So earlier today Podcast Guy aka “ScareCrow” posted his Euro 2012 Preview and Predictions blog. I was pretty pumped that he volunteered to blog about the Euro Tournament because that meant I didn’t have to…or so I thought. His picks were just absurd and left me having to clean up his mess so the blog doesn’t look internationally stupid. So Podcast Guy, I think you’re a great guy, but you’ve got soccer knowledge like an effing dickhead. Nice try, it’s the thought that counts.
I am not going sit here and claim to be a soccer expert, but I know more than probably 99% of the American population so I guess that does kind of make me an expert. I also know how to pick winners. Always have, always will. So here are the only Euro 2012 picks you’ll ever need.
Group A: Poland, Greece, Russia,and Czech Republic
By far the weakest group as there are no real championship contenders. Russia is the most talented, but also enigmatic. Greece will play a style so boring that you’ll gladly turn on bowling instead of watching them. Czech’s are old. Poland is the home nation hero, but probably less talented than the Czechs. I think Russia is advancing and then it’s a toss-up for second place. I’ll give the edge to the home team. Advancing: 1st Russia, 2nd Poland.
Group B: Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Portugal
Group of Death by a mile. Three traditional powers and a strong Danish team. Denmark is 10th in the current FIFA World Rankings, but those are complete bullshit. The Danes will be competitive, but I doubt the get a result. Easiest last place pick in the tournament. Portugal has loads of talent, but I don’t think they are tough enough to bang with the Germans or the Dutch. Germany and Holland will be a classic group stage match and the winner will take the group crown. Advancing: 1st Germany, 2nd Netherlands
Group C: Spain, Ireland, Italy, Croatia
This is a tough group for me because there is so much emotion involved. I LOVE Ireland and I DESPISE Italy. Not just the soccer teams, but everything about the two nations. The Irish like to drink, sing, dance, have fun, and are tough. The Italians have too many stereotypes that bother me to list so I am just going to stick to the fact that I hate they way they play soccer. They dive, cheat, whine, and slow the game down. At the end of the day…it doesn’t matter because neither are advancing. Ireland is coached by an Italian(barf) and he doesn’t let his young stars shine. Italy is in a transition phase as they weed out older stars. Spain is the clear favorite in the group as defending world champs and Croatia has a lot of skill as well. My heart says Ireland, my head says…Advancing: 1st Spain, 2nd Croatia
Group D: Ukraine, France, England, Sweden
Ukraine is really only in this tournament because they are co-hosting with Poland. Ukraine is weak. To me this is the most intriguing group because it is unpredictable. England could be in HUGE trouble. Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two games(shocker), Barry is out injured, and so is Frank Lampard. Maybe this strengthens England’s resolve…or maybe it is too much to overcome as they face France and Sweden in their first two games. By the time they beat the shit out of Ukraine it might be too late. Sweden will go as far as Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes them. Zlatan is an absolute superstar and one of the best strikers in the world. That brings us to the French. I don’t know why, but I have a soft spot for the French. Always have. I think it’s probably because they hate Americans so much…it’s irresistable. Something tells me the French will actually show some pride in this tournament as they flat-out embarrassed their country in the 2010 World Cup. Advancing: 1st France, 2nd Sweden
Knockout Round Quarterfinals:
(A1) Russia vs (B2) Netherlands
In my head the Cold War is still on and I love to hate the Russians. The Russians Achilles heel is their back-end. Not a good thing when you’re playing a team as offensively gifted as the Dutch. The Brilliant Orange win this in a rout. The Pick: Netherlands
(C1) Spain vs (D2) Sweden
I think the upset alert should be on high for this game. Spain is essentially going for the three-peat as champions by following their World Cup win and defending the 2008 European Championship. Repeating is the most difficult thing to do in sports, and basically nobody ever three-peats. Not even the Patriots. Also, Spain is rumored to have some dissention within their team and if Sweden and can play great defense the Spanish might become frustrated. Then all Sweden would need is a moment of brilliance or two from Zlatan. Having said all of that…Spain wins this easily. Too much talent for Sweden. The Pick: Spain
(B1) Germany vs (A2) Poland
This matchup will be an all too familiar nightmare for the Poles. Germany invading, bombing from long-range, and probing deep past the Polish defense. Just a blitzkrieg like you read about. Poland just can’t match up with the Germans. Hopefully the home crowd can energize Poland enough to keep it close for the full 90 minutes, but in the end there is no way the Red and White defeat Germany. Getting to the knockout stage will be a good showing for the Poles. The Pick: Germany
(A1) France vs (B2) Croatia
I think if France came together enough to make it this far than they will have enough to get passed Croatia. Benzema should provide the French with the scoring touch up front that will make the difference. It’ll come down to how engaged the French are for this one, but I think they man up for the first time since Napoleon conquered Europe. The Pick: France
Knockout Round Semi-Finals
Netherlands vs Spain
REMATCH!!! The Dutch will be looking to avenge their 2010 World Cup Final defeat and Spain is again looking for the Euro-World Cup-Euro trifecta. I don’t know why, but I just have a feeling that Spain is going to get tripped up somewhere along the way and maybe this is the spot. The Dutch are certainly capable of beating Spain. The Netherlands played out of their element in the 2010 World Cup Final and I think they will get forward a little more in the rematch. The Pick: Netherlands
Germany vs France
Finally the French run into a team that will force them to be French and flat out quit. The Germans are better at every level and their midfield is possibly the strongest in the world. Germany has completed their transformation from a team that plays slow, defensive, plodding soccer who relies on set pieces to a team that is quick, creative, and talented. The Germans can beat you in every possible way. France doesn’t have a chance in this one. The Pick: Germany
Germany vs Netherlands
One of the great rivalries in all of international soccer should make for a fiercely competitive European Cup Championship. Both teams have experience and tremendous talent. However, I the Germans are a little more stingy defensively and have the edge in goal as well. The Dutch’s best chance against Germany would be to try to make it a track meet. Run up and down the field trading chances and hope Robben and Sneijder can bury more often than Ozil, Gomes, and Muller. They two teams should be plenty familiar with each given their history and the Group B contest. In the end its Die Mannschafft. The Pick: Germany
PS: I want to pick Sweden to beat Spain so badly it’s not even funny. Remember on the NHL Playoffs predictions podcast when I raved about the Kings and the Devils. I talked them both up hard style and said they both had deep runs in them. I wanted to pick them. I felt it in my plums. You can tell if you listen to the audio. But I went chalk because I am a pussy and now I really regret it. I have a feeling I will be saying the same thing about the Sweden prediction.
PPS: Miami delenda est
Double PPS: Is this the gayest mascot/logo thing ever?
Just a couple of beefed gay euro troll dolls with feux hawks. That’s about as gay as a cartoon can get.
Double Bonus PS: I have created an ESPN Euro Bracket Predictor group. Group name: Windy Citizen Sports. Password: The Chief. I don’t care who signs up and I am working on some prizes for the winner. If you need an actual invite let me know.
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