How many times I should start by saying I am no Nostradamus? But I know you. You want to hear me say it so I can be axed later on, so here it is: Spain 3-1 Italy.
Now let the fireworks start. No? How about the following:
The match will be EYEGASMIC
Xavi and Pirlo in one game is a treat for every football lover
Buffon vs Casillas: First time in the history of Euro Finals where the two captains are the goalkeepers
Balotelli and Torres (if he started): The show of moody and if I may say, arrogant, strikers
Spain to redeem respect and remain faithful to its style
Italy’s defence misses the likes of Nesta
I have nothing to preview on the tactics and the game itself. I will not say that Pirlo alone is taking the Italians to glory. I will not believe that Spain is boring. I will not say I am afraid of the explosive Balotelli or the awesome Iniesta. I just want to see EYEGASMIC football before football goes into a month and a half of rest.
Four more days, four more teams, and the Euro 2012 will be decided. Portugal vs Spain and Germany vs Italy are the two games of the semi finals stage before we know who will compete on the final day.
Many previews are online and offline. Just type “euro 2012″ in any search engine and you will get better ideas than the one you are reading now. I am not here to analyze tactics and predict scores. In here, and in this post, I have a couple of things to say:
If Portugal qualifies to the final game, Cristiano Ronaldo will win the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012; Messi second, Iniesta or anyone else third. If they don’t, Messi will win it among huge controversy.
Spain will remain faithful to their style, but refereeing might be one factor to decide their remaining games.
Germany might dominate Italy, tiredness is one thing that the Italians are suffering from.
Defence line of the Germans is not as solid, yet, Hummels is, so far.
Balotelli can be the new hero if he managed to score. He’s been wasteful.
Whatever happens, and whoever wins, football is the one on the losing end, as we have to wait over a month to see some European football action after the Euro. Don’t tell me the Olympics will make up for the emptiness. I want real football action. What is real for me might never be offered anytime soon.
No relevance? I don’t think so. He wins we hail. End.
The last day of Group Stage of the Euro 2012 is easier on the mind when it comes to the permutations and possibilities of who will qualify in case of what. The favorites as it is now are England and France, with the latter as group leaders. Yet, Ukraine can still cause havoc and earn a qualification. Here are the scenarios (and keep in mind that Sweden is already eliminated):
If England win, then England and France qualify regardless of the result between Sweden and France
If England draw, then England and France qualify regardless of the result between Sweden and France
If England lose and France does not lose, then Ukraine and France qualify
If England and France lose, then Ukraine qualifies, while England and France will need to calculate the final goal difference of their 3 group matches, and the side with a better result qualifies.
In case you need to complicate things more, here is goal.com table for you to get confused.
goal.com offers this table as an explanation of who can qualify in case of what
When Russia was playing Greece on the last day of the Group Stage of Euro 2012, I also got confused about the permutations and who will qualify in case of what. So do not blame yourself if you found it confusing too. It is all about the “Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2010-2012″ and more specifically section 8.07 which you can find here.
In any case, and to make things easier, here are the permutations and the scenarios that will decide the future of Italy, Holland (the Netherlands), Portugal, and Denmark, and their progress to the quarter-finals stage.
Holland (The Netherlands):
ONLY a win against Portugal will revive their chances. A draw or a loss will eliminate them.
The win is also conditional: A +2 goal difference, and a loss for Denmark against Germany.
Any change in any of these conditions will see them out.
Any win against Holland means they qualify.
A draw qualifies them only if Denmark loses to Germany.
A loss qualifies them only if Denmark loses to Germany.
A win qualifies Denmark, a loss eliminates them
A draw qualifies Denmark only if Holland beats Portugal
Any win against Ireland AND a 0-0 draw for Croatia and Spain, qualifies Italy
A +2 goal difference win (except 2-0) AND a 1-1 draw for Croatia and Spain, qualifies Italy
Any win against Ireland AND a 2-2 draw for Croatia and Spain, eliminates Italy
A loss or a draw eliminates Italy.
I hope this explained all the scenarios in a simple manner, and please let me know if you had any more questions or things to clarify. If you are not yet sure, here is a link for the standings, and you are welcome to make your oqn permutations.
Italy is afraid that Spain draws Croatia 2-2, but does Italy deserve to qualify?
Today, the last round of group stage will kick off for the Euro 2012. Out of the 16 teams, only Ireland and Sweden have no chance to reach the quarter-finals stage. The remaining 14 teams have hopes, but not equal chances, to make it through this stage.
Rumors, conspiracy theories, and diabolic plots are the talk of Europe. I believe in none. It is all down to the teams themselves. Even the Netherlands, who sits at bottom of Group B with ZERO points, still has a chance to make it. Here are some points before tonight’s kick-off:
Favorites to qualify as of the moment: Russia, Germany, Spain, and France
Conspiracy looms over: Denmark vs Germany AND Spain vs Croatia
Match to watch: Portugal vs Netherlands AND Poland vs Czech Republic
Players to prove a point: Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Torres, Robbben (if they started)
Match Score to predict: None – But do not be surprised when Italy scores more than 2 goals against Ireland
The Top Scorers of Euro 2012 by the end of the second round of Group Stage
Euro 2012 kicked off today, and co-hosts Poland earned 1 point after drawing Greece 1-1. The match witnessed 2 red cards and a missed penalty. In the same group, Russia thrashed Czech Republic 4-1 and went top of the group.
There is nothing bigger than Euro 2012 to anticipate in the next few days. Kick off will be on June 08 and the world will be watching. Unless you are an anti-football person, you will schedule your day-to-day tasks around the time of the matches. For the first stage, games will kick off at 16:00 GMT and 18:45 GMT.
However, the timing of the Euro, as a tournament, will clash with some football games from around the globe (friendly and official games). It might not be that important for Euro enthusiasts but a matter of life and death for many millions as those games are considered crucial. I will not start pointing fingers at FIFA and UEFA and blaming them for such a conflict and I will not start a debate whether these games are bigger than the Euro or not, but I will only share the facts and the clash of timings.
Keep in mind that I always say “Never Mind The Friendlies,” but Brazil vs Argentina, for example is a World Cup by itself. Other games like Qatar vs Korea Republic are official games for the World Cup 2014 Qualifiers.
Clash of the timings: Some are already laughing while others know what this table is all about (click the table to enlarge).
I was invited by a friend to meet and greet Bacary Sagna, of Arsenal and France. If you do not know it already, Sagna is currently injured and is ruled out of the France Squad for the Euro 2012.
This is the crutch that Bacary Sagna is still using to aid him walking
Sagna is visiting Dubai, UAE, and the partner of Nara Cafe (location here) told me about the visit and asked me to come and meet him. I went there with my friend, and had one question on my mind: “Will you join Chelsea?”
I arrived there and saw some fans with their Arsenal jerseys queuing for a chance to meet him too. I waited for the crowds to go away before I approached him. He shook my hand with a smile and gladly posed for a couple of photos with me. He also accepted to hold the FIGO29 name after I explained to him what it is. Then came the moment of truth. I asked him: Will you leave Arsenal for Chelsea? The surprise was what he replied with: “Well… *laughs* I can not say no *laughs again.*” I then told him: Rumor has it that you and Walcott will join Chelsea. He laughed again and said: I do not know about Walcott.
Bacary Sagna and FIGO29
In conclusion, it was a nice opportunity to meet Sagna, but I am still thinking of the meaning of his answers. Will he or will he not join Chelsea.