Clash of the Titans simple as – just the 12 major championship titles between them. Europe’s two most successful countries do battle – BRING IT ON!!!!!!!
As routine as routine gets that was how I’d described Germany’s dismantling of Slovakia in their round of 16 clash. The German’s are now purring nicely. The Slovakian tactic used successfully against England of keeping the opposition out was blown to bits after 7 minutes when Jerome Boateng’s drilled shot nestled in the corner. A penalty followed soon after, which was missed, but it didn’t matter really the die was cast. The second duly came just before half time via Mario Gomez after some excellent work on the left by Julian Draxler and then the youngster himself sealed the game with a third just after the hour mark. It could so easily have been 5,6,7+ but a mixture of profligate finsishing and excellent goalkeeping from the Slovakian keeper, Matúš Kozácik. kept the score to just 3 goals. It is hard to gauge whether this is the performance that will drive the world champions onto a real push for the title as the Slovaks are a very average team but you can only beat what is put in front of you and the way they have done it should send a chill down every team left in the competition.
So the reign of Spain at the European Championships is over. Croatia softened them up in their previous match and Italy dealt the knockout blow with a 2-0 win at the Stade de France. The Azzuri were right on task against the defending champions, dominating the game, and if it was not for Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea, then the scorleine could and maybe should have resembled the 4-0 defeat from the 2012 final. Revenge duly got. It was another tactical master class from Antonio Conte, his intense nature is working wonders, and despite hanging on a bit at the end (Buffon made a brilliant save at 1-0, then Pelle went up the pitch to score their 2nd goal in stoppage time) they were worthy winners against a sorry Spain outfit who lacked ideas. Italy will now be looking to add a second European Championships to their trophy cabinet.
So what is going to happen in Bordeaux. Two heavyweights clashing, with the remarkable stat being that Germany have NEVER beaten Italy in a competitive game at a major tournament. However with Danielle De Rossi a major doubt and Thiago Motta his like for like replacement suspended, Conte has a big decision to make. If De Rossi does play he is unlikely to be 100% fit so I think the Germans have a good chance of breaking their hoodoo. It may take extra time but 2-1 to the Germans as they look to make it 4 European Championships to add to their 4 World Cups.
There will be daily predictions on Euro 2016 and comment as and when I get the opportunity to pass on my take on the goings on in the tournament – enjoy – let me know your thoughts.
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