It was EPIC – Bordeaux was the scene of a heavyweight classic between Europe’s two most successful national teams and it was the Germans who overcame their tournament hoodoo against the Italians, in lets be honest a very poor quality (the main five pens anyway) penalty shootout. As a neutral it was fantastic to watch and I felt really sorry for any Germany or Italy fans having to watch. It was a superb game, the world champions deservedly took the lead midway through the second half, but then Italy came roaring back and equalised through a penalty. After this it seemed all the insecurity the Germans have in regards to playing Italy in a major tournament was out there and the Azzuri took the ascendancy but to be fair neither side deserved to win in the 120 minutes and the lottery of the pens went the way of Germany who now progress to their 9th semi-final in this competition and third in a row. The plan now will be to win the ‘whole darn thing’ and in Marseille they will be looking to make the next step to date at the Stade de France on July 10th.
HOSTS LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR HOME COMFORTS
BOOM – NOW THATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!! is what I was thinking when the French raced to a 4-0 half time lead over the Icelanders and basically secured their place in the last four. The game ended 5-2, but don’t let that scoreline fool you, it could have been far more for the French as they dominated a plucky but limited Iceland, whose tactics amounted to long balls and lots of crosses (and throws) into the French box. On occasion they did cause alarm to the hosts but they defended well enough to secure an easy victory and progress to the semi-finals. Again their attacking prowess was irresistible and if they are going to win this tournament that is what will be the difference as they are always susceptible to leaking a goal especially down the left where, veteran Patrice Evra has had a poor tournament. I’d imagine with Germany on the horizon that manager Didier Deschamps will be working on the defensive structure as you cannot give the Germans too much rope especially as the last time they played a host nation in a semi-final of a major championship they beat Brazil 1-7 in the 2014 World Cup, which they then went on to win – they don’t give any mercy and France will know that all too well.
So another heavyweight European clash. The hosts against Europe’s premier team, the world champions Germany. The two sides met in the last World Cup, a dour game that the Germans won with an early goal. France who had looked decent at that tournament but looked short in that match, never looking likely to equalise, it was a men against boys type of match. Now two years on they have an opportunity to avenge that defeat and we shall see whether they have progressed as a team. They have home advantage, attacking wise they have so many weapons and have shown they can battle, the main issue is their defence, something the Germans will look to exploit. A key element for this may well be the suspension of Matt Hummels, which will make the Germans more vulnerable at the back. I have predicted France to win this tournament, so I have to go for them really. 2-1 to the hosts in what will be a very tight and in the end a tense affair, the home fans will help get the French over the line and into the final on July 10th.
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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