The article below is the seventh installment of a column related to everything Euro 2016 titled “Euro Vision” by respected South African sports journalist and ANN7 Prime Sports Anchor, Peter Stemmet.
Time for the final four.
The 2016 European Championships are now at the semi-final stage and whether you are four-time world champions Germany or tournament semi-finalist first-timers Wales, every team has a proper shot at glory now.
All it takes is two wins to lift that magnificent Henri Delaunay trophy this Sunday at the Stade de France.
Let’s start at that venue. Host nation France put on the best 45-minute display of the tournament for me in charging to a 4-0 first half lead against Iceland.
The tournament darlings emerged from the group stages to the astonishment of so many and then famously eliminated England in the Second Round.
Despite succumbing 5-2 to Les Bleus, the Icelanders still managed to win the second half 2-1!
Awaiting the French are the Germans. The three-time European champions finally defeated Italy in a competitive fixture to book that semi spot.
It took a penalty shootout and a change in formation from Joachim Loew, and now we are in store for the mother of all semi-final possibilities; host nation versus world champions.
Good luck selecting a victor.
In my opinion, Loew’s lot are superior to Didier Deschamps’ men but home ground advantage is a great leveller so often and it is not as if the home side lacks quality.
I am leaning towards the away side here and I think the fact that the match is being played in Marseille, rather than Saint Denis, will actually help the Germans neutralise some of that home town advantage that would have been so influential at the Stade de France.
Not that the Stade Velodrome crowd are not passionate, please do not misunderstand me, but I reckon Loew and his Mannschaft men would rather face France on the south coast than the capital stronghold every day of the week.
It is equally difficult to pick a winner between Portugal and the Welsh. Some say the former have no business being this far into the tournament after crawling out of the group stage and then requiring 120 minutes or a penalty shootout to see off their knockout opponents.
The Dragons have some serious fire in the belly and were a joy to watch in beating Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Most are selling this as Cristiano Ronaldo vs Gareth Bale, but for me Chris Coleman’s clan collectively create conditions for victory far better than their Portuguese counterparts and therefore
I am tipping the British country to progress to the final where they will lose to the Germans … or the hosts.
Written by Peter Stemmet
Follow Peter on Twitter @super_pete
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