It will be a LONG time before we see another weekend of football like we just had, capped off by that ASTONISHING Copa Final in which Chile and Argentina battled ferociously until, as in some epic Shakespearean tragedy, all that were left on the field were stumbling, shattered hulks, begging to be released from their torment.
And so, to their credit, Chile nobly defend and retain their Copa title.
Meanwhile, across the pond, we're down to just 8 teams left, and even though our heads are still spinning from all the upheaval and chaos, the next round of Footie Predictions simply must be made!
- Poland v Portugal. Frankly, neither of these teams deserved to advance. Poland played uninspired football against a delightful Swiss side, while Portugal showed little of the brilliance we all know they're capable of. Both teams played into extra time in their victories, and may well be exhausted at this point, but: next weekend, in the next Euro shocker, Poland stun Portugal 1-0.
- Wales v Belgium. Two delightful teams, continuing to play joyous and entertaining football. Why can't they both win?!! Sadly, one must advance, and Wales come to the end of their beautiful run; Belgium win, 2-1.
- Germany v Italy. This is truly football royalty. As everyone knows, Germany and Italy have 4 World Cup championships each; only Brazil (with 5) have more. They've played each other dozens of times, and each time is epic. This will be another epic battle, even though it is likely to be cautious, tentative, tensely-contested, and nail-biting. After 120 long minutes, the 1-1 tie cannot be broken, and Italy advance by prevailing in the shootout.
- France v Iceland. Iceland, glorious Iceland! Slayer of dragons and of The Three Lions, fielder of the mighty Thor himself. If you want to see why Iceland is such a wonderful story, spend a minute to watch the following video, from the end of their historic upset of England. Long after the match was over, in the far corner of the stadium in Nice, thousands of Iceland fans still stood and cheered and sang. Then the team, in unison, join in, and lead the fans in a synchronized clapping cheer. Sadly, Iceland, having come MUCH farther than anyone expect, now encounter a talented French host squad that is finally playing to their skill level, and their magnificent run ends. 3-1, France advance.