EURO 2012 Group Summaries + Predictions

So begins the EURO! The World Cup is still the iconic sporting event that rallies countries together and leaves footy fans in awe when the miracles unfold in the knockout stages. Late injury time goals and last gasp saves are the things we cling to when watching two titans battle it out on the pitch… but all of these things are more frequent than just once every 4 years. The EURO provides a ton of action every 2 years in between World Cups, as well as the majority of the big soccer stars  on the planet; only Messi, Neymar, and a few others will be absent this June/July.

So what to expect in this years quest for the European Championship? a whole lotta goals, I think. Offense is up across the continent now, perhaps because of a good number of defensive injuries to some notable players. Spain and Germany’s defense has conceded an unusual number of goals in recent games. On the flip side, teams like France and Sweden seem to be finding their scoring touch. Let us go group by group and breakdown the teams who could be playing into the advanced stages of the competition

GROUP A:
I think we can all agree, this is the weakest group of the tournament. Poland’s automatic qualification as a Pot #1 team waters down the competition, but groups them with a team that scored one goal last Euro (Greece) and another who looks fondly back at their prime which is now passed (Czech Repub). That leaves Russia, one of the darlings of Euro 2008, but a recently troubled team who have seen some of their stars show their age and run into a string of poor performances. For Russia, they have really struggled against weaker opponents lately, and face teams like Poland who will look to showcase their scoring abilities in front of their home crowds.

Who will advance from the Group: Russia, Poland

Player to watch in Group A: Robert Lewandowski

GROUP B:
We all know by now that this is the Group of Death. Now that’s out of the way… who exactly looks best suited to top the toughest group in the EURO? From most accounts it’s either the Dutch or the Germans. Both teams have finished an agonizing second place to Spain in recent tournaments. The Dutch look to avenge the loss in extra time of the World Cup Final, and their team is still stacked, boasting a potent attack that scored 6 goals in a friendly on Saturday. The Germans are tournament favorites in their own right, with a confident side full of many players ready avenge a loss in last month’s Champions League final. Let’s not fail to mention the steady Danish side who causes issues with many favored sides they play. Finally, what to make of Portugal? The pressure lies squarely on Ronaldo’s shoulders as he captains a side that has underperformed in recent tournaments. The offense is there, but a suspect defense is their main issue with such strong offensive opponents in this group.

Who will advance from the Group: Netherlands, Germany

Player to watch in Group B: Christiano Ronaldo

GROUP C:
In what looks to be a two team group, all may not be what it seems. Italy is on the heels of a match fixing scandal, while thier form on the pitch has left much to be desired. Spain will likely run away with this group, but can we stop to remember that the only man seemingly able to score in South Africa was David Villa (injured for this year’s EURO)? Ireland has been playing solid football lately, and can probably secure advancement with a couple of steely performances and a stingy defense. Meanwhile, Croatia is no stranger to making surprising runs at major tournaments (WC 1998, Euro 2008) and can do so again this year if they capitilize on playing teams not clicking on all cyclinders at the moment

Who will advance from the Group: Spain, Ireland

Player to watch in Group C: Fernando Torres

GROUP D:
While the English team clearly gets the most press out of all the teams in Group D, they clearly have the odds stacked against them. While this isn’t the group of death, there is a shortage of easy fixtures across the board. France could prove to be a dark horse in this tournament, with Laurent Blanc whipping his team into shape as of late. The Swedes could contend as well, as a team that’s been together for a while, and has lots of weapons to choose from, most notably Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ukraine is pegged to finish last, but never count out a team playing on home soil. England’s mass of injuries doesn’t help much either. I’ll bet Wayne Rooney rues the day he got sent off, and thus suspended, for quite some time to come.

Who will advance from the Group: France, Sweden

Player to watch in Group D: Franck Ribery

So where does that leave us? See the mock up of the knockout stage below:

As you can See I like Netherlands over France in the final. Tough knocking out Germany in the semis, but there’s results like this in every tournament. Off to the games. ENJOY!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: