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EURO 2012: 22 June 2012: Open Thread

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After yesterday’s Euro 2012 match saw Portugal become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals we will see tonight who will form one half of the other semi-final match up. Portugal’s progression at the expense of the Czech Republic came as no surprise considering the relative quality of each side and even less surprising was the goal-scorer – Real Madrid’s megastar winger, Cristiano Ronaldo. With his goal last night Ronaldo moved himself level for top-scorer with Alan Dzagoev, Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez, of whom only Gomez is left in the competition. Perhaps it is too early to speculate given that we don’t know who the Portuguese will face in their semi-final, but based on last night’s performance, Portugal may well be an outsider for the trophy.

However, our attentions turn from an outsider to one of the favourites in Germany, who just so happen to be 100% in this Euro 2012 campaign. Including qualifying and the group stage of the tournament, the Germans are on a run of 13 straight wins in UEFA competition since their final defeat at the hands of Spain some four years ago. According to almost everyone involved in football, they will make it 14 tonight, but there’s just something about Greece that makes you think twice.

While Germany looked dominant early and never once looked back, registering a 1-0 win against Portugal before successive 2-1 victories over Netherlands and then Denmark, Greece look shaky from the start and even in qualifying for the quarter-finals, they failed to impress. The opening match draw with hosts Poland was a real Jekyll and Hyde performance, and the defeat to the Czechs was similar – expect this time round they couldn’t find that elusive equaliser. On the other hand, their 1-0 win over Russia showcased their best attributes: discipline, a high defensive work-rate and one could argue that luck played its part as well. They will be without their captain Giorgos Karagounis due to suspension; surely history cannot repeat itself?

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