With the exception of Netherlands’ whimpering showing at the 2012 Euros – those Oranje folded faster than a cheap accordion – the tournament has pretty much gone the way most people expected. Now that we’re down to the final four, the two teams widely expected to play for all the marbles are both still in it, each a win away from a collision course that will ultimately answer the question of which national team reigns supreme in football.
Spain or Germany?
The early lines have certainly reflected the two teams’ favorite status heading into their semifinals match against Portugal and Italy. Oddsmakers have pegged Spain to beat Portugal at 10/11 odds in 90 minutes of action. The suddenly resurgent Portugal squad have been penciled in as the underdogs against the defending champions with a 7/2 line while a draw gets 12/5 odds. Likewise, Spain has been tipped as the favorite to advance with 2/5 odds while Portugal is at 2/1 to unseat the champions for a place in the finals.
Even if they’re the prevalent long shots, we’re certainly not putting anything against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. The number 5 ranked team in the world are no push-overs – even against mighty Spain – by any stretch of the imagination.
Meanwhile, Germany has been listed as the favorites to beat Italy, who scored a dramatic come-from-behind win against England on penalty kicks to book the last semis seat of the tournament. The Azzurri figure to have their work cut our for them against the only team that has yet to taste a draw or a loss in the tournament. Respect is on the side of the Germans, too, as oddsmakers have given them 10/11 odds to beat Italy in 90 minutes of action and 4/11 to reach the finals. On the flips side, Italy’s at 4/1 to pull off the upset of the tournament after 90 minutes (12/5 to advance to the finals) while a draw has been set at 9/4.
Outright odds also shows just how close both Spain and Germany are to each other. Despite not looking like the finely-oiled machine they’ve been in recent years, Spain is still a close favorite to win the 2012 Euro title at 8/5 odds. Germany is a close second at 7/4 while Italy and Portugal make up the underdog roles at 5/1 and 11/2, respectively.
Make no mistake, Italy and Portugal have a chance to pull off a remarkable double-upset to set up what could be a barn-burner of a finals. After all, we’ve seen bigger underdogs than 2/1 and 4/1 odds come from out of nowhere like barn burners to wipe bookies clean.
It’s just that the way Spain and Germany have been playing in the tournament, it would take superhuman efforts from Italy and/or Portugal to keep us from looking forward to the match we’ve been waiting years to see.