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EURO 2012: 23 June 2012: Open Thread

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And now we have two EURO 2012 semifinalists. In the highest scoring game of the tournament Germany absolutely dominated Greece and put four shots into Michalis Sifakis' net. Despite the domination Germany had to wait 39 minutes for the opener when Philipp Lahm unleashed a terrific long range shot. But in the second half the floodgates opened. However, against the play it was Georgios Samaras who tied the game first. The Germans weren't rattled by the equalizer and with three goals in 13 minutes they put any doubts about the winner to rest. Powerful strikes by Sami Khedira and Marco Reus, and a header by Miroslav Klose made it 4-1 at the time. But that was not the final score as Dimitris Salpingidis successfully converted a penalty to make the final score more respectable.

Today Portugal get their Semi-Final opponent but whoever wins today's Quarter-Finals match-up Ronaldo and Co. will have a difficult task. Spain are one of the main candidates to lift the EURO 2012 trophy while France came into the tournament with a very long unbeaten streak that was snapped just days ago against Sweden.

Spain, winner of Group C, didn't impress in the group games. A draw against Italy (1-1) and wins against Republic of Ireland (4-0) and Croatia (1-0) were enough for the 1st place in the group but their play left much to be desired. The passing, as expected, was fantastic but they are creating less chances than in the past while their defense has been anything but solid. Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos are slowly getting used to one another so this should get better but the right back position needs to improve as Alvaro Arbeloa just can't take the ball away from anybody. Juanfran was very impressive at RB this season for Atlético Madrid but surely Vicente del Bosque will not use him. Just as he won't use Pedro or Fernando Llorente up front. Hopefully I'm wrong...

Looking at the Group D table the first thing you will notice is that France only managed to gather four points, tied for the fewest of all teams in the Quarter-Finals with Greece. But putting the results aside for a minute the French played some good football against England (1-1) and Ukraine (2-0) - not so much against Sweden (0-2). Their passing was crisp and they created quite a few chances. But there came the problem - their finishing was just as bad as the finishing of the Netherlands. Karim Benzema doesn't appear to be in that terrific goalscoring form he was with Real Madrid which puts more pressure on Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri. But despite their scoring woes the French could have a field day against Spain's defense. France will be forced to play without their starting defender Philippe Mexes who picked up two yellow cards in the group stages of the competition.

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