The Knockout stage of Euro 2012 ended up being somewhat predictable, as long as you take away the shocking finale of the England/Italy match that went to a penalty shootout. Take that away, and things are pretty much where they should be. Germany easily did away with the Greeks, a match that was a one sided affair throughout, while Spain picked up a decisive victory of the French. In a game that looked like it could have gone to extra time, Portugal picked up a late 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic. The only team asking questions at the end of the weekend? England.
People automatically think that Italy should have won this match, penalty shootout or not. This is simply not the case. England was supposed to win this match hands down as the Italians don't have the type of squad that they used to. Apparently, the Italians had other ideas and should have won the match long before the penalty shootout. Italy outshot England 35 to 9 with 20 of those shots going on goal.
Despite the strong play from Italy, the match went to PK's anyway. From the get go, it was obvious that Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon wanted it more and the moment Ashley Young hit the top post, it became quite clear who the victors would be. With the Three Lions left shaking their heads, the Italians celebrated on the field. Unfortunately, the won't be able to celebrate for long, as they take on tournament favorites Germany this Thursday in the semifinals.
Germany on the other hand, goes into their match against Italy after easily dispatching Greece this past Friday. Despite a strong defensive performance in the first half from the Greeks, the second half was all Germany, who scored three goals on the way to a 4-2 victory. Germany was the clear favorite to win this match, but Greece was at a disadvantage from the start, as team Captain Giorgos Karagounis had to sit out after picking up a yellow card during their shocking victory over Russia.
Portugal, despite the low score, dominated the Czech Republic. The Czech's only had two shots all match long while Portugal had twenty. It was cleat throughout this match that the Portuguese would break out and get a goal, it was just a matter of who and when. Looking like it might go into extra time, Christiano Ronaldo made sure that did not happen, coming out of no where, launching himself at the net and heading the ball in after a perfectly placed cross from Moutinho. Portugal now has a tough task ahead of them, as they take on Spain this Wednesday.
In yet another predictable match, Spain brushed aside France, who only had one shot on goal the entire game. Spain scored early on in the 19th after Xabi Alonso put a beautiful standing header into the back of the net. It would be all Spain would need, but Alonso got a second goal in stoppage time off a penalty kick. Going into the semifinals, Portugal vs. Spain looks like the most exciting of the two fixtures this week. Be sure to check back to the Brotherly Game this weekend for a wrap-up of the Euro 2012 semifinals.