With England edging Ukraine (Are they in Europe?) and the French surrendering to the Swedes, the quarter finals are now set. There is some good, some bad in the next round of matches – as upsets are always fun, until you get to the next round and are yelling at the telly, “I have to watch the f’n Greeks play again?!” Heh, heh, no. No, you do not have to watch Greece. (You skip that game, soldier.) So let us get on with the fun, as there is only one thing more exciting than the preview and that is the pointless list/power rankings, but I am only a man (but a muppet of a man), so I offer the preview. As the old sang goes, second best is best enough for me.
Thursday: Czech Republic v Portugal
The Czechs have some talent and displayed deadly flashes from time to time, but were in the Group ‘o Shit and needed to bounce back from a Rush ‘n Attack (4-1 thumping) to eek out a group win. On the other hand, Portugal have seemingly become the tournament darlings, as they survived the Group ‘o Death and looked stronger with each group match they played. (I liked them before they were cool and put my money where my typing was.) Prediction: Portugal 2-1, with Pepe scoring the game winner.
Friday: Germany v Greece
This will very well not be watchable. Avoid it at all cost. I am an avid soccer fan and I might have this one on in the background as I unpack from a weekend camping trip. Maybe. Prediction: Deutschland 4-0, Greece’s defensive mentality will matter little to the blitzkrieg.
Saturday: Spain v France
Now we get the goodies. The weekend proper gives us two swell matches. First up we get the eleven midfielders of Spain against the balanced and fluid French. While France dropped their last (largely pointless) game against Sweden today, they have looked sharp in the tournament and I doubt their finishing will be as wretched as it was today. Meanwhile, the Spanish may or may not start a striker, one Fernando Torres, or opt for six midfielders. With Torres you get a watch you can set the sun to… or something. What I am trying to say/write here is that Torres is like a weatherman, his college degree hardly counts for anything. Prediction: France 2-0, I feel like Spain’s time is up, while France is on the upswing. This match will be a microcosm for the two sides’ direction. Or maybe I just got a stupid feeling and want to make a killer upset prediction.
Sunday: England v Italy
Ah, the battle of a pair of World Cup ’10 disappointments. England is notoriously poor in the Euros (never even appearing in a final) and are matched up against an enigmatic Italian side, trying to redefine itself. This game should be a coin-flip, as neither side has shown enough consistency to prove their worth. Even with England’s three-goal performance against Sweden, these offenses have come and gone without any schedule and that will probably be the determining factor. Prediction: Italy 7-0, I loath England, though their Sweden showing was the game of the Euros, thus far.
Gambling, the way to make everything more interesting
Before the tournament, I made some wagers. Let us check in and see how they are holding up. SPOILER: They more/less confirm my inability to bet on soccer.
Team to Win
Holland: Yeah, I took the disappointment of the Euros to win it all. And I would do it again, give the chance – as I am terrible at betting soccer and a masochist.
Italy: If they are able to get past England on Sunday, they will be looking at Germany in the semi. They certainly have one of the tougher roads.
Portugal: They have a favorable match-up with the Czechs in the quarter final and will be looking at Spain/France in the semi. Ronaldo told me to bet them, and I am glad I did.
Top Goal Scorer
Robin Van Persie: Shut yer yapper.
Mario Balotelli: Had a wonder goal yesterday for his first tally of the tourney. Hopefully it ignites him and Italy storm past England.
Karim Benzema: While France is looking decent on offense, it is no thanks to what should be the center of their attack, as Karim has as many goals as my dog (and is half as good-looking).
Wesley Sneijder: So I took two players from the disappointment of the Euros – big whoop.
Mesut Ozil: Has yet to score, but Germany has probably looked the strongest of the sides left, so… he has time?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Zlatan tallied two, but Sweden was not able to put together complete games in their first two showings and were eliminated.
*Rush ‘N Attack was one of the first batch of games the Pato Clan received from Santa with our NES in ’86.