For their coverage of Euro 2012, Absolute Radio have looked to get some bloggers involved. On the show Rock ‘n’ Roll Football, host Ian Wright will be predicting the outcome of each match and explaining the thoughts behind his choice, as will the bloggers participating.
A nice bit of fun, Holding Midfield’s happy to get involved, so we will be posting our predictions on here, Twitter using the #WrightorWrong hashtag and our Facebook page. You can see everyone’s predictions here.
On to the predictions:
Poland 1-0 Greece – Group A
With neither side dazzling in attack, the opener looks set up to be one of the duller fixtures of the tournament. Most of me thinks this is going to be a goalless draw, but I’m hoping the Borussia Dortmund trio of Lukasz Piszczek, Kuba and Robert Lewandowski can pull something off.
Russia 3-1 Czech Republic – Group A
The Czechs have a decent defence, but I definitely fancy the Zenit midfield to dominate and the Russian attack to outmaneuver them. Having said that, I still fancy Tomas Rosicky and Milan Baros to get a consolation goal against Sergei Ignashevich and Vasilii Berezutsky.
Netherlands 2-1 Denmark – Group B
Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong are likely to squeeze Christian Eriksen out of the game – not necessarily fairly – which will really blunt Denmark’s creativity. The Dutch attack will be a bit too good for what didn’t look like a particularly settled Danish defence against Brazil, but Eriksen will probably escape at some point after one or both of the Dutch holding midfielders get carded to set up a goal.
Germany 2-0 Portugal – Group B
A very tricky one to call. Part of me thinks it will be a goalfest but, with it being one of the group openers, I fancy Germany to attempt to control the game rather than going all out. I don’t think Portugal will score, but there is a very good chance that they will with Germany’s defence not the greatest.
Spain 1-0 Italy – Group C
With neither side having a settled system, I picture a very disjointed game. Spain will have the majority of the ball but probably won’t break Italy down until late on.
Ireland 2-0 Croatia – Group C
Ireland’s organisation is likely to frustrate Croatia and I can see their more mobile forwards managing to escape from what isn’t a particularly agile Croatian defence on the counter. If Croatia manage to break Ireland down first though, Ireland are unlikely to get back into it.
France 2-0 England – Group D
This could go either way. France’s attack is good enough to break down England’s heavily-manned defence, but France’s defence is poor enough to let in goals regardless of how under-manned England’s attack is. There were some small but noticeable teething problems with England’s organisation in the friendlies that wasn’t put under any pressure by Norway or Belgium – France may have the quality to expose them.
Ukraine 1-2 Sweden – Group D
The key battle will most likely be Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Anatoliy Tymoshchuk but the overall quality of Sweden compared to the hosts should give them the win.
Greece 1-2 Czech Republic – Group A
Both teams are really quite poor so it could go either way. It seems we can’t even rely on the Greeks having an organised defence anymore after the opening game against Poland, but really it depends on whether you fancy the their physicality over the scheming of Rosicky.
Poland 1-2 Russia – Group A
The Russians are quite simply better than the Poles and should win. Having said that, Poland’s use of their right flank could really benefit them here – Russia depend on their full-backs to provide width, so Zhirkov could quite easily be caught out.
Denmark 1-1 Portugal – Group B
Qualifying has left this one up in the air. Both teams got the home win when they met before the tournament and neither has looked particularly superior to the other in their opening game. Miguel Veloso did a good job of marking Mesut Ozil in Portugal’s opener against Germany, so his battle with Christian Eriksen may definitely be worth keeping an eye on.
Netherlands 1-3 Germany – Group B
Neither side has a particularly good defence on paper, but the organisation of the Dutch was woeful in their opener against Denmark. Their saving grace defensively was the holding duo of De jong and Van Bommel, yet the rumours going around suggest the former will be dropped for Rafael van der Vaart. It’s worth keeping in mind they may have been underestimating Denmark and will put up a much tougher fight against their rivals, but the German attack should be able to slice through that defence with ease unless they have made some serious improvements in the last four days.
Italy 2- 0 Croatia – Group C
Italy seem to be in the perfect position to beat Croatia. Their three man defence should deal with Croatia’s two strikers and their midfield should cope much better than Ireland’s did against Luka Modric and co. Italy’s range of mobile strikers should also be able to catch out Croatia’s slow defence, especially on the counter, and their willingness to drop back could expose Croatia’s midfield too.
Spain 3-0 Ireland – Group C
I originally had this down as a 0-0 draw but after the sheer ineptitude Ireland showed against Croatia it’s difficult to see Spain not destroying them unless they’ve managed to sort out the errors that plagued them. Organisation won’t get you very far if you are going to gift the opposition goals, and Spain will take advantage of that.
Ukraine 1-2 France – Group D
The hosts showed a neat passing game in their opener against the Swedes, but are likely to see less of the ball against France. The French should break them down quite easily, nevertheless there’s always the chance Ukraine could get something against the poor French defence.
Sweden 1-1 England – Group D
The game hinges on the performance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. England are a better side than Sweden, but their dedication to defence leaves a lot to be desired and may not suit playing against Sweden as it did France. Still, the new Sweden remain an attacking side which could play into England’s hands – in Ibrahimovic, Sweden have one world class player, and he will need to be on form if they are going to break down Roy Hodgson’s side.
Czech Republic 0-2 Poland – Group A
The Greeks made the Czechs look good but they quite frankly aren’t and Poland should beat them fairly comfortably.
Greece 1-3 Russia – Group A
Greece are even worse than the Czechs and I can’t see them being able to contend with the Russian attack. Nevertheless, Russia might find it difficult to deal with their physical approach as one of the smaller, more technical teams at the tournament.
Denmark 0-2 Germany – Group B
With both sides playing in a similar style, the game should come down to who does it better, and the obvious choice is Germany.
Portugal 1-1 Netherland – Group B
As favourites to go through, Portugal are likely to just keep things tight. They have a very good chance of getting something against the poor Dutch defence, so looking to frustrate their attack is the main goal, which should be quite likely given how the Netherlands have performed thus far.
Croatia 0-3 Spain – Group C
In theory Spain should be able to exploit space in front of the Croatian defence to cut through them quickly, but often they lack the directness to get clear through on goal. The use of someone like Cesc Fabregas should see Spain pull away quickly for a comfortable victory but overuse of Tiki Taka could make Croatia a bit more of a test than they should be.
Italy 2-0 Ireland – Group C
Giovanni Trapattoni will probably want to get a result against his homeland more than any of the other teams at the tournament, but Ireland just look far too error-prone to make it a reality. Expect a comfortable win for Italy.
England 2-0 Ukraine – Group D
The fact that England only have to draw this and Ukraine must win should really give England the edge to quite comfortably win this. Expect them to sit back and let Ukraine neatly pass the ball around then catch them on the counter, with the hosts’ main threat coming from set-pieces.
Sweden 1-2 France – Group D
With a poor defence and a strong attack, France are basically the anti-England, yet a similar type of match could come out of their game with Sweden. Another five goals might be a bit of a stretch but they should sneak past them in an entertaining game.
Czech Republic 1-2 Portugal – Quarter-final
Both sides are primarily counter-attacking sides, making this a difficult match to call. The battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Theodor Gebre-Selassie will be key, both in how Gebre-Selassie deals with him defensively and how he gets forward without Ronaldo tracking back. Even so, Portugal are quite simply a better team than the Czechs, who were lucky just to get through the group.
Germany 3-0 Greece – Quarter-final
Germany have so far proven to be the best team at the tournament, while Greece are one of the worst, extremely lucky to get through. Unless their awful performances in the opening games were some sort of elaborate trick by Fernando Santos to get everyone to forget about 2004, Germany should waltz past Greece.
Spain 2-0 France – Quarter-final
Spain haven’t been particularly convincing so far this tournament, but the French defence is terrible and should be pulled apart pretty easily. The French also move the ball around pretty slowly when they have it, making it unlikely they will be able to catch out Spain.
England 0-1 Italy – Quarter-final
I tweeted the other day what should be a pretty easy set-up for Italy to get around England. The Italians haven’t exactly set the world on fire so far, but they do have more quality than England, who were simply the least rubbish in their group.
Portugal 0-1 Spain – Semi-final
The Portuguese are a rarity at this tournament in that they seem to have a decent defence and with Spain not setting the world alight this time round, we can expect a dull game. The danger of Ronaldo on the counter-attack shouldn’t be underestimated, but nevertheless I see Spain getting through – it might take them a bit longer to break the deadlock than against France mind.
Germany 2-0 Italy – Semi-final
In what should be a better game than the first semi-final, the teams look fairly even, but with Germany edging out the Italians in most areas, which should get them a win. With no widemen to stop him, Philipp Lahm should be the key man to watch and it’s a shame Germany don’t have another full-back more attacking than Jerome Boateng.
Spain 1-1 Italy – Final
Meeting for the second time at the tournament, I can see a similar score to the sides’ opening game. Not a lot has changed since that game – Spain have the most quality but remain unconvincing, so Italy will probably do well to sit back and get forward quickly as they did before. The lack of any proper wide attackers means the attacking of both teams’ full-backs will be key, particularly with the central areas so crowded. Spain to win on penalties.