UEFA Euro 2016: Knockout stage (R16 to Final)

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by phins_4_ever, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    [Congrats UK_Fan for N Ireland making the knockout stage. You must be extremely excited. ]

    With the expansion to 24 teams I waited for the knockout rounds to open up a thread. With the group stages complete we are set for the 'real soccer games'. A lot of people (fans and officials) were against an expansion. The reason was that the Euro Championship is being watered down. I was opposed to an expansion as well. But I am pleasantly surprised that the 'training partners' gave the top teams a real fight.
    Teams like Albania (barely missed the Round of 16), Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Wales, Iceland, Ireland, Hungary gave the elite in European soccer fits. Several teams with first time appearances in the Euro (i.e. Wales, Slovakia, Northern Ireland) and Iceland (first ever appearance at any major tournament). What became the dreaded 3rd place qualification became a saving anchor for some teams with higher aspirations (i.e. Portugal). Teams like Austria and Russia who we expected more from are left to go home.

    The surprise appearance of the little guys threw the two brackets in the knockout stage into turmoil. The brackets (8 teams each) were evenly reserved for three 1st place finishers, three runner-up and two 3rd place teams. But with the revolt from below and teams like England and Spain not winning their divisions and Belgium as one of the top favorite relinquishing the group to the 'retirement home of Italy' the two brackets are completely out of proportion.

    Bracket 1:
    (in parenthesis FIFA ranking; WC = World Cup wins; EC = European Championship wins)

    Belgium (#2): 0WC, 0 EC
    Portugal (#8):0WC, 0EC; regular appearances at major tournaments
    Switzerland (#15): 0WC, 0EC
    Hungary (#20): 0WC. 0EC; hasn’t qualified for a major tournament since 1986 (WC) and first appearance at Euro since 1972
    Wales (#26): 0WC, 0EC; last major tournament in 1958 (WC). First time ever at UEFA Euro
    Northern Ireland (#25): 0WC, 0EC; last major tournament in 1986 (WC). First time ever at UEFA Euro
    Croatia (#27): 0WC, 0EC; since becoming independent regular appearances at WC and EC
    Poland (#28): 0WC, 0EC; only 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] appearance at UEFA Euro

    2 top 10 teams
    3 top 15 teams

    Combined: 0 WC, 0 EC
    Bracket 2:
    (in parenthesis FIFA ranking; WC = World Cup wins; EC = European Championship wins)

    Germany (#4): 4WC (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), 3EC (1972, 1980, 1996)
    Spain (#6): 1WC (2010), 3EC (1964, 2008, 2012); defending champion
    England (#11): 1WC (1966), 0EC
    Italy (#12): 4WC (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), 1EC (1968)
    France (#17): 1WC (1998), 2EC (1984, 2000)
    Slovakia (#24): 0WC, 0EC; 1[SUP]st[/SUP] appearance at UEFA Euro and 2nd major tournament appearance since independence
    Ireland (#33): 0WC. 0EC
    Iceland (#34): 0WC, 0EC; first ever qualification for a major tournament

    This bracket has a stunning combined 21 (!!!!!!) Championships between the top 5 teams.
    Combined: 11WC, 10 EC

    The two brackets:

    bracket.jpg

    Predictions are hard. But in bracket 1 I could see all top 3 teams (Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland) fall in the R16. None of them have played well and none of them are considered tournament teams. Their opponents (Croatia, Poland, Hungary) have played excellent group matches and gotten better over the course of the games.
    I could easily see Wales or Northern Ireland (it is a shame that these two teams play in the R16) make a run for the Finals as well as Croatia or Poland.

    Advancing to the Quarters: Poland, Croatia, Wales, Belgium

    Bracket 1 Quarterfinal: Poland vs Croatia
    Croatia has probably played their best game in the group match final vs Spain. I saw the entire game and they gave the defending Champion fits. If not for the last minute goal by the Czech Republic they would have won all their group matches as the only team. Croatia will advance.


    Bracket 1 Quarterfinal: Belgium vs Wales
    I am not sure why Belgium was named a top favorite this year and why they are actually the #2 seed in the world. Their qualifying group was nothing to brag about. And they struggled at the Euro. Can Wales beat them? You bet they can. They faced each other in the qualifying group B and despite Belgium winning that group and Wales being the runner up Wales did not lose to Belgium (0-0, 1-0). Wales will advance.


    Bracket 1 Semifinal: Wales vs Croatia
    The Welch will triumph and will move into the final.

    **************************************************

    Bracket 2?

    Holly macaroni. Who to pick? Italy and Spain are struggling mighty. Both lost their final group matches and that game is a recovery game for either team. While I will not count Italy out but I think Spain will continue on.
    As much as I like the Cinderella story Iceland I do not see them beating England. They may take them into overtime but I think their summer night dream will end. Germany will have a rough time with Slovakia. Just a few weeks ago Slovakia beat them 3-1 in a Euro tune up game. But experience and having all players aboard Germany should squeak by.

    France may just be upset. If Ireland can focus and play disciplined I don't see any reason why they should not beat France. Despite winning their group France struggled big time. 3 of their 4 goals (incl both against Albania) came in the last minute and extra time.

    In the Quarters: Germany vs Spain

    Germany is not as strong as during the WC in 2014. Several players struggle (Goetze, Ozil) and Mueller just cannot score in the Euro. And that is the crux of the German team. They dominated all three group matches, solid on defense but they have poor success when it comes to scoring. They finally went back to a true #9 (Gomez) who scored the goal against N Ireland but based on chances (shots on goal) it should have been 4-0 or 5-0. If they can solve their scoring problem they will cruise past Spain if not Spain will punish them. Right now I lean towards Germany.

    In the Quarters: England vs Ireland
    The question is how much does Ireland will have left in the tank. I can see a low scoring affair with OT and penalty kicks. It probably will be much more interesting to see those two rivals fan bases sing and dance the entire game. Oh yea. I think England will win in penalty kicks.

    Semifinal in Bracket 2 Germany vs England

    We have to face reality here. Since that no-goal which was called a goal in 1966 Germany has become England's boogeyman/demon/nightmare which includes games from domination to penalty kicks to goals-being-called-no-goals. This year is probably England's best chance to stop that nightmare. I don't think it will happen.

    **************************************************

    Final: Wales vs Germany
    Can/Could Wales beat Germany?
    History has shown that any team could beat another in the final. 1992 Danish Dynamite came in ranked #20 and played some refreshing soccer and beat Germany (clearly the favorite coming of a WC Championship in 1990).
    In 2004 underdog Greece ranked #40 coming into the tournament became a all-defense team under a German coach (Ribbeck). Three 1-0 victories (Quarter, Semi, Final) was enough to stun favorite and host Portugal.
    But history also shows that this does not happen too often. Germany's experience and talent throughout the roster (incl bench players) will make the difference.

    Champion: Germany
     
  2. FSU Truth

    FSU Truth The North Remembers Finheaven VIP

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    Well done putting that together....

    Germany...they need to sit Gotze...he is struggling and is only a hindrance at this point...would love to see Draxler get the start.

    Really like what Wales is doing and could see them get Germany in a 1-0 game.
     
  3. Wadeshow

    Wadeshow Rookie

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    Goetze has been bad for the whole year. As Bayern Munich fan I have been disappointed with him from the moment he signed with us.

    Hopefully Croatia can finally bring a championship to the former Yugoslavia. Half Croatian Half Serbian. They need Modric back and if he is healthy they should come out of that bracket.
     
  4. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    I agree on Goetze. After his WC heroics he has not improved. I think his 2013 move to Munich was fatal. While he played more in his first season which helped him in the WC he is now relegated to a bench player and infrequently substituted in.
    He is always good for that sudden impact moment but I think he is just a burden to the team right now.

    Though Germany is still the deepest teams in the tournament if they cannot solve their scoring problem I could agree with your 1-0 of Wales over Germany.
     
  5. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Goetze has hardly played this year. He is a bench warmer. I think his struggles has to do with the lack of playing time. Is it his fault? I am not sure. He is playing behind Douglas Costa, Kingsley Coman, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry (on the outsides) and in the middle Munich has Thomas Müller, Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal. This is an all-star lineup in itself. Oh and I forgot Lewandowski.
    In Dortmund he was the star fitting into a team. In Munich he became over time one of the many. A return to Dortmund is out of the question. Fans just hate him there. I heard that Liverpool (coached by his former Dortmund coach Klopp) is interested. It would be an option for him. Not sure what the new coach (Ancilotti) in Munich will do.

    He is still good for the occasional brilliance but he could do that as a substitute for the German National Team.
     
  6. GasPed

    GasPed Well-Known Member

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    Every single top team has been a major disappointment this Euro, and looks extremely beatable. It's anyone's championship at this point. Having said that, I really don't think Ireland will beat France, just based on the talent gap alone. (Yeah, right.) And if Belgium plays like a real team instead of a bunch of guys running around with no idea, they really should get past Wales and Croatia. But right now, if you just look at who's on form, Croatia is the team to beat. Who'd have thought?
     
  7. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    Wales vs Germany final?
    That would be nuts.

    The top teams are showing some fatigue. League, cup, champions league and qualifiers - that's a lot of games under your belt before the Euros started.

    Top coaching is elevating some of the lesser teams. Cohesion matters.

    Bad luck NIR, bring on HUN/BEL!
     
  8. uk_dolfan

    uk_dolfan Founder of the FH Adam Gase fan club Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    NI went out today because of a late own goal from one of my favourite players (he used to play for my local semi pro team) but I am very very proud of our team. I don't mind going out, but going out via an own goal hurt.

    We even played well today, we were just unlucky and wern't lucky enough to have Gareth Bale grow up in the province.... but considering that we have never qualified before we did really well. Our fans were amazing
     
  9. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    Both teams have outperformed expectations.

    Gareth Bale went to school just down the road from me in Whitchurch High.
    A friend of mine went to school with him, said he is a nice guy. Same year as Sam Warburton the rugby union player, i think.

    Anyway that cross was going to be sniped in by Robson-Kanu. I would say it was pretty much indefensible/undefendable - whichever word is more appropriate.
     
  10. uk_dolfan

    uk_dolfan Founder of the FH Adam Gase fan club Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Maybe but you never know with these things.

    Either way I said all your tournament that Wales are probably the best British side at the tournament, hope you win it.

    Lets see if the migbt Ing-gur-land can manage to sneak past Iceland.... I like Woy
     
  11. Bumpus

    Bumpus Are you gonna drink that? Administrator Finheaven VIP

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    Not even gonna pretend like I know a damn thing about soccer, but - OUCH.

    Sorry to hear that.
     
  12. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    It was a tough own goal. But can't fault the player. Inside your own 5m box trying to defend a cross like that with a Welsh player right behind you....can't fault the player.

    I agree with you on the fatigue part.

    But is a Wales/Germany as a final really so nuts? Crazier things have happened. If Wales plays strong defense, limits its mistake and take advantage of counter attacks they should not fear anybody in their bracket. Ireland lost today against France within 3 minutes because of defensive mistakes. If they would have taken advantage of a couple of their chances before that the host would have been knocked out. Almost every game this year is close. No clear favorite. It comes down to who makes the mistakes.

    Germany plays in a few minutes but their road is tough. If they win they have to face either Italy or Spain and if they survive there they may have to face France or England (unless Iceland pulls off a couple mega upsets) to the finals. Wales may face Hungary or Belgium and either Poland or Portugal. So at this point Wales may actually have the easier task. :lol:
     
  13. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    Is it nuts? Yes.
    Why? Reasons. Oh, and Wales.

    When you've watched your national team **** the bed for 40+ years, you become... highly skeptical.

    Kinda like the Dolphins.

    Anyway, even if Chris Coleman can instill the belief and evade critical injuries, Wales still needs a tonne of luck.
    He got outdone tactically yesterday, but fortunately it was against NI who have somewhat lesser talent.

    That said, when we poach a goal, the wind is in our sails and the Welsh are hard to stop. But more often than not we are overwhelmed and flat.
     
  14. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Oh I didn't say it will be easy. :lol:
    And most teams need luck but you always put yourself into the position to take advantage of luck.

    But they have a chance as anybody in that bracket. They are my dark horse. :lol:

    Happy? :)

    He played an outstanding game today.
     
  15. GasPed

    GasPed Well-Known Member

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    Just want to say that the Belgium team I saw that dismissed Hungary would be a handful for any team in the world. When guys like Hazard, De Bruyne, and Lukaku show up, play both ways, and decide they want to play with each other, look out. No disrespect to Wales, but they are really going to have to be on point if they want to have a chance against that team.
     
  16. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    5 min left in Iceland vs England. 2-1 Iceland. :lol:

    Is Iceland gonna give England a Brexit from the Euro. :sidelol:

    EDIT: Holy **** they did it. That is an upset of major proportions. And the ref did everything he could to turn the game incl 3 min of extra time. For those who do not know anything about soccer this is a Tsunami, a 10.0 Earthquake and a Cat 5 Hurricane all in one for England and world soccer. :lol:
     
  17. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    Flood warnings on the border of England, as the Welsh piss themselves laughing.

    EDIT: ... and Roy Hodgson walks.
    Slovakia draw, Russia draw, Iceland loss, Italy loss, Uruguay loss, Costa Rica draw.
    Pretty crappy competition record.
     
  18. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    :lol:
    The media is gonna rip that team into pieces.

    There was that story where an Iceland company offered the English players a whale watching tour if they lose to Iceland. That way they could avoid flying home for a while after the game. :sidelol:

    I have to look that story up later.

    Edit: found it
    http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/iceland-england-euro-2016-whale-watching-tour-banter-north-sailing-062316
     
  19. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    Love the passive aggressive smack talk.
     
  20. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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  21. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Quarterfinals are set:

    The bracket:

    bracket.jpg

    8 teams left
    Poland vs Portugal
    Belgium vs Wales
    France vs Iceland
    Germany vs Italy

    My prediction:
    After I was wrong on a couple teams in the R16 I give it another shot.

    Poland over Portugal
    Portugal coming off a game in which the first shot on goal of both teams (in the 117th minute!!!!) proved to be the winner. That won't be enough the second time around. Poland's defense and Lewandowski who will have his best game of the tournament will be a tad to much. Poland is much more balanced than Portugal who relies too much on Ronaldo.

    Wales over Belgium

    Belgium took advantage of a very offensive Hungary team. I still think that Belgium is two years away to become a major soccer power. Wales has a stifling defense and will score early which will force Belgium run against a Welsh wall and leaves them open for counter attacks.

    France over Iceland

    Unfortunately Iceland's summer dream will come to an end. I am still not convinced that France has what it takes to win Euro 2016. Homefield advantage and the French luck will be enough to send the newcomers home. But I wouldn't be terribly upset if Iceland proves me wrong.

    Germany over Italy
    While Germany has never beaten Italy in a major tournament this team has gotten better every game. Italy is one of the surprises to me. I did not expect the "Century Village*" of the Euro to go that far much less kick defending champion Spain out. That victory was more a result of excellent coaching rather than talent (or over the hill talent). Italy will play a similar style against Germany as they did against Spain. The difference is that Spain never replaced the talent they had lost over the years. The more offensive style of Italy will help Germany who have faced 4 defensive minded teams. Their only draw back is still that they need too many chances to score goals. But as Gomez has now two games under his belt at Euro 2016 the switch to a true #9 will pay off.
    The only guarantee I can give: the winner of this match will go to the final. Neither France nor Iceland (if they would spring for another major upset) has enough to beat either team.

    For now I stick with my Wales vs Germany final.

    *Note to our foreigners: Century Village is a famous retirement community in Florida. :lol:
     
  22. FSU Truth

    FSU Truth The North Remembers Finheaven VIP

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    Draxler plays, Germans have some creativity and they find the ****ing net....how about that!! Draxlers work on that left side was a huge difference maker...some of it was embarrassing the way he worked the RB...

    Also, England is getting roasted...I've seen a lot of variations of Brexit now extending to the pitch...

    I am a fairly new soccer fan...gravitated to Germany because of Neuer, honestly have enjoyed the last few weeks between the Euro and Copa as much as I have during the NFL season (by the way I am a huge fan of Germany...I don't own a single Dolphins jersey, but I have a Neuer Jersey...the way that some oversea fans sort of landed on Miami...I did the same with Germany (and Bayern))..
     
  23. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Was Loew's second great move (after Gomez in): Draxler for Goetze.
     
  24. Wadeshow

    Wadeshow Rookie

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    It just seemed from the moment he came to the club he was just different then the rest.

    Im excited to be finally rid of Pep and hopefully Ancelotti brings back a counter offense.

    As much as it sucked watching Croatia lose it was nice seeing Sanches play at a high level.

    Sorry to the England fans in here but that was a remarkable game by Iceland today. Would be amazing if they could shock the world like Denmark in 92 and Greece in 04.
     
  25. uk_dolfan

    uk_dolfan Founder of the FH Adam Gase fan club Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    I knew England are overrated as hell... but Iceland :lol:
     
  26. ChambersWI

    ChambersWI Owner of the Palace of Wisdom Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Woy's yearning to make Raheem Sterling important didn't help
     
  27. Wadeshow

    Wadeshow Rookie

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    England has always been overrated. From their domestic league all the way to their National team.

    The only player on England that impressed me was Rashford kid did more damage to Iceland in 5 mins then the rest of the squad did in all 90 mins.
     
  28. greasyObnoxious

    greasyObnoxious I love lamp Finheaven VIP Donator

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    wise choices
     
  29. trojanma

    trojanma FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Poland-Portugal
    As a Poland supporter I would love to see a win and of late we have found success against Portugal, but Poland has kind of been skidding by after a high water mark against a very familiar German side.
    They dont have adequate depth as witnessed by the squad completely falling apart after the 60th minute against the Swiss in the heat.
    Unlike Lewandowski, Ronaldo is more able to create something out of nothing. While Lewandowski is asked more to create space and opportunities for others.
    Portugal 2-1

    Belgium - Wales
    The Belgians have an awesome team, and they are starting to get more and more confident.
    There is just too much talent there. I cant see Wales beating them.
    Mertens and Hazard are wicked wingers and with Hazard breaking all the more dangerous.
    To win this game Wales are going to have to score at least two goals and I cannot see that happening
    Belgium 3 - 1

    Germany - Italy
    For the uninitiated Italy are a classic "Tournament Team". Like the Ravens in football or Mich St. in CBB. They almost always have a winning formula.
    I actually not been superbly impressed with Germany in this tournament. Smashing an under talented Slovakia team really didn't change that.
    Upset special
    Italy 2-1 against the run of play.

    France - Iceland
    France 1-0
    It will be a grinding sort of game, but too much cohesive complementary talent on the French side.
     
  30. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/ \○/

    Great win by Wales.
     
  31. uk_dolfan

    uk_dolfan Founder of the FH Adam Gase fan club Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Delighted for Wales.

    Said they were the best British team before the tournament started - wasnt sure that I was right!
     
  32. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Told ya. They will go to the finals. Portugal has no wins in 90 minutes and looked bad in every games.
     
  33. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    A part of me doesn't care what happens vs Portugal because Wales have far exceeded expectations already, and will go home proud whatever the score. Anything else they can achieve now will just be adding gravy. Good luck to them.

    One thing I've noticed is the stark contrast in demeanour between Bale and Ronaldo. Just look at their faces. One is completely relaxed and having fun, the other looks like he's getting crushed under the pressure, and is snatching at chances at every moment.

    I guess it just goes to show how important a player's current mental make-up and psychology is, to having sporting success.

    Togetherness; having a coherent and sound plan; focusing on what you do well; trust in the coaches; belief; hardworking; don't beat yourself; never quit... ubiquitous qualities across all team sports.

    Can Gase and co. conjure up the same qualities in the Dolphins?
     
  34. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    You can and should be proud of them. Enjoy that gravy. :)

    Ronaldo is a lazy SOB. His shortcomings are masked by a great support cast at Real Madrid but exposed at the Nation Team level. His playing radius is like 10 yards.
     
  35. uk_dolfan

    uk_dolfan Founder of the FH Adam Gase fan club Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Shame Wales arent playing Iceland. Would have been great to make sure that at least one made it to the final
     
  36. Welshfin

    Welshfin Scout Team

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    Maybe they will meet in the final? :eek:
     
  37. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Semi Finals
    All set and done for Wednesday (Wales vs Portugal) and Thursday (France vs Germany).
    Two teams (Wales and France) won their Quarter Finals convincingly and two teams (Portugal and Germany) struggled mightily. Most teams have to replace a player or two because of yellow cards but the biggest hit came to Germany.
    Gomez (harmstring) is out and so is Khedira - the rest of Euro 2016. Hummels will not play because of yellow card violation. Boatang and Schweinsteiger are questionable.
    All players are major contributors.
    It will be interesting to see if Loew will put Mueller as the true #9 and Draxler behind him from the beginning or if he decides to go back to a false #9 and add Goetze. Almost sure is that Germany will go back to a 4-man line after changing to a 3-man line for the Italy game.

    Germany's opponent France has finally arrived. Struggling through the Group Phase they started playing really well with the 2nd half of the Ireland game and continued to disassemble the Cinderella team Iceland in the Quarters. People may say that Iceland was just done and exhausted but a team first has to score 4 goals in the 1st half.
    The key for France is Griezman. The forward enjoys tremendous success as a free roaming forward next to Giroud and faces a German defense who has yet to allow a goal other than a penalty kick. France is not a dominant team but a tremendous counter attack squad. For France to be successful they have to score first on a limping and with injuries riddles Germany squad. It would play perfectly into their game plan. If Germany takes the lead or keeps the game tied France will be faced with a game plan they do not like - ball control and more offensive minded.

    Germany will go back to a 4-2-3-1 and France will keep the 4-2-3-1 system (which they have done since the second half in the Ireland game).

    Ways to win for Germany:
    Take advantage of the French weak defense especially with attacks from the wings. The center of the French defense is one of the weak spots.
    Stand high and forecheck early: France is not very good in the progression from defense to midfield to offense outside the counter attacks. On the other hand keep enough players behind the ball not to be overrun by a counter attack.

    Ways to win for France
    Be patient. Survive the German passing machine and counter quickly. Score first. France will not win if they go into a chess match like Italy and Germany did. Feed of homefield advantage.

    My guess
    I cannot give Germany a clear path to the final. A week ago I would have said no problem. But with the missing players it comes down to "how good is the German bench". At the WC in 2014 it was their strength that they were able to rotate players in and out of the lineup and not lose a heartbeat. It was the most balanced team in ages.
    But there are some unknowns on the bench which may or may not see action: Can, Weigl, maybe Sane could see first time Euro action.

    While I may not give Germany a clear path I think they may be able to pull it off in OT. Just don't go back to the penalty kicks. No other team is as forgiving as Italy and will give you several chances to pull that off.


    Next up: Wales vs Portugal
     
  38. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Wales vs Portugal
    ..aka Bale vs Ronaldo. It will be a delight watching these two Real Madrid teammates trying to get their teams to the Euro final. While Ronaldo's Euro campaign has been more subdued, yes even disappointing, Bale has had plenty of shining moments wearing the National colors.
    Portugal is clearly the favorite. Ranked #8 before the Euro Portugal has really not shown anything to justify its 'one of the favorites' status. I have seen every game from Portugal and I cannot give you one game where I can say "this team played really good". The 3-3 tie against Hungary was the closest to a good game but was more a result of Hungary's offensive style off football and a decent team would have easily disposed of Hungary as Belgium has shown in the R16s. Portugal's livelyhood will rely on Sanchez who may or may not be 18 years old (in case anybody missed that age controversy) feeding the ball to a largely ineffective and lazy Ronaldo. The teams other Superstar, Pepe, has had more highlights rolling on the ground, bitching and moaning and clawing opponents rather than through play. It is a sign of this year's quality (or lack thereof) of the Portugal team that he is still considered one of the best on this team. But he might be out for the semi.
    Note: Portugal has yet to win a game in regulation (90 minutes) at Euro.

    Wales, the new kid on the block, have huge problems going into this game :lol:
    - one player had to cancel his own wedding: Joe Ledley had his wedding planed for Saturday
    - Chris Gunter cannot attend his brothers wedding which also threw his parents into troubled waters. They decided to attend the game rather than go to their other son's wedding

    But these type of problems just add to the likability factor of this year's Wales team
    And it describes Wales perfectly. They didn't expect anything out of Euro considering they were competing with England and Russia in group play. And even if they would have advanced who would have thought they go all the way to the Semis. For a lot of fans and experts a surprise I gave Wales more credit from the get-go. I had the pleasure of watching a couple of their games in the last couple years (one was the Qualifier against Belgium) and I really thought that they could make some noise. Wales plays as a collective with a strong defense yet with enough offensive power to score more than just one goal. (Note: Wales had the most goals scored in group play)
    One of the reasons I was sold early on Wales was Bale. Bale is a Superstar I think Beckham was not. Bale is a Superstar Messi is not, Neymar is not, Ronaldo is not, Rooney is not. All these players mentioned have had great success on club level but never were the ones lifting their National team to the top spot. It is one thing playing great on the side of other international superstars but when you play with players who are not on that level you have to, as a superstar, get down and dirty and rally the team around you. You become a leader not just remain a diva. Bale integrated himself well into the Welsh team and the team itself rallies around him.

    One of the concerns I had was 'what if Wales has to play from behind'? Prior to the quarters they were down only once but that was vs England in the 92 min and the game was over. Great teams respond to a deficit. They had the chance against Belgium (0-1 after 13 minutes) and they responded extremely well.

    Right now, of the remaining 4 teams Wales is the most compact and should make it to the finals.....and it is the 12th year after all!!!!!!!!
    (1992 Denmark; 2004 Greece; 2016 Wales?)
     
  39. uk_dolfan

    uk_dolfan Founder of the FH Adam Gase fan club Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Tough luck wales, they were amazing.

    Ronaldo is awesome and has had a great tournament in a bad team
     
  40. phins_4_ever

    phins_4_ever E12 FH Tailgate Gang Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    That game went to **** quickly. :lol:
    Too bad Wales. But you will be back.
     

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