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1st Semi Final: Germany v Turkey – pre game prediction

Why Germany should win:

  • They are great at set pieces. Ballack has scored the only free kick in the tournament and Podolski and Schweinsteiger are also good strikers of the ball. They are strong in the air and have scored two goals off set pieces against a supposedly strong Portugese defense where Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air.
  • This is the knockout stage and the Germans traditionally get stronger as the tournament starts getting to the business end of it.
  • Ballack has now scored two straight winners. Look out. Klose is off the mark too.
  • Schweinsteiger had a hand in all three goals against Portugal. While Turkey is not Portugal, he has now had a hand in six goals against a strong Portugal side in the last two matches. His drive was missing in their games against Croatia and Austria. Now you can count on Podolski and Bastian to provide energy from the wings.
  • Loew is back on the sideline.
  • Turkey is decimated (they would be happy with a decimation – this is a thirdamation) by injuries and suspensions. It’s a bit much to have your entire starting attacking trio be out for the match – Nihat, Tuncay and Turan – along with your starting central defense and goalkeeper. It might not be a good thing to be captain of Turkey – first Emre and now Nihat are out with injuries.
  • By now they know that you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to concentrate against Turkey from minute 87 till the final whistle… and then keep playing for another 30 seconds to make sure the ref actually blew the whistle.

Why Turkey should win:

  • Why ask why? Just look at the last three games. If you can beat the host nation on a lake in the last second, then have one of the best goalies in the world drop a ball for you to equalize and then score again (all in the last three minutes) and then score in injury time of overtime after conceding with a minute to go – all on fumes and with three days rest in between in each game – what barrier does Germany pose. It’s not like Der Kaiser is suited up on the other side.
  • Super sub, thy name is Semih. He has played a total of 148 minutes and put in two last minute goals. Let’s see how he does from the start.
  • Hamit Altintop (his name supposedly translates to golden ball – Beckham the singular). He had a great game once he was restored to the center of the park instead of playing at right back. He knows the German game – he regularly tangles with Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Jansen, Klose and Podolski in practice at Bayern Munich. He has nothing to lose and one of his blasts is due.
  • I think the stadium will look like a Turkey home game.
  • Turkey should win, because the underdog seems to be winning most of the time at this tournament.

CH12 believes that Germany will win. Turkey has just too many injuries and the adrenalin will wear off when they find themselves two down and without the firepower to bring themselves back into it. Also, they will not be able to deal with the German height on set pieces. Whoever scores first in this game will win.

Pre-game prediction: Germany 3 Turkey 1

I would like to see Turkey win, though. Maybe they will come back from being two down with three sets of penalty kicks to go…

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Portugal v Germany – post game

CH12, this is the Germans we are talking about. Look at the history, son. OK, so I am going to put in my comments in bullet fashion.

Portugal wins. Germany wins.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo. Like he isn’t already motivated, Lehmann fires him up even more by saying that he knows his weakness since Arsenal has had great success against him over the last few years. I guess they must know something. Actually, packing the midfield and having Portugal not get him the ball enough was an issue. Also, Nuno Gomes is past the sell by date. Maybe Almeida or Postiga should have come on earlier.
  2. Portugal has pace on the wings – the German midfield and back four are just too slow. They couldn’t control Korkmaz properly. How exactly are they going to keep up with Simao, Ronaldo, Moutinho along with Nani and Quaresma off the bench? Short answer, they did. A lot has to do with going 2 up and then being able to stick with five in midfield to deal with the wing pressure.
  3. Germany has lacked drive in the middle of the park. IF Ballack plays well and IF Schweinsteiger shows the drive he was starting to display before his red card against Croatia, then Germany may have a chance – don’t forget that Bastian had a hat trick against Portugal in the 3rd place match at World Cup 2006. But I think the extra time that Deco should get against the German midfield – especially if Frings is out – is going to kill Germany. Ballack did play well. Schweinsteiger DID show the drive and the five man midfield didn’t give Portugal enough time or space.
  4. Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air. Bet Gomez doesn’t start. So it’s going to be tougher for Klose to win aerial battles. Germany’s chance is going to come from one twos between Podolski and Klose. Also, whoever is coming down the right wing needs to put pressure on Ferreira – he’s the weak link. Too bad Lahm plays on the left. Maybe Loew should switch him to right back to get the matchup. I don’t know what to say when Portugal gives up two goals from headers off free kicks. Carvalho was to blame for switching off Ballack for the third goal (Ricardo too – what kind of weak attempt was that?) and Ronaldo was hanging out for Klose’s goal. Ferreira was the weak link – he was beaten on Schweinsteiger’s near post run for the first goal and unfairly got victimized by Ballack for the third goal. Shocking to me was how easily Podolski held off, and actually accelerated past, Bosingwa and Pepe on the left wing before crossing for the first goal. Carvalho was jogging back and marking grass while Ferreira let Schweinsteiger come all the way across the box and get in front of him for the finish.
  5. Germany hasn’t played well since the first half against Poland. Nothing to say.
  6. Portugal is well rested with their starters having had a week off between games. Germany had to labor through 90 minutes a few days ago against Austria and Podolski is supposedly banged up. Frings did sit out but the extra man in midfield helped. And Bastian was off for a week as well…!

However, this is the Germans, so don’t ever count them out. Especially if Portugal doesn’t get Ronaldo the ball on the wing enough. Like I said…

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Germany 1

Result: Portugal 2 Germany 3

Scorers: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Michael Ballack (Germany) Nuno Gomes, Helder Postiga (Portugal)

Man of the match will be Deco… Man of the match was Schweinsteiger with a goal, two assists and tons of energy.

Ronaldo – this is what happens when you start thinking about leaving Man U for Real Madrid. I think it’s 50/50 that he goes – it will come down to whether or not Man U gives him his raise.

Hopefully, CH12 is better in the Croatia v Turkey game. Croatia is my horse in that race…

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Portugal v Germany Quarter final: pre-game prediction

Portugal wins.  No prose.  Going with the bullets.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo.  Like he isn’t already motivated, Lehmann fires him up even more by saying that he knows his weakness since Arsenal has had great success against him over the last few years.
  2. Portugal has pace on the wings – the German midfield and back four are just too slow.  They couldn’t control Korkmaz properly.  How exactly are they going to keep up with Simao, Ronaldo, Moutinho along with Nani and Quaresma off the bench?
  3. Germany has lacked drive in the middle of the park.  IF Ballack plays well and IF Schweinsteiger shows the drive he was starting to display before his red card against Croatia, then Germany may have a chance – don’t forget that Bastian had a hat trick against Portugal in the 3rd place match at World Cup 2006.  But I think the extra time that Deco should get against the German midfield – especially if Frings is out – is going to kill Germany.
  4. Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air.  Bet Gomez doesn’t start.  So it’s going to be tougher for Klose to win aerial battles.  Germany’s chance is going to come from one twos between Podolski and Klose.  Also, whoever is coming down the right wing needs to put pressure on Ferreira – he’s the weak link.  Too bad Lahm plays on the left.  Maybe Loew should switch him to right back to get the matchup.
  5. Germany hasn’t played well since the first half against Poland.
  6. Portugal is well rested with their starters having had a week off between games.  Germany had to labor through 90 minutes a few days ago against Austria and Podolski is supposedly banged up.

However, this is the Germans, so don’t ever count them out.  Especially if Portugal doesn’t get Ronaldo the ball on the wing enough.

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Germany 1

Man of the match will be Deco…

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Portugal vs Czech Republic – post game

Portugal won. Scolari still hasn’t told his guys how to play with Ronaldo – he still had to start coming deep and floating to the middle to get the ball. Deco had a better game with a goal and a brilliantly threaded assist (Moutinho regressed) and Ronaldo did finally score. It was a brilliant strike – there were five players in and around him when he struck in through the legs of the defender.  This was not going to be a walkover and it wasn’t. Pepe and Carvalho played average and Bosingwa and Ferreira had subpar games. The Czechs did play better – Baros up front instead of Koller gave Portugal fits in the first half. Sionko did eat Ferreira’s lunch a few times, including on the move that lead to the corner from which he scored and on another move early in the second half when his cut back pass flashed across the goal.  Too bad they didn’t go to him on the right wing more often. 

Portugal’s player of the match was easily Ronaldo with the goal and assist on Ricardo Quaresma’s injury time open net goal.  He also had a few blistering shots that Cech blocked.  Final rant to Big Phil – stop playing Simao.  He hasn’t done much in the last two games and you have Nani or Quaresma as a direct, quicker and better wing replacement.  On top of that, the man takes the short free kicks away from Ronaldo.  Enough already.  This isn’t Benfica or Atletico Madrid.  Also, Phil, (not a rant so it’s okay) you might want to start Almeida as Nuno Gomes is not doing enough up front.

Ronaldo – isn’t it much easier when you have Rooney, Tevez, Scholes and Giggs playing up front with you with their pace, movement, skill and the defensive attention they take off of you?  Not as easy now is it – and it will get harder against the Germans?  Lucky for you it’s going to be in the semi.  Portgual looking good so far to win the tournament as predicted.

Sionko was the player of the game for the Czechs.  Pity he couldn’t get his second header to stay down and couldn’t get his head on Ujfalusi’s header across the goal from the late corner. 

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Czech 1

Result: Portugal 3 Czech 1

Scorers: Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal) Libor Sionko (Czech)

CH12 is off to a good start for the day with the CR7 scores call and the Sionko uber Ferreira call (sorry, I don’t have the Czech equivalent of uber – so you will probably see it tomorrow as well)

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Group A second round predictions – Portugal v Czech Republic, Switzerland v Turkey

Portugal wins. Scolari will finally tell his guys how to play with Ronaldo – get him the ball as often as you can and then move around and leave him in space as much as you can. Deco and Moutinho will have better games and Ronaldo will finally score. However, it IS big Petr Cech in goal and bigger Jan Koller at the other end, so this is not going to be a walkover. Pepe and Carvalho are going to have to get on their pogo sticks. The Czechs will play better, but Portugal will put a lot more pressure on them than the Swiss (and the Swiss put a lot on them as it is). The Czechs need to start Baros or Sverkos alongside Koller. Also, I think a key mismatch that the Czechs can capitalize on is on the right wing. Paulo Ferreira is overrated and is playing out of position at left back – Sionko needs to eat his lunch and get those crosses in to Koller. This is going to be the best game in group A.

I hope the Swiss win against the Turks. My gut says that Nihat and Tuncay have better games and the Turks will score. Will Switzerland be able to respond with two goals without Frei? I don’t think so, but I think their will gets them a goal – so this is a scoring draw.

Pre-game predictions:

Portugal 2 Czech Republic 1

Switzerland 1 Turkey 1

Second round of group play, here we come. Now there is no room for error….

People – let me know if you are digging CH12 (way better than CR7 or CP3, no?) …

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