Euro 2012–Match Day 2

Group A

The Czechs came into the match needing all three points and what a start.  Two quick goals got them off and running, and the game followed the plot of the Poland/Greece match.  The Greeks settled in, started to create chances and even nicked a goal.  In the end, the Czechs just eased over the line and have everything to play for against the co-hosts.  Thought Rosicky was hot and cold but the guy with the long, mangy hair was full of running.  Cech again made a howler and must be at 100% against the Poles.

In and out for much of a very open match between Poland and Russia.  Arshavin again started strongly but faded as did most of his team.  There was a role reversal as the Poles grew in strength and the Russians faded.  Dzogev or however you spell it scored another goal and his performance will test the Soccernomics theory about buying a player after a major tournament.  Kuba scored a screamer and it has to be goal of the tournament up to this point.  From what I saw, Lewandowski struggled and was not as sharp as the match against Greece. Poland will need to win against the Czech Republic to progress which means I will definitely get something wrong in my pool.

Group B

Matchday 2 featured 8 goals in two matches, of which I saw two.

Typically I watch Portugal play an international match and suffer through 90 minutes of frustration and no goals.  However, the Portuguese had a magnificent first half and were up 2-0 within half an hour.  The Danish responded through Nicky Pink Boots and at this point I had to leave.  What I missed was a Danish equalizer (and questionable celebration), several CR7 sitters, and a vital winner from Varela to win the three points and give Portugal a chance to progress.

The second match featured a Holland team in disarray.  The Dutch suffered another defeat yet have everything to play for in the last match.  Surely the manager will play VdV and Huntelaar from the start as their impact has made a difference.  Afellay has been decent but the Dutch seem to get through the gears with the other two in the game.  Or maybe it was because they were chasing the game.  Assuming the Danes don’t get a result against Germany, the Dutch could progress with a win.

Group C

An interesting day in this group as Ireland were eliminated and Spain and Croatia have everything to play for, including getting rid of Italy.

I really wished I had watched the Italy v Croatia match in its entirety. Italy played well in the first half and as a part time Juventino it was nice to see Pirlo get on the score sheet.  But the adjustments made by Croatia in the second half totally changed the game around and it was unfortunate that Chiellini misjudged the flight of the ball for the equalizer.

As for Spain, what can you say?  I tweeted early in the first half that it was JV against the Varsity. Ireland were overmatched and couldn’t come to terms with Spain’s possession and movement. Spain still have a ways to go and a more resolute defense will test the quality of La Furia Roja.  Can’t wait for the final match of this group.

Group D

The best day of the tournament so far.

The France v Ukraine game kicked off and then stopped.  Honestly have to say I’ve never seen anything like that.  Totally brought me back to my coaching days, where you have take the team somewhere, keep them mentally and physically prepared while waiting to start up again.  Who knows if the break affected the teams, but France really stepped it up a gear in the second half and showed a glimpse of what they are capable of.

Blanc’s squad selection showed that he is still searching for the right team and getting closer.  Readers of my blog will know that Evra should be dropped for club and country.  Menez in for Malouda reflects reality.  Menez, love him or hate him, makes things happen, good and bad.

As for the Ukraine, felt they had the same energy but just couldn’t break down the French.  Voronin leaving at half time helped a little but may have them too open.  They now face DDay againstEngland.

And what can you say about England against Sweden?  The best match of the tournament. England, who couldn’t beat Sweden for some 40 years, have now beat them twice in six months.  I thought that when the Swede’s got their second, the Three Lions were sunk,yet they responded, mostly through the substitution of Theo.  Not a big fan of his, but this was the perfect situation—impact sub, with pace and energy to trouble a creaky and tiring defense.  His goal was a bit fortunate and his set up for Welbeck wasn’t that great, but young Danny created an absolute piece of magic.

Now for the final match day in which all they have to do is not lose.  Gulp.

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