Euro 2016: semifinals

Soon, it is time to decide the winner of the European Football Championship in 2016. Four teams are still participating in the tournament though, and they will be reduced to two that will play in the final at Stade de France in Paris.

Wednesday, July 6: Portugal – Wales

Portugal has not won a match in the European Championships at full-time. The only game they have won by a deciding goal was the round of 16 against Croatia, through a late goal in the second overtime half. In the quarterfinal they got the worst possible start against Poland when the Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski scored 1-0 early. Portugal managed to score the equalizer though and the match went to penalties, where Ronaldo and his teammates managed to win. In the semifinal of the European Championship, Portugal will face Wales who eliminated Belgium with a 3-1 victory. Unexpectedly, according to many, but we think that Belgium has been the tournament’s most overrated team with a lot of individual talent but where it appeared early that they will not get the full effect of their squad. The question is if Wales can overcome the Portuguese defenses in the same way?

Thursday, July 7th: Germany – France

Germany played a defensive battle against Italy, owning much of the ball possession. Many of us thought that the game was decided when Mesut Ozil threw himself forward and put 1-0 to the Germans in the second half. However, penalties would be required even in this game. Italy got the 1-1 goal on a penalty shot. The penalty was preceded by a hand situation in the German defense area that looked a little funny. Looking at the situation again we see that the defender Jerome Boateng was in a struggle with an Italian attacker that fell. Then, Boateng raises his arms in the air to show that he had not done something against the rules, after which the ball hits one arm. During the shootout, many of the players missed. Finally, Germany could move on to the semifinals. There, the host nation France awaits after putting an end to Iceland’s success story in the 2016 European Championships. The French owned the game from start to finish and had a comfortable 4-0 lead after the first half. The match eventually ended 5-2 and we are impressed by Iceland’s efforts in the qualifiers, group stage and playoffs. Coach Lars Lagerbäck has managed to get the maximum out of his men and was hailed by the people’s cheers and one last giant volcano when they landed home on the island.

Who will win the semi-final then? We predict 2-1 Germany!


The 2016 European Football Championships goes on. We have enjoyed some mixed action in the round of 16 and look forward to the quarterfinals. In this post you can read about the dates for the quarterfinals as well as summaries from the round of 16. If you want to read more Iceland’s success against England, scroll down!

Euro 2016 quarterfinals

June 30: Poland – Portugal

Poland had not let in a single goal during the group stage. They got the early lead against Switzerland in the first round of the knockout stage. However, The Swiss came back with an equalized and the game had to be decided by penalties were Poland came out on top.

Portugal played a tight defensive battle without many scoring chances against Croatia. This game could have gone to penalties as well, but Ricardo Quaresma blessed Cristiano Ronaldo and his team mates with a goal in the 117th minute.

July 1: Wales – Belgium

Wales did their duty against Northern Ireland. They managed to win 1-0 in what afterwards was described as the most boring game in the Euro 2016. Well, a victory is a victory, no matter how the entertainment was.

Belgium showed class late in the knockout game against Hungary, finally winning 3-0. They have a lot of talent in their squad but so far Belgium has delivered mixed performances.

July 2: Germany – Italy

Germany easily dismissed a pale Slovakian team 3-0. They are one of the favorites for winning the gold in the Euro 2016. The biggest obstacle might actually come already in the quarter final: Italy.

Italy managed to beat the current champions, Spain, 2-0. They keep playing a disciplined defensive game with lots of counterattacks. This match-up might actually be the “real” final between the two best teams among the eight that is still left in the tournament.

July 3: France – Iceland

France trailed for a long time against Ireland who got the early 1-0 lead in the first knockout round. However, Antoine Griezzmann once again stepped up when France needed him and scored two goals in the second half, sending the host nation to the next round.

The Fairy tale of this tournament is about an island. Not the British one though. Iceland is a small nation with 330 000 inhabitants. They have about 20 000 football players. In the round of 16 they were drawn against another island, with 53 million inhabitants, and over 40 000 registered football clubs: England, who claims they invented the sport! England got the best possible start of the game, with Wayne Rooney scoring on the penalty kick after just a few minutes of play. Now, many of us thought that Iceland’s journey in the Euro 2016 was over. After all, the small island managed to both qualify to the tournament and go through from the preliminary round.

The game was not more than 5 minutes old when Gylfi Sigurðsson scored the equalizer. But Iceland was not yet content. In the 18th minute of the first half, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson gave them the lead. 2-1 and England was clearly shaken. However, the game was still young.  Surely, England would come back from this? Iceland played as they have done the whole time under Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck: A tight defensive game, and lots of running. They wore their opponents out, sometimes by playing rough. England failed to create any clear chances and the time went on. First half went into the second. Thirty minutes left became twenty. The Lions, although desperate looked more scared than fierce. The last minute of overtime was dramatic, with a last English corner kick for the tie. But they did not convert on it. Iceland won the game fair, 2-1, which has to be said to be one of the most sensational results of the European Championships ever.

English coach Roy Hodgson resigned immediately after the game. As a British newspaper stated, he should become the new prime minister since apparently he is an expert of guiding England out of Europe.

Euro 2016: Round of 16

The group stage is over and some teams, including Sweden, have been eliminated from the European Football Championship. The tournament goes on however, and the play offs are starting this weekend. In this post are dates and schedule/fixtures for the Round of 16. The two branches of the play off tree is interesting to watch, with teams like Spain, Germany and Italy on the right. The left branch is considered a more easier journey to the final (left branch = four first matches below). However, if the group stage has taught us anything, it is that any team can beat anyone on a good day.

Schedule, Round of 16 of the European Football Championship 2016

June 25: Switzerland – Poland

Comment: Poland did not allow a single goal against in the group stage. The question is how Switzerland can penetrate the Polish defenses? Maybe this match will be decided on penalties?

June 25: Wales – Northern Ireland

Comment: British derby where Wales feels like the strongest candidate to reach the quarter-finals. They did an excellent group stage except for the last few minutes against the big brother of England.

June 25: Croatia – Portugal

Comment: Portugal barely made it to the playoffs. Croatia managed to beat the current European Champions Spain in the last match of the group. That makes the Croatians the favorite in this match-up.

June 26: France – Ireland

Comment: The host nation meets Ireland, who managed to beat Italy in the last match. Ireland’s game with high pressure can create trouble for the French. A sensational victory for the Greens?

June 26: Germany – Slovakia

Comment: Reigning world champions Germany should be able to outmaneuver Slovakia.

June 26: Hungary – Belgium

Comment: Belgium has not really came up to normal standard yet. Hungary scored three goals in Portugal in the last group match. Hard to predict a winner here, although Belgium is the better team on the paper.

June 27: Italy – Spain

Comment: A heavyweight match up early in the play offs. Neither team is particularly happy about getting such a tough opponents this early. Can Spain wear out the Italian defenses with their short passing and high ball possession?

June 27: England – Iceland

Comment: Lars Lagerbäck has never lost against England as a coach. Iceland has showed an incredible ability to survive the qualifiers and the group stage. Now they have everything to win against an England that has everything to lose. Will the Lions fall by penalties once again?

Euro 2016: Results from the group stage, round 1

The UEFA European Football Championships are running and the first round of the group stage is finished. We have enjoyed some great football for a week and this post summarizes some of the highlights.

France 2-1 Romania

Comment: The opening match was a tight history. Olivier Giroud gave France the lead in the 57th minute just to see it be tied after a penalty shot 10 minutes later. However, Dimitri Payet blessed the host nation with a late goal and thereby securing the win for France.

Albania 0-1 Switzerland

Comment: Beforehand, much about this match-up were about the brothers, Granit Xhaka of Switzerland and Taulant Xhaka of Albania. After 90 minutes of play, we learnt that Granit was the harder one.

England 1-1 Russia

Comment: England control this match from the start. In minute 73 the Lions took the 1-0 lead and everything seemed to go as planned for Roy Hodgson’s men. However, at 90+2 minutes Russia tied the match unexpectedly.

Germany 2-0 Ukraine

Comment: 2014 FIFA World Cup champions Germany is one of the favourites for winning the Euro as well. They managed to get the win in the first game against Ukraine, but the score was 1-0 for a long time and Ukraine was close to tying it. Sebastian Schweinsteiger made a late appearance and made a brilliant goal, despite a troubled season in Manchester United.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Sweden

Comment: The opening match was very important for both teams. In order to secure a spot as one of the best third placed teams, both Ireland and Sweden needed a win here since it was the easiest match in the group. The first half was pretty much a disaster from Sweden’s side, with unorganized and horrible play. Ireland had the best chances but did not manage to convert. In the second half they got the lead though. In fact, Ireland scored both goals in this match: Ciaran Clark scored an own goal with a brilliant header on a pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 1-1 became the end result, and neither of the teams were particularly happy about it.

Belgium 0-2 Italy

Comment: Italy came to this tournament as underdogs and many had great expectations on Belgium. However, it was Italy who played the most creative game and they also got the fair win. They should be able to go far in this tournament and it will be interesting to see how Sweden are going to play against them in the next round.

Portugal 1-1 Iceland

Comment: Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck’s Iceland did it again: they denied Cristiano Ronaldo any scoring! Although Portugal owned much of this game, Iceland still managed to tie the game by a goal from Birkir Bjarnasson in the 50th minute. Nani gave Portugal the lead twenty minutes before the equalizer.

Other matches:

Wales 2-1 Slovakia

Turkey 0-1 Croatia

Poland 1-0 Northern Ireland

Spain 1-0 Czech Republic

Austria 0-2 Hungary

Real Madrid won Champions League 2016

Sometimes sport is wonderful. Other times it is cruel. Often it depends on which side you stand on when the fat lady sings. Odds are based on trends and that history repeats itself. We never know when a miracle will happen, dynasties broken and giants fall. The final of the Champions League in 2016 was a prime example of how small the margins between winning and losing are. A goalpost would prove to decide whether Real Madrid got a new title in the pile or rival Atlético Madrid would win their first.

The 2016 Champions League Final

A columnist in a Swedish newspaper wrote that Real Madrid’s football museum takes 90 minutes to go through if you go fast, Atlético takes only 10. A win in the Champions League for Atlético would probably extend the time by at least 5 minutes. The two teams had faced each other in the finals before, in 2014 during Atlético successful year when they won La Liga. Atlético had the lead well into stoppage time as Real managed to get the equalizer and then win the final. It was also Real who got the best start in the 2016 final: Sergio Ramos scored 1-0 after 15 minutes of play. After the goal the match changed character. Real Madrid pulled back their positions, Atlético had the greater part of ball possession, but failed to create any major goal chances. Notably, Real’s big star, Cristiano Ronaldo, was largely invisible throughout the match. The second half was dramatic. Atlético got awarded a penalty shot, but it hit the crossbar. It seemed that tonight was not their night. However, after Real creating a cavalcade of chances for a short time, Atlético finally managed to score the equalizer on the counterattack, signed Yannick Carrasco. Not logical in any way, but desperate and beautiful. Real were forced to move up the game again, but this match went into extra time.

Ultimately Atlético continued to have a high grade of ball possession against Real’s disciplined defense. The 2×15 minutes of extra time ended with no goal. This event would be decided through penalties.

Real Madrid began penalty shooting. The first seven penalties were entered and Atlético missed their fourth, which hit the goalpost. Goal for Real in the fifth round would mean that they win the title. Then, like a jack in the box, Ronaldo steps forward, scores, and call himself the golden hero after a fairly mediocre effort seen over 120 minutes of play. It might be seen as a team strength anyway; despite the team’s big star does did not deliver Real Madrid found a way to win the game. For Altético, it meant the second final loss in three years, against their archrival. History had repeated itself.

What team will win Euro 2016?


This post was written before the 2016 European Football Championships. Portugal won the tournament by defeating France in the final.

Who will win the 2016 UEFA European Championships? In this you find groups and predictions. Many hold the host nation France as favourites to winning the tournament. Traditionally, the host nation usually go far in football / soccer tournaments. However, we think there are a number of nations that have more talented squads than France right now. FIFA World Cup 2014 winners Germany is a good bet. Spain and England are strong, but might be a bit more uncertain, especially when looking at their poor performances in the World Cup. If we are to pick an outsider as a winner, it would be Austria. They made an excellent qualifier, clearly winning their group before Sweden and Russia.

Groups in Euro 2016

The group stage is decided June 10 – 22. After that, the first and second placed teams together with the four best third placed teams are going through to the knockout phase which starts with round of 16 June 25 – 27. The winners advances to the quarterfinals which are decided June 30 – July 3. Semifinals are played July 6-7 and the final, July 10.

Group A:


Comment: From this group we believe that France and Switzerland will advance.

Group B:


Comment: England and Russia will be at the top of the group, while Slovakia gets some important points against Wales that will ensure they get a spot in the Round of 16.

Group C:

Northern Ireland

Comment: Germany will annect Poland, and together they will advance to the play offs.

Group D:

Czech Republic

Comment: Tough group where Spain should be on top. We also think Croatia will go through from group D.

Group E:


Comment: Italy and Belgium will be Sweden’s toughest opponents. Hopefully we will manage to win against Ireland and reach the round of 16.

Group F:


Comment: Portugal and Austria should be able to pull through. Although you never know with coach Lars Lagerbäcks Iceland. They eliminated Netherlands from the qualifiers, so anything can happen!

Winners of the European domestic football leagues 2016

Chicken Swedes have followed Europe’s biggest domestic football leagues during the season 2015-16: in the summer of 2015 when we studied the odds and gave you some predictions. After that we have made a post every now and then with some status updates. I this post we present the winners of Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and Serie A.

Premier League

We, and most of the predictors and book makers were wrong about this year’s winner of Premier League. In August 2015, the small club of Leicester tops the league with three straight wins. No eyebrows raised, it was early in the season and favorites Chelsea or any of the teams from Manchester would soon wake up. We had tipped Arsenal as a winner. In November Leicester’s Jamie Vardy first player to score in eleven straight games. In December, Leicester is once again at the top of the league after three more consecutive wins. The success story continuous in 2016. April 10, Leicester secures a place in the 2016-17 Champions League. Even though Vardy gets a red card and two matches suspensions, Leicester still manages to defeat Swansea 4-0. With three rounds remaining they are seven points ahead of Tottenham in second place. After a 1-1 draw against Manchester United, Leicester will be the champions if Tottenham fails to defeat Chelsea. The game ends with a 2-2 draw. Leicester has won the 2015-16 Premier League, to an odds of 5000 times the stake. This can be compared to the odds of finding Elvis Presley alive 2000x, evidence of the Loch Ness monster’s existence, 500x and similar long shots. We look forward to following Leicester in the 2016-17 Champions League and as reigning champions of the Premier League!

Former champions in the Premier League

20 Wins: Manchester United (latest: 2013)
18: Liverpool (1990)
13: Arsenal (2004)
9: Everton (1987)
7: Aston Villa (1981)
6: Sunderland (1936)
5: Chelsea (2015)
4: Newcastle (1927), Sheffield Wednesday (1930) and Manchester City (2014).
3: Huddersfield (1926), Wolverhampton (1959), Leeds (1992) and Blackburn (1995).
2: Preston (1890), Portsmouth (1950), Burnley (1960), Tottenham (1961) and Derby (1975).
1: Sheffield United (1898), West Bromwich (1920), Ipswich (1962), Nottingham (1978), Leicester (2016).

Ligue 1

The French league 2015-16 was about as exciting as watching drying paint. This question was really just whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paris SG would succeed in the Champions League. However, they got eliminated in the quarter finals against Manchester City. PSG won Ligue 1 in March 13. Ibrahimovics last match in Ligue 1 was a brilliant show by the Swedish attacker. He scored two goals against Nantes and got the scoring record in the league. After his second goal, his sons entered the field with shirts reading “King” and “Legend”. A suitable finish for the “Zlatan-era” in Ligue 1.


In the German league Bayern Munich dominated from start to finish. The fans expected success in the Champions League where Bayern got eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the semifinals.

La Liga

The Spanish league are usually a showdown between Real Madrid and Barcelona. An exception was in 2014 when Atletico Madrid won La Liga. The 2015-16 season began with injury problems for Barcelona’s big star Lionel Messi. His comeback was successful, however, and the three amigos, Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez placed Barcelona in the driver’s seat. They also won the season’s first El Clásico against Real Madrid. Real replaced their coach, which would prove to be a successful move. They won the season’s second El Clásico and 2016 became an exciting league race when Barcelona lost some more points surprisingly. Before the last round differed only 1 point between the giants, with Atletico trailing in third place. Both Real and Barcelona did their duties in the final matches, which meant that Barcelona was defending champions. Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick in the last match against Granada and made sure the Catalonians defended their title from 2015.

Serie A

The question before the 2015-16 Serie A season was whether Juventus would win their fifth consecutive Italian league? The answer was eventually yes, but it too a while. As Chelsea in Premier League, Juventus got a rough start. However, they raised their game and got the decisive victory April 25th. Juventus won Serie A 2016 9 points before second placed Napoli.

The 2016 Champions League final

May 28 at 20:45 UTC, the 2016 Champions League final is played. It is an all-Spanish showdown between the rivals from the capital Madrid. The 2016 final is also a replay of the 2014 final were the two met. What could then have been an unexpected double victory for Atletico Madrid, who won the 2013-14 La Liga, was turned into a Real Madrid triumph after a late tying goal and overtime victory. Atletico now has a chance to show Spain and the world that the 2014 season was not just a coincidence: they are a team that our to be counted with when it comes to winning great titles. The odds, however, favors Real Madrid.

The final is played at San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy.

The 2016 Champions League playoffs

Real Madrid begun their journey in the playoffs by eliminating Roma in the round of 16. In the quarterfinal they were behind 0-2 against Wolfsburg after the first leg, but a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo changed that in game two. Then they eliminated the only British team left in the semifinal.

Atleticos journey has been much tougher. They advanced from the round of 16 after penalties against PSV. In the quarterfinals they were drawn against the 2015 La Liga and Champions League winners Barcelona. They managed to win just to be drawn against another European giant in the semifinal: Bayern Munich. However, Atletico found a way to win that match as well and the only thing between them and the Champions League trophy is their local rivals Real Madrid. It is quite amazing that one capital is the home of the two greatest club teams in the world! However, no-one will remember the runner up.

Prior winners of the Champions League (2000-)

2015 Barcelona
2014 Real Madrid
2013 Bayern Munich
2012 Chelsea
2011 Barcelona
2010 Inter
2009 Barcelona
2008 Manchester United
2007 Milan
2006 Barcelona
2005 Liverpool
2004 Porto
2003 Milan
2002 Real Madrid
2001 Bayern Munich
2000 Real Madrid

2016 Champions League semifinals schedule

Eight teams have become four in the 2016 Champions League play offs. That number is going to be divided by a pair again and two teams will reach the final on San Siro, May 28. The following teams are facing each other in the semifinals:

Manchester City vs Real Madrid

Match 1: Tuesday, April 26, Manchester City – Real Madrid
Match 2: Wednesday, May 4, Real Madrid – Manchester City

Comment: Manchester City ensured that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will probably not get the win a Champions League title in his career. They outmaneuvered an inefficient Paris SG and secured a spot in the semifinal where they are up against a Real Madrid that have showed good form lately. They won the latest El Clásico against Barcelona, and, despite trailing 0-2 in the first match of the quarterfinal, they advanced to the semifinal thanks to a hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bayern Munich vs Atlético Madrid

Match 1: Wednesday, April 27, Atletico Madrid – Bayern Munich
Match 2: Tuesday, May 3, Bayern Munich – Atlético Madrid

Comment: Who will stop the German giant Bayern? Maybe Atlético Madrid. They have already stopped a giant in the quarterfinal when some unexpectedly knocked out Barcelona after a 2-0 victory in the second match. Bayern Munich has not been tested for real this season so it is difficult to say something about what Pep Guardiola and his men go for this year. They dominate the German Bundesliga, just like PSG dominate the French Ligue 1.

Final at the San Siro

The 2016 Champions League final will be played May 28 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. It’s AC Milan and Inter’s home stadium and was built in 1925. It holds up to 80 000 spectators and the stadium has been used in international contexts before: the World Cup in 1934 and 1990 and the UEFA European Championship 1980. The Champions League Final of 2016 is the first final match as held at the stadium. Unlike other playoff games the final is only one match: 90 minutes. If its a draw, then 30 minutes of overtime is followed by penalty shots.

Schedule, Olympic soccer 2016


In Sweden we especially look forward to this summer’s Olympic football tournament since both the men and women are qualified to the competition. The 2016 Olympic Games will take place in Rio, Brazil, and it most certainly will be a hot story as we remember from FIFA World Cup 2014. The men’s team must consist of players below 23 years old except for three players. The women will play with their ordinary teams. We of course hope that a star or two will join their youth teams for the tournament. What if Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to take part in the Olympics? It would be a blast! Below are groups and schedule for both tournaments.

Groups and schedule, men

Group A: Brazil, Iraq, South Africa and Denmark
Group B: Japan, Nigeria, Sweden and Colombia
Group C: Mexico, South Korea, Fiji and Germany
Group D: Argentina, Honduras, Portugal and Algeria

August 4-10: Group stage

August 12: Quarterfinals
August 16: Semi-finals
August 19: Final and Bronze Medal Match

Comment: Team that are used to play in heat will of course have an advantage. In group A, the host nation are looking for revenge for the failure in World Cup 2014. Group B could go either way, but Colombia are one of the favorites. In group C, current World Cup champions Germany will go for the group win, mainly contested by Mexico. In group D, Argentina and Portugal are the main competitors for winning the group.

Groups and schedule, women

Group E: Sweden, Brazil, China and South Africa.
Group F: Australia, Germany, Canada and Zimbabwe
Group G: USA, France, New Zealand and Colombia

August 3-9: Group stage

August 12: Quarterfinals
August 16: Semi-finals
August 19: Final and Bronze Medal Match

Comment: Among the favorites here are Brazil, Germany, USA and France. The Swedish ladies have been struggling in the latest tournament and had trouble with the heat in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada last summer.