Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Euro eight do battle in quarters

With the conclusion of an exciting group stage which saw both co-hosts fall by the wayside, an intriguing quarter-final line-up has emerged.

 One match a day from Thursday through to Sunday will see the remaining eight teams whittled down to a final four.

 First up on Thursday, Group A winners the Czech Republic take on Portugal.

 Taking place in Warsaw's national stadium, Portugal will be hoping to continue the momentum gained from a hard-fought victory over the Netherlands.

 Cristiano Ronaldo announced his arrival at the tournament with a fantastic display to knock out the World Cup finalists of 2010 and Portugal's hopes will again rest on his shoulders.

 Standing in his way will be Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, who was back to his best against Poland in the final group game.

 The second semi-final in Gdansk will see the much-fancied Germans take on Greece. Germany looked in ominously good form as they secured maximum points from the group stage, but will have to be wary of an obstinate Greek team who shocked Russia to scrape through to the last eight.

 Mario Gomez will hope to continue his scoring streak as he bids for the Golden Boot, he currently has three goals after the three group games.

 Saturday's quarter-final in Donetsk sees tournament favourites Spain take on France.

 France have so far failed to fire in the tournament and were soundly beaten by Sweden in their final group game.

 However a fixture against fierce rivals Spain is sure to motivate Laurent Blanc's team, in what should prove to be an exciting match-up. The final last eight tie sees England take on Italy in Kiev on Sunday.

 Roy Hodgson's team have ridden their luck in winning Group D but will now fancy their chances against Italy with Wayne Rooney back in the team.

 Italy, a more attacking team than in years gone by will look to the enigmatic Mario Balotelli to produce the goods, in a bid to reach the last four.


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