To recap, here are the teams that I had picked to advance in the groups (Yes, I know this may not translate to the real-time results):
Group A - Russia 1st, Poland 2nd
Group B - Germany 1st, The Netherlands 2nd
Group C - Spain 1st, Italy 2nd
Group D - France 1st, Sweden 2nd
The draw dictates that winner of Group A gets the runner-up of Group B, while the runner-up of Group A gets the winner of Group B. The winner of Group C gets the Group D runner-up, while Group D winner gets the Group C runner-up.
This means, these are the QF matchups:
Russia vs The Netherlands - Russia's current manager, Dick Advocaat, is Dutch, so it would be kind of bittersweet if they did ever eliminate the country of his birth.
Germany vs Poland - This match-up is significant given the historical context. Also interesting is the presence of German national team players with Polish roots (Klose and Podolski). The key players of Poland play for Borussia Dortmund, the main foil for the Bayern Munich-centered squad.
Spain vs Sweden - Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces some of his former teammates in Barcelona, but it will a hard and difficult road for his teammates to withstand the Spanish attack.
France vs Italy - Rematch of the World Cup Final more known for the "headbutt" than the match.
The semifinal draw will have the winner of Russia-Netherlands matchup against the winner of the Spain-Sweden matchup on one side, while the Germany-Poland match winner faces the France-Italy winner on the other side. Based on my thoughts, the semifinal matchups would be the winner of Netherlands vs Spain and the winner of Germany vs France. My prediction for that will be the match-ups below:
The Netherlands vs Spain -The rematch of the last World Cup Final, with key elements from South Africa two years ago still around.
Germany versus France - Laurent Blanc's Les Bleus quest for redemption now closer to completion by making it this far. Franck Ribery will be familiar with Germany's play, given that most his teammates at Bayern form the core of Die Mannschaft.
The finals will be what it was supposed to be pegged by many of the pundits and casual football fans, Germany against Spain. Arguably two of the most-talented teams not just in Europe, but around the world. Spain may have dominated the last four years, but this time, it is Germany's turn again to hoist the trophy and declare itself the best in Europe.