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WATCHING RONALDO... ...BULLISH ON BASTIAN

SPAIN

Soham Mukherjee, 20 (Seth Anandaram Jaipuria College)

Why Spain: I started supporting Spain since Euro 2008, when they reminded the world of the beauty of football with their wonderful passing, dribbling and finishing. They won Euro that year and since then I have been rooting for them.

Favourite player: Andrés Iniesta.

We will win because: Our revolutionary tiki-taka football, which made us Euro champs and World Cup winners is unmatched. Other teams are yet to find a solution to Spain’s game that reduces opponents to mere spectators!

Wednesday’s semi-final: Portugal doesn’t stand a chance! They have a weak defence and our tiki-taka way doesn’t give opponents possession of the ball. How will Portugal score if they can’t even get the ball?! Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao could be dangerous. If we block them on the left channel, our task will be much easier.

My watch venue: Home, with my dad and some friends. Because I have a fixed spot on my sofa, which according to my belief, has helped Spain win Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010.

If we win: My father supports Germany and we are sure it’s going to be a Germany-Spain final. If they win, I will have to sponsor a party and if I win, my dad will throw me one.

Susmit Dey, 22 (Asutosh College)

Why Spain: I love the team for everything, starting from the way they play, their style on and off the field, and their commitment to the game. I have been supporting Spain since the 1998 World Cup. That was the first time I watched a football tournament and fell in love with Spain, with Raul (Gonzalez), (Fernando) Morientes...

Favourite player: Cesc Fabregas.

We will win because: Spain is the best team in the world right now. We have some of the best players in all the positions — forward, midfield and defence — and our bonding on the field is exceptional.

Wednesday’s semi-final: Portugal poses no threat because they don’t have a formidable team. Cristiano Ronaldo is the only opponent we need to watch out for. Their midfield and defence are not that strong.

My watch venue: A friend’s place, with my closest pals.

If we win: When we win, we will PARTY!!!

Portugal

Himadri Ghatak, 20 (Asutosh College)

Why Portugal: Many people support Portugal because of “CR 7” (Cristiano Ronaldo in jersey No. 7), but I have been following the team even before him. I believe Portugal is as capable as Germany when it comes to complete football and scoring. And then they have the magician called Cristiano Ronaldo.

Favourite player: Cristiano Ronaldo.

We will win because: Of Nani and Ronaldo.

Wednesday’s semi-final: Spain is a marvellous team, what with their short passes, but that is not enough to hold off our Ronaldo. Also, Ronaldo plays with the Spanish defence in Real Madrid and that will definitely be a cause for Spain’s concern. Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez and Fernando ‘El Nino’ Torres are players that Portugal should watch out for.

My watch venue: At a friend’s place, though I am dying to go to Donbass Arena, Ukraine.

If we win: We will celebrate. I may not rip my shirt off but I will definitely call my friends and relatives who were supporting my opponents and hear them eat humble pie (but only after we win the final)!

Italy

Arka Dyuti Palit, 20 (Asutosh College)

Why Italy: I love the tactical nature of their game.

I have been an Italian supporter since Euro 2000, when Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro, Filippo Inzaghi, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti were in the side.

Favourite player: Gianluigi Buffon.

We will win because: We play as a unit and not as a team of individuals. We have conceded just two goals in the course of the tournament, even though we had to make do with a makeshift defence in most of the matches. (Giorgio) Chiellini will be back to strengthen our defence. Having failed to score against England, the Italian strikers will be raring to go in the semis.

Thursday’s semi-final: Germany, although the favourites, have had some nervous moments and are a pretty young team. But Mesut Ozil is somebody we should watch out for. He has been under-performing but he can be dangerous. Miroslav Klose, the old warhorse, is looking sharp and could upset our game plan.

My watch venue: Home, with father, uncles & brothers.

If we win: Wave the Italian flag from my balcony, let loose on Facebook with celebratory posts, and later a treat with my fellow Italy supporters.

Germany

Debdatta sen, 20 (St. Xavier’s College)

Why Germany: I have been a die-hard German supporter since the 2002 World Cup.

Favourite player: Bastian Schweinsteiger.

We will win because: Right now Germany is playing the best football. Our team is a powerhouse. We can rip through any defence. We have the determination and hard work, and we so deserve to win!

Thursday’s semi-final: Being a football player myself, I can safely say that Italy does not have the attacking firepower to outdo Germany. But Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Cassano are two players that Germany should be wary of.

My watch venue: CC&FC, with other Germany supporters.

Arkaprabha Chakraborty, 19 (Jadavpur University)

Why Germany: Ever since the 2002 World Cup final, I liked the team because they were a strong group of fighters. I was nine years old then, so I didn’t really know how they had beaten the underdog tag to reach the finals, but I started following them in earnest after the 2006 World Cup.

Favourite player: Bastian Schweinsteiger.

We will win because: We have been clinical even when we haven’t been at our best. Topping the Group of Death at a canter, World Cup 2010’s young team seems ready to take on all of Europe.

Thursday’s semi-final: Italy has a technically gifted side and can pass you out of the park if you let their midfield control the game. However, their attack has been quite toothless even against very ordinary defences. Their defence has been dealt a severe blow with the injury to (Giorgio) Chiellini. With the German side so strong on the wings, exactly where Italy have looked suspect, we can expect (Ignazio) Abate and (Federico) Balzaretti to be overrun if they’re lucky and blitzkreig-ed if they aren’t. Oh, and did I mention that they have a self-destruct button up front in Mario Balotelli? We should be cautious about Andrea Pirlo. He is both their brain and their heartbeat.

My watch venue: Right at home. 42 inches of bliss! With as many friends as I can gather.

If we win: I will give a shot at singing the German national anthem but more likely run around the house laughing like crazy!

Compiled by Shounak Majumder, Shrestha Saha, Indrani Banerjee and Roshni Ali