Ok, so we’ve given you previews for all 16 teams, but now it’s time to put our money where our mouths are. We are ready to give you our full predictions for Euro 2012, all the way down to a winner. Today, we will post my predictions, and tomorrow, my partner in crime will give you his. Let’s go!
3. Czech Republic
The Russians have a chip on their shoulder after failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, losing out to Slovenia for that spot. This is a fantastic team, ranked 11th in the world, and against this group, they should have no problems advancing. And I’m never going to count out the Greeks after they made the unlikeliest of unlikely runs in 2004. I like them to snag the 2 seed in this group.
Going to go with an “upset” here and say that the Netherlands, the runner up in the 2010 World Cup, don’t make it out of this group. As tough as this group is, the 2nd ranked Germans are the favorites, and I think they live up to that billing. I mentioned in my preview that Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t played his best on the big stage, and I think he changes that with a huge game against the Dutch. And if it comes down to goal differential, I think Portugal has more fire power. They move on.
No shocks here. Spain easily wins the group, and while Italy has been known to fall on the big stage, I think Buffon in goal will make sure they don’t slack. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t advance out of this group, and I don’t think they will falter. They move on.
Were this at all a tough group, I would say that one of the two top teams would find a way to screw it up as they often do. But Sweden is 17th in the world, and Ukraine isn’t even a top 30 team. Would it shock me if one of them didn’t advance. Not really. But I don’t see it happening here.
Russia vs. Portugal
Think if these two meet it will be a lot closer then people believe. I could see a game like this being 1-1 going into extra time, with Ronaldo or Nani coming up with a huge extra time goal to win it for their squad. I don’t think Russia is the team that’s going to knock the Portuguese off in this tournament.
Germany vs Greece
No miracles here for the Greeks. They would do well to get this far, and any sweat they can give the Germans would be icing on the cake. But I don’t see them pulling off the massive upset and going on another cinderella run. Germany is just too good.
Spain vs. England
Yet another time for the Brits to make a huge statement with a marquee win, but Spain is just too good. I mean, they are scary good. There may be a team in this bracket that knocks them off the top of the mountain. It’s not the Brits sadly.
France vs. Italy
I rematch of the 2008 World Cup Final, where Italy won in a penalty shootout. This is a really tight one for me, and it could very well go back to the PK’s here. It’s hard to overstate how much having Buffon in net means to the Italians. Ribery is a monster for France. Flip a coin here. I’m going to give the slight edge to Italy, but it could go either way.
Portugal vs. Germany
A rematch of a group match earlier in the tournament, this would be an exciting one. If Ronaldo wants to stake his claim as the best in the world, he will lead the Portuguese to victory here. However, the Germans are so solid everywhere you look. I like Germany to get back to the finals for another shot at the Euro title.
Spain vs. Italy
I mentioned earlier that the Brits weren’t the team to knock Spain off. Is Italy? I doubt it. This will be a goal keeper battle, but when you need a clutch goal, I like Spain’s offense more then Italy. Spain gets an ugly 1-0 win to move on.
Germany vs. Spain
I mean, I hate to just go chalk on this one, especially in the Euro tournament, where crazy things have been known to happen, but it’s a simple fact. These are the two best teams in the world. Period. Spain has been a team known for their offense, but they have won their latest titles with defense. Germany is the opposite. I team that is usually know for their defense, it’s been their offense that has given them shots at big titles. They say defense wins championships, but am I buying that for this? I’m going to say go, and go with the “upset” and say Germany takes it down. It’s SO hard to defend your title in sports. Spain is going to get everyone’s best shot, and I think the Germans will just have one extra step on them. There’s a great chance this goes down to penalty kicks, but I’m going to say Germany gets an extra time goal, and wins 2-1 to hoist the trophy.
What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments!