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Quarterfinal 3, Euro 2012: Open Thread

Any time now, Vicente del Bosque.
Any time now, Vicente del Bosque.

Worthy of a semifinal. Two of the best sides at Euro 2012 will take the field today in Donetsk. Vicente del Bosque's men are tournament favorites until knocked off their perch, but Laurent Blanc and Les Bleus are back. Expect their reverse against eliminated Sweden to be proven a blip on the radar.

Spain vs. France, 2:45 pm ET (ESPN)

How they got here:

Spain: Group C winner. Drew Italy (1-1), defeated Ireland (4-0), defeated Croatia (1-0).

France: Group D runner-up. Drew England (1-1), defeated Ukraine (2-0), lost to Sweden (0-2).

Match Preview:

Spain: Pick a formation, any formation. Fernando Torres, a manita of midfielders, and a back four from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Del Bosque has earned the right to quiet his naysayers, but a number of on-form players have been omitted. Good for Jesus Navas to produce in limited playing time, but why not give the same opportunity to Santi Cazorla? Nothing else matters if La Roja wins, but if not, del Bosque already has an extension through Brazil 2014.

France: France could win, lose, or draw from what I've seen so far. They dominated England, controlled Ukraine, and laid an egg against Sweden. Karim Benzema is the best pure goal scorer in the tournament - no offense, Cristiano Ronaldo. And Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery are excellent creators on the ball. My question: how will France handle a loss after 23 matches unbeaten? And what about the step up in competition? We shall see.