European big guns reach final four

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Portugal, Germany, Spain and Italy are the last four standing as Europe’s elite reached this summer’s semi-finals.

In truth, the first knockout round in Poland & Ukraine has failed to live up to expectations, but for the four quarter-final winners, it will be of little relevance.

Portugal kicked things off on Thursday night with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s powerful header too much for Michal Bílek’s defensive-minded men.

One of the top social trends reported by the Intel® Info Stream App reads: “Cristiano Ronaldo is close to hitting top form for Portugal, says Valdano #euro2012.”

The Real Madrid superstar has certainly been his nation’s standout player, and will need to be on top form in the semi-final against Spain.

Germany cruised into the semi-finals with a 4-2 win that flattered Greece, with Phillip Lahm’s opener cancelled out by Georgios Samaras.

However, goals from Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus put the game to bed, before Dimitris Salpingidis slotted home a consolation penalty in injury-time.

There is much chatter online about who will start in the team ahead of Thursday’s semi-final; “German team line up leaked before the Italy game,” is one of the key Intel® Info Stream App trends, with reports in several national papers claiming to know the starting XI.

Spain remain on course to retain their title after a 2-0 win over France on Saturday night, with a brace from Xabi Alonso proving the difference in Donetsk.

The Real Madrid midfielder headed home at the far post in the first-half, and slotted home a penalty in injury-time at the end of the match to complete a comfortable victory.

“Fabregas: Spain versus Portugal semi-final will be like El Clasico,” reports another Intel Info Stream App trend, and it’s hard to argue with that as Ronaldo goes up against some of his bitter rivals on Wednesday night.

Finally, last night’s quarter-final in Kyiv brought more penalty heartbreak for England, with Italy advancing to the final four with a nail-biting 4-2 penalty victory over the Three Lions.

The game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes, after Cesare Prandelli’s team dominated for long proceedings.

The Intel® Info Stream App highlights some of the most telling stats from the game, noting: “Joe Hart completed more passes than any other player during the Italy game” and “half of the England Squad are not first team players with their clubs,” both trends that could explain the nation’s demise.

So that leaves four big guns fighting for the crown, with two clear favourites and two slight underdogs looking to upset the odds later in the week.

Intel® Info Stream App reports that fans think that “Germany and Spain remain firm favourites for the #Euro2012 crown”, and you can’t argue with that.

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