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Who will win Euro 2012?


The European Championships are now only a few days away, so we at Spirit of Mirko have decided to predict the entire tournament. Rather than predicting the results by analysing each individual side, their players, formations, recent form, we have decided to use hard, cold facts. So, for this set of predictions we have used the previous meeting for each side to predict which side will win.

Group A

Greece 0 – 0 Poland (29/3/2011)

Russia 3 – 3 Czech Republic (19/6/1996)

Greece 1 -0 Czech Republic (1/7/2004)

Poland 2 – 2 Russia (22/8/2007)

Greece 1 – 1 Russia (11/11/2011)

Poland 0 – 2 Czech Republic (10/10/2009)

Group A is won by Euro 2004 winners Greece on a fittingly meagre 5 points, in second place it’s Czech Republic on 4 points. Russia finish 3rd with 3 points and exit the competition after not losing a game, whilst hosts Poland bow out at the group stage on 2 points.

Group B

Netherlands 2 – 0 Denmark (14/6/2010)

Germany 3 – 2 Portugal (19/6/2008)

Denmark 2 – 1 Portugal (11/10/2011)

Netherlands 0 – 3 Germany (15/11/2011)

Denmark 2 – 2 Germany (11/8/2010)

Portugal 1 – 0 Netherlands (25/6/2006)

Unsurprisingly Germany top Group B after picking up seven points from their three games. In second place it’s Denmark with four points. Netherlands and Portugal are out before the knock out stages have even begun after finishing with three points apiece.

Group C

Spain 1 – 2 Italy (10/8/2011)

Ireland 0 – 0 Croatia (10/8/2011)

Italy 0 – 2 Croatia (16/8/2006)

Spain 1 – 1 Ireland (15/6/2002)

Croatia 1 – 2 Spain (7/6/2006)

Italy 0 – 2 Ireland (7/6/2011)

A shock in Group C as two draws and a win against Italy is enough to see Ireland finish as group winners. Second spot in the group goes to Spain on four points who sneak through by virtue of their head to head with Croatia. Italy finish rock bottom on three points.

Group D

France 2 – 1 England (17/11/2010)

Ukraine 1 – 1 Sweden (9/2/2011)

Ukraine 1 – 4 France (6/6/2011)

Sweden 0 – 1 England (15/11/2011)

England 0 – 1 Ukraine (10/10/2009)

Sweden 2 – 3 France (20/8/2008)

France win their group with a storming nice points from a possible nine. Local interest in the tournament is maintained as hosts Ukraine sneak through in second place on four points. England finish third with three points and the Swedes last with a solitary point.

Quarter Finals

Greece 1 – 2 Denmark (AET) (11/2/2009) & (8/10/2005)

Germany 0 – 3 Czech Republic (17/10/2007)

Ireland W/O Ukraine

France 0 – 2 Spain (3/3/2010)

In February 2009 Greece and Denmark fought out a 1-1 friendly draw, so you have to go further back in time to 2005 to find an occasion where a positive result was gained. Denmark defeated Greece in a World Cup qualifier – enough to get them through to the semi-finals of Euro 2012. In qualifying for Euro 2008 Czech Republic achieved an impressive 3-0 victory over Germany. That’s enough to see them through to the final four.

Interestingly Ukraine and Ireland have never met in a senior international. Therefore we have to fall back on the trusty FIFA world rankings that predict the 18th-placed Irish would see off the 50th placed Ukraine. Ireland through to the semi-finals. Spain‘s 2-0 win over France in a friendly in March 2010 is enough for them to make up the last spot in the semi-finals.

Semi Finals

Denmark 0 – 4 Ireland (22/8/2007)

Czech Republic 1 – 2 Spain (25/3/2011)

Ireland make it to the final of a major tournament for the first time by virtue of their 4-0 friendly victory in August 2007 (bear with me..). Ireland will face Spain who saw off the Czech Republic 2-1 (qualifier for Euro 2012).

Final

Ireland 1 – 1 – Spain [Spain win on penalties] – (15/6/2002)

Heart-break for Ireland as Spain win a third consecutive major honour. Spain’s penalty shoot-out win from the 2002 World Cup is enough to hand them the European Championships. Well done Spain.

 

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in International

 

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Euro 2012 squad analysis: Part Two


Rather than bombard you all with information I thought I’d split the Euro 2012 squad analysis into two parts. I’ll try and concentrate more on the players than the squads in this section.

Top goalscorers per nation

  • Croatia – Eduardo (22)
  • Czech Republic – Milan Baros (40)
  • Denmark – Dennis Rommedahl (21)
  • England – Wayne Rooney (28)
  • Spain – Fernando Torres (27)
  • France – Karim Benzema (13)
  • Germany – Miroslav Klose (63)
  • Greece – Thofanis Gekas (21)
  • Holland – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (31)
  • Italy – Daniele De Rossi & Antonio Di Natale (10)
  • Ireland – Robbie Keane (54)
  • Poland – Robert Lewandowski (13)
  • Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo (32)
  • Russia – Roman Pavlyuchenko (20)
  • Sweden – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (29)
  • Ukraine – Andriy Schevchenko (46)

Most capped players per nation

  • Croatia – Josip Šimunić (93)
  • Czech Republic – Petr Cech (89)
  • Denmark – Dennis Rommedahl (113)
  • England – Ashley Cole (93)
  • Spain – Iker Casillas (129)
  • France – Florent Malouda (74)
  • Germany – Miroslav Klose (114)
  • Greece – Giorgos Karagounis (115)
  • Holland – Rafael van der Vaart (94)
  • Italy – Gianluigi Buffon (113)
  • Ireland – Shay Given (121)
  • Poland – Dariusz Dudka (61)
  • Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo (88)
  • Russia – Sergei Ignashevich (73)
  • Sweden – Anders Svensson (126)
  • Ukraine – Antoliy Tymoshchuk (114)

England’s Ashley Cole with 93 caps is the most capped player at Euro 2012 who is yet to score a goal for his country. The other outfield players that have over 40 caps who have yet to score for their country include Yuri Zhirkov (Russia), Aleksei Berezutski (Russia), Danijel Pranjic (Croatia) and Tomáš Hübschman (Czech Republic). Other notable players who have yet to break their international duck include Patrice Evra (39 caps, France), Sergio Bisquets (38 caps, Spain), Stewart Downing (33 caps, England), James Milner (24 caps, England), Simon Kjaer (22 caps, Denmark).

Despite being only 27, Lukas Podolski has amassed 95 international caps for Germany, yet Custódio of Portugal is 29 years old, yet is still to make his international début. Similarly Ukraine substitute keeper Oleksandr Horyainov is 36 years old, yet has only played one full international match.

There are seven players who are younger than 20 years old in the tournament. 19 year olds Jores Okore (defender, Denmark), Rafal Wolski (midfielder, Poland), Kostas Fortounis (midfielder, Greece), Marksym Koval (goalkeeper, Ukraine), Jack Butland (goalkeeper, England) and 18 year olds Jetro Willems (defender, Holland) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (midfielder, England). If Jetro Willems scores during the tournament he will be the youngest ever player to score in the European Championship finals, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the second youngest player at Euro 2012, is too old to take the record. The current holder of that record Johan Vonlanthen retired last week at the tender age of 26.

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in International, Statistics

 

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Euro 2012: Squad analysis


The sixteen nations have now named their twenty-three man squads for Euro 2012. Three hundred and sixty-eight players will travel to the tournament in Poland & Ukraine, some experienced, some young, some with over hundred caps, some with none or very few.

The following table shows a list of Euro 2012 countries, the total number of caps in their squad, the average caps per player, the number of international goals scored by the squad, the average number of goals scored per player and finally the average goals per cap scored.

Euro 2012 nations, caps and goals

Euro 2012 nations, caps and goals

The most experienced squad in the tournament are the current holders Spain with 984 caps (it’s likely that figure will reach 1000 after all pre-tournament friendlies have been played). This figure was reached despite losing the vastly experienced David Villa before the tournament even began.

France’s recent travails are reflected in Laurent Blanc’s squad. Despite having a large range of undoubtedly talented players they are inexperienced at international level. Only Poland have fewer caps on average than the French (20.174 per player for Poland in comparison to 20.261 for France).

The goalscoring statistics are interesting in that the squads of Italy, France and Poland have all scored less than 50 international goals. To put that into some context, Robbie Keane has scored 54. Unsurprisingly the prolific Klose and Podolski have helped Germany to first place in the international goals (184).

There are twelve players with over 100 caps, goalkeepers Iker Casillas, Gianluifi Buffon and Shay Given, defender Olof Mellberg, midfielders Girogos Karagounis, Xavi, Antoliy Tymoschchuk and forwards Robbie Keane, Miroslav Klose, Dennis Rommedahl and Andriy Schevchenko.

There are ten uncapped players who have been named in squads this summer. Russian defenders Vladimir Granat and Kirill Nababkin from Dynamo Moscow and CSKA Moscow respectively are included in Russia’s final 23. Portugal include two uncapped players both from Braga, Custódio and Miguel Lopes. Custódio is the oldest uncapped player involved in Euro 2012, he turned 29 last week. Holland include uncapped forward Luciano Narsingh in their squad whilst Italy have called up midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini. A few countries have unsurprisingly taken along an uncapped third keeper, England take Jack Butland, Ukraine have Maksym Koval, Croatia have Ivan Kelava and Denmark called up Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after their number one choice Thomas Sorenson was injured in training.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in European, International

 

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French Football League XI 2010/2011


French Football League XI

Between the sticks is the unfortunate Romain Larrieu of Plymouth Argyle, he played eighteen games in an ultimately doomed season for the Pilgrims who were relegated to the fourth tier. Across the back is former Spurs and Wigan fullback Pascal Chimbonda of QPR, Jean-Yves M’voto of Oldham Athletic, Maxime Blanchard of Tranmere Rovers and Stephane Zubar of Plymouth Argyle.

Central midfield is occupied by Forest’s Guy Moussi, Morgan Schneiderlin of promoted Southampton and Marc-Antoine Gbarssin who spent much of the end of last season on loan at Walsall from Carlisle United. Out wide is Leicester winger Dany N’Guessan who had a spell at Southampton on loan and the versatile Romain Vincelot of Dagenham & Redbridge. Up front I have selected FA Cup hero Jonathan Tehoue who stunned Arsenal with a last minute equaliser in the cup for Orient over target-man Mathieu Manset of Reading.

As always, if you have any suggestions of players I have missed out then I’d be happy to hear them.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Club, European, Players

 

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