Predicting The Euro 2020 tournament

The delayed-until-2021 EURO 2020 tournament might end up like this:

GROUP A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales. There’s not much separating the four squads; Italy ought to win the group, but second place ought to be a real dogfight. Turkey could also advance.

GROUP B: Belgium, Denmark, Russia, Finland. Belgium deserves to be one of the tournament favorites. Much like Group A, there’s no clear cut second-place squad. Russia gets through to the knockout stage.

GROUP C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia. Only absolute catastrophe prevents the Netherlands from winning this group. Ukraine will advance to the knockout stage.

GROUP D: England, Croatia, Czechia, Scotland. England and Croatia will be dangerous once the knockout stage begins. Czechia might be good enough to also make it.

GROUP E: Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia. Three decent teams, but none that should go deep into the knockout stage. Poland and Sweden could flip positions.

GROUP F: Portugal, Germany, France, Hungary. Your Group of Death. Poor Hungary. If Germany figures out how to again be a major player on the world stage, look out.

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ROUND OF 16:

Denmark over Switzerland: The winner of this match has a legitimate chance of making it into the semifinals. If either squad finishes third in its group, it likely makes it to this round…and loses.

Italy over Ukraine: This ought to be straightforward, but the winner faces a stern test in the quarterfinals. Winning Group A appears to be the only way of getting to the quarterfinals.

Netherlands over Czechia: Perhaps the easiest path to the quarterfinals belongs to the Netherlands. The Netherlands take full advantage of an easy group and now a weak opponent.

Belgium over France: Clash of the titans, part 1. The Belgians should get through, but this is a dangerous matchup. Finishing anywhere but first in the Group of Death is more apparent now.

Croatia over Poland: Another simple path to the quarterfinals, but after that the road is perilous for the Croatians. Winning the group provides a much softer road.

Portugal over Russia: Remember the run the Russians went on in the World Cup? Better hold on to the memories. And remember that comment about winning the Group of Death? Any questions?

England over Germany: Clash of the titans, part 2. If the Germans are in form, a great matchup. If not, England takes a huge step to a title. In fact, the path to the finals is kind to the winner of this match,

Spain over Turkey: One of these teams will make it to the quarterfinals, and then it will be time to go home. That’s not all that encouraging, is it?

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May 23, 2014 Before the strong winds and pounding rain made taking pictures at the Bray Wanderers-Cork FC soccer match impractical

QUARTERFINALS:

Portugal over Croatia: This side of the bracket has three teams with legitimate chances of winning the tournament. This ought be a great matchup.

Belgium over Italy: The Belgians have an easier match up here than they did in the Round of 16. Presuming they take the Italians seriously, they ought to advance.

Denmark over Netherlands: No offense to either squad, but both have taken advantage of easy knockout stage matchups to get this far. Flip a coin to figure out which one moves on.

England over Spain: England could follow up a matchup against a wobbly Germany with an opponent that also seems to have unsteady ground beneath it.

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SEMIFINALS:

Belgium over Portugal: Monumental matchup. Picking Belgium is not a slight against Portugal; this matchup could go either way.

England over Denmark: The English get another favorable matchup here. Winning Group D becomes more and more valuable.

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Photo: Anthony Moretti 7March2015

FINAL:

England over Belgium: Perhaps the slighter easier road to this matchup and playing in London give the English the nod.

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