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Your Call: Who do you think will win Euro 2012?

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TSN.ca Staff
6/20/2012 7:18:16 PM
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The field has been cut in half at Euro 2012 and at least one pre-tournament favourite is on the outside looking in.

The Netherlands fell victim to the “Group of Death”, heading home without a win. But apart from the Dutch, most of the truly dangerous teams - with all due respect to Russia, who were a favourite in a light-weight group - remain in the title hunt.

So, who do you like?

Germany emerges from the group stage as the prohibitive favourite. The Germans are the only squad to head into the knock-out stage with a 3-0 record. The feat is all the more impressive, when you look at the teams they topped along the way.

The Germans have finished no worse than third in their previous three international tournaments but had not gone 3-0 in group play since the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

The defending champions from Spain posted good results, finishing unbeaten at 2-0-1. However, apart from pasting the overmatched Irish team, they managed just one goal in both their defeat of Croatia and their draw with Italy.

No defending Euro champ has made it even as far as the semifinals since 1992, so if Spain is to repeat, they might need their offence to click against an experienced France squad in the quarter-finals.

England and the Czech Republic both won their respective groups, but both did so in less than convincing fashion.

The Czech Republic withstood an opening-match drubbing at the hands of Russia before responding with a pair of one-goal victories over Poland and Greece.

Meanwhile, England – who was without catalyst Wayne Rooney through the first two matches of the tournament – drew France, scrambled to come back after falling behind Sweden and won a controversial victory over Ukraine after apparently conceding the tying marker.

However, there are still a wealth of tough competitors left amongst the runners-up.

Portugal awoke after an opening loss to Germany with its offence firing on all cylinders. The team withstood a late charge against Denmark before Cristiano Ronaldo awoke to beat the Dutch almost single-handedly. Portugal has made the semifinals in two of the last three Euros, which does not bode well for their first-round opponents from the Czech Republic.

France eked through the group stage with a 1-1-1 record, finishing on a low note with a 2-0 loss to Sweden. However, it is important to note that though the French team has only advanced to the knockout stage in four of its last seven tournaments, they made the final in three of those four.

Italy once again left qualification down to the wire, but was able to advance thanks to a highlight-reel insurance mark from Mario Balotelli and a Spanish victory over Croatia. The Italians have been less than stellar since their 2006 World Cup win, going a combined 2-3-5 in the three tournaments since, but the team has always had a knack for stepping it up when the games matter most. They may have stopped Spain's title run in 2008 had it not been for Iker Casillas' penalty-saving prowess.

And lastly, but certainly not least, is Greece.

After its 2004 European Championship, one would think that Greece wouldn't be taken lightly. In the knockouts for the first time since 2004, the Greeks conceded just three goals in three games, including a blanking of the Russians to qualify for the quarters. The Greek defence is staunch, allowing the team a serious opportunity to win almost every game with just one goal.

So, who do you like to win the 2012 European Championship?

As always, it's Your! Call.

England fans Euro 2012 (Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
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