SHOCK SPOTTING

How many upsets will there be in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals?

“I’ll have one”

cech-czech-republic

The Spoiler’s favourite ever bet wasn’t even a winner, but provided four days of unrelenting excitement: backing the outsiders in all four Euro 2008 quarter-finals.

Germany saw off Portugal in the first, Turkey’s barmy comeback from 1-0 down in the last minute of extra-time against Croatia kept it alive and Russia saw off the tournament’s finest starters, Holland, in extra time, to send it all down to the final game.

Could Italy stop the favourites Spain? Yes they could, for two whole hours no less, only to go and lose on penalties. Darn.

That brutal massacre of a multiple that survived 450 minutes of football failed to ruin our appetite for more. Is there a case for backing the four underdogs again this time at monster odds of 94/1…

Czech Republic to eliminate Portugal – 2/1
The Czechs have a rep as skilled Portugal thwarters to maintain following three victories and a draw in their last five meetings (yes the exception was at Euro 2008 but shush). In truth, The Spoiler – who shunned the Poland match to enjoy some Greek heroics – thought they were pretty dire in victory against Greece, but 2/1 is a meaty price against another team unfancied before the tournament.

Greece to eliminate Germany – 9/2
The Spoiler had an inkling before the Russia match that Greece would navigate an unlikely route through, and inexplicably retains it. There is no logical case to support such a hunch though so it isn’t worth inventing one, especially as the odds seem Angela Merkel-levels of stingy given that this game pits the favourites against a side formerly described as the worst at Euro 2012.

France to eliminate Spain – 15/8
As is often the case with nations touted so loudly as dark horses that the tag becomes absurd – think Serbia at the World Cup – France have failed to justify the hype. However, no squad blessed with Samir Nasri, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema is ever hopeless, especially when mistake magnet Philippe Mexes is suspended, to be replaced by the marginally less error-prone Laurent Koscielny.

England to eliminate Italy – evens
In keeping with the at-all-costs-don’t-admit-that-England-have-a-chance mentality that everyone in the country has signed a contract agreeing to follow, the bookmakers are installing Italy as slight favourites for this quarter-final, despite England being group winners. The Three Lions have won only one of their last nine against the Azzurri admittedly, losing six of those contests.

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