Thursday, 21 June 2012

My quarter final tips

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Czech Republic vs Portugal
Czech Republic lost their first game 4-1; however back to back wins against Greece and Poland ensured they qualified top from Group A. Their second half showing against Poland was very impressive and neutralised the hosts attack with ease whilst dominating the game, and they thoroughly deserved their victory. The likes of Petr Jiranek and Vaclav Pilar have not only scored the goals to get the Czech's out of the group, they've always been their best players, with the experienced Tomas Hubschmann excellent holding in the midfield.

Baros first goalscorer? 14's with Stan James

Portugal impressed in Group B, and came from behind against Holland to ensure they qualified behind the Germans. Cristiano Ronaldo was superb in the win, after having a disappointing start to the tournament, and the Czech's will be the weakest side the Portuguese will have faced so far. Defensively the likes of Pepe and Bruno Alves were good in containing the likes of Robin Van Persie and co, with only a Rafael Van Der Vaart screamer ensuring they didn't keep a clean sheet.

A Patricio clean sheet is 5/4 with Betfair

I fancy Paulo Bento's side to have too much for the Czech's here; however it won't be easy.

Prediction: Czech Republic 0 Portugal 2 - 8/1 with Ladbrokes

My three top tips:
Cristiano Ronaldo to score and Portugal to win - 15/8 with Betfred
Both teams to score NO - 10/11 with Stan James
Theo Gebre Selassie first yellow card - 16/1 with bet365

Germany vs Greece
Germany qualified from the toughest group with three wins from three, and they rarely reached top gear, which goes to show how strong they are! They have fantastic strength in depth with the likes of Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos and Miroslav Klose all having to settle for spots on the bench. Mario Gomez scored three goals in his first two matches, in doing so shutting his critics up in the best possible way.

Gomez hat-trick is 20/1 with bet365

Greece stunned Russia to eliminate the group favourites; however without their inspirational captain Giorgos Karagounis, who inexplicably was booked for diving, when the eventual match winner was clearly fouled, they face a German side who certainly take no prisoners. The 2004 Champions were much like their former self against Russia and defended superbly throughout, with Giorgos Samaras leading the line brilliantly, could history repeat itself and they win another European Championship built on superb defending? I doubt it!

Another 1-0 Greece win is 24/1 with 188bet

Germany should easily overcome a Greece side who are without their best creative spark

Prediction: Germany 3 Greece 0 - 8/1 with Ladbrokes

My three top tips:
Mario Gomez to score and Germany to win - 13/10 with 888Sport
Germany by three or more goals - 13/5 with Coral
Over 2.5 goals - 68/67 with 188bet

*An accumulator of both Portugal and Germany to win is 1.3/1
*An accumulator for Portugal 2-0 and Germany 3-0 is 63/1

*All accumulator odds are given via Skybet

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Euro 2012 opening round of fixtures

On first viewing the Euro 2012 opening fixtures hardly whetted the appetite of most football fans, with the Group of deaths early exchanges leaving most fans hoping the second day would come around quickly; however roles were reversed as Group A kicked off the tournament in spectacular style whilst the likes of Portugal and Germany left us wanting to flick off to see Brazil Argentina on the other side.

Co-hosts Poland came out of the trap quickly against Greece, roared on brilliant by their home fans, however despite being up against 10 men they allowed their opponents back into the game and will see it as two points dropped rather then on gained. In the second game of the evening Russia were superb going forward and would've had more if it wasn't for the wastefulness of Alexander Kerzhakov. The Czech Republic were poor, and will have to improve dramatically, all be it against weaker sides, if they are to stand any chance of progression.

The Euro 1992 Champions Denmark stunned many peoples outside bets for the title Holland, in Group B's opening match. A combination of poor finishing and brilliant defending meant Michael Krohn-Dehli's first half strike was enough. Germany were the better side against Portugal; however without reaching their brilliant best had just about enough about them to see of their opponents. In a more clinical then fantastic display, Mario Gomez highlighted his threat in the box with a predatory header, whilst Portugal can only dream of a out and out goalscorer like Gomez, with Paul Bento's side ruing their lack of a real world class centre forward.

The Brondby play maker scoring what proved to be the winner

Sunday brought about Group C which saw the holders and World Cup champions Spain take on Italy. Italy used the three at back formation, a popular one in Serie A all season, with Roma holding midfielder Daniele De Rossi playing the libero role, which worked as Spain, without a reconsigned striker, struggled to get in behind a resolute Italian side. Cesare Prandelli's side threatened heavily on the counter attacked and deserved their lead, which was given to them by substitute Antonio Di Natale; however they didn't hold on for the victory as Cesc Fabregas finished off a brilliant team move.

The groups second match saw Croatia have too much quality for Group C's underdogs Ireland. Two goals from Mario Mandukic and a vital Nikica Jelavic finish on the strike of half-time meant Sean St.Ledger's headed equaliser at 1-1 was irrelevant as Slaven Bilic's side got off the to the ideal start.

Yesterday England kicked off their campaign and gained a solid point against group favourites France. Roy Hodgson's England were strong defensively, restricting a technically brilliant French side to long range efforts. Joleon Lescott had given England the lead as he headed home a superb Steven Gerrard free-kick; however his side couldn't reach half-time on level terms as Samir Nasri beat Joe Hart at his near post from 20 yards. Neither side really threatened a winner and the point was a fair result.

The co-hosts Ukraine came from behind to beat Sweden thanks to two goals from the iconic Andriy Shevchenko. Ukraine showed character as it looked like Zlatan Ibrahimovic had spoiled their party; however two headers from the former Chelsea man turned the game on its head, in doing so giving the Swede's a very small chance of progression with the two strongest sides left to face.