It’s time for my EURO 2012 semifinal predictions. Going 4 for 4 with my quarterfinal picks after my miserable group stage showing made me feel a lot better about myself.
Let’s keep this streak going!
The Battle of the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is trying to be the first to win three consecutive major titles while Portugal is trying to win their first major football title.
Both teams came through in 1-0 victories against opposition who weren’t up to the challenge. I don’t see that being the case in this match.
Portugal is playing like people have expected them to for years, one of the best teams in the world. Like every other team in the world against Spain, Portugal will be playing counterattacking football in this match. A key point to watch throughout this match is how deep are the Portuguese going to defend (the deeper the line the more difficult it’ll be for them to advance).
Unlike any other team during this era of Spanish dominance, Portugal actually defeated Spain handily in their last meeting (4-0 win in Lisbon in 2011 which was Spain’s worst loss in over 40 years).
Of course this was a friendly, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Portugal sports another edge that very few teams have against Spain, they have the best player on the pitch in Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo and the Spanish team are well acquainted with one another with Ronaldo being a dominant force for Real Madrid in La Liga.
It has been reported that Spain will man mark Ronaldo throughout the match, something that is quite common for Ronaldo to face; however, Spain is a different animal.
If Spain is allowed to dominate possession in their attacking third as they almost always do, I just don’t see Portugal beating them. There is just too much experience for the Portuguese to overcome here. Ronaldo needs to score for Portugal to win, there are just more options at Spain’s disposal.
Spain 1 Portugal 0 (The typical Spanish scoreline)
Spain 19/20, Draw 23/10, Portugal 7/2
A match between two sides who make a living in this stage of international competitions.
This time is somewhat different though which Germany being a dominant side who was widely tabbed at being on of the favorites of this competition while due to the match fixing scandal in Italy there was talk before the tournament that Italy might withdraw from the competition.
Germany has been very good so far in this tournament, but they still haven’t reached their peak. If Italy was more efficient in front of goal in this tournament they very well might be favorites in this match.
Both of these sides are much more free-flowing than they’ve been in the past. Germany has more overall talent in their squad, but Italy is more dependable in the back. For a team that has won a nation’s record 15 straight competitive internationals, Germany does allow an awful lot of goals (somehow they allowed two to Greece in the quarterfinals).
If these Germans are misfiring in front of goal this will give Italy the opportunity they need to defeat them. The Germans will not keep a clean sheet in this match.
I don’t see the Italians scoring more than once, but the Germans are very capable of scoring 3 or 4 if they are efficient in front of goal.
I am very interested to see what the German starting XI will look like tomorrow (whether Ruus or Klose will get the start tomorrow after their solid quarterfinal showings)
I think these Germans are on a mission and will get to another major final.
Germany 2 Italy 1
Germany 10/11, Draw 12/5, Italy 7/2
This was a pretty easy one to pick. The Lakers and the Celtics have 16 and 17 titles respectively which represents 33 of the 65 NBA championships. The Lakers and the Celtics rivalry started with the 1959 NBA Finals with the Celtics winning the NBA title in a four game sweep. In the postseason the Lakers and Celtics has faced off in 12 series (all in the finals) which the Celtics winning 9 out of the 12; however the Lakers have won three of the past four.
These two franchises are the two most storied in the NBA having more hall of famers than any other franchise. Great Celtics who have had their number retired include: Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, John Havlicek, Tommy Heinson. K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, and many others; a total of 33 people who have ties with the Celtics are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, more than any other team. Great Lakers who have had their number retied include: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, and James Worth; a total of 23 people who have ties with the Lakers are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
I have to admit I am very biased here. I am a die hard Yankee fan. The Yankees are the most successful baseball team in terms of World Series titles BY FAR. The Yankees and the Red Sox have had a rivalry ever since Babe Ruth was sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees which started the legendary “Curse of the Bambino.” The Red Sox between 1918 to 2004, a total of 86 years, the Sox did not win a single World Series title while the Yankees won 26. However, it all changed in 2004 when the Red Sox became the baseball only team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit and win the series. This lead the Red Sox to winning the 2o04 title and the 2007 title. Over the past 15 years the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry has become the center of baseball with both team being penennial World Series contenders.
In the regular season the Yankees have won 1,132 games to the Red Sox 954. In the postseason they’ve only faced off in three series (all the ALCS) with the Yankees winning two of the three series. Both teams have had many players who are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Yankees have 16 people who have their number retired including: Billy Martin, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Roger Maris, Thurman Munson, Whitey Ford, Don Mattingly, Elston Howard, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Casey Stengel, and Jackie Robinson. The Red Sox have ten numbers retired including: Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, and Jackie Robinson.
1980-1989: San Francisco 49ers/New York Giants
I don’t feel like going any further…
This was an easy pick. These are currently the two best club teams in the world. Both are based in Spain. There are the #1 and #2 earning clubs in the world. There players and fans have an intense dislike/hatred towards one another which stems from regional ties. The rivalry intensified following the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. El Clasico’ is the game which all football fans clamor are eager to see because of the immense talent of the players on the pitch, the intensity of the game, and the bragging rights.
I am not going to list all of the great players for these squads because that’d take way too long.
|Head to Head Matches|
|Copa del Rey||14||10||6|
|Spanish Super Cup||3||5||2|
|UEFA Champions Leagues||2||3||3|
|Copa del Rey||25||18|
|Supercopa De Espana||10||8|
|Other Domestic Titles||5||2|
|European Cup/UEFA Champions League||4||9|
|UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League||0||2|
|UEFA Cup Winners Cup||4||0|
|UEFA Super Cup||4||1|
|FIFA Club World Cup||2||0|