Tuesday, as England and Sweden won the final matches for Group D, sending England and France into the quarterfinals. England's win over Ukraine not only secured them the Group D win, it denied Ukraine the upset of France, who by way of a win and a draw proceeded as Group D runner-up.


 England earns the right to play the Group C runner-up Italy on Sunday. Italy won one game in the group stage, but took two draws as well, propelling them over Croatia and the Republic of Ireland. As Group D runner-up, France will play Group C champions, Spain. The Spaniards won two games and drew one to take Group C. That game will take place on Saturday.

The quarterfinals will kick off, however, as Group A champs Czech Republic will face the group of death (Group B) runner-up Portugal, led by fan favorite (or fan least favorite) Cristiano Ronaldo. The opener is set for Thursday. Group B champion Germany will face Group A runner-up Greece on Friday.

The winner of Czech Republic vs. Portugal will face the winner of Spain vs. France in the semis next Wednesday as the winner of Germany vs. Greece will take on the victor of England vs. Italy on Thursday. The Final will take place on Sunday, July 1st. All games are scheduled for 8:45pm local time or 1:45pm CST.

My quick predictions: The recently-come-to-life Italians will beat England and face Germany, who will dispose of Greece with ease. Portugal will oust the Czech Republic and face Spain, who will have trouble defeating France but will ultimately prevail. The Spanish will take down Ronaldo and Portugal and face Germany, who will have little more difficulty with England than they do with Greece. Germany will win the Final and take home the crown at Euro 2012.

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