Ten days into Euro 2012 and twelve of sixteen competing nations have sealed their group-stage fates. Germany, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic have all qualified for the quarter-finals while six unfortunate countries have fallen by the wayside.
Group A was the first to conclude as the Czech Republic beat co-hosts Poland 1-0 to top the standings and duly eliminate their final-day opponents. But the headlines were stolen by a shock result in the group’s other encounter as Greece upset Russia 1-0 to qualify at their expense. Russia began the tournament in style with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Czechs yet only a 1-1 draw with the Poles and a lacklustre defeat would follow.
…won all three…
Group B was played out in more straightforward circumstances as Germany won all three of their fixtures to lead proceedings throughout. And Portugal grabbed second place, finishing with a flourish to defeat Holland 2-1 after previously overcoming Denmark 3-2. But there was only agony for the Dutch as the World Cup finalists failed to register a single point in their three matches and finished bottom of the pile. The Portuguese consequently face a quarter-final clash with the Czech Republic, whilst Germany will play the Greeks in the last eight.
Meanwhile, Group C was won by holders Spain – though they failed to reach the heights of yesteryear with two unconvincing displays either side of a 4-0 drubbing of Ireland. Italy finished runners-up after two draws and one win but they were hard pressed by a Luka Modric-led Croatia side punching well above their weight. The Irish, however, were to go the way of the Dutch, having lost every game and finished last.
…face the winners of England’s group…
The Italians now face the winners of England’s group (Group D), while La Roja await the group’s runners up.