It is probably time for you to orient yourself towards St. James’ Gate, Dublin, assume the position, drink of the Blood of
Christ Jameson and give thanks to Guinness and His prophet Smithwick (Praise Be Upon Him) that the quarterfinals of the Euro 2012 RAYCESSISM & fútbol pageant are set to begin (2:45 PM Eastern on ESPN).
What’s that you say? Your New Year’s resolution was to stop drinking in the morning, alone at your work desk? NO ONE ADHERES TO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, YOU SILLY FUCK. Just make sure you chew some gum to mask the smell of booze in case you’re called upon to do something productive, which is unlikely, because you are a meaningless vestigial organ of a corporate person.
So, the footballing wheat has been separated from the chaff, and only eight nations remain in this glorious competition. In the spirit of fair play, good, clean entertainment, and beautiful Eastern European women, WHO YA GOT?
Portugal vs. Czech Republic (Thursday, June 21): Both of these teams play progressive football. Look to the Czechs to start the match on the front foot as they try to claim the vital first goal. That may open up space on the wing for C**t Ronaldo to counterattack, as he did so effectively against the Dutch. Petr Jiráček is the main attacking threat for the Czech Republic, as Milan Baroš’s legs deserted him sometime during the Bush Administration. The Portuguese are growing into this tournament and may have just a bit too much quality for the Czechs (who in your correspondent’s estimation are not as good as the 2008 side that was eliminated in the first round) can handle. Portugal to win 2-1.
Germany vs. Greece (Friday, June 22): To the tune of the Colonel Bogey March:
Hitler, has only got one ball,
Göring, has two but they’re quite small,
Himmler’s, are very similar,
and Goebbels, has no balls, at all.
Ze Germans to win 1-0, and Greece to default.
Spain vs. France (Saturday, June 23): This is by far the tastiest match-up of the quarterfinals. Les Bleus are smarting from an unexpected 2-0 defeat to previously eliminated Sweden, where they conceded the goal of the tournament thus far and, but for heroic measures from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, could have lost 5-0. The French will be without defensive man-beast Phillipe Mexès to suspension, and so will draft in Laurent Koscielny to partner the utterly pantalones Adil Rami.
This may be the match when Spain’s inflexible reliance on visually pleasing short passing undoes them. They’ll have the majority of the ball, as they always do, but the French have the quality both to defend as a unit and to break through the stifling Spanish defensive full-court press with players like Karim Benzema and Frank Ribery.
France to win, 2-1.
England vs. Italy (Sunday, June 24): The way to defeat the Eye-talians is to play the way they do: organize yourself defensively, destroy any creative movements by the opposition, frustrate them until one of their players gets himself sent off, score a goal on a set piece, and then play smothering defense and score a second goal on the counter-attack.
The English are actually well suited to do exactly this. It won’t be pretty; this match reeks of stalemate, but that plays right into the hands of England’s quietly impressive manager Roy Hodgson, who will wait for the Italians to tire before bringing on Theo Walcott to devastating effect as a second half substitute. England have scored first in each of their matches thus far, and will again, but will be pegged back with an 89th minute own goal from Glen Johnson.
England will then proceed to lose on penalties, because of course they will.