I probably won’t get to post between now and Sunday evening, so I’m calling it now for… Spain. No, Germany!
I’m quite pleased that every single prediction I made in my last post (Van Persie scoring, Holland continuing on good form, Turkey exiting against Croatia, Spain losing to Italy) turned out to be wrong. I still think Germany will win it, but at least we’ve got the prospect of two interesting semi-finals along the way. And who’d have thought that Turkey would be in the last four? Awkwardly, it was me that set up the office sweepstake, so if I win I probably have to give the money away anyway. I’m already being accused of some sophisticated type of cheating involving insider knowledge and a direct personal line to some of the tournament’s key players.
I’ve resisted writing about Euro 2008, because I could wibble on for a very long time without having very much to say. I drew Turkey in the office sweepstake, which seemed like a poor choice at the time but they’re still in it, at least for the next five hours. More promisingly, I drew Robin Van Persie for the golden boot, which if Holland keep up the form they started off with might get me somewhere.
Before the tournament started I confidently predicted Germany would win. Now I’m not so sure, even though they looked good against Portugal (my second choice) last night. Mainly, though, I just don’t understand football. How can a national team maintain the same characteristics over decades and across completely different players and coaches? But history still works better than form as an indicator of a team’s chances. As I said to my beloved last night, Portugal should win because they’ve looked three times better over the competition, but traditionally, Germany win difficult knock-out games. And lo and behold, they breezed it. It’s all very odd, and means that my latest tip for the trophy, Spain, will probably go out on Sunday. That’s what Spain do after all, isn’t it?