Euro 2008 Finals Preview

After a great tournament full of action, upsets, and surprises, the final is set and we will see Spain and Germany meet up on Sunday for the final. There were some surprising teams in the elimination round, and one that few predicted in the semi-finals, but this final comes as little surprise. Indeed, Germany was expected, and Spain was one of the handful of realistically contenders from their side of the draw. SPain goes into the final favored. I like Germany. Here are six reasons why:

1. I don’t trust Spain. They have unquestionably been the best, most consistent team in this tournament so far. They haven’t won this tournament in 44 years, though, and they have a long history of failing to come through when it matters most. They are chronic underachievers, and I don’t feel good about betting that they have rid themselves of that habit when it will cost me a premium to do so.

2. Germany is under-respected. Coming into the tournament the Germans were quite significantly favored to win the tournament. They suffered a humiliating, shocking early loss. Since then, though, they have done exactly what was expected of them. They waltzed past Portugal, and then kept their cool to get past a feisty, unlikely Turkish team that had been the story of the tournament. I understand why the love affair with the Germans may have cooled for many, but I don’t get why they have fallen so far behind the Spaniards in the eyes of the public.

3. Germany rebounds brilliantly. After they lost to Croatia they came back well next time out. They didn’t play their best game against Turkey, but  I have more faith in their ability to learn from that and make the necessary adjustments than I do any team in this tournament.

4. Injuries. Spain will be playing without David Villa, their offensive spark plug and the leading scorer of the tournament. They have good depth, but he is hard to replace and he was playing with incredible confidence. Germany may be without Michael Ballack, but as incredible as it may sound I don’t think that the loss of their captain is as significant as Villa is t Spain. Besides, I don’t believe that Ballack won’t be on the field.

5. People are on Spain. Germany is available as a fairly significant underdog depending on how you choose to bet them. Any time you can bet a quality team which is playing fairly well at an underdog price you have to have a pretty good reason not to do so. I don’t.

6. Playing style. The Spanish team plays a flashy, high paced offensive game. The Germans are more methodical and defensively sound. Methodical often wins out over explosive. You did see the NBA final, didn’t you?

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