Previous
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
3
1
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
0
1
LIVE 77'
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
2
2
FT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
2
0
FT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Queens Park Rangers
Stoke City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
Burnley
Sunderland
0
0
FT
Game Details
Newcastle United
Hull City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Southampton
0
1
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
3
1
FT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Granada
0
1
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
2
2
FT
Game Details
Espanyol
Malaga
1
0
LIVE 29'
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Werder Bremen
4
2
FT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Paderborn 07
Hannover 96
2
0
FT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt
2
2
FT
Game Details
VfB Stuttgart
TSG Hoffenheim
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cesena
Empoli
2
2
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
0
1
LIVE 77'
Game Details
Marseille
Stade Rennes
3
0
FT
Game Details
Lorient
Stade de Reims
0
1
FT
Game Details
Metz
Bastia
3
1
FT
Game Details
Nantes
Nice
2
1
FT
Game Details
Toulouse
Caen
3
3
FT
Game Details
Watford
AFC Bournemouth
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Blackpool
0
0
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Cardiff City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Blackburn Rovers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Leeds United
Huddersfield Town
3
0
FT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Brentford
4
0
FT
Game Details
Millwall
Nottingham Forest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Norwich City
Birmingham City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Charlton Athletic
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Reading
1
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Bradford City
0
0
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Chesterfield
3
2
FT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Bristol City
3
3
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Walsall
0
0
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Crewe Alexandra
6
1
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Oldham Athletic
0
0
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Barnsley
2
1
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Crawley Town
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Coventry City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Leyton Orient
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Sheffield United
5
2
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Peterborough United
1
0
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Morecambe
1
0
FT
Game Details
Bury
Burton Albion
3
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Luton Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Dagenham & Redbridge
1
1
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Carlisle United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Accrington Stanley
4
5
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Stevenage
0
0
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Hartlepool United
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Wycombe Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Newport County
0
0
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Exeter City
1
2
FT
Game Details
York City
Southend United
2
3
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Lincoln City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Nuneaton Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Barnet
Altrincham
5
0
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Woking
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Forest Green Rovers
1
2
FT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Braintree Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Halifax
AFC Telford United
5
0
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Grimsby Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Southport
3
0
FT
Game Details
Torquay United
Dover
2
0
FT
Game Details
Welling
Gateshead
1
1
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Ross County
3
0
FT
Game Details
Hamilton Academical
Kilmarnock
0
0
FT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
St Johnstone
2
1
FT
Game Details
Linlithgow Rose
Fraserburgh
2
1
FT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Lugo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Barcelona B
Llagostera
0
1
FT
Game Details
Mirandes
Sporting Gijon
0
2
FT
Game Details
Real Zaragoza
Alavés
1
0
FT
Game Details
CD Sabadell
Ponferradina
1
0
FT
Game Details
Las Palmas
AD Alcorcon
4
1
FT
Game Details
Bari
Livorno
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bologna
Crotone
0
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Ternana
0
0
FT
Game Details
Catania
Modena
0
0
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
US Pescara
3
2
FT
Game Details
Lanciano
Frosinone
1
5
FT
Game Details
Latina
US Avellino
1
2
FT
Game Details
Perugia
Vicenza
2
2
FT
Game Details
Pro Vercelli
Varese
4
0
FT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
VfL Bochum
1
5
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
Kaiserslautern
2
1
FT
Game Details
TSV 1860 Munich
FC Ingolstadt 04
1
1
FT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Troyes
3
2
FT
Game Details
Excelsior
Dordrecht '90
1
1
FT
Game Details
ADO Den Haag
Go Ahead Eagles
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vitesse Arnhem
Heerenveen
1
1
LIVE 90'
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Jong Ajax
1
0
FT
Game Details
NEC Nijmegen
FC Emmen VV
4
0
FT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
FC Volendam
1
3
FT
Game Details
FC Penafiel
Vitoria Setubal
2
0
FT
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Braga
1
0
LIVE 61'
Game Details
FC Ufa
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rostov
Zenit St Petersburg
0
5
FT
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
FK Rubin Kazan
2
1
FT
Game Details
Spartak Moscow
Terek Grozny
1
1
FT
Game Details
Erciyesspor
Akhisar Belediye
1
2
FT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Galatasaray
2
0
FT
Game Details
Mersin Idmanyurdu
Caykur Rizespor
2
0
FT
Game Details
FC Xanthi
Levadiakos
2
0
FT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Atromitos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Veria
3
0
FT
Game Details
Mouscron-Peruwelz
Racing Genk
1
2
FT
Game Details
Anderlecht
Cercle Brugge KSV
3
2
FT
Game Details
KV Oostende
KAA Gent
1
3
FT
Game Details
KVC Westerlo
Lierse SK
6
1
FT
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
Wolfsberger AC
3
0
FT
Game Details
FC Trenkwalder Admira
SV Grodig
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Rheindorf Altach
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
2
0
FT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SK Sturm Graz
0
1
FT
Game Details
Hobro IK
Esbjerg
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
BK Hacken
1
5
FT
Game Details
Falkenbergs FF
Orebro SK
1
3
FT
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Stromsgodset
0
4
FT
Game Details
Valerenga
Molde
0
2
FT
Game Details
Sligo
Drogheda Utd
0
1
LIVE HT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Philadelphia Union
Houston Dynamo
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Columbus Crew
New England Revolution
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
San Jose Earthquakes
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago Fire
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Chiapas
ESPNDeportes 10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
U. de G.
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Veracruz
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Cruz Azul
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlanta Silverbacks
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Indy Eleven
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Minnesota United FC
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
0
0
FT
Game Details
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
Belgrano de Córdoba
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Atletico Rafaela
11:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Altamira
Lobos BUAP
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Zacatepec
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Celaya
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Necaxa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Paranaense
Internacional
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Criciúma
Botafogo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Oeste
5
1
LIVE 60'
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
Náutico
0
0
LIVE 62'
Game Details
Joinville
Goianiense
1
0
LIVE 57'
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
ABC
2
1
LIVE 67'
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Icasa
1
1
LIVE 61'
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
América Mineiro
0
1
LIVE 65'
Game Details
Boa MG
Paraná Clube
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bragantino
Luverdense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sud América
Cerro
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
El Tanque Sisley
Peñarol
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Deportivo Pasto
0
0
LIVE 72'
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Atlético Huila
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
La Equidad
Once Caldas
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Millonarios
Atlético Junior
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Medellín
Patriotas F.C.
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport Huancayo
Real Garcilaso
3
1
FT
Game Details
Unión Comercio
UTC
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
Juan Aurich
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
César Vallejo
San Simón
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
3 de Febrero
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Sportivo Luqueño
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Deportivo Quito
1
1
FT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
U. Católica
Postp
Game Details
Dep. Metropolitano
Deportivo Lara
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
The Strongest
Blooming
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Cerezo Osaka
2
0
FT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
Yokohama F. Marinos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kawasaki Frontale
FC Tokyo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Vegalta Sendai
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Albirex Niigata
2
0
FT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Omiya Ardija
0
2
FT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Kashiwa Reysol
3
1
FT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Shimizu S-Pulse
3
1
FT
Game Details
Next

Welbeck eases Hodgson pressure

European Championship Sep 9, 2014
Read
Jun 29, 2012

Semi-final review

The tournament is denied one ultimate showdown... but may have another

Since the 2010 World Cup semi-final, it had seemed that Euro 2012 was building up to a showdown of genuinely historic dimensions. On the one hand, you had one of the finest international sides in the game’s history in Spain. On the other, you had the future: the Germans.

It was going to be youth against seniority, possession against power, poise against pace. Not only that, it was going to be a face-off between two nations that have implemented the most impressive infrastructures in international football. This, seemingly, would have been their prize for patience.

Now, only one of them will be there. And, surprisingly, it’s not the team that had seemed so much fresher. Ultimately, Italy took advantage of the rawness and openness of the Germany to expose their flaws and reach the final instead. Cesare Prandelli’s side were able to take the sort of control that has been so key to the Spanish and so lacking in Germany.

So, rather than a repeat of the Euro 2008 final or the 2010 semi-final, we’ll have a repeat of one of the opening games – the third time that has happened in the competition’s history, after 1988 and 2004.

It’s also not the first time the football world has been denied the showdown it craved. At the World Cup in South Africa, many had wanted to see Brazil face Spain, but Netherlands denied the South Americans in the quarter-finals. At this year's tournament, Germany had been many neutrals' favourites, and had won every game leading up to their semi-final.

Ireland were the only team Italy had beaten without the need for penalties before they saw off Germany, but that is no reason to think the Azzurri's presence will make for a less compelling final. One of Italy’s draws, after all, was against the Spanish. And, whereas a German team that has simply looked too open at the back were quite clinically seen off by Spain in the previous tournament matches, Prandelli’s side have given the world champions more problems than they’ve faced against any other team in all of that time.

The 1-1 draw wasn’t too far off a tactical masterclass by the Italian coach and, since then, the dynamic has shifted further. With every game at the tournament, Italy have only grown in confidence. The supreme performance against Germany was arguably the culmination of what they started in the Spain game.

The Spanish, meanwhile, have only declined in sharpness. What’s more, Portugal picked up the lessons of the Italians by going at Spain in a different way to pretty much every other side. It caused Vicente Del Bosque’s side some serious discomfort and, if the Spanish look through history, that will only become more apparent. As has been well documented, they have never beaten the Italians. If they are to now make history, and become the first nation to win three major tournaments in a row, they’re going to finally have to.

Spain have brought themselves to the brink by pushing themselves to the edge

Before the two semi-finals, much was made of the fact that Germany and Portugal could enjoy a six-day break while Spain and Italy had to endure four. In the end, it seemed irrelevant as both of the latter teams went though.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a very real issue for the Spanish though. For one, you could see the effects. Against Portugal, they weren’t reaching passes as regularly, there was often something off about their touch, many more balls than usual were being miscontrolled.

Such errors weren’t just a result of those four rest days. They were a result of the last four years. Since Spain started this incredible span of success at the beginning of Euro 2008, they have played almost one extra season compared to other Euro 2012 teams.

With Barcelona also dominating Europe, their players’ average number of games per season since June 2008 has been 59. For their semi-final opponents, Portugal, it was 47. Over the course of four years, that adds up to an extra 48 games. For the record, the averages of the other semi-finalists were Germany 46 and Italy 45. That itself is quite a difference, and it could well make a difference come Sunday.

That has already taken its toll in things more visible than mere mistakes. Before Euro 2012, Spain had already lost two absolute cornerstones of the team in Carles Puyol and David Villa. Xavi, meanwhile, had to be hauled off early – exhausted. When you consider all of that, it is actually quite remarkable that they have somehow pushed themselves to another final.

Perhaps the argument about whether they are boring should be framed in a different way as it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a drop-off in their dynamism, and it was maybe even more inevitable that they would seek to counter it by controlling games.

It is admirable that, despite Portugal trying a different approach against them rather than just sitting deep, they still haven’t been beaten, and still haven’t conceded a knockout goal since 2006.

Ultimately, the big results were decided by individual moments

As the Donetsk semi-final entered the last ten minutes of normal time, Cristiano Ronaldo had the opportunity to finish off four years of Spanish dominance. He failed to take it, blazing his shot over the bar. And, although he wasn’t exactly helped by the placement of Raul Meireles’ pass, it summed up his career in much the same manner as his last semi-final.

In May, against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Ronaldo had started brilliantly by scoring two goals only to then fail with his most important kick of the match: his penalty in the shootout.

Likewise, it cannot be said that Ronaldo played badly against Spain. On the contrary, he put in one of his most tactically responsible performances and, if he didn’t quite dominate the match, he definitely dominated Spanish minds. Their defensive line was much further back than normal out of simple fear of not giving Ronaldo the space in which he thrives.

But, when it came to properly stepping up, Ronaldo didn’t. The same applies to his Euro 2012 as a whole, though it cannot be said he had a bad tournament. He was brilliant against the Dutch and the Czechs. But the simple fact is that he never truly dominated a competition in the manner many felt that he finally should have.

At this crucial level, Ronaldo’s career is still lacking something.

Andrea Pirlo, meanwhile, may not have the speed of Ronaldo but he is not missing much else. Indeed, it was his pace-setting that ultimately settled the semi-final and illustrated the one major flaw in the German team. They lack a handbrake, meaning their attempt at overwhelmingly fast football can undo them. In short, the Germans seemed in such a rush that they forgot to close the backdoor. Mats Hummels, in particular, completely reversed the perception of his tournament with a single awful performance.

For Spain, Sergio Ramos has been altering perceptions in a different way. After a tournament in which he has been underrated and admirable at centre-half, the Real Madrid man showed impressive bottle to chip the ball into the centre of the goal after having missed his last shootout penalty – against Bayern in the Champions League semi-final.

Then there was the performance of Mario Balotelli. He may never alter perceptions but he did almost alter the structure of the Warsaw net with that breathtaking second goal.

He may well sum up another difference between Italy and Spain in the final: strikers. With Jesus Navas and Pedro tearing Portugal apart in the latter stages of their game, how they could have done with an actual finisher – particularly when Andres Iniesta was presented with the moment to win the match before the shootout.

As it stands, it seems a Spanish player is going to have to do something special on Sunday to take the player of the tournament title off Pirlo – and that may well seal the title itself.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.