28 Jun,2016 By Jagabond
Euro 2016 is in the home stretch! I remember I was a huge sports nut as a kid. In 6th grade one of our assignments was to keep a daily journal, and every single day my entry was about the previous night of sports…what happened, who won, amazing plays, etc. My teacher commented that I actually made baseball seem exciting! For the briefest of moments I had dreams of becoming a sports writer…but instead I decided to become a scientist who could talk and debate sports periodically at the pub. Now that I have this blog, however, I figured I might give sports writing another shot.
We have eight nations left playing throughout France these next few weeks to close out Euro 2016, and I decided to go ahead and pick right through the rest of the tournament…including the championship in St. Denis. This has been pretty exciting so far, specifically: The unexpected rise of Iceland, Portugal breaking the collective hearts of Croatians everywhere, and a truly amazing goal by Switzerland.
Moving on from the memories, let’s head straight into the picks…looking ahead to who will win the Euro on July 10th.
Poland vs. Portugal
I’ll get my upset out of the way first. I like Portugal the country, but their star player Ronaldo is rather annoying and elitist, thus I find it difficult to watch their matches with much fervor. I’m picking against them here because Poland’s defense is playing great, and Portugal has looked uninspired the entire tournament. Poland 2-1
Belgium vs. Wales
Belgium was my championship pick before the Euro began, but it always worries me when they play a team with a star player. Gareth Bale could take over the match, score or set up a few goals, and lead Wales to victory…but I’m banking on that not happening. Belgium looks like one of the most complete teams in the tournament. Belgium 3-1
Germany vs. Italy
I was somewhat surprised that Italy knocked off Spain, but I really don’t think they have a chance against the Germans, who are currently fielding one of the best teams in the world. I’m predicting a massive whitewashing here. Germany 5-0
France vs. Iceland
I’m loving the run that the Icelanders are having. The defense and ball-handling is outstanding, and they didn’t get rattled when they went down early against England. The Icelandic side has a lot to be proud of, but I think the Cinderella story ends with France’s home-field advantage. Pop the champagne, France is headed to the semi-finals. France 1-0
Belgium vs. Poland
The Belgian Red Devils get lucky here by drawing the weakest team of the last four, and they take full advantage of their good fortune. Goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku will pave the way for an easy trip into the finals. Belgium 3-0
Germany vs. France
No revenge here for World War II…not this day. So many people were picking France to win it all, but the Germans simply have better players. Thomas Muller, one of the best footballers in Europe, and Mario Gomez, the David Hasselhoff look-alike, will lead the way for their side. Germany 3-1
Belgium vs. Germany
Of course I’m biased, having lived in Belgium, but I really think this is their time. Beating the World Cup winning Germans for the Euro Championship will be the crowning moment for Belgian soccer. If everyone stays healthy for the next two years, this will be a great vaulting point to the next World Cup in Russia. Party in Brussels, the Red Devils win on penalty kicks! Belgium 2-2 (5-4 pk)