Surveying the Wreckage

So, the Group Stage is in the books, and we thought we'd check in on the Blogger Bracket Challenge. As you may or may not remember, myself and 6 other soccer bloggers have made some picks regarding who's going to advance and who's going to win it all at the Euro 2012 tournament. With the first stage of the tournament having ended, we finally have some numbers to work with.

As a quick reminder, our contestants check in from the following blogs: Ted Harwood (The Short Fuse), Danny Pugsley (Bitter and Blue), the whole crew from Villarreal USA, Matilda Hankinson (Lion of Vienna Suite), Gianfranco (AC Milan Offside), and Oatbag and myself from Bavarian Football Works. Guys, if I made a mistake in transcription or math, email me or point it out in the comments.

First, let's just take a look at the results sheet for each Group, compared to everyone's picks:

GROUP A

Actual Winners - Czech, Greece

TH - Russia, Czech

DP - Russia, Czech

V-USA - Russia, Czech

MLH - Russia, Poland

GF - Russia, Greece

OB - Russia, Poland

P - Poland, Czech

GROUP B

Actual Winners - Germany, Port

TH - Germany, Ned

DP - Ned, Germany

V-USA - Ned, Germany

MLH - Germany, Ned

GF - Germany, Port

OB - Germany, Ned

P - Ned, Germany

GROUP C

Actual Winners - Spain, Italy

TH - Spain, Italy

DP - Spain, Italy

V-USA - Spain, Croatia

MLH - Spain, Croatia

G - Spain, Italy

OB - Spain, Italy

P - Spain, Croatia

GROUP D

Actual Winner - England, France

TH - France, England

DP - France, England

V-USA - England, France

MLH - England, France

GF - France, Sweden

OB - France, Ukraine

P - France, Sweden

In accordance with the rules of the competition, we each get 1 point for every national team we correctly picked to advance, PLUS an additional bonus point if we guessed their exact position. Running a little math, our scoreboard looks like this:

Gianfranco, AC Milan Offside - 11 points

A nice performance - the only one to correctly pick Greece to get out of the group, Gianfranco also nailed the next two Groups. He picked Russia to advance, but so did most people, so that doesn't really hurt him compared to the field. Perhaps the only blemish is his pick of Sweden in Group D. Still, he's in good shape, especially because he gets 3 more points if Portugal advances to the semis.

Ted Harwood, The Short Fuse - 9 points

A solid performance from Ted, who is mostly sticking with the favorites. Again, the ones he got wrong - Russia and Netherlands to advance - don't hurt him too much, because a majority of other people picked them, too. If he'd swapped the places of England and France (or if Ukraine's goal had correctly been given and France won the Group), he'd have 11.

Danny Pugsley, Bitter and Blue - 8 points

Pugsley is still alive on a respectable 8. He filled out the same Group stage bracket as Ted, except Danny had Netherlands and Germany switched. So he loses the bonus "picked the right position" point for Germany and falls one behind. He's got a shot, though, as he has Germany winning it all and Gomez with the Golden Boot. Stay tuned.

Matilda Hankinson, Lion of Vienna Suite - 8 points

Having the guts to pick England to win Group D helped her out. Picking Russia and Poland to advance from Group A did not. Then she had to go out of her way to stick her thumb in our eye in the Samsung Favorite Highlight campaign.

Villarreal USA - 8 points

These guys avoided getting caught up in the Poland trap, and therefore got a point from the Czech Republic. But they got burned by Croatia and the Netherlands (who they picked to win it all, along with RVP for Golden Boot). Easy to shake your head now, but both of those were seen as valid picks, even "safe," before the tournament started.

Oatbag, Bavarian Football Works - 7 points

His total isn't high at this point, but damned if that Ukraine pick didn't look like the smartest move of the bunch after one round of matches. If just, like, 3 or 4 plays had gone differently, he could be tied for first ... but, then, I could say that about just about anybody.

Phil, Bavarian Football Works - 5 points

Did I really pick Germany to finish second in the Group? For fuck's sake.

So, anyway, Gianfranco has a lead, but a few things could still happen. My pick of Croatia to get to the final looks pretty damn horrible now, but they actually looked OK for much of the Group Stage. Poland was the real disappointment - about 40 minutes into this tournament, I was feeling guilty that I didn't take them to get to the semis. Ten days later, they crashed out and let Greece and Czech Rep advance from the group.

Tomorrow, the quarter-finals kick off. We'll be here with a Match Day Thread, of course, and we'll have more analysis and opinion over the weekend and throughout the summer. In the mean time, a song. No particular reason, just what I have running through my head:

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