There’s a sense of the inevitable about the last four in Euro 2012, and while this should ensure that quality will prevail, the competition has a slight tinge of the predictable about it.
A couple of early surprises deprived the competition’s latter stages of Russia and the Netherlands, but the knockout part of Euro 2012 has been pretty much true to form.
But let’s not worry too much about that. We have two potentially excellent semi-finals. The Iberian derby should be interesting. Spain have eased their way through the competition, passing frenetically.
It has become a little dull to watch, however. A comment like that might seem a little ungrateful, but Spain’s ruthless efficiency is not lifting bums off seats in anticipation.
Portugal, on the other hand, are almost a one-man team. If Ronaldo gets the better of the Spanish defence, then Madrid ought to worry. If they shackle him, which is possible, then Spain could eventually wear down their neighbours.
The Portuguese midfield has got better by the game in this competition and they could hold their own against Spain’s posessionistas.
So, I am going to stick my neck out and predict a 1-0 win for Portugal. I have a feeling that Ronaldo is on a mission not unlike Diego Maradona in Mexico ’86.
And who will they play in the final? It has to be Germany. They have not quite clicked into full gear yet, but they have won all four of their games – the only team to do so.
Germany are unlikely to give Italy’s Andrea Pirlo as much room as England afforded him.
His audacious penalty will remain one of the abiding images of Euroe 2012. Look for Mesut Ozil to hang around the veteran midfielder and prevent him from dominating the game. Bastian Schweinsteiger looks like he will be fit after shrugging off an ankle injury, so Germany will be at full strength.
Germany should have too much for Italy, so I am going for a 2-0 win for Joachim Loew’s men. So it’s Portugal v Germany for the final in Kiev, a repeat of the group game. You heard it here first.
The road to the last four
Germany L 0-1, Denmark W3-2, Netherlands W2-1, QF – Czech Republic W1-0
Italy D1-1, Ireland W4-0, Croatia W1-0, QF – France W2-0
Portugal W1-0, Netherlands W2-1, Denmark W2-1, QF – Greece W4-2
Spain D1-1, Croatia D1-1, Ireland W2-0, QF – England D0-0 (won on pens)