IFX Soccer Blog 3: Euro Cup 2012 Quarterfinals and Semifinals Recap (July 2012)

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Euro Cup 2012 Quarterfinals and Semifinals Recap

Quarterfinals

Portugal 1, Czech Republic 0

Portugal dominated play with 20 shots to the Czech Republic’s 5 shots. Cristiano Ronaldo netted a powerful header for the winning goal in minute 79. Ronaldo was the man of the match with two other shots hitting the post.

Germany 4, Greece 2

In the dubbed “debt derby” or Euro financial crisis cup, Germany poured on the offense with 3 second half goals in this lopsided matchup. Germany outshot Greece 24 to 9 and out possessed Greece 66% to 34%. Greece managed to make the game interesting with a 1-1 tie in the 55th minute but Real Madrid star Khedira quickly answered with a goal and Germany never looked back.

Spain 2, France 0

Midfielder Xabi Alonso of Spain led the charge with an emphatic header in minute 19 and a penalty kick in injury time. The game involved a lot of back and forth play with only 9 shots on goal for Spain and 4 for France. Spain’s first goal was a textbook version of Spanish passing from Iniesta, Jordi Alba, and then Alonso’s header.

Italy 0 (4), England 0 (2)

Italy outperformed England in penalty kicks after 120 plus minutes of 0-0 play. The Italians deserved the victory after dictating most of the game. Italy hit the woodwork and put 20 to 4 shots on goal. The Italians also out possessed England 64% to 34%. Despite the lopsided game, England took an early lead in the shootout when Montolivo missed a shot. England lost its advantage when Young hit a crossbar and Cole’s shot was saved by legendary keeper Buffon.

Semifinals

Spain 0 (4), Portugal 0 (2)

The Iberian rivals gave us one of the most boring games of the tournament in this defensive struggle. In 120 plus minutes Spain managed 5 shots on goal and Portugal only had 2. Ronaldo disappointed with several shots over the crossbar.The game picked up speed in extra time when Spain seemed to realize that penalty shots could result in an exit. The Spaniards became more aggressive and got a couple of close strikes on goal from Iniesta and Navas. In the shootout Spain and Portugal missed their first shots. After several made shots be each side, Alves of Portugal missed. Fabregas of Spain hit the final shot off the post and in the goal to win.

Ronaldo’s sizzling tournament play got Portugal to the semifinal but he struggled in this match. The coach put him in as the last penalty kicker yet he never got a chance in the shootout. Spain was fortunate to advance considering it did not produce much offense. The Spanish defense shined brightly again in another regulation clean sheet.

Italy 2, Germany 1

“Super Mario Brother” Mario Balotelli of Ghanaian descent sent Italy through to the final with two impressive goals against the favored German side. In shocking fashion, Balotelli headed in a goal on a pass from Cassano in minute 20. Balotelli broke free of the defense and crushed a shot passed the helpless keeper Neuer in minute 36. The Germans made it interesting with a number of shots and chances in the second half but Buffon made some excellent saves for Italy. Germany finally received a penalty kick in extra time and Ozil scored. Italy held on for the 2-1 win.

The result was very disappointing for the Germans. The star studded German side was picked by many to go to the final and win. In a flashback to the semifinal of World Cup 2006, Italy outlasted the Germans with creative play and good defense. Italy unexpectedly found itself in the final after a poor showing in World Cup 2010.

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