It’s Down to Eight as Things Kickoff in Warsaw in what is sure to be an Exhilarating Knockout Stage
Czech Republic v. Portugal
Analysis: Portugal simply has the better players. Ronaldo dazzled in Portugal’s last match against a good Dutch team. The Czech squad will have a tough time keeping up with Portugal’s quality especially with their captain, Tomàs Rosicky banged up and questionable for the match.
Germany v. Greece
Analysis: Although Germany might not have been as dominant as some expected the tournament favorites to be, the Germans definitely did their part. The Germans won every game against a very tough set of opponents in the group stage. While Greece beat Russia the leaders in Group A going into the match, they are no match for Germany, barring something shocking, Germany cruises to the semifinals.
Spain v. France
Analysis: Certainly, one of the more intriguing matchups in the knockout stage, France and Spain both possess the talent to put on a show. However, it is hard to bet against the Spaniards, as the 2008 champions are looking to repeat in 2012. They struggled to breakdown the Croatians for most of the game, but ground out the 1-0 victory. Ribèry and Nasri will have their moments, but the likes of Xavi, David Silva controlling the ball, and Torres being that he shows up, the Spanish attack will be too much for the French defense which failed to control a lesser team in Sweden.
England v. Italy
Analysis: Probably the hardest to predict of all the matches of the knockout stage, England and Italy have both showed moments of brilliance and shakiness. Italy has shown good control through most of its matches. However, their story has been a tale of two halves. They have come out strong in most of their matches, only to lull to sleep in the second half. England hasn’t looked much better as they were outplayed by a Ukrainian side, which deserved at least a tie, if goal-line replay had been in place. The English have shown the ability to contract and prevent teams from breaking them down, which they will have to do to remain competitive. While they are a bigger more physical side than Italy who is missing one of their key defenders to muscle strain, Giorgio Chiellini, the English will not retain enough of the ball to overwhelm the Italians. Italy wins by a goal 2-1.