Euro 2012: Quarterfinals
The Euro 2012 quarterfinals have been played and England have been knocked out on penalties by Italy.
Portugal scraped past the Czech Republic whilst Germany cruised to a win against Greece and Spain dominated everything in their game against France, setting up some fairly juicy ties in the semifinals.
Czech Republic 0 – 1 Portugal
Portugal absolutely dominated the Czech Republic and are the first team to book their place in the semifinal. It could have been much worse for Czech, because if it wasn’t for Petr Cech and a combination of missed opportunities, then the scoreline would actually reflect how the game went.
Czech Republic looked to have no creative flair on the pitch now that Rosicky could only make the bench. This showed with their two shots on goal, neither of which were on target.
Ronaldo has finally come to life in the tournament and is playing like he did in La Liga. Scoring, getting some good shots in and making a fool out of the defenders is his game, and he did it perfectly. He could have had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for the woodwork, but I’m sure Portugal won’t grumble.
Portugal will face Spain in the semifinal, which is almost bound to be built up as being Ronaldo vs Barca/Madrid. Which is a little unfair on the rest of the Portuguese team as they’ve really put in a hard gift to get this far in the competition.
Its difficult to call this one, especially as Spain haven’t been playing as good as they can, I reckon extra time might be on the cards.
Germany 4 – 2 Greece
The joint highest total number of goals scored in a single game at the European Championships. For the first 30 minutes this game looked to be going only one way – towards a boring onslaught of the Greek goal where Germany can’t quite penetrate the defence because of their over-intricate play.
But as soon as Lahm belted in his 25-yard goal, the game opened up. Greece knew that they would have to react and score if they were going to stay in the tournament. They did that after half time with a good break and Samaras of all people turned the ball into the goal
Germany weren’t having any of that though and they swiftly bombarded the opposition goal again, scoring three more times, and with some really nice goals, before Greece were awarded a penalty for a Boateng handball inside the box. It was a harsh call, and I think the ref wanted to see Greece go out with a bit of pride, and a scoreline that didn’t look as bad as it could have.
Overall Germany definitely deserved to go through to the semifinals, and they’ll be a tough test for Italy. They’re definitely the favourites to win the tournament in my eyes, they just have too many good players who all like to play as a team and see each other do well. It’s a togetherness that isn’t there as much with the Spanish side as it is with the Germans, but it’ll definitely be a close call between those two in the end.
Spain 2 – 0 France
One of the most boring games of the tournament so far I think. Spain had masses of possession once again and, again, did very little with it. Admittedly, they’re playing the type of football that tires their opponents, tests mental patience and ultimately wins them games, but for me, it’s so boring to watch.
Time and time again there were diagonall ball opportunities for Spain, and either winger would easily have been in behind the defence, but the midfield insisted on their tiki-taka football to try and squeeze the ball through the eye of aneedle with an inch-perfect flick. Not my idea of a good game to watch, but of it wins them the Euro’s then no Spaniard is going to complain!
They have a tough test against a similar team in Portugal, and as I said, I can’t call what the result will be. All I can hope for is that, because they are similar teams, they try to play more aggressively and score more goals.
England 0 – 0 Italy (Italy win 4-2 on penalties)
The game was completely dominated by Italy, possession, shots and tackles were all in favour of the blues. England for some reason just couldn’t string any passes together and they tired much quicker than their Italian counterparts.
It was a good run while it lasted for our boys, they played with a lot of heart and courage. Couple that with almost faultless defensive organisation and a real team attitude, it’s the one time I can say “we should have gone further” regardless of playing poorer than the others.
There were a couple of periods in both halves where we could have, and probably should have scored, but that’s just football. If you don’t take your chances, you don’t win the game. How many times have we seen it in the domestic leagues where one team has battered the other and in the 90th minute the underdog has sneaked a breakaway goal? That’s all England have played for throughout the tournament and it could have worked for them if the finishing had just been a bit more clinical, the midfielders had played higher up the pitch and given more support overall.
Italy face the Germans in the semifinals and Germany must be favourites now having played 30 minutes less football and more days rest.
It looks like a Spain – Germany final is on the cards.