Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Euro 2008 - Quarter Finals Picks

Well, I got some of my picks right, some wrong, and so here I am to update them, along with some thoughts on what's gone down in a pretty damnfine week of soccer.

In Group A, I picked Portugal and the Czechs. The Czechs, unfortunately, didn't have the legs, and so even though they held the lead until late in the last game of the opening round, Turkey stormed back with two goals in the last few minutes, including an ugly one when Peter Cech, the Czech keeper, dropped what should have been an easy cross. Portugal did end up on top, but Turkey came through for 2nd.

In Group B, I picked Germany and Poland. Oops. Germany did make it, but to be honest, it was a struggle for them, and so they only managed 2nd. Poland were, despite their complaints about the ref in one game, brutal. Croatia, in spite of missing Eduardo, one of their best players, very nicely made their way into 1st, even winning their last game with what was mostly a team of substitutes.

In Group C, I picked Italy and the Netherlands. I got that right, although in the wrong order. The Dutch absolutely dominated this group, with some of the best play I've seen in years. Italy probably got lucky, with how Romania didn't step up to the plate, but sometimes you do make your own luck.

In Group C, I picked Spain and Greece. Greece, the defending champs, didn't win a game. Their play was brutal and even more boring than I remember, and so Russia, who played some exciting ball at times (and since they have a Dutch coach, perhaps that's no surprise), move on in 2nd.

For the quarter finals, I'm picking the following:

Portugal over Germany (even though the Portuguese have the worst keeper of this tournament)

Croatia over Turkey

Holland over Russia

And, after some crossing of fingers, Spain over Italy.

No upsets, based on the standings. But read this for a take on how panicked the Spaniards are at the prospect of facing the Italians. Frankly, if I were them I'd be planning on winning that match and then panicking about the idea that the Dutch were next in line.


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