We're now about two weeks into Euro 2012 and about two weeks removed from my predictions on who would make it out of the group stages alive.
Greece once again is surprising people, Italy is sticking it out like their old selves, and the Dutch played with their tails between their legs for three straight games. Through these occurrences and others, I would say I didn't do half bad in my predictions. So, in baseball terminology, here are my grades for my own predictions for the opening rounds of the tourney:
My predictions: Russia, Poland
Reality: Czech Republic, Greece
I flat out blew it on this one. Both Poland and Russia had a chance to qualify for the knockout stages with wins in their final games but the Czech Republic and Greece had other plans. As for my key player predictions, Sczezny didn’t play a single minute (my bad) and Arshavin was less than stellar compared to the young gun Dzagoev. Grade: I struck out swinging for the fences on this one.
My predictions: Germany, Netherlands
Reality: Germany, Portugal
I came pretty close on this one. Germany captured all 9 points as I predicted and the final game between Portugal and the Netherlands did decide their fate. However, Portugal prevailed over a very disappointing Netherlands side that set a record they’d rather not repeat (losing 3 straight group games). And credit to Denmark for making it interesting. Grade: I left a runner in scoring position in Group B.
My predictions: Spain, Ireland
Reality: Spain, Italy
In retrospect, picking Ireland was more than hopeful; it was a dream that would never have come to fruition. That being said, Spain qualified handily and Italy, with some help from the reigning champions, handled their business as well. Grade: I got caught trying to steal third in Group C, no luck of the Irish for me.
My predictions: France, England
Reality: England, France
As I predicted both England and France qualified but it wasn’t as easy for Les Bleus as I would have hoped. Thankfully England took care of business against Ukraine in the final game securing their spot atop the group and more importantly Ukraine’s in third. Grade: I managed to score a run here, but it wasn’t pretty.
So there you go, my Euro group stage report card. As far as predictions for the rest of the bracket goes, stay tuned for my revised predictions (coming to a Season's Over near you).