At the start of the tournament I predicted that the trend, set in the previous World Cup, of top sides beginning to dominate international football again would continue. I believed that four of the â€˜biggerâ€™ nations at this yearâ€™s competition would be present in the semi finals. Instead we had not one but two dark horses â€“ Turkey and Russia. I predicted that Germany would top their group with relative ease, with theirs being â€˜the easiest to predictâ€™.
If you read my blog from Tuesday (Germany v Turkey preview) I said that I thought Turkey would sit back and defend in numbers, like they did in the quarter final against Croatia, and try to steal a goal at the other end. How wrong I was! Turkey came out of the traps flying last night and, overall, probably deserved to win the game. Especially when you take into account that half of their reserve side were playing due to injury and suspension that ravaged the squad.
If it wasnâ€™t for the fact that all three BBC pundits last night forecast more or less the same then I would probably be considering quitting writing about football. Instead I am going to view it as a perfect example of one of the reasons why I love this game so much: the surprises and upsets it throws at us every now and then. Many believed that Spain versus Italy promised to be a â€˜crackerâ€™ but it failed to materialise. However, three days after sitting through 90 minutes of Italian defending Turkey have certainly made up for it â€“ Germany played their part as well but we already knew what they can do.
But I have not lost all confidence in my predictions just yet. At the start of the tournament I put Â£10 on Spain to come out champions and Â£5 on Russia to do the same. They will battle it in the second semi final tonight, which guarantees me one of the teams I backed in the final. I am really torn between which side I should support tonight. Russia will earn me more cash but I believe that the Spanish are better equipped to dispose of Germany. Weâ€™ll see. Iâ€™ve been wrong before!
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