Welcome to week 3 of Euro 2012 and the beginning of the elimination round. With two more quarterfinal match-ups upon us [Ronaldo's Portugal beat the Czechs 1:0 Thursday & Jogi Loew's Germans dismantled the hapless Greeks 4:2 last night], it’s ‘brass tacks’ time and a good opportunity to review some interesting Euro 2012 numbers, stats and facts …

500,000+ Germany fans gather at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to celebrate Die Mannschaft during Euro 2012

860  A record for most passes in a EURO match, achieved by Spain in their Euro 2012 Group C match with Ireland. Spain’s midfield maestro Xavi led the way with a new record of his own, completing 127 of 136 pass attempts vs. Ireland.

368  The total player count at Euro 2012 represented by 16, 23-man European national teams.

120  The total number of national team appearances for Miroslav Klose after yesterday’s start against Greece.

64  All goals scored by Miroslav Klose in a Germany shirt since his national team debut in 2001. His 64th goal yesterday puts him only four behind Gerd Mueller’s DFB scoring record.

64  Goals scored by Germany at the UEFA Euros after their latest 4-2 quarterfinal win over Greece, putting them seven in front of the Netherlands as the competition’s all-time leading scorers.

58  With it’s recent win over Croatia, Spain has now enjoyed more possession than its opponents in each of the last 58 matches.

38  The age of the oldest Euro competition player to score a goal [at Euro 2008, Ivica Vastic found the net for Austria]. 35 years and 256 days was the age at which Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko undid Sweden with a decisive double goal performance and established himself as the second-oldest goalscorer in the history of the UEFA European Championship.

27   The age at which Lukas Podolski won his 100th cap on Sunday, becoming the youngest European player to reach this landmark in the process.

19  Germany have now scored at least once in their last 19 matches dating back to November 2010.

12  The group of players who have scored at least twice in a match at both the Euros and the FIFA World Cup. Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko joined this elite club with his Euro 2012 goals.

7  Goal total for Greece during their 2004 Euro Championship campaign compared to Germany’s 9 tallies during 2012 Euro Group and quarterfinal play.

5  The number of major international tournaments that have been graced by a Cristiano Ronaldo goal. The Portugal star struck twice in a Group B win over the Netherlands and once in the quarterfinal victory over the Czechs.

4  The total of consecutive semi-final appearances made by the German National Team. This includes the semi-final loss to the Italians at the 2006 World Cup in Germany; the 2008 Euro match-up with Turkey (who Germany beat only to lose to Spain in the final); the 2010 World Cup semi-final loss to Spain, and the upcoming Euro 2012 semi-final match on Thursday, June 28th against either England or Italy.

0  The Netherland’s point total in Euro 2012 Group B competition after losing all three group matches at a major tournament for the first time in their history, and suffering three successive defeats for the first time in 22 years.

With five Euro 2012 matches remaining and European football powerhouses England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain still competing for Euro glory, there are bound to be more records broken and ‘firsts’ recorded. Stay tuned.

Euro 2012 day 6 features two fantastic match-ups in Group B, the tournament’s so called ‘group of death’. While the Dutch are looking to rebound from their loss to Denmark, but face tournament favorite Germany, the ‘butter cookie’ nation is hoping to continue their Cinderella run with another result against Portugal.

Dudestradamus, our trusty canine Euro 2012 prognosticator, continues his predictive ways with today’s match picks.

 

Are you sick of the Euro 2012 international football tournament yet? Well, regardless of your answer, buckle in for 18 more days of  some of the best international soccer action you’ll see, probably until the 2014 World Cup.  Here’s TRF’s short list of Euro 2012 Group notables based on the first 8 matches:

  • Biggest upset: The mighty Danes stole 3 points from the Netherlands Express which looked more like the local mass transit during Saturday’s group B face-off. An ‘honorable’ mention’ goes to Ukraine for a come from behind victory vs. Sweden in group D
  • ‘What a goal’ award: Robert Lewandowski’s opening match zinger not only got the Warsaw stadium Polish supporters going, but also qualified for the nicest finish we have seen of the 20 goals scored in the first 8 games
  • Worst referee call: This dubious distinction goes to Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo who sent-off Greece’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos shortly before half-time in a highly questionable second yellow card call. He issued another red in the 69th minute when he sent off Poland’s goalkeeper

  • ‘Feelgood’ win award: Ukraine scored two second half goals against Sweden to win their opening match on Tuesday. It was great to see the co-hosts, who have been repeatedly criticized for controversial political actions as well inadequate Euro 2012 stadium conditions, play so well, led by 35-year-old striker Andriy Shevchenko who scored two headers to lead his country
  • ‘Clutch’ play award: This one goes to Polish reserve goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton. Tyton came off the bench in the second half for the co-hosts after Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off for bringing down Greek substitute Dimitris Salpigidis. He promptly saved the resulting spot-kick from Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis to secure the draw for Poland

  • Biggest blowout win: Russia beat the Czech Republic 4:1 (2:0 at halftime) in their group A opener on June 8th completely dominating the Czech’s midfield and back-line.  21-year old Alan Dzagoev netted two goals and in-form Andrei Arshavin added two assists to cap a great evening for the Russians
  • Biggest tactical surprise: Out of all the opening games at Euro 2012, the one that stood out from a pure tactical point of view was Italy vs. Spain. The surprise came from the Italians showcasing a mere three defenders at the back and Spain, who started without a center forward. An unbelievable decision when you consider their striker firepower including the two Fernandos — Torres and LLorente

  • Biggest waste of talent on the bench: This one goes to Holland’s benching of Klaas Jan Hunterlaar, the Bundesliga’s leading scorer and top goal-getter during Holland’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. In their loss to Denmark, the Dutch stuck with Robin van Persie until late  int the second half when they inserted Hunterlaar … too little too late

Dudestradamus’ day 5, Group A, 2nd match predictions …

 

 

Another day of Euro 2012 is in the books and Dude, our Euro 2012 match prognosticator, is at again. His focus today — Group D including the thrilling England vs. France match up.

 

Dude-stradamus had a tough day yesterday and missed his first ever prediction when Denmark upset the mighty Dutch. However, after much soul searching and a promise of many more juicy treats, he is back to his predicting ways. Check out his Spain-Italy and Croatia-Ireland picks du jour.

 

Every major footy tournament has it, every team that competes at the highest level hopes to avoid being a part of it … it’s the dreaded group of death aka Todes Gruppe aka Gruppo Mordo aka you are screwed. In the case of Euro 2012, Group B fits this description. All four teams are among the top 10 according to FIFA’s world team rankings: The Netherlands only lost to Spain in the last world cup final; Germany finished 3rd that year and 2nd in Euro 2008; Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo, and Denmark finished atop their Euro qualifying group even beating out Portugal. With all that talent come high expectations, especially for group B favorites Germany and Holland.

While Germany eked out a win vs. Portugal with a 70+ minute goal by striker Mario Gomez, and some amazing defense, Holland was not so lucky in its 0:1 defeat against major underdogs Denmark. Lots of money was surely lost on that final score since a majority of ‘experts’ picked Holland to at least manage a draw. Even ‘Dude-stradamus‘, the Euro 2012 canine prognosticator, got that one wrong.  Does the Oranje’s defeat have them seeing red for the rest of the tournament or can they recover to still claim a spot in the elimination round? I still think they will prevail but the dominance Bert van Marwijk’s team displayed last world cup and even during their Euro 2008 campaign could well be over. Captain van Bommel is over the hill and dancing at his last wedding and the defense has  ‘disaster potential’ written all over it. On the upside, the offensive options are plentiful — the Bundesliga’s top goal-getter Klaas Jan Hunterlaar sat on the bench vs. Denmark  because of Holland’s talent upfront with RVP (Robin van Persie).

Also changing, is the dynamic of the German squad which is getting younger by the minute and represents the youngest of the 16 Euro countries. With 26 year old Marion Gomez replacing 34 year old Miro Klose as the starter in Germany’s attack, and 23 year old Mats Hummels doing a phenomenal job playing for oft  injured/out of form defender Per Mertesacker (27 years), the German lineup debuted against Portugal may be here to stay. I found it ironic that Germany’s defense which has often been criticized and picked on by opposing teams such as Switzerland a mere two weeks ago, saved the day against the desperate yet dangerous Portuguese. For Germany, Holland is next. A win secures them a spot in the elimination round while a solid performance by the Dutch, which I anticipate, gives them a new lease on life as they look to rebound from yesterday’s ‘Dane shock’.

UEFA’s Euro 2012 tournament has finally arrived and after a thrilling opening night of matches on Friday we are ready for the next 29 encounters. On the schedule for today are both Group B matches featuring Holland v. Denmark and Germany v. Portugal. TRF has recruited Dude, a wily canine with a knack for predicting soccer/football results, to help us determine who will win today and beyond. Check out Dude’s Group B predictions below and stay tuned for his other picks throughout the Euros.

 

 

UEFA Euro 2012 kicks-off tomorrow at Noon with co-host Poland taking on Euro 2004 winners Greece in the first of 31 matches concluding with the July 1st Final in Kiev. Who will win, lose and draw during the 12 day group stage and prevail in the elimination rounds. TRF’s Euro 2012 predictions below are meant to engage and entertain. Match on!

THE ELIMINATION PHASES: QUARTERFINALS, SEMIS AND THE FINAL IN KIEV

June 21 Quarterfinal I – 1A vs. 2B QF1 Poland v. Germany: 1:3 win for Germany in a goal fest for the tournament favorites 2:45 p.m. Warsaw
Fri, June 22 Quarterfinal II – 1B vs. 2A QF2 Holland v. Czech Republic: 2:0 win for Holland  2:45 p.m. Gdansk
Sat, June 23 Quarterfinal III – 1C vs. 2D QF3 Italy v. France:  0:1 win for France in what resembles the WC Final team of 2006 in terms of resilience and ability to win tough matches 2:45 p.m. Donetsk
Sun, June 24 Quarterfinal IV – 1D vs. 2C QF4 England v. Spain: 1:2 win for Spain means another heart breaker for the Brits 2:45 p.m. Kiev
Wed, June 27 Semifinal I – Winners QF I vs. QF III SF1 Germany v. France: A 2:0 win for Germany avenges it’s recent friendly loss to Les Bleu 2:45 p.m. Donetsk
Thu, June 28 Semifinal II – Winners QF II vs. QF IV SF2 Holland v. Spain: 3:2 win for Holland in the most thrilling match of the tournament 2:45 p.m. Warsaw
Sun, July 1 Final – Semifinal Winners Final Germany v. Holland: 2:1 win for Germany with Sebastian Schweinsteiger converting a penalty kick to claim the title 2:45 p.m. Kiev

UEFA Euro 2012 kicks-off tomorrow at Noon with co-host Poland taking on Euro 2004 winners Greece in the first of 31 matches concluding with the July 1st Final in Kiev. Who will win, lose and draw during the 12 day group stage and prevail in the elimination rounds. TRF’s Euro 2012 predictions below are meant to engage and entertain. Match on!

THE GROUP STAGES: MATCHES 17-24

June 16 Czech Republic vs. Poland [Group A] These two are contenders to win Group A and will produce a lovely game of Euro football ending in a 2:2 draw 2:45 p.m. Wroclaw
Greece vs. Russia[Group A] This less than thrilling kick-a-bout will end 0:0 effectively eliminating both teams from the tournament 2:45 p.m. Warsaw
June 17 Portugal vs. Netherlands [Group B] The Dutch will prevail 2:1 and win Group B 2:45 p.m. Kharkiv
Denmark vs. Germany[Group B] Similar to the World Cup, Germany will be in a must-win match and do so with 2:0 victory, taking 2nd place in Group B behind Holland 2:45 p.m. Lviv
June 18 Croatia vs. Spain [Group C] Spain and Croatia will draw 1:1 2:45 p.m. Gdansk
Italy vs. Republic of Ireland [Group C] Ireland will not repeat its 1990 World Cup shocker vs. the Azzurri. Italy wins 1:0 2:45 p.m. Poznan
June 19 England vs. Ukraine[Group D] Wayne Rooney returns for the final game of 1st round play and helps England beat Ukraine 2:1 2:45 p.m. Donetsk
Sweden vs. France[Group D] The final group game of Euro 2012 will result in a 1:1 draw 2:45 p.m. Kiev