Lewandowski: The Judi Bola 88 man United need
The European Championship kicked off with a bang on Friday after Poland took on Greece and Russia swept aside the Czech Republic. Perceived by many to be the worst group of the tournament churned out seven goals, two red cards and a penalty in the two opening encounters as the four footballing nations announced themselves to the world.
One man in particular was under the spotlight before the game begun and lived up to the early tournament hype. That man was Poland’s leading striker Robert Lewandowski. After 17 minutes, the 23-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker had scored the first goal of Euro 2012 after some suspect defending by their Greek counterparts.
30 goals in all competitions as Dortmund romped to a domestic double saw his stock rise considerably last year, leading to interest from clubs across the continent. However, all appear to have now been trumped by Manchester United after national coach Franciszek Smuda claimed the powerful front-man was on his way to Old Trafford.
Having released Michael Owen and with Dimitar Berbatov set to leave the club over the summer, a new striker for United is a priority. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be keen on adding Lewandowski, a target man with an eye for goal, should the Bulgarian leave and having already raided Dortmund for Shinji Kagawa, a move for the Polish international will certainly be on the cards, with some suggesting a deal has already been arranged.
Football Friends Euro 2012 Predictions (#WrightorWrong)
Before every Euro 2012 match Ian Wright will unleash his inner gambler and predict the score. On this page you’ll find Football Friends Online as well other popular football bloggers from across the web wading into debate to make their expert predictions too, perhaps helping you out on your own sports betting journey.
Absolute Radio- Bloggers Predictions.
But as the action gets under way, will they be Wright, or will they be wrong? Follow the #WrightorWrong hashtag on Twitter and lend your voice to the debate.
Spain v Italy
Paul Hill- Spain 0-1 Italy. Match of the Judi Bola 88 tournament so far. Italy are supposedly reverting to a 3 man defence for this game, with Daniel De Rossi dropping back to the ‘Libero’ role. Expect a close game, with the Azzuri rearguard stifling the Spanish attack for long periods. However, I fancy Italy to knick this one, with a bit of magic from either Balotelli or Cassano to settle it.
Ben McAleer- Spain 3-0 Italy. Despite one of the early tournament favourites, Italy enter the fixture against the World Champions on a poor run of form having lost their last three friendlies. The current betting scandal engulfing Serie A is unlikely to aid preparations and I can see Spain putting them to the sword this evening. A comfortable 3-0 for the Spaniards with, should he start, Fernando Llorente looking to add to his seven international goals
Dan Whiteway- Spain 1-1 Italy In a similar fashion to yesterday’s Germany Portugal dull-a-thon, these two teams will feel each other for large periods of the game, not wanting to lose more than wanting to win considering the other opponents in their group. Spain’s attacking prowess is well known but Italy have a strength in defence probably unmatched in this tournament.
Brad Smith- Spain 1 Italy 1. The Spanish won’t have it all their own way, and The Azzurri conceded just 2 goals in 9 games in qualifying. Both sides will be wanting to get of the mark points wise, and should cancel each other out.
George Powell- Spain 1-0 Italy. A team containing Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Mata and Silva are always going to create and score goals, although they come up against a resolute Italian defence that only conceded 2 goals in qualifying. Italy have been engulfed by another match fixing scandal and their threadbare attacking options will see them be beaten, narrowly, by the Spanish.
Scott Balaam- Spain 0-1 Italy – Spain may be reigning champions, but are they still hungry? After a lack of success for Barcelona this season, I see this to knock-on for the national team. Cassano is back fit after his health issues, I can see him getting the only goal in this tight affair.
Republic of Ireland v Croatia
Paul Hill- Republic of Ireland 0-1 Croatia. Trapattoni will no doubt set his team out in a negative fashion, with the aim of sitting back for long periods and hitting the Croatians on the break with Duff and McGeady. Croatia should get at least a couple of decent chances though and they have the quality in Jelavic and Mandzukic to covert those.
Ben McAleer- Republic of Ireland 2-2 Croatia. Ireland’s first European Championship game in 24 years and manager Giovanni Trapattoni will be looking to field his strongest team against Croatia. Slaven Bilic has a number of injury concerns, but is able to call upon in-demand Luka Modric and the in-form Nikica Jelavic to bolster his attacking options. The Everton striker has the potential to open the scoring tonight in a pulsating encounter between the two sides.
Dan Whiteway- Republic of Ireland 0-0 Croatia Both of these sides will be looking at a win here to have any chance of getting out of Group C but this will prove to be a game of few chances. Trapattoni’s Ireland know their game inside out and will seek to hit hard on the counter attack and snatch a goal from a set piece whilst Croatia will struggle to break down the men in green.
Brad Smith- Ireland 1 Croatia 0. 11 clean sheets in their last 14 games tells a story, and with Given being fit, with a massive Irish contingent behind them, I think they will scrape through with a one-nil victory. Jelavic has had a great season, but I can’t see him doing the same today for Croatia.
George Powell- Republic of Ireland 1-1 Croatia. Very organised defensively, Ireland do have a habit of surrendering possession easily, something you can’t do against a team containing Luka Modric. Croatia will score, but you’d back Ireland, skippered by poacher supreme, Robbie Keane to do the same.
Scott Balaam- Ireland 2-0 Croatia. Ireland’s top scorer Robbie Keane and co. have waited a long time to play in a major competition. Whilst Croatia’s individuals are better than the Irish – Trap’s tactics and the team’s cohesion will see the men in Green win.