It seems like the first thing we need to discuss in pre-match prognostications at these championships is who is doubtful or out. For the Spain v Russia game, Villa is coming off an injury and Iniesta is recovering from food poisoning. Andrei Arshavin is suspended for the game and striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is out for the championships with a knee injury – Arshavin, the playmaker, is a huge loss for Russia. For Sweden, the biggest question mark is if, and for how long, Ibrahimovic’s knee holds up. Anyone watching the last game of the Serie A season should have no doubt that he is a game changing one of a kind striker – to come off a long layoff and deliver a scudetto winning double in the second half is beyond absurd.
To the CH12 (Ronaldo’s not the only one who can come up with a mnemonic – besides CH12 sounds a lot wiser than a CR7. Be glad it’s not a Prince-like symbol) crystal ball. Russia plays some pretty, almost Dutch like total, football. However, without Arshavin, it’s going to be tough though Sychev is a good player. Having said that, and even though Puyol and Marchena aren’t the swiftest in the middle of the Spanish defense, I pick Spain to win this. Don’t be surprised by a scoring draw (sooner or later SOME GAME is going to have both teams score) but I think Torres and Villa will get it done and maybe Ramos will score on a header off a set piece. Watch the goalkeeping as Casillas and Akinfeev or Malafeev are really good keepers.
Sweden and Greece should be an entertaining game. I think the Greeks aren’t as defensively solid as in 2004 and so there will be goals. Sweden wins this with one of the Larssons scoring – Henrik is a personal favorite.
Spain 2 Russia 1
Sweden 2 Greece 0