Euro 2012: Knockout Stage Predictions

Are the French your surprise pick?

Remember to post your predictions in the comment section so you will be included in the final Euro leaderboard! The leaderboard will be a combination of predictions from the group stage and the knockout stage, but the knockout round predictions will be weighted more heavily. On to my predictions!

Quarter-Finals:

Czech Republic vs. Portugal: I see this match going in two possible directions. The first possibility that I see is that the Czech Republic come out with a surprisingly attack-minded formation led by Tomas Rosicky who has been good in the tournament so far. If this happens, I expect Portugal to feast on a sub-par back four and put the game away early by playing like Russia on the counter attack. However, a more likely scenario in this match is that the Czechs will park the bus and get the game to extra time. Even if the Czech Republic do this, I still envision a late Pepe header finishing them off.

Verdict: Portugal

Spain vs. France: This match should be brilliant. Both teams are rich with creativity and attacking ability and it seems that the winner will come from the team that can coolly put away their chances. Even though Spain have often been criticized for their finishing woes, they have scored at least one goal in every match this tournament. Both teams will probably come out a bit tense and rigid, but after the opening goal things should loosen up. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Benzema sends Spain home early.

Verdict: France

Germany vs. Greece: Germany are way too disciplined to concede to a weak Greek squad and Gomez should be able to slot home at least one of the many sitters he gets every game.

Verdict: Germany

Italy vs. England: Both of these teams are in good form at the moment, and both teams will be hoping to get something from wild-card players in this intriguing match. For England, the wild-card is Wayne Rooney, who could easily lead his team to victory if he plays at his best. Italy's wild-card is Mario Balotelli (although he might not start), a player who we've all seen be magical and idiotic in the span of ten minutes. I think that although Italy possesses the superior midfield, Hodgson's boys will find a way to the semis.

Verdict: England

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Semi-Finals:

Portugal vs. France: The French will be able to frustrate Ronaldo by cutting of his supply line, and they'll see their way to victory by generally tormenting Portugal's midfield.

Verdict: France

Germany vs. England: In a rematch from the last World Cup, Germany wins easily again with solid defending and good chemistry leading to goals.

Verdict: Germany

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Final:

France vs. Germany: This match up has the look of a real grinder, with both teams trying harder not to lose rather than trying to win. I'm going with the upset with France winning on penalties.

Verdict: France wins Euro 2012

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