The conclusion of Tuesday night’s action in Group D means that the lineup for the quarterfinals of Euro 2012 is now complete and the draw has thrown up some mouthwatering matchups.
Of course, we already knew that Portugal would be tackling Czech Republic in Warsaw on Thursday night, and that Germany would be meeting Greece in Gdansk the following evening.
However, England’s progression to the knockout stages as winners of Group D, which has come as a surprise to some, means that Roy Hodgson’s men will now take on Italy in Kiev on Sunday night. A penny for Fabio Capello’s thoughts on that particular contest!
France, meanwhile, will be feeling pretty relieved just to have made it through, having surprisingly seen its 23-game unbeaten run come to an end at the hands of already-eliminated Sweden. However, Les Bleus will have to quickly face up to the stark realization that a marked and rapid improvement is required if they are to have any hope of progressing any further given reigning world and European champions Spain will be waiting for them in Donetsk come Saturday.
It is worth noting, of course, that the winners of that latter contest will meet the victors from Portugal’s clash with the Czechs, while England and Italy would appear to be playing for the right to face Germany in the semifinals, although the Greeks, surprise victors in 2004, will have plenty to say about that.