My friend Chris, my brother Tim and I are battling it out with the excellent UEFA Euro 2012 downloadable add-on for FIFA 12 to see who’ll be the master match predictor across all of the games at Euro 2012.
The rules are simple: 3 points if you predict the outcome of a match exactly right (e.g. you say England will beat France 2-0 and they do). 1 point if you get the result right but the score wrong (e.g. you say England and France will draw 2-2 and they actually draw 1-1).
After the quarter finals, the current scores are:
Just four teams left then: the Germans, who look great going forward, but not so good in defence; the Portuguese, who look great when Ronaldo’s on form, but nowhere near as good when he’s not; the Spanish, who look great in possession, but not so good when they don’t field a striker, and the Italians, who look like intergalactic champions of the universe when they play against England, but nowhere near as good when they play against any side that doesn’t include Ashley Young.
Here are our semi-final predictions:
Portugal v Spain
James – As Laurent Blanc pointed out, the problem for any side playing against Spain is that they have to alter their approach to deal with the fact that they’re probably only going to have the ball for about a third of the game. Spain can be more than a little careless at the back, so I think Portugal can nick one, but the Spanish will triumph 2-1 (possibly with another penalty) in another tight and technical game very reminiscent of their last outing against France. FIFA has Spain winning 2-0 with Ronaldo having one of the most frustrating nights of his life.
Chris – After a relatively easy passage against a disappointing France, Spain are still many people’s favourites. I quite fancy a shock result though if Portugal can gain the courage to attack instead of just contain. An early goal from Ronaldo will open the game up and give us one of the most entertaining semi-finals for a long time. 3-2 Portugal. (Of course if I’m wrong and there’s no early goal it could be the worst semi-final for a long time and go to pens)
Tim – Victory is close, but not yet close enough. My head says play safe, go for a Spain win, but I’m still convinced that there will be an upset in this tournament. I just can’t decide whether it will be in this game, the other semi-final or both. Earlier in the tournament predictions came easy, but now my powers are waning. 2-1 to Portugal, I don’t like Ronaldo, but I like the way they play.
Predictions: FIFA 0-2; Chris 3-2; Tim 2-1; James 1-2.
Germany v Italy
James – Man, this was a tight game on FIFA. Chances were at a premium, and it was no surprise when the game headed into extra time. What was surprising, however, was that, as both sides tired, huge gaps started to appear and the match devolved/grew into a thrilling shot-fest which Germany won 2-1, with Balotelli and Di Natale both missing great chances in the dying minutes. Personally, I think the Italians will still be fatigued after their laboured late night mauling of the English on Sunday. The Germans will be fresher, more clinical and driven by the best chance they’ve had in years to put a beating on perhaps their biggest boogie team. Close for a while with the German’s eventually winning comfortably 3-0.
Chris – Now that England have gone I’m tempted to say ‘who cares?’ With regard to this result as everyone will want the winner of the other semi to win the final. I can see this being the opposite of the other semi with Italy looking to stay tight throughout. Another penalty shootout after a 0-0 but this time Pirlo will miss and Germany will go through 3-2 on pens.
Tim – This one will be close, 0-0 after full time, Germany to win on penalties. Again. Having showed them how not to play against Italy, the Germans will get someone a lot closer to Pirlo.
Predictions: FIFA 2-1 (after E.T.); Chris 0-0 (Germany win on penalties); Tim 0-0 (Germany win on penalties); James 3-0.
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