Posts Tagged ‘ Euro 2012 ’

Holland Euro 2012 away kit

The Netherlands made the World Cup Final in 2010, narrowly losing to Spain in a match possibly more remembered for Nigel De Jong’s foot to Xabi Alonso’s sternum than the finish by Iniesta and the crowning glory of La Furia Roja. Following that defeat, the Oranje breezed through Euro 2012 Qualifying, only losing one match to Sweden after qualification had already been secured, and during the run they climbed to #1 in FIFA World Rankings.

Heading into the Euros, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, manager Bert van Marwijk had re-shaped the squad with about a third of the squad turned over. The Dutch rolled out a back line of van der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar and Willems with Mathijsen getting some time as well. The attacking group in the first two games featured Robben, Sneijder, Afellay and van Persie with de Jong and van Bommel holding.

After dropping their first two games, Holland could still advance and put most of their key attackers on the field with Van der Vaart and Huntelaar coming on and van Bommel and Afellay heading to the bench. An early goal gave hope to the Oranje but two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo saw the Dutch finish 0-3 and in last place.

As for the kits, the home shirt featured a two tone orange pattern that I didn’t care for and I loved the change shirt from Nike the moment I saw it. I love all black kits and this one by Nike was fantastic. The small deep orange band that came down the shirt provided a nice accent to the shirt while keeping the manufacturer logo in the same color as the shirt. Plus the KNVB badge was not framed in that weird shield used in previous iterations.

The Dutch wore the all black strip for the last group game and the shirt features a black ring collar, rubberized material at the seams and around the orange design feature, laser cut venting around the rib cage and a ventilated back. Nieuwe Meesters (New Masters) is on the inside neck and the bright Dutch orange is on the inside of the cuffs.

Another item I came across in my research was the name and number set. The name font is pretty common for the time but the numbers are quite, how do i say this, blocky. This image from the Switch Image Project shows what I’m talking about.
Despite my kit buying rules, when I saw a deal on Classic Football Shirts on the authentic version, I had to get it. I ordered a medium (maybe not a good long term decision as I age and put on the pounds) and it’s wonderful, bold shirt that weighs almost nothing.

——

Resources

Football Shirt Culture

Historical Football Kits

Colours of Football

Wikipedia

——

Check out more posts on kits from clubs and countries around the world on the Strip Club page. And yes. It’s safe for work.

Advertisements

Strip Club—Makin’ Whoopee Edition

138755545

So I went up to the bar, as I do, to settle in for a replay of a FC Barcelona game. After getting the TV channel changed and ordering a pint, I watched the end of 2012 UEFA Futsal Championship Final between Russia and Spain. The match went back and forth, and then I saw something that changed everything.  The camera zoomed in on Russia’s number 13—Aleksandr Fukin.

Umm . . . this is a family show.  Who knows if it is pronounced Fuckin’ or Fookin, but it turns out this was not a misprint.  After a little research on the interwebs, I was able to find out that Fukin was on the Russian team that eventually lost to Spain 3-1, and he also plays for Dinamo Moskva in the Russian Futsal League.

russia-home-football-shirt-2011-s_24941_1

(image courtesy of Old Football Shirts)

The all red kit Russia wore that night was their home kit for 2011-12 (thanks to Football Fashion).  Focusing on the jersey, a sublimated star pattern accents the chest and is framed with a curving accent, which ends in the colors of the Russian flag.  I much prefer this strip to the one at Euro 2012.

russia-home-shirt-euro-2012

Anyway, my hope is to find this kit at a retailer and get it customized with FUKIN 13.  A very special Hero Jersey.  (You can’t make me take it off, it’s his NAME!!) Hero Jersey is an identifier I could do without.  Let’s face it.  These are footballers, not necessarily heroes.  I mean if you ordered a Joey Barton Manchester City/Newcastle/QPR/Marseille jersey, that could hardly constitute a Hero Jersey.

I have moved away from the hero kits in my collection.  I do have a Del Piero Juve jersey and a Beckham United jersey.  There’s also a Ukrainian Shevchenko knock off in the drawer somewhere as well.  Going forward, a Cantona jersey is probably the only Hero Jersey I would order.  These days I personalize my kits—Junior #7—and that seems to work.

MatchDay Memory–What I This Summer 2012

This summer was one of the hottest on record for the state of Michigan.  Weeks of 90+ degree heat scorched the ground and caused air conditioning units to be run non stop.  Fortunately there was plenty of footy on TV so that people could stay inside or head to their local pub or restaurant and watch in order to stay cool.  Euro 2012 led into the MLS halfway point and the World Football Challenge before concluding with the Olympics Football Tournament.

In an ambitious effort to get involved with the European Championships, I followed the draw, game by game, to determine which kit would win Euro 2012 based on my tastes.  Here is a summary of my predictions and my reactions to the kits worn during the tournament.  As for the games themselves, the entire three week championship was highly entertaining, producing plenty of goals (only one 0-0 draw in the entire tournament if I remember correctly), amazing performances (Russia in their opener, England against Sweden, and Italy against Germany in the semis), and a historic final in which La Furia Roja became the first team to win three major tournaments in a row.  I was able to watch the match at the George and Dragon in Seattle and had an awesome time.  Found an interesting post in the aftermatch of the Final, with Michael Elkon writing an interesting piece for SB Nation Atlanta about ESPN’s coverage of the European Championships, going so far as to ask Bristol to cover American College Football like a major soccer tournament.  Well worth the read.

I had an amazing trip to the Pacific Northwest. First real vacation I can think of since the 2003 Manchester United Tour and certainly the most relaxing.  Everyone asked did you see the mountains?  I saw them, off in the distance, but wanted no part of a hike.  Got up each morning, watched a little TV (Tosh.0, Workaholics, Wimbledon) and then spent some time writing and researching for the blog.  After a bite to eat, did some reading and then went out and either watched a game or went to a bunch of bars or both.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  My experiences at the MLS games in Portland and Seattle were first rate and I plan to either go back or visit other MLS venues (or both) in the future.

However, after some time of reflection, I am not sure that I could sit in the supporters sections every game.  I like to watch and see what’s going on, figuring out formations, key matchups, build ups for goals.  That’s hard to do when you’re trying to keep up with the chants or waving your scarf and or having flags obstructing your view.  For instance, during the Seattle game, banners and flags blocked portions of my view throughout the game, and when Colorado scored, no one had any idea.  Great atmosphere, great experience, but maybe sit in the supporters section and then go home and watch the match for the tactics and nerdier aspects of the game.

As for my actual time on the pitch, I played in a coed indoor league, which was ridiculously hot.  Our over 30 team had an unbeaten first half of the season, destroying teams consistently, but we drew one game and didn’t create the necessary breathing space to win the league comfortably.  We participated again the State Cup, but our first game was scheduled the weekend after the Fourth of July, so many of our players, including myself, were on vacation.  The other guy who runs the team was able to put a team together and the lads performed admirably until the wheels fell off in the second half and we lost 4-1.  Maybe next year.

Other than that, I listened to a ton of podcasts, which I tried to summarize throughout the summer, and read as much as I could.  I reread Fever Pitch in the late spring and then moved to Calcio by John Foot. It was a very informative read on the beginnings of organized Italian football and the transition of power from Bologna and Genoa to the big three.  I didn’t realize Roman teams had not been very successful.  The author went out to pick out key players throughout the history of the league before moving to the violence that has been a nagging problem over the years.  He also examined the nature of oriundi in Italian clubs and the national team.

The new season has started, with several compelling story lines across Europe—the battle in Manchester, the dawn of the Tito era in Barcelona, Juventus’ resurgence undercut by another betting scandal, and the possible rise of PSG.  I plan to do my weekly Morbo Minute and Old Futbol Buffet posts, combined with Strip Club posts and the occasional MatchDay Memory.  Feel free to comment and respond on twitter and facebook.

Euro 2012 Final

For the Euro 2012 Final I headed out to the George and Dragon, a soccer bar I had heard about when I listened to World Soccer/Football Daily. We showed up at 10:15, 90 minutes before game and the place was already buzzing. By kickoff, the bar, patio and outdoor area were completely full. The crowd was pro-Spain so I was hoping for a favorable result.

The movement and passing of the Spanish team was fantastic and their great start was rewarded with Fabregas squeezing past Chiellini and then squaring the ball for Silva to head home. Italy came back into the match and were very patient in attack, actually earning more possession in the first half. Eventually the Spaniards regained control, and Xavi released Alba who produced a clinical finish. Balzaretti came in for the injured Chiellini got involved and created width for the Azzurri, which helped the Italians to stay in the match. The problem in the first half was that Balotelli was receiving the ball in the channels and not in the middle where he could do more damage.

The opening of the second half was the most intense five minutes I’ve ever seen. End to end, tons of chances and wonderful play. The Italians had to score early to give them a lifeline, which Di Natale almost did, but the goal didn’t come, Thiago Motta came on for Montolivo and promptly pulled his hamstring. Down 2-0, down to 10 men, the game was up. The Spanish finally stepped on their throat as Torres took advantage of a turnover and then Mata came on and scored to seal the victory.

After the game Bob Ley had to ask Alexi Lalas and Michael Fantastic Ballack if La Furia Roja were the greatest team ever. Who knows? Let’s just enjoy this team. Yes they struggled during this tournament, but from the extra time of the Portugal game through the final against Italy, this team was truly special and history will let us know where they fit in the pantheon of teams. What a game and what a tournament. Too bad UEFA is going to 24 teams in 2014 and a possible pan-European option in 2020. Can’t just leave well enough alone.

—–

Articles

Zonal Marking examined the midfield battle which shaped the contest. In the end, the speed and quickness of the Spanish plus the involvement of the outside backs undid the Italians. This was his conclusion:

Spain narrowed their wide midfielders to win the numbers game in the centre, then advanced the full-backs to stretch the play. That’s what they usually do, of course, but here it was combined with rapid passing and constant runs in behind the defence. It was almost unstoppable, and the beauty of their first two goals (when the game was proper contest, at 11 v 11) was the difference in style. Silva’s goal came after 14 passes, Alba’s after only 4. Silva’s goal arrived after 36 seconds of possession, Alba’s after just 13. Spain finally found the right balance, mixing possession with penetration.

Sid Lowe recapped a final in which Spain went from “boring” to exceptional, with several players fulfilling key roles in the destruction of old enemy Italy.

Finally Roger Bennett wrote a short post in the aftermath for Soccernet, rattling off the ridiculous stats that Spain has complied over the last four years, especially defensively. Both coaches pointed to the fitness of the squads as a key component of the game, with Motta’s injury proving too much to overcome for the Italians. As for the greatest ever argument:

Debates will now rage as to whether this Spanish team is the best national side to ever take the field. The vast difference in footbaling eras should make the arguments about their relationship to Brazil’s magnificent 1970 as empty as debating if Viking warriors could battle U.S. Marines.

Euro 2012–Quarter Final Review

A couple of quick thoughts on the Euro 2012 Quarter Finals:

Czech Republic v Portugal

I missed the second half of the game due to a meeting at work.  Blurgh!!  With everything going on in my life, I didn’t have time to schedule watching the replay.  Viewing the first half, I felt that Portugal were on top and not really surprised that they won.  They are now a factor as they seem to be getting better as the tournament has progressed while the Czechs just ran out of gas.  They missed Rosicky and really needed a better option up top than Baros.

Germany v Greece

Again work prevented me from watching this match, although I did get to see snippets of the second half.  When Samaras equalized, a sick feeling crept across me but that was soon eradicated by goals from, Khedira, Klose andReus. Greece were lucky to be in the quarters and the Germans punished them with dynamic movement and firm finishes.

Spain v France

In a word: dire.  Spain weren’t sharp enough to break down a poor French side.  You have to wonder if del Bosque will play Torres and Pedro against Portugal, because their movement and energy seem to bring a better balance to the side.  (Chalk on the Boots argues that Spain starts Cesc, then brings on Torres and Pedro to offer a more vertical threat against a tiring squad. Excellent post on the match.)  The semi troubles me because a moment of brilliance from CR7 or Nani could be enough as the Portuguese rearguard is watertight at the moment.

England v Italy

At the pub everyone wanted to know who I was going for.  To be honest, I didn’t know because I was conflicted, tugged between United and Juventus players.  It was a better game that I had imagined, with Italy playing attacking outside backs, which stretched England’s two banks of four.  (TACTICS!! from Zonal Marking)  I told anyone that would listen that Balotelli was awful int his match.  Ten chances fell to one person, a supposed world class player, a genius, a superstar, and he couldn’t finish one?  Enough of Super Mario.  The PK’s were the usual failure from an English perspective.  Young went for power and I can’t believe Ashley Cole was among the five.  Pirlo’s effort was sick and wrong.

Old Futbol Buffet–Goal Line Technology

Besides keeping an eye on Euro 2012, I have been listening to the occasional pod and reading the odd article here and there.  Here’s a quick wrap of what I’ve come across.

As Poland and Greece kicked off Euro 2012, the group at the pub jokingly asked, how long to first controversial goal line decision?  Turns out the Group Stage progressed with very little controversy, Pepe’s near goal against Germany being the only moment I can remember.  But then on the last Match Day, Ukraine, throwing everything forward, nearly equalized against England, which would have put the codifiers of the game under immense pressure as the clock wound down.

Was it a goal or not?  At first the replays were inconclusive, but in the following hours, frames were found where the entire ball did in fact cross the entire line.  So maybe the co-hosts were screwed and knocked out of the tournament.  Sort of.

First of all, Ukraine were very attack minded and dynamic and aggressive but were rubbish in front of goal, except for a couple of glorious minutes from Sheva.  They couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn, and when they did, especially against England, the goalkeeper was there to save.

Second, Rooney’s goal meant that Ukraine would have had to score twice because they had to win the game to progress.  Simple scenario.  The goal would have only gotten them halfway home.

Third, in the buildup, the attacker was offside.  He came from an offside position, won the ball, and then laid it off for his teammate.

Again the claims for technology were raised.  I was of the mindset that it should only be used for goal scoring opportunities.  I figured goals are such a rarity and so key to the game that everyone should at least get that right.  Then I read this post by John Nicholson for Football 365.com and he takes an interesting point of view—in essence that just looking at moments around the goal will start an ever increasing dependence on technology and will create a series of unintended consequences (ie fouls or infringements in the build up that will necessarily be ignored), both of which undercut the role of the referee.  As he sums up,  It solves one problem and creates many, many more.  A better solution instead is to grow up, accept stuff goes wrong when humans are involved and get on with enjoying the game.

Check it out and decide for yourself the role of technology in the Beautiful Game.

Grant Wahl wrote a quick post for SI.com following the controversial decision, and he feels that FIFA and the IAFB are close to introducing goal line technology.  The game is always changing, and this could be a dramatic factor in the future of the game.

—–

Podcasts

Beyond the Pitch is generating great content even during the off season.

Anto had Jeff Bradley on to discuss the early days of the MLS, focusing the on the clusterfuck that was the NY/NJ MetroStars, and the growth of the league almost 20 years in.  Interesting stories and insightful opinions make this a pod with worth listening to.

Eric Wynalda was also on in the wake of Cal FC’s dynamic run through the US Open Cup that ended with a Round of 16 loss to the Seattle Sounders.  Eric was strongly opinionated as usual, covering the current state of US Soccer and how it can improve.  You may not agree with everything he says, but you cannot deny his passion.

Strip Club–Euro 2012 Kit Tournament Review

As the real tournament progressed, I kept on eye on my kit picks and wanted to see if any of my opinions changed throughout the three weeks.  Here are a couple of quick thoughts.

Group A

I felt good about this group.  The Poland home combo of white jersey, red shorts and white socks was phenomenal, creating a contrast that didn’t exist in the all white strip against Russia and the Czech Republic.  The Greek blue strip was pretty sharp in HD, and in another group, it might have done a little better.  The Czechs came through this section as group winners and the checkered pattern above the chest was a nice touch.

Group B

I got this group totally wrong.

Germany’s home strip (white/black/white) was simple and classy and I might have put too much emphasis on the tiny diagonal accents (barely noticeable on TV). They wore this strip in all three matches (figured they would wear the away jersey against the Dutch), and the absence of the green kit may have allowed the Germans to advance.

The Dutch got nothing right in regards to their play or their kits.  Maybe black shorts might have broken up the home kit, but as the Dutch sweated and toiled towards elimination, the kit just got worse.  The jersey did not seem to breathe well and I have no idea how the Oranje were able to take the sweat soaked tops off at the end of matches.

Portugal’s kits simply jumped off the screen and after a putrid opener, they progressed to the knockout stage with ease.  Finally, the Danes wore their red shirts in two of their three games, which I didn’t account for, so they would not have moved on

Group C

Croatia, my group winners, went with the traditional checked pattern for the entire group stage and failed to cash in on the blue away kit.  Really think sales would have spiked had audiences caught a glimpse of it.  (Note: as @Jay29ers rightly pointed out on twitter, Croatia wore their Away kit in the win over Ireland.  I missed that match and in my research of the group stages, totally missed that.  Thanks for the sharp eyes.)  However, the contrast of the all blue Italy kit and the Croatian home strip on Match Day 2 was delightful.

Italy went with their blue kit for the entire group stage, which really screwed up my brackets. Spain would have won the opening confrontation and moved on in my fantasy world, eliminating Ireland, whose green jersey surprisingly grew on me.  Still don’t know if the socks are awesome or AYSO.  The Irish broke out the white in the final game against Italyand it looked pretty good.  The Spanish only wore their light blue kit once (thank God), on the last day against Croatia.  I did like the socks, with the Spanish flag standing out against the baby blue background.

Group D

England also threw a wrench in my picks as they went with the all white in the opener against France.  Amazing how good it looked, while the black one still looked awful.

I had the Ukrainians doing well in my predictions but the yellow grew tiresome by the end of the second match.  Might have got that one wrong, but the blue kit against England was top drawer.

The French didn’t wear their all white strip until the final game against Sweden, which was too bad.  The blue one looked better on TV but still had this weird vibe to it that I can’t describe.

The Swedes progressed in my kit tournament but why?  What was I thinking?  Match ups?  Secret man crush on Ibra?  Close ups of hot female fans?  The traditional home kit was fine, and the away kit actually looked really sharp, with the navy blue a fantastic foil to the yellow strip of the Ukrainians, but they should not have made it through.  Can’t get them all right.

—–

Check out http://maofootball.wordpress.com/ for game by game breakdown

—–

In the end, here were my top five kits of the tournament:

  • Holland Away
  • Croatia Away
  • England Home
  • Poland Home
  • Czech Republic Home

Honorable Mention:

  • Italy Away (didn’t make an appearance)
  • Portugal Away
  • France Away
  • Croatia Home

—–

Again, special thanks to Mao Football, whose post got this all kicked off for me.  Also to TheScore.ie , who put together a slide show of each jersey.  Finally, 7football created a graphic representation of each strip complete with shirt, shorts and socks.  And thanks to everyone who commented on twitter, facebook and this blog.  This was lots of fun and created some fun dialogue.