As usual I'll handicap this competition because soccer is one of my strengths and this kind of tournaments is perfect for me like the World Cup 2010 can prove it. Nevertheless, I made some homework that I'll share with the community - some previews of the best teams. Good Luck to all
This isn’t your typical Italian team by any means. We were used to watch the Italians led by a masterful tactician coach like Marcello Lippi, Giovanni Trapattoni or Fabio Capello that employed defense as their primary focus, but this time Cesare Prandelli is the National Head Coach and Prandelli is known more for an attacking philosophy and more creativity on his formations. This can be a good thing because if Italy wanted merely to defend they would be in trouble because the actual class of Italian defenders is far away from the level that Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini once reached a decade ago.In the midfield, Prandelli doesn’t have any choice than use a diamond formation because Italy lacks quality wing players. In this formation, Andrea Pirlo is the masterful mind of the team and the only player that the opposing team must nullify in order to slow down the Italian team. The other 3 midfielders will rotate on their positions and they offer some aggressiveness and a good work rate, but none of those players (I’m talking of De Rossi, Marchisio and Montolivo) aren’t a real “number 10” like once Roberto Baggio or Francesco Totti were for the team.In the front, it looks like Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli will be the strikers and you don’t want to mess with these two players! They are talented players, but they can be problematic as well and we should not be surprised if a red card is showed to one of these players.Strenght(s):
Andre Gomes: Best Bets | Free Picks | BlogsBeyond the same-old-handicapping
The Dutch team is one of the favorites to win this tournament and they have certainly the potential to win it all. After being present in the 2010 World Cup final where they lost to Spain in Overtime, Netherlands has basically the same identity and the same core of players as in 2010. Two years ago, despite being a talented offensive team, Netherlands excelled in quick transitions especially from Arjen Robben, but this team is a more attractive squad than two years ago. They hold onto the ball for longer periods and the circulation of the ball is quicker and sharper.Bert van Marwijk has been using a tradition double pivot formation in front of the back four and most likely Van Bommel and De Jong will be the two players chosen like they were in 2010. These two players have an excellent defensive positioning and play “hard”, they will allow players like Sneijder, Robben or Afellay to have more offensive freedom because they cover the field behind them. However having two holding midfielders’ means there is one less creative playmaker, so we cannot expect these players to create something relevant when they have the ball. This role is for Wesley Sneijder and although Sneijder is certainly capable of perform, he is coming from a very poor club season in Internazionale while in 2010, Sneijder dominated the clubs competition and was considered one of the best midfielders’ in the world.Strenght(s):
Great stuff, Andre. Thanks for sharing. Boa sorte!
ATP - French Open Winner - David Ferrer (+4000)
Portugal has unquestionably the best European player today, but at the same time they have probably the most unbalanced roster of the tournament. The pressure for Cristiano Ronaldo to shine is huge and the expectations are enormous, but the supporting cast around him isn’t the best. Portugal has the best European player in the tournament, they have in my opinion the best center defender as well in Pepe (if he controls his temper), they have a good left back (Coentrao) , a good center midfield (Moutinho) and a good winger (Nani). But after that, Portugal has a collection of …average players. I won’t be surprised if Portugal knocks around Germany or Netherlands in the group stage and goes further in the competition, but I wouldn’t be surprised either if they are sent home without winning a single game.National Head Coach Paulo Bento is using a typical 4-3-3 formation with three midfielders that works well with and without the ball, but they really don’t have any skill of dribbling or to create opportunities of goal by themselves. Then Ronaldo and Nani are initially positioned on the wings but their tendency is to move inside and looking to score in diagonal moves. The drop off of quality between the starting unit and the bench is quite evident and if Portugal wants to go further in the competition they hope to not have any injury or suspension in their best core of playersStrenght(s):
Germany caught off the guard the world of soccer in 2010 when they played an attractive football and after dispatch both England and Argentina with 4 goals apiece, only the eventual future Champions Spain stopped the well oiled German machine. In the qualify stage for Euro 2012, Germany won all their 10 games by scoring 34 goals while allowing just 7 goals. Nevertheless, this is a pretty young team,with an average age of just 24.9 years. This is in fact the youngest Germany squad since way back in 1934 and if in WC 2010, there wasn’t high expectations for the team, for this competition we are talking about the main favorite to dethrone the actual Champions Spain so the “pressure to win” will be a important factor that Germany will have to battle.National Head Coach Joachim Low is the main responsible for this attractive style that German plays. Their offensive principles are quite simple by using one or two touches and a lot of movement off the ball. Being young and athletic is a good thing and the German team is an explosive physical team with an incredible stamina and work rate. Even though that they haven’t (aside from Özil) any “big names” in their roster, Germany have a role of underrated young players that most likely will explode in the near future - Reus, Götze or Kroos are a good example of such players!Strenght(s):
Spain has been the best National Team of the World by a fair margin since 2008 and at their best, they are nearly unbeaten like Barcelona has been in the last years because they play in a similar style and obviously have some common players. The potential problem for this team is the (lack of) desire and motivation to win after being successful lately. This is the usual problem that the Champions have and Spain is no different. Fatigue can be a problem as well because I seriously doubt that any player of any other team has played more games than Xavi, Iniesta, Piquet or Casillas in the last two seasons.The “Pep Guardiola Barcelona system” has been well assimilated by National Team Head Coach Vicente Del Bosque and Spain, like Barcelona, will absolutely crush every opponent in the ball possession battle. In certain periods of time they lack some objective on their game and some experts even call them “boring”, but when they have the ball they surely assured that they won’t suffer any goal. Note that in the UEFA World Cup 2010, Spain in the knock out stages didn’t allow a single goal in 4 games! Strenght(s):
That is all, surely one of those teams will be the Champion!
Great stuff, Andre. Thanks for sharing. Boa sorte!
First play of the tournament:
This is the opening match of the tournament with the home team Poland being favored to win against Greece. Historically, this is a tough spot for the home team because there is a lot of pressure to perform and this can hurt the Polish team because they aren’t talented enough on the offensive end to dominate the ball possession and create chances to score against a defensive minded team like the Greek side.