Saturday, June 16, 2012

Euro 2012 Update

It is amazing to see how much great sporting action is being crammed into this weekend, as if we are trying to wrap up everything before summer really gets going. All of the teams in the 2012 European soccer championship have now played two games, so each team has only one game left in the group phase. Remember that the top two teams from each group advance to the knockout phase. You get three points for a win and one point for a draw. Here is where everyone stands:

Group A
1. Russia: 1-0-1 (4 points)
2. Czech Rep: 1-1-0 (3)
3. Poland: 0-0-2 (2)
4. Greece: 0-1-1 (1)

Russia will play Greece, and should beat them to finish top of the group. Meanwhile, co-hosts Poland will have a big home field advantage in their battle to survive against the Czechs.

Group B
1. Germany: 2-0-0 (6 points)
T2. Portugal: 1-1-0 (3) (goal difference of 0) (3 goals scored)
T2. Denmark: 1-1-0 (3) (goal difference of 0) (3 goals scored)
4. Netherlands: 0-2-0 (0)

Netherlands went all the way to the final of the 2010 World Cup, but the Dutch are an eccentric team, and they have been very disappointing so far. They need to beat Portugal and hope that Germany beats Denmark to have any hope of advancing. That strikes me as a long shot. The more likely outcome is that Germany and Portugal will move on.

Group C
1. Spain: 1-0-1 (4 points) (goal difference of 4)
2. Croatia: 1-0-1 (4) (goal difference of 2)
3. Italy: 0-0-2 (2)
4. Ireland: 0-2-0 (0)

Italy's last game is against Ireland, which has already been eliminated. Italy should crush the Irish, while Spain will probably beat Croatia, meaning that Spain and Italy would advance.

Group D
1. France: 1-0-1 (4 points) (goal difference of 2)
2. England: 1-0-1 (4) (goal difference of 1)
3. Ukraine: 1-1-0 (3)
4. Sweden: 0-2-0 (0)

France's last game against Sweden, which has already been eliminated. Meanwhile, England will be playing a road game against co-hosts Ukraine, who will be fighting for their lives. Given the type of refereeing that England normally gets in international soccer competition, it will take a remarkable effort for the English to survive.

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