Shipped from abroad, Euro 2012: Looking forward from Group A after Day 9

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source: AP

Grading out Group A

The extent to which each team has met expectations.

Czech Republic, B: The 4-1 loss to Russia still stings, but coming into the tournament, the Czechs had one goal: Get out of group. They exceeded that by finishing first, but one goal victories against Greece and Poland hint there’s work to do.

Greece, B+: Like the Czechs, they only wanted to get out of group, but whereas the Czechs should be concerned with the little things, Greece has always thought bottom line. Did they advance? Given how they play, that’s all they need to worry about.

Russia, D+: Clearly, they failed to meet expectations. Most had them winning this group. Instead, they’re gone after nine days, yet another disappointment for a purportedly golden generation.

Poland, D: As disappointing as their final placing is how they came about it. They blew their opener against Greece after being up a goal and a man. Against the Czech Republic, they never played like a team that needed a win.

Crystal Ball: What Needs to Happen Next Round

Group B won’t be settled until Sunday, but Greece has to think they’re getting Germany on Friday. They’ll be without captain Giorgos Karagounis, who picked up an unfair yellow card in the second half against Russia.

The preparation will be the same, though. Greece will sit back, force Germany to break them down, and be ready to pounce on all of the favorites’ mistakes. Mats Hummels, Germany’s talented but at times erratic central defender, may offer Fernando Santos some hope, but against a German attack that offers more variety than anybody in the tournament, there’s plenty to worry about.

For the Czech Republic, it’s hard to think ahead when you can’t predict who you’ll play. That’s a good thing, because Michal Bilek’s team have their own problems to worry about.

In Saturday’s second half, they played better than they had at any point in the tournament, but they need to not only reincorporate midfielder Tomas Rosicky, they need to get more out of him. They also need to get something (anything) out of striker Milan Baros.

PST’s Euro 2012 “More Powerful” Rankings

Taking a long term look, toward teams’ title hopes.

1 (–). Germany
2 (–). Spain
3 (–). Italy
4 (+1). France
5 (+1). Croatia
6 (+1). Portugal
7 (+1). England
8 (NR). Czech Republic
Previously ranked: Russia (4)

… and PST’s Player of the Tournament Wunderlist

1. Andres Iniesta, Spain
2. Andrea Pirlo, Italy
3. Mario Gómez, Germany
4. Daniele de Rossi, Italy
5. Alan Dzagoev, Russia
6. Mesut Ozil, Germany
7. Fabio Coentrão, Portugal
8. Xavi Hernandez, Spain
9. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany
10. Sami Khedira, Germany

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