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Euro 2012: Quarter Finals could be a mixed bag
With quarter-final action set to kick off at Euro 2012, both Portugal and Germany look poised to reach the semi finals with matches against the Czech Republic and Greece in the final eight. While the defending champions from Spain, could have trouble with France. Leaving the must tantalizing matchup on the schedule for Sunday, with England taking on Italy.
Edmonton - June 21, 2012 - With quarter-final action set to kick off on Thursday at Euro 2012, the two survivors of the "Group of Death" appear to have the far easier road to the final four at the European Championships. After battling through a rather difficult group stage schedule, both Portugal and Germany look poised to reach the semi finals with matches against the Czech Republic and Greece. While the defending champions from Spain could have their hands full, with a highly skilled but inconsistent France squad. Which leaves the must tantalizing matchup of the final eight, England against Italy. In a tournament that saw expected lowered for both nations, the two rivals now finding themselves one win away from a likely semi-final date with the Germans.
Czech Republic vs Portugal (06/21/12)
Prediction: Portugal 3 Czech Republic 1
While the Czechs may have taken top spot in Group A, they will not be the favourite heading into their match against Portugal. After finally producing something in a Portuguese shirt, at a big tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo may just be ready to go off. Ronaldo looked more like the Real Madrid goal machine in their last group game against the Netherlands, than he had in some time. He easily could have had four of five on the night and if he has found his groove, it could be a very long evening for Petr Cech and company.
Germany vs Greece (06/22/12)
Prediction: Germany 4 Greece 0
Greece should be proud to have fought back to claim the second spot in Group A but the clock is about to strike midnight. They would've been hard pressed to compete against Germany with their 2004 European Championship side but with their current lineup, they could be absolutely destroyed by the Germans. Outside of their match against a rather uninspired Russian side, they have looked poor in their own end. Something that the tournament favourites will surely take full advantage of and send a clear message to the remaining teams in the competition.
Spain vs France (06/23/12)
Prediction: Spain 3 France 1
Their destruction of a severely over matched Ireland squad aside, Spain have not been overly impressive. They generally maintain possession for two thirds of the game but have accomplished very little with it. Teams have taken a page out of Chelsea's playbook against Barcelona and managed to keep the Spaniards to the outside. Add that to the fact they lack a true elite finisher upfront and the defending champs could be in some trouble. Having said that, France will not be the side to challenge them and their questionable backline will pose little challenge for Spain.
England vs Italy (06/24/12)
Prediction: Italy 2 England 1
In a match that both sides are likely very content with, this one has the makings of the most entertaining game of the lot. Neither side were overly impressive during the group stages but they will be all business come Sunday. England 's chances will be tied directly to the performance of both captain Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney but will need a big game from Joe Hart. As usual, the Italians will have everything run through Andrea Pirlo but look for one Mario Balotelli to leave his mark on this match. After a controversial season in Manchester City, the big man will make a point of going a little harder against the English and do his best to knock them out of Euro 2012. In the end, it should be a thriller but Gianluigi Buffon will turnout to be the difference.
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