This is what I wrote pre-tournament:
The knockout rounds
QF 1: Russia vs Netherlands (Netherlands to advance)
QF 2: Germany vs Poland (Germany to advance)
QF 3: Spain vs England (Spain to advance)
QF 4: France vs Ireland (France to advance)
Yes, all top four seeds to go through. Pretty predictable – which means upsets are sure to come.
Spain beats Netherlands in SF1 and Germany beats France in SF2 with Germany beating Spain in the finals.
The current odds have Spain and Germany more or less even at around 3/1, with the Netherlands around 6/1, France at 10/1 and England and Italy at about 15/1. The dark horse in this tournament is the Netherlands (if you can call them a dark horse as the third best team), while my upset pick is Portugal (which at 20/1 is “well worth a flutter” as the Brits put it). The Player of Euro 2012 will be Mesut Ozil.
Now that we know what’s happened, I had only 4 out of 8 quarter finalists correct and only two positions correct i.e. that Spain and Germany would win their groups. Of all of the upsets, I would say the Czech Republic winning Group A is the biggest and at this stage I feel like other than the Czech Republic and Greece, any of the other six teams can win Euro 2012. While Germany has won all 3 games and Spain has won 2 and drawn 1, neither has shown that they are runaway winners. With a chance to step up and display their class before the knockout rounds, both teams were potentially on course to get knocked out of the tournament with 10 minutes to go in their last match. Not championship confirming credentials. That said, they are both on course and still my picks to get to the final and Germany is still the tournament favorite in my book.
The UPDATED knockout rounds
QF 1: Czech Republic vs Portugal (Portugal to advance)
QF 2: Germany vs Greece (Germany to advance)
QF 3: Spain vs France (Spain to advance)
QF 4: England vs Italy (Italy to advance)
Any of the eight teams can win their quarterfinal match. It’s that close. However, I think the only one that isn’t a stone cold lock in my book is England vs Italy with the Italians probably slightly favored in this encounter.
Spain beats England in SF1 and Germany beats Portugal in SF2 with Germany beating Spain in the finals.
That said, don’t be surprised if Portugal wins this tournament and England gets to the finals. Portugal was my upset pick pre tournament and as long as Pepe and Bruno Alves don’t pick up two yellow cards before the final, they can absolutely beat Germany and get to the finals where they can get past Spain, England or France. The one team they will struggle against may be Italy. The Player of Euro 2012 so far has been… no one. Pilar, Pepe, Mario Gomez, Karagounis, Iniesta, Benzema, Gerrard and Pirlo have all been huge for their teams, but this is the time for the big guns to step up. I think an odds on bet now would suggest a Real Madrid player will be the player of the tournament with Ozil, Ronaldo and Benzema all going to have to be huge for their teams to win Euro 2012. I still like Ozil to be this Euros’ Xavi – though if Ozil does his job for Germany, it will be Mario Gomez in a landslide as top goal scorer and player of the tournament.