Euro 2012–Match Day 1

Thursday night before the tournament kickoff, a couple of friends and I got together to do a pool.  Four participants, blind draw to create a draft order, and then each person picked a team that would earn them three points for a win and one point for a draw throughout the tournament.  I ended up with the following:

  • Germany (had #1 pick)
  • Croatia
  • Poland
  • Greece (as last pick of entire draft)

My group will either do quite well, with two possible dark horses in Croatia and Poland or go sideways pretty quickly.

As for my tournament predictor, I took Germany to beat Holland in the final after they beat Croatia and Spain respectively.  I want Spain to win but historically they have little chance.


Group A

The opening match between Poland and Greece got off to a great start with the co-hosts on top of  their opponents, stretching them all over the field.  Lewandowski eventually rewarded them with the opener and the Poles looked to be on their way to all three points, especially when a soft red was given against the Greeks.  This set off a crazy sequence just before and just after the interval that included a possible handball that went uncalled, a Greek equalizer, and a straight red on Szczesny that resulted in a penalty that was missed.  Not much happened after that as Poland looked very tired and threw away two points, which could be costly in the end.

As for Russia and the Czech Republic, I admit I didn’t follow the first half very closely.  Between phone conversations and chats at the pub and beers, I have no idea what happened tactically.  Every time I looked up, Russia was scoring or about to score.  Down 2-0, the Czechs rallied, even scoring a goal but that burst faded and then Russia hammered home their advantage, scoring two more to run out 4-1 winners, giving themselves a real chance of progressing

Group B

The Group of Death was stamped with a snooze alert for most of day one.

Holland did their best Barcelona performance, dominating possession and shots but failing to make the most of their advantage.  An absolute sucker punch from Krohn-Dehli gave the Danes something to hold on to which they did all the way until the end.  The Dutch were relatively toothless in the final third (not being able to head the ball on target or test the keeper from long range) and RvP had a game to forget.  Felt the coach could have introduced the subs earlier, especially Kuyt who didn’t come in until there were only five minutes to go.

Had I been drinking on Saturday, the first half of Portugal and Germany would have put me to sleep.  CR7 was very marginalized and the Germans couldn’t quite find top gear.  However the second half was much better with both teams a little sharper and the chances more abundant.  Eventually Gomez finished off a German move as the cross deflected over Pepe, giving Marty McFly every chance to kill off the game.  CR7 created a fantastic chance at the end for Varela but his shot was blocked by Badstuber.

Group C

Due to a church meeting and an outdoor game, I didn’t watch these games but followed the Spain v Italygame on twitter.  Sounded like an interesting match with lots of action, two quick goals and several missed opportunities. Spain has Ireland next and will need all three points.

The second game of the day saw Croatia take all three points against Ireland and put them in a great position to progress.  After watching the highlights, the Irish will feel hard done by because Jelavic looked to be offside twice on the same play before scoring the decisive goal.  With Spain next, Trap’s men will be up against it.

Group D

England started the game crisply and could have scored more than the lone goal in the first half.  The French looked devoid of ideas until a patient move resulted in Nasri lashing one in from outside the area.  The goal led to a period in which France searched for a second goal.  The second half wasn’t that exciting as England held on and the French could not break them down. England are still in the tournament and if they can get something against Sweden maybe Rooney can save the day on Match Day 3.

What a game from Sweden and Ukraine.  End to end, tons of chances, lots of noise.  I kept getting interrupted at work watching this match, which didn’t make me too happy.  How the first half ended scoreless is beyond me.  Ibra opened the scoring for the Swedes in the second half and the cause looked lost for the co-hosts, but Sheva led them back from the brink with two well taken goals to win. Ukraine were very positive and have a real shot at progressing.

  1. As usual, the game I was least interested in was the most exciting. I am speaking of the Sweden-Ukraine game. I had not planned on watching but was glad I did. So far the games have been hit or miss, but what seems to be missing especially are the big names. They just don’t seem to be on point and even when they get the ball make a mess of it. Here’s to hoping they get it together in the subsequent games.

    • agree about the big names but seems to be major tactical point as well as big names not being surrounded by comparable talent (CR7, Ibra, Rosicky). plus players are coming off long seasons and really haven’t had a chance to recharge. makes a difference.

      • You are definitely right that the players are likely worn out. Too bad for the product, but it might open the door for some new stars (OX!!!).

    • Mike
    • June 12th, 2012

    I’m a huge OX fan. Dude he looked pretty good yesterday.

    • he did. actually england looked very good in the first half. but you could tell they did not want to lose in the second half.

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