Newest Review: ... red card or threat to walk off or the obvious racist abuse heard. Ireland 1 Croatia 3 Ireland made the fatal mistake of thinking they c... more
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Euro Football Tournament
Member Name: thedevilinme
Euro Football Tournament
Advantages: Good three weeks of top class footy
Disadvantages: Its over
England broke our hearts in the World Cup and we could take no more heartache and so the fans gave up on the national team, few travelling to the old Eastern Block and so our loss expected and so dismissed. Yes it was the same old quarter-final penalty exit but the difference this time being that we didn't think we would make it that far and so the hurt less painful. But it always hurts. The penalty misers of Young and Cole have already signed up to do the pizza advert.
I think it's fair to say that the opening ceremony was predictably dull, a blueprint of previous ones, like an acid trip - watching ii and creating it. The stadium was pleasingly packed full for host Poland's first game, surely CGI as most of their fans are actually in Northampton. The atmosphere was pleasing, more like Twenty20 cricket than international football, pop songs between the action and a countdown to the kick off. It helped to set the positive tone. I hope we see that here.
The BBC studio was outside in sunny Warsaw, authentic crowd noise from the square below. But it wouldn't be long before a bottle or two were hurled up at messes Lawrenson and Hansen from a drunken Pole or two or a big storm would wash them away, Wimbledon tennis style.
ITV's pre-match pundit position was down below with the prole's on the same market square, noisy but egalitarian, the aesthetically challenged Adrian Childs sandwich between the token ethnic and somewhat inaudible pundits Gordon Strachan and Patrick Vierra, alongside the excellent Roberto Martinez. I'm surprised the Poles didn't get their jobs on the cheap!
The expected racism reared its ugly head before we had even started, the open Dutch training session suffering monkey chants. Cruller people in the game would say it came from the white players in the team, the Dutch team - allegedly - racially divided for a long time now. Their performance in the tournament would suggest the team were not united.
Group One ---
Poland 1 Greece 1
A poor referee did his best to help the host through with some dreadful decisions, sending off a Greek player for two soft fouls after Bundaslega star Lewandowski gave Poland the lead on 17. But that card incensed a dreadful Greek team to a 51st minute equalizer through Salpigidis on 51 minutes and nearly won it when the Polish keeper had to go after conceding an obvious penalty for a red card, but the Greeks missing it with ease. Good game though.
Russia 4 Czech Republic 1
My dark horse tip Russia overran an average Czech outfit with four superb goals. Most of their squad is based in Russia and the first eleven mostly cut from two or three teams, record cap and goal scorers a plenty in the starting line up. They play domestic summer football over there and very experienced in footy in June, Arsharvin and Pavlyuchenko superb. 20-1 outsiders look strong.
Group 2 --
Denmark 1 Holland 0
Denmark provided the big shock of the tournament by beating Holland as Michael Krohn-Dehli smashed the ball through the keeper's legs from an angle. The orange machine now has to at least draw with Germany and beat Portugal in their last two games to stay alive.
Germany 1 Portugal 0
A rather negative Portugal side sat back for two long and eventually let Gomez in for a towering header for one-nil. The tanks were up and running and can now illuminate Holland from the tournament with another win. Germany are efficient if not brilliant.
Group 3 --
Italy 1 Spain 1
Spain went without a striker and Italy went with six at the back but still an exciting game. Di Natale grabbed the lead before Spain struck back with an intricate Fabregas goal two minutes later from a great pass from City's David Silva. Torres came on and missed loads of easy chances, why they didn't play a striker, you presume. Balotteli surprisingly stayed on the pitch, no red card or threat to walk off or the obvious racist abuse heard.
Ireland 1 Croatia 3
Ireland made the fatal mistake of thinking they can play international football and so gave the silky skilled Croats all the space they needed to run the Irish ragged. Like the Czechs, they could get to round two on their attacking skills alone. Everton's Jelavic's hit a classy winner.
Group Four --
England 1 France 1
It was relief not jubilation in Donetsk as England competently survived the French artisans, Lescott's towering header quickly annulled by Nasri beating Hart on the near post. You already get the feeling England are a one goal a game team and sit on that. For the first time I can remember there were empty seats at an England match. A Ukrainian jail is a long way from home if you do kick it off.
Ukraine 2 Sweden 1
The host got off to a great start in the packed full national stadium with a superb atmosphere with a brace from their talisman Andrei Shevchenko, and good goals to, the monster that is Ibrahimovic opening the scoring for Sweden. If England have to get something in the last game against these guys and the crowd it won't be easy.
Czech 2 Greece 1
Very poor game of mistakes saw the Czechs two up in ten minutes before the Greeks nicked one back from a dreadful mistake by keeper Czech. No one will be sad to see the Greeks go home. Chelsea may have to think about getting a new keeper as this guy has clearly gone over the top.
Russia 1 Poland 1
There is history between the two countries, make no mistake, and not just the war. A plane carrying most of the Polish government mysteriously crashed in Russia, the Poles all but blaming Putin of mass murder. That hate was on the streets of Warsaw as violence kicked of before and after the game, the Russian fans organizing a goose-stepping through the city burning Polish flags. But the game was fabulous, cheap David Beckham version Jakob Blaszczykowski with the splendid equalizer after early domination by Russia saw Dzagoev's 37th minute strike put them on top. Those four points for Advocat's side may already be enough as the Greeks were up next.
Portugal 3 Denmark 2
The second game means catch up time and Portugal duly delivered the win they would have penciled in at the start of the tournament, although Ronaldo again off form, as he is every tournament. Portugal did blow a 2-0 lead in a pulsating game and rescued only by a late winner from Valera.
Germany 2 Holland 1
Germany still looked the favorites after putting Holland away in a top quality encounter, Gomez early brace halved by Van Persie's first goal of the tournament. In the group of death its Holland having the life squeezed out of them. Germany are crunching through the gears.
Italy 1 Croatia 1
Italian football loves draw and if you have read any books about their domestic game you will know they actually got bonuses for getting draws in the 1970s and 80s in Seria A and B. That attitude has fed through to their international team over the decades and earned them four World Cups and one European Championship. If you don't get beat you go forward in these competitions. Italy led here but the plucky Croats leveled it late on, Mario Bilic, not Balotelli, the decisive factor this time.
Spain 4 Ireland 0
As expected a one-sided match saw Spain pass the Irish into the ground, 859 of them to be precise, a tournament record. Torres started, and then finished, twice, classy goals too. Fabregas also double his tally with a fierce smack across keeper Shay Given before Silva rolled it in like Tiger Woods for four.
Ukraine 0 France 2
The Ukraine is a country of two halves, the East that speaks Russian and the Orange Revolution West that's speaks Ukraine, never the twain shall meet. Donetsk, tonight's venue in the West, usually sees the visiting fans from the east of the Ukraine booing the home team, as happened in the qualifiers. But it was the thunder storm that provided the big noise of discontent, angry forked lightning looking like a black hole opening up above the stadium, having the players running for their lives, the first time I have ever seen an international stopped for rain. But they completed the game and it was a perfunctory victory for the French, the Ukraine guys tiring on the boggy pitch to two quality strikes.
England 3 Sweden 2
England finally beat Sweden in an international tournament and a dramatic game too. It was third division tactics from Hodgson early on with put it on the head of the gormless Andy Carroll stuff, who met it perfectly for 1- 0 on 28 minutes, but Sweden going 2-1 up with the same tactics by the 60th minute. Carroll was like the angry giant in the fairytale, throwing off the little people as he drew players away from Welbeck. But once Walcott came on the game turned back England's way and his excellent long strike for 2-2 and the pass for Welbeck to flick it in sealed a thrilling victory. Rooney returns for match three.
Group One Deciders --
Greece 1 Russia 0 & Czech 1 Poland 0
I think it's fair to say these were not the expected results, Russia and Poland failing to go through. Who honestly thought the Czech would top the group after losing 4-1 to the Russians? But the count back system puts you above a team you beat if you finish level on points and that was Russia's problem, a shock goal just before half-time by the Greek captain throwing the group on its head. Poland had chances against the Czechs but not enough talent to convert them, no competitive international football their problem, still no wins in the European championships after 80 years of the competition.
Group Two Deciders --
Portugal 2 Holland 1 & Germany 2 Denmark 1.
Germany won all three games and Holland lost all three games, letting in the improving Portuguese, powered on by a superb Ronaldo performance, the players finally conceding to his giant ego and just giving him the ball, as did the Dutch. Germany did enough to finish off the Danes.
Group Three Deciders -
Italy 2 Ireland 0 and Spain 1 Croatia 0
Routine in the end with a poor Ireland going home without scoring and Spain seeing of Croatia. Both sides did enough and Mario Balotteli even found time to score, gesticulating wildly to coach Lippi on just how good he thinks he is even though that was his first touch.
Group Four Deciders ---
England 1 Ukraine 0 and France 0 Sweden 2
The returning Wayne Rooney had the simplest of headers to open the scoring and, rather oddly, his first tournament finals goal since he exploded on the scene in Euro 2004, drawing a blank in the World Cups of 2006 & 10 and England absent from Euro2008. The Ukraine equalized with one of those that seemed to cross the line with the goal line official clueless on what to do. He clearly didn't want to make the call and so what's the referee to do? I can't see Blatter staying with these fourth officials as they don't do anything in the game, especially spotting shirt pulls and line decisions. Presumably refs tell them not tot make the calls. France suffered a surprise defeat to Sweden so to avoid Italy and earn Spain in the quarter-finals.
>>>>>>>>>>>Quart er - Finals<<<<<<<<<<< <
Portugal 1 Czech Republic 0
Ronaldo led from the front with another brilliant performance, the way he did for United and does for Madrid, heading down and in for the winner. The Czechs were never in it and expected to lose.
Germany 4 Greece 2
A perfunctory win in the end and the most one-sided quarter-final I can remember. The Germans are so arrogant on the ball they don't fear losing it or the match, always able to equalize. They were so confident they rested players for the match, almost unheard of in international knockout stages. But its 16 years since they won anything?
Spain 2 France 0
Somewhat bizarrely Spain have never beaten France in a competitive match, until now, a feeble Le Bleu seen off comfortably by the World and European champions, a brace by Alonso enough to do the job.
England 0 Italy 0 (Italy win on pens)
Same old really, England holding out in the heat against far superior opposition, technically and tactically outplayed. Pirlo's arrogant penalty is what we had when we had 'Gaza' and Waddle but that's been coached out of kids for the last twenty years and now we have Andy Carroll, the hod- carrier of international football.
Italian football is riddled with corruption and performance enhancing drugs and yet the footballing Gods let them progress every time. But if you show fear as England on every game you don't deserve to win. And when I say fear I mean scared to concede by attacking.
Spain 0 Portugal 0 (Spain win on pens)
Spain knew if they stopped Ronaldo they stopped Portugal and it proved the case, the great one even denied the chance to take a penalty by his own ego, opting to take the fifth one and glory. Spain had won 4-2 by then.
Germany v Italy
Germany has never beaten Italy in the knockout stages in major tournaments and they made it eight -out-of-eight here with a Balotelli brace killing them off. It's almost as if they are freed up from the match fixing shackles of domestic Seria A football they are chained to and so get to express their passion, patriotism and freedoms in internationals. Orzil popped a late penalty in but Italy and Pirlo were still running the show.
Spain 2 Italy 0
Perfunctory was the best way to describe Spain becoming the first team to get a hatrick of international tournament victories, proclaimed as best the international team ever in some quarters. Silva struck an angled and reaction header to open the scoring and then Alba raced on to a through ball for the second. The Italians risked all their subs early to get back in the game but when they lost one of them to injury the ten me were out passed ad the score doubled in the last twenty minutes, Torres clipping it past Buffon third and so claiming a surprise Golden Boot and then team mate Mata wrapping it up at the last for that 4-0 score line, the predominately Barcelona-Real Madrid team on top form. Italy were not great and again resorted to the long ball to Balotelli all match. But for me Brazil of the 1970s and 1980s remain the best team ever though.
So the violence quickly faded once the thug supporters teams were knocked out and we had a good tournament. Spain won and the Germans didn't and the circus moves on to qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil. Now that will be well worth the two year wait. But will England make it? I don't think so.
Summary: Englad were rubbish!