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30
Jun 2012
18:03
A preview of the final, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Spain and Italy will once again play each other to decide the winner of the 2012 European Cup of Nations. We already wrote about this game at the beginning of the tournament and we will now do this again bearing in mind that the past doesn’t count although it may influence the decisions both teams will have to make...
29
Jun 2012
16:45
A surprise but not a big one, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Italy won themselves a place in Sunday’s final in Kiev after effectively beating Germany. They were more superior than what the final 2-1 reflects, as Germany just got closer in the last minutes of the game when Ozil scored a penalty. Prandelli’s approach to the game was decisive against a helpless German squad that seemed unable to find solutions as the semi final became more challenging. The classification of the transalpine side may have beaten betting odds, but maybe it wasn’t a big surprise for someone who had been watching the whole game when the French referee blew the final whistle. Let’s analyse what we saw and start, if you want, a debate...
28
Jun 2012
14:59
Spain on the edge of making history, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Spain had to go to penalties to eliminate Portugal and seal their ticket to their third consecutive final in a great international tournament, something only Germany did in the 70s. The last two competitions, the European Cup 2008 and the World Cup 2010, were won by Spain and on Sunday they will have the opportunity to make history becoming the only team to win the treble. Germany, who could be their opponent if they eliminate Italy, actually went out on penalties when they faced the former Czech Republic in the final of Euro 76 which took place in the former Yugoslavia...
25
Jun 2012
09:20
Italy through on penalties, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Italy needed penalties to win their quarter final of Euro 2012 against England. And so it was, in normal time and extra time, neither team managed to score a valid goal as offside goals don’t count. So the team that goes through to play Germany in the semi-final is Italy because they were more accurate with their penalties...
24
Jun 2012
01:29
Spain break the spell, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Two goals scored by Xabi Alonso on his 100th appearance for his country, one thanks to a great measured pass from Jordi Alba and the other from a penalty for a foul on Pedro, were enough to take the Spanish national team through to the semi-finals of Euro 2012 and at the same time break, once and for all, the spell that France usually put on them. And so they overcame the French side in an scrappier game you would expect from two world champions...
23
Jun 2012
09:52
Competitive Germany, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Germany have become the second semi-finalists in Euro 2012. Their resounding win against Greece which was eventful and which we will now look at, puts them in a privileged position waiting to see who will qualify to play them out of England and Italy who play on Sunday...
22
Jun 2012
02:05
Portugal true to form, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Portugal have confirmed what we saw in the first phase. They are the first semi-finalists in Euro 2012 and rightly so, confirming their assets of being solid but with threat, especially Cristiano Ronaldo. They now await their opponent who will come from the match between Spain and France on Sunday...
20
Jun 2012
16:16
Now we have the quarter finals, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

The Czech Republic, who will play Portugal on Thursday, Germany, who will play Greece the following day, Spain, who come up against France on Saturday and England, who have Italy as their opponents on Sunday, are the group winners of Euro 2102. The 8 teams contest the quarter finals of the competition which has seen the two host nations, Poland and Ukraine, go out, as well as Holland and Russia, surprisingly, Sweden, put out by the French, Croatia, who have said goodbye, Ireland and Denmark. Let’s analyse how the groups ended and try to explain a few issues we saw right up to the end...
16
Jun 2012
17:19
As predicted and some surprises, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

The second round of matches is complete in the Euro 2012 group stages and we have had a look at the main issues of an interesting tournament which has now claimed a few victims. Two teams are definitely out and those remaining will have to wait for the last match and finish this stage in the best possible way. Ireland's defeat against Spain and yesterday Sweden's at the hands of England issued their return tickets. At the opposite end, Germany have almost qualified for the next stage and a few of the other candidates have almost done their jobs to think about the next level. Whatever, we are getting closer and we will evaluate what happened. Let's go...
14
Jun 2012
11:08
The first steps in Euro 2012, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

The first round of games has been played in all the groups, four, in the finals of Euro 2012 and it’s a good time to analyse, dissect and take stock of what’s gone on so far which we will try to do here as we usually do with your helpful contribution. As always, we will look at the issues, listen to your open and varied opinions which make for good reading. Let’s go...
10
Jun 2012
17:25
The fledgeling host nation and classic teams, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

We come to the end of our preview analysis of the groups of the 16 teams taking part in the European Championships with an interesting and varied Group D. In it are two teams with tradition although from different eras, France and England, Sweden who are ready to revive memories of reaching the semifinals in 1992 and the quarter finals in 2004 and a Ukraine team who as well as being co-hosts, take part in their first Euro finals. Everyone would say that France and England have every chance to head to the next phase if it wasn’t football and we weren’t so used to surprises. However, whatever happens, like the other groups, it a more than interesting one to analyse in depth and comment on. So let’s get on with it...
09
Jun 2012
02:38
The Champions enter the fray, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

We are at the halfway stage of our initial previews of the groups and teams taking part in the 2012 European Championships, and the moment has arrived to talk about the holders of the trophy. That’s the Spanish team led by Vicente del Bosque and part of Group C which also has another history making team, Italy plus two teams who are thought of as outsiders who could upset the forecasts: Ireland led by Giovanni Trapattoni and Slaven Bilic’s Croatia . Different styles, different approaches to the game, several options…but with the same objective: to book their ticket to the next stage and have an eye on the final...
08
Jun 2012
09:24
The group of death opens, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

For those of us who have always followed the European and World football tournaments, a ‘group of death’ shouldn’t come as a surprise. In any World Cup or European Championship, even in the Olympic Games or in qualifying groups there is usually a ‘group of death’. It then evolves in its own way, there are no guidelines for this kind of thing, but that’s why it has this name, for something to talk about as the games take place. And we have one in this Euro 2012, a ‘group of death’. And this time the name is apt when you realise that the teams playing for the two qualifying spots are no less than Germany, Denmark, Holland and Portugal. Let’s see how this team poker game will start...
07
Jun 2012
14:06
Poland and Greece will light the flame, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

The momento is approaching and we lovers of football are excited as we always are on the eve of a big event. And it is certainly a big event starting on Friday in Poland and the Ukraine: the latest edition of the European National Championship, Euro 2012...
05
Jun 2012
09:24
An excellent foundation stone, by Rafa Benitez

General Articles

Rafa Benítez

Spain had to work hard and be patient in their final preparation match before the Euros. In Seville, in La Cartuja Stadium, they came up against a China team who surprised them and gave them lots to think about for much of the game. But that's exactly what you need in a preparation game. The intensity, organisation and counter attack were the hallmarks of the Chinese side and may have come as a surprise to many people but not to those who know Jose Antonio Camacho...