Euro Cup 2012 Finals Prediction and Analysis

Posted: June 30, 2012 by gd2525 in Pro Sports, Uncategorized
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by Salvatore Eppolito

After a little less than a month of excitement, Euro 2012 is coming to a close.

A thrilling finale is set between World Champion and European title holders Spain and an expectation exceeding Italy.

The two are familiar with one another after having met in the opening match of the group stage where they finished with one goal apiece. There is quite a buzz brewing about this match-up, and many are expecting a thrilling, if not entertaining final.

With Spain arguably the best international squad ever to set foot on a pitch and Italy finally piecing together a young exciting squad, expectations should be met.

The two finalists have given us different stories on their way to the final. First, let’s discuss Spain.

Coming into the tournament, the Spanish were still the favorites to lift the cup in many people’s eyes, but there was no doubt there was something missing from the sides that have elegantly dominated football the past four years.

They were still keeping possession every match while creating multiple chances and winning, but they look as if their time at the top is up. They are in a sense, beatable now.

Injuries to their best striker, David Villa, and best defender, Carles Puyol, put a dent in the squad.

Not to mention other attacking players like David Silva and Fernando Torres have been in a slump recently, especially Torres.

However, with that mentioned, Spain topped their group drawing the Italians and beating Ireland and Croatia. They then managed to beat a flustered and aggravated France team that found more controversy in the quarterfinals.

In the semi final, Spain was their usual self against Iberian neighbors Portugal, possessing the ball and showing composure.

The Portuguese kept up with Spain for the whole match and could have easily been sent packing if it wasn’t for some tactical errors on Portugal’s part during the penalty shootout that decided the game.

I’m not trying to say that Spain does not deserve to be in the final, but it was very close to not happening.

I will be the first to admit that I did not give this Italy squad a chance at all in this tournament.

Of all my predictions in all of their matches so far, I only had them beating the Irish. Having watched how they played in the months up to the Euro, they looked like a young team in transition desperate to find chemistry and a new leader to bring them together.

They honestly looked bad in multiple games before hand, and I know for a fact many Italian fans were worried about this squad. But they figured out their problems.

They are figuring out ways to win and doing it in an untraditional sense of positive possession football, behind the brilliant leadership of Andrea Pirlo (who has had a spectacular tournament), the attacking force of the controversial yet fantastic Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano, a sound defense with Giorgio Chiellini and the converted defender Danielle De Rossi, and finally the legendary Gi Gi Buffon have all been amazing for Italy.

This team is by no means as talented as their 2006 world champion side, but the one thing they have in common is how many of their players are in form and playing great.

They are getting results, some prettier than others, but they are doing it and it has them extremely confident.

My pre-tournament pick for champion, as mentioned in other posts, was Germany.

They breezed through the group stage and quarterfinals to face Italy in the semifinal match. I gave the Italians no chance.

I felt they were a young and new team going up against a powerhouse machine that will dominant world football for years to come.

This Euro squad is Germany’s Golden Generation that will finally bring silverware back to their country for the first time since 96, one that would eclipse the years of Germany’s dominance in the 70’s. But they choked, again, late in a tournament.

They weren’t outplayed, but they made two costly defensive mistakes that the Italians superbly took advantage of.

In any era, going down two nil verse the Italians is a death sentence. It is in their blood to sit on leads, and they did just that.

Italy not only fairly beat Germany, but they shut me up and changed my view on their future.

I have strong opinions of the Italian team, being an avid supporter of the United States; I view Italy as a rival, a feeling that has grown since their meetings in 2006 and the 2009 Confederations Cup, and not to mention the story behind Giuseppe Rossi.

I try my best not to be bias towards them, because I respect their history, but even with my feelings towards them aside, they have shut me up.

So with all that said, it’s now prediction time.

I went 0 for 2 in the semifinals, having predicted a Portuguese upset and German domination.

Seeing as the international game is so unpredictable, I have a strong belief in my prediction for the final.

As I mentioned, I have strong feelings about Italy, but this team is exceeding expectations. They are playing as a team, have many inform players, and are confident, especially after beating Germany.

That coupled with the fact this Spain team is kind of averagely performing in Euro 2012 will result in Italy being crowned European Champions.

As hard as it was to say, I feel this team just cannot lose at the moment. Spain has had a knack for putting out strange formations and it has cost them.

In their group stage match up, Italy outplayed Spain in the first half and some of the second, only to tire out and concede a goal for the draw.

They have played many games since then and are ready to finish the job Sunday.

2-1 Italy.

This Sunday will be pretty important in a historical standpoint.

Whatever the result, we will witness the undeniable end of an era for Spain and the beginning of one with Italy.

I’m not saying Spain will we bad for now on and Italy unbeatable, but Spain’s time at the top is over and a new generation of Italian players will forever change the style and reputation of their storied Azzurri.

An exciting final awaits and will draw the curtains down on a great tournament.

Just one last thing: the two finalists theoretically are the two best teams in Europe right now.

They fought through the tournament and deserve to be there. With that being said, there has only been one team that has beaten both Italy and Spain in the past four years… The United States.


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