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Euro 2012 Standings: Teams Who Are Locks for Solid Quarterfinal Slot
The group stage of Euro 2012 is on its final run, but the quarterfinal field is still murky. Republic of Ireland and Sweden are the only two teams incapable of advancing, but 14 teams are still grasping at straws.
A dead heat promotes competition in tournament play. Most teams are fighting for their Euro lives, with a select few holding inside position heading into the elimination stages.
No one is guaranteed a spot thus far, but these teams are safe picks to advance to Euro 2012's next round.
Let's start with the pre-tournament favorites and the only undefeated team in this year's field. Playing in the "Group of Death" has not affected the German squad in the slightest.
Who do you expect to finish second in Group B?
Their first victory over Portugal was hard fought, but understandable given Portugal's underrated side and first-game jitters.
In their second game, Germany bested Netherlands by a score of 2-1. The match was not as even as the score may suggest, and the German side appeared to be hitting their stride.
A loss to Denmark on Sunday is the only scenario capable of making their advancement interesting. But I can't see that happening. Germany will coast into the quarterfinal round, and they remain the favorite to hoist the trophy at the tournament's conclusion.
Fans should expect France to beat Sweden and lock their quarterfinal bid in place.
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Les Bleus have struggled to find the back of the net, but their offense still looks encouraging. If they can capitalize on their scoring opportunities, they will be a very tough out.
In their first game, France played England to a 1-1 draw. Laurent Blanc's squad would bounce back with a decisive 2-0 victory over Ukraine. Playing Sweden in the final stanza of group play is a blessing at this point. They are one of two teams already eliminated.
France will roll Sweden, improve their Group D standing and lock themselves into the quarterfinal bracket.
Russia is one victory, over a struggling Greece side, away from pushing into the quarterfinal round. Given their outstanding play so far, I can't see Russia losing this tilt.
Alex Grimm/Getty Images
After playing Poland to a 1-1 draw in Group A's opening day, Russia bounced back with a 4-1 trouncing of the Czech Republic. Their offense was slow out of the gates, but Andrey Arshavin has helped to turn their attack around. With help from Alan Dzagoev, Arshavin has given Russia a dangerous threat from the wing.
Beating Greece shouldn't be a problem. They have scored two goals in two games, and their quarterfinal prospects are bleak, to say the least.
Many people may have overlooked Russia entering the tournament, but they won't be underrated for long.
Spain is the biggest threat to Germany's Euro 2012 title hopes.
Their advancement into the quarterfinals is tough to predict, but Spain will defeat Croatia and earn a spot in the final eight.
Michael Steele/Getty Images
After struggling to score against a solid Italian squad, Spain thrashed Republic of Ireland 4-1. Fernando Torres is hitting his stride, and Spain's electric midfielders are controlling the tempo.
Croatia defeated the Irish side and tied Italy as well. But don't expect their success to stand up against Spain's elite skill level.
They entered Euro 2012 as a favorite, and that won't change entering quarterfinal play. Spain is as talented as anyone, and beating them will take a world-class effort.
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