Spain v France preview

June 23, 2012
Spain v France preview

Spain have never beaten France in a competitive fixture – can they put that record straight tonight?

Spain approach

Spain are clearly the favourites here, and as the side less likely to change their shape or spring a tactical surprise, it makes sense to consider them first.

Vicente del Bosque hinted yesterday that he’d consider changing his side slightly, and while it’s almost unthinkable that he’d change the ‘first’ nine players (ie Iker Casillas through to Andres Iniesta), the other two positions, occupied by David Silva and Fernando Torres, are less secure.

Torres remains the favourite to start, despite competition from Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo. There’s certainly an argument that Llorente would be better suited to this game, to test the aerial ability of the French centre-backs, and one could also argue that Negredo is now better at playing Torres’ old game than the Torres of 2012. Del Bosque places loyalty and familiarity before tactical concerns, though, and seems more likely to stick with the Chelsea striker. Read more »

Germany 4-2 Greece: near-total dominance

June 22, 2012
Germany 4-2 Greece: near-total dominance

Germany thrashed a poor Greece side to progress to the semi-finals with ease.

Jogi Low, as widely reported before the game, changed three of his front four. Mesut Ozil remained, but Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Miroslav Klose replaced Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez.

Fernando Santos was without Giorgos Karagounis from the centre of midfield, so Grigoris Makis played instead. Sotiris Ninis played on the right, with Dmitri Salpingidis upfront.

Greece tried to soak up pressure, but simply weren’t good enough defensively and Germany constantly created chances. Read more »

Germany v Greece preview

June 22, 2012
Germany v Greece preview

On paper, this is the most one-sided of the four quarter-finals. Germany qualified the most impressively of the eight quarter-finalists, while Greece squeezed through with just four points.

Team news

Greek coach Fernando Santos is without two players because of suspension. Giorgos Karagounis is absent from the centre of midfield, while left-back Jose Holebas is also unavailable, though might not have started anyway.

Jogi Löw doesn’t have such problems – in fact, he has Jerome Boateng back after a ban – but reports in today’s German newspapers suggest he’s set to make radical changes in the final third. Most importantly, it seems certain that Miroslav Klose will start instead of Mario Gomez upfront. On the flanks, Andre Schurrle is challenging Lukas Podolski for a starting place, while Marco Reus could play instead of Thomas Muller. It would be a surprise if Löw changed three of his front four, and probably unnecessary considering their 100% record so far. Read more »