Unpredicability of the knock out tournament
Published: 13.06.12 / Written by: David Gold
Some are written off, others are hailed as champions in waiting.
This is the inevitability of a major tournament, but the reality is that for all the predictions, no one really knows who will win the European Championships.
Greece in 2004 and Denmark in 1992 are the often held examples of rank outsiders who came from nowhere to victory. Yet there are fewer examples of teams doing something similar at the World Cup. This is probably because the World Cup is usually a higher level, with Brazil and Argentina the world’s best teams. This means that the odds of a small team managing to beat them on the way to victory are smaller than they would be usually in the Euros.
This point is underlined by the fact that Germany are the only team who have consistently performed well at each Euros. They have won the tournament more often than anyone else and are the historically best team on the continent. However, if they fall, then the odds of a smaller team coming through to win are higher than they usually are in the World Cup.
But with Spain at the level they are, this summer the quality of the best teams in Europe is higher than it usually is. Throw in the Netherlands and it is difficult to see anyone managing to beat both Germany and Spain, Europe’s version of South America’s Brazil and Argentina.
Last year both of them lost in the Copa America, but that was because they were in transitional stages, whereas both Spain and Germany have established teams and systems. For a team to come from nowhere and win this year’s Euros is comparatively unlikely. The outsider can never be completely discounted, as Chelsea showed in the Champions League this year. But the odds of it happening are rather small.
Denmark, Poland and Sweden are some of the teams who could spring a surprise and a bloody nose to Europe’s bigger teams. But can any beat the three favourites? It seems unlikely. Not even England, Italy or France would be likely to achieve such a thing, though they would have a better chance by all accounts.
That is why this summer, for all those who aspire for glory, it is most likely going to be Germany or Spain who walk away with the trophy at the end of it all.