Euro 2016 Final Preview

It all comes down to today as France and Portugal meet in the final of European Championship.  The hosts will be the expected favorite as they have been one of the best teams of the tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo has a chance to set his name above his arch rival and into a new stratosphere.

France advanced to the final thanks to a nice 2-0 win over Germany. Antoine Griezmann scored both of the goals as France clinched their spot in the final. The first came from the spot after a questionable hand ball call against Bastian Schweinsteiger. In the second half, Griezmann would score a second and put the result out of doubt. France would face some pressure, but they easily held out for the win. Now they will look for their 3rd European Championship and second European Championship win at home.

Portugal is in their second European Championship final. Their first was in 2004 when they lost at home to Greece. Ronaldo will hope to now deliver the first major international title to his country and win a new trophy. Portugal advanced to the final following their 2-0 win over Wales. Cristiano opened the scoring with a wonderful header. 3 minutes later, Nani put Portugal in the final as he was able to get on the end of a scuffed shot from Ronaldo. Wales put up a great fight this tournament and were one of the most entertaining teams. Portugal was the end of the road for them as the Portuguese extended their unbeaten run in the Euros to 13.

The only player that is in any doubt is Pepe. Portugal will be desperate to get him back as they look to deal with the very potent French attack. William Carvalho is back from suspension, but he might not come in to the squad after Danilo impressed. The only question for France is will Rami come in for Umtiti for the final.

This is Ronaldo’s moment. He has a chance to win a major international tournament. He showed up in the semifinal and will need to in the final if Portugal is to finally overcome France. They have lost their last 10 matches against France. The question with France is will they let the pressure of being hosts get to them.

Predictions
My Pick: France, 2-1
Conor’s Pick: France, 2-1

Euro 2016 Semifinal

We are down to four!! The European Championships are now set for the semifinals this week. The final four teams are Germany, France, Portugal, and Wales. The Iceland dream is over, but two teams will get the chance to win the European title. 

 Portugal vs. Wales

 Wednesday, June 6th at 3:00 pm EST on ESPN

The first semifinal game is tomorrow between Portugal and Wales. Portugal are looking to make it to their second European final ever.  They made it to the finals in 2004 and lost the game to Greece. Wales are in their first ever European Championships and could make their first ever major international final. Portugal have drawn their last five games in the European Championships. They will be without William Carvalho who is suspended. Wales are now the darlings of the tournament. They are the underdogs but have one of the world superstars. This game is being billed as the battle between Ronaldo and Bale, the battle of Real Madrid teammates. Gareth Bale has been sensational this tournament and has led Wales to their first ever semifinal. Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies are suspended for this game. These could be huge losses for the Welsh team. Portugal has failed to win a game in 90 minutes. It will come down to which superstar has a better game. This should be a great game. 

Predictions

My Pick – Wales
Conor’s Pick – Wales 

Germany vs. France

 Thursday, June 7th at 3:00 pm EST on ESPN

This is going to be a game for the ages, the hosts France face the World Champions Germany. These two teams have been favorites from the beginning and both nations will be expecting a trip to the finals. France has won the European Championships twice, in 1984 and 2000. Germany has won the championships in 1972, 1980, and 1996. They are looking to end a 20 year wait. The Germans are going to missing a bunch of players for the semifinal. Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira are both out for the rest of the tournament with injury. Mats Hummels is suspended for the game. France, however, are back to fully fit. Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante are back from their suspensions but both might not come straight back into the team. These are two of the best footballing nations and there is a lot on the line. Germany will need to get over the loss of those key figures if they are to overcome the hosts.  We can only hope that this game is a better game than the last time Germany faces a host nation at a major international tournament. 

 Predictions

 My Pick – Germany
Conor’s Pick – France