Spain vs. Portugal on Wednesday
The first semifinal is a very interesting matchup between two geographical neighbors. A matchup to watch is Cristiano Ronaldo against several of his teammates and many of his rivals. Ronaldo plays at Real Madrid with playes such as Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso. He’s also familiar with several Barcelona players from tense clashes on the club level. This is also a rematch of the 2010 World Cup when Spain beat Portugal 1-0 in the round of 16. Expect Portugal to allow Spain to pass the ball in the midfield and hope that Ronaldo can provide a counterattack goal, just like he did against the Netherlands in group play. Spain is a tough team to score against and I think they will record another clean sheet.
Spain 1, Portugal 0
Germany vs. Italy on Thursday
Germany will be looking for revenge against Italy. It was the Italians that eliminated the Germans in the 2006 World Cup semifinals when the tournament took place in Germany. The pressure is on the Germans, who will be favorites to advance over Italy. Germany had two extra days of rest and has more depth. However, you can never count out the Italians especially with Andrea Pirlo as the anchor of the midfield. One of Germany’s question marks is their defense and Italy forward Mario Balotelli could be a tough matchup for the Germany back line. It will be interesting to see if Germany keeps the same lineup as the Greece match or go back to the starting 11 that was used in the group stage.
Germany 2, Italy 1 (After extra time)