EURO 2016 Quarterfinals predictions.
Michael H: Well, your boy was 7-1 with his Round of 16 picks so take note (no doubt I go 0-4 this time).
Mikey: I went 6-2 in the round of 16, underestimating Ronaldo and Iceland, while also overvaluing Croatia and TottenEngland. Pretty amazing that England was comprised of Tottenham players and Croatia is led by an ex- tottenh.. screw it never mind I’ll save that for August. Anyways, you all know the drill, head to head competition between Michael H. and myself, winner take all style. I need to go bold in this round to make up the difference in standings. If you missed our predictions last round, take a look here.
HERE WE GO!!!
Michael H. — Poland 1, Portugal 2
Oh man, I do not like this game at all. I think it all hinges on which Cristiano Ronaldo shows up: The pouty, sullen one constantly disappointed with his teammates’ mistakes, or the human supernova goal-machine (OK, the second one is usually pouty and sullen as well). Ronaldo did not have a great game against Croatia – he was, however, involved in Portugal’s 117th minute goal as his saved shot was steered home by Ricardo Quaresma – so I think he is due for a great performance. A goal and an assist from him guide Portugal past Robert Lewandowski – who doesn’t have enough help – and Poland and into the semifinals.
Mikey — Poland 2, Portugal 0
This is such a crap-shoot game I really only decided to go this way based on what I saw from Portugal against Croatia. No doubt a great victory for their nation, but completely and utterly underwhelming showing of cohesiveness and fitness. Both teams were absolutely crawling to that finish line. Poland on the other hand, played a good game against Switzerland but were dominated in the second half by a much-inspired Shaqiri, who eventually got the goal he completely deserved. So, with both of these teams getting through, I think it comes down to the fact that Lewandowski has yet to show up, and Ronaldo may just be lacking the vital burst of pace (he did play a longer club season than any player). Poland go through.
Michael H — Wales 1, Belgium 3
Gosh darnit, I really wanted to pick Wales in this one. But Belgium beat the piss out of Hungary (I know, I know, it was only Hungary) last Sunday and look to be in the mood. And Wales, even with Gareth Bale in top form, simply do not have the horses to hang with the talent of Belgium – again, assuming they actually play up to their potential. I see this one being tied at halftime, with the Belgians pulling away with a couple goals in the second half.
Mikey — Wales 0, Belgium 2
In watching Wales, they are as strong as anyone up the center of the park. Ashley Williams will be fit for this match, Allen looks revived, Ramsey looks like a Bond villian, and Garreth Bale is my girlfriend’s crush of the tournament. However, where they really STINK is down the flanks. Poor outside backs, and very limited wide skill. Belgium has a slight issue with over-population of talent, and is forced to play either De Bruyne or Hazard on the wing, as both can’t play the 10. The opposite wing is probably Mertens, a high value player and a dynamic threat with his service. That all does not add up well for Wales. Add that to the fact that Belgium should come in with great form after ending their Round of 16 game on a tear. This actually could get ugly, but I’ll pick 2-0 for now. After 10 minutes we should see the gulf in class.
Michael H. — Germany 1, Italy 0
How good does Julian Draxler look for Germany right now? He terrorized Slovakia on the left wing in their Round of 16 matchup on Sunday. The Italians, for their part, continued to impress as they unceremoniously dumped Spain out of Euro 2016 on Monday. The Germans, however, have too many playmakers, and you know Mario Gomez is going to pop up in the right position at the right time for an old-man goal.
Mikey — Germany 2, Italy 1
I want Conte to lead his men into the last 4, I really do. The way he has brought together a team that was completely written off prior to the tournament for lacking “attacking prowess” or that tricky thing called “youth” is nothing short of amazing. Showing that unity and collective defensive mindset’s are the two most valuable pieces in international tournaments is something the Italians are not unfamiliar with. However, in this case, Germany may just have too much for them. The possession numbers will be staggering after this one, I’m thinking 71-29, but the attempts should level out. If Germany defends their set pieces, they will be fine.
Michael H — France 1, Iceland 1 (Iceland win on penalties)
Welp, I picked Iceland to reach the semifinals before the tournament started; before I realized they would potentially meet France – the dang host nation – in the quarterfinals. But I’m sticking to my guns because I have integrity, folks. And because these picks don’t matter who cares. Anyway, Iceland will have to find a way to slow down Antoine Griezmann, who is at NBA JAM levels of on fire right now. Luckily for Iceland, they have decent enough (tall enough) center backs to stop Olivier Giroud from heading insane assists to the aforementioned Griezmann. Iceland were fortunate to play England – who can’t help but melt into a despair and self-destruction infused puddle in every big international tournament match – in the first knockout round. This one goes to penalties and…THE ICELANDIC MAGIC CONTINUES.
Mikey — France 2 , Iceland 0
Crazy as it sounds to pick Iceland, if you’ve reallllly watched this tournament you have seen the first 70 or so minutes for France of each game be completely underwhelming. They have been booed, whistled at, and even jeered for their early performances, before saving face late and taking the 3 points. There is a storm brewing.. If France fail to score early and the game ticks later and later, the fans and the Icelandic persistence coulllllld make for an EXTREMELY shaky final minutes.
But, yea, France should score one in each half and the game will end with handshakes and a Crêpe.FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD