Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Euro 2008 (June 12)

I watch a lot of football. A lot. I'm pretty excited about the Euro Cup that's going on right now, and for good reason. Other than the French and the Italians (both usually take time to get going), the big guns in Europe are firing, and the quarters and semis are shaping up to be quite interesting.

Spain: 4-1 against Russia was a flattering score-line, but they deserved the win. Their counter-attacking was brilliant, but they didn't break down the Russian defence in normal open play. Sweden should prove to be a tougher opponent, capable of scoring and much better defensively than Russia.

Germany: Improved their standing with an easy win against Poland. Croatia should put up a good fight, especially in midfield. Germany's defence looked solid, particularly Metzelder.

Holland: Was their win against the Italians that easy? The first goal was clearly offside; I haven't seen anything official that would explain the ref's decision. The second goal was great, if a little lucky, and the third was just unfortunate for Italy. Without Totti, Italy lack some attacking sense in midfield, and their strikers are having trouble.

Portugal: Perfect so far, and the first team through to the quarters. Is this the second Golden generation? Ronaldo is brilliant if whiny, their back-line is solid and brilliant (excepting the merely good Ferreira), and Deco has decided to play (looking for possible suitors?). The Czechs were a little unfortunate, but their D were outplayed.

Middle of the pack teams:

The Czechs and Turkey haven't been too impressive. Sweden should progress and provide some good football in the quarters, though Russia might have something to say about that. Russia were called this year's Greece by Globe and Mail columnist Stephen Brunt in what is easily the worst oversimplification I've read yet. Croatia and Poland should be an interesting match, though neither look strong enough to challenge their opponents in the quarters. Romania as the dark horse? Neither France nor Italy have impressed yet, and who progresses from the group is still totally up in the air.

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