Monday, June 9, 2008

Euro 2008 Liveblog: Romania/France

Hello hello folks, I trust you're all staying cold and inebriated on this fine summer's day. I am still a little shaky from yesterday's day-long bender/US v. Argentina match, but I'm up and running now.

Join me after the jump for lineups and a rather sardonic, perverted liveblog of the festivities. It's two teams I couldn't give a toss about.

Feel the excitement!


Lobont -- Contra, Tamas, Goian, Rat -- Cocis, Radoi, Chivu -- Nicolita, Niculae, Mutu

Coupet -- Sagnol, Thuram, Gallas, Abidal -- Ribery, Toulalan, Makelele, Malouda -- Anelka, Benzema

So that's exciting. Will Ribery light up the international stage like he burns the Bundesliga? Will Mutu earn back some of that cocaine money he owes Chelsea? Will Benzema live up to the crippling level of expectation being placed upon him?

3:00 -- so far, so quiet. Cagey opening, although France are making their strategy known: attack down the wings, so help me God. For that to work, they'll need a lot better production from Malouda than he manages in the EPL.

7:00 -- Malouda coughs up the ball tamely on the flank. Tommy Smyth's voice makes me want to strangle a retiree with my bare hands.

8:00 -- A brief flourish of action: a chance for Romania on the edge of the box is smothered, Maginot-style by four frogs in blue shirts, and then a speculative long ball down to Anelka (ostensibly acting as a lone striker) results in a volley high over the bar from Nicolas on the right side of the box.

10:00 -- Smyth confirms this hypothesis. Benzema and Ribery are coming from deep, and Anelka is expected to hold the ball up for them in possession. Doesn't Domenech know that Anelka is absolutely incapable of playing this way? The guy will shoot from anywhere. As selfish as they come. If only Trezeguet were in the squad...

12:00 -- Rat is an effective defender against Ribery thus far. It's not a good sign that both commentators are showing their open excitement for the next game when this one is still very much in its infancy.

15:00 -- nice slick move by Romania set up by the long ball, which is probably the best strategy they could use against these vertically-challenged French. The deep pass is flicked back infield for Niculae, who blasts a sharp volley not far wide of the left post. Best opportunity for either side thus far.

18:00 -- minor panic in the Romanian box as Lobont comes out slowly to clear a (surprise, surprise) long ball, but the ensuing clearance amounts to nothing. Are both teams content to hoof all day? I'd like to think not...

23:00 -- Makalele gets away with yet another studs-first challenge. He loves to tackle clumsily, doesn't he? This game is dismal thus far. The aging French backline is not really being troubled, and I've yet to hear Ribery's name mentioned by Tommy Smyth. Then again, that could simply be due to his pronunciation troubles.

25:00 -- I am falling asleep. No, really, it's true. Both teams are hampered significantly by "Last Touch" disease, a delightful ailment whereby the final pass is absolutely awful. Mutu gets clattered by Toulalan, and it comes to nothing. The French get a sniff when Malouda marauds down the left flank, but his cross is to no-one and the Romanians clear.

26:00 -- Daniel Niculae sees yellow for a handball in the box after a good cross is whipped in from the left and Gallas gives him the elbow from behind while in mid-air. As Smyth correctly posits for once, you really don't see yellow cards for handballs when you're attacking. Gonzalez thought it was intentional, and it goes into the book. Most exciting moment so far. Coupet and Lobont have had plenty of time to relax and shadow box as the sun pours across the pitch from right to left.

29:00 -- Lots more passing without venom or serious intent from the French, although Ribery gets clipped and earns a free kick 30 yards out in dead center. The dead ball is promptly drilled right into the bottom of the wall and the Romanians clear.

31:00 -- A mazy run from Ribery releases Sagnol on the right, and he wastes no time in blasting the cross high and wide of everyone. Has he been taking crossing lessons from Jermaine Pennant?

33:00 -- Best chance of the match is squandered by Nicolas "PK" Anelka. A French corner from the left is taken short to Ribery, whose cross bounces in the box and while the defense hesitates, Anelka has a free header that he pops over the bar.

38:00 -- My internet is failing a little, but thankfully, the two teams literally wait for me to return before doing anything remotely exciting. The French defense has been untroubled this entire match, which is odd for them, historically-speaking. And just like that, Cosmin Contra gets a yellow for some rather childish unsportsmanlike conduct. France win a throw-in, and as Abidal saunters over to grab the ball to take it, Contra flicks it away. Petulance is apparently a universal character trait.

40:00 -- I repeat: nothing is happening. They might as well not be playing. It's action manifested with non-action.

44:00 -- Holy fuck, Lobont had to make a save. Tricky work by Benzema on the left forces the goalie into action. Then Goian hip-checks Ribery and earns Romania their third yellow of the half. Two Romania corner in quick succession amount to nothing.

45:00 -- Why is Domenech not forcing the issue more? By sitting your two best players deep in midfield, you're isolating an already-useless Anelka against 4 burly, irritated Eastern European defenders, and there's never a chance for the midfield to catch up to the attack. It's dour to watch, and Romania are quite comfortable to sit back and let this bluster and passing to happen aimlessly well away from their goal. Lobont's kit is still as pristine as it was before the national anthems.

Domenech is an idiot, and now we get the glory of the ESPN in-studio team to ease us into the second-half. I might have to go and euthanize some kittens to create some modicum of excitement in my living room.

Ugh, let's continue this baloney again. I feel dirty watching this. It's dour, dour stuff. Thierry isn't playing thanks to failing a fitness test earlier today, and Anelka is playing like absolute pants. With every touch of the ball, Roman Abramovich sheds a tear for the amount of money wasting on this legendary malcontent.

47:00 -- Ribery is clattered to the turf by Goian, already on a yellow card, but no free kick is even given. Domenech is pissed that his mercurial midfielder is getting bullied so far today.

Second-half questions:
- Will Tommy Smyth say something exciting? Will someone score a goal? Will I say something humorous?

49:00 -- It appears that Question #2 will be the first to get an answer. Malouda works hard on the left to turn his marker inside out, only to blast his shot well into the stands. It is fast becoming the trademark of this match: tons of effort exerted amounting to no real consequence. Wasn't it a law of physics that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction? If that were the case, either this match would be tied 4-4, or everyone would be dead.

61:00 -- I just got back from taking a rather painful dump, as my body finally shed the beer, bourbon, burgers and general neglect from yesterday's festivities. It took longer than usual, but I'll be damned, I didn't miss a fucking thing. This is poor from France; while Romania are hardier than most at the back, this Bleus squad is chock-full of flair, panache, elan, brio, and other words we probably stole from the French vocabulary. They should be carving through the Cocis and Contras of the world, should they not? It brings to mind the hype and excitement they carried into World Cup '02, only to be knocked out in the opening round without scoring a single bloody goal.

As I type this, Benzema creates some space for himself at the edge of the box, nudging the ball past a prone Chivu only to scuff his shot weakly wide of the left post. Manchester United wouldn't even offer a box of baseball bats for him at this rate. Sighs, wolf-whistles, and general discontent echo around the boxy stadium.

66:00 -- Still, the French press (lol, inadvertent coffee joke) but find all their shots blocked or deflected away from danger. The longer this game goes goalless, the more I honestly believe that a simple Romanian counter-attack will bring them the winning goal.

71:00 -- can either team give me anything worth writing about? Covering this game is akin to writing book reports in school: you end up bullshitting your way through 2000 words because there's simply nothing to say.

Nicolas Anelka takes an early seat, subbed off for the pacy, dreadlocked force that is Bafetimbi Gomis. Bold prediction: he won't score either.

75:00 -- Abidal intercepts a half-hearted clearance and shoots from 40 yards. Not a bad shot, mind you, but after a dull match like this, did we really think that the left-back was going to bread the deadlock?

77:00 -- I'm close to turning this one off. Benzema is subbed off for Samir Nasri. One bright young thing for another. Karim covered 9.76 km, apparently, and had three shots. Question for you Yanks amid the commentariat: does km covered really mean anything to anyone?

Romania make a change too, as the coke fiend Mutu yields his spot to Marius Niculae.

78:00 -- Simply dismal shit. Domenech is a cunt who needs his head rearranging. Coaching tip for the second group game: you have talent in abundance. I suggest you use it instead of planting the perennial tower of sulk that is Nicolas Anelka. The moment that summed up Anelka best today: a nice bit of skill releases him on the right flank, and instead of crossing to Benzema, he hammers a shot in from the touchline instead. He's fucking terrible. Shame on you for picking him in the squad ahead of the rumored cuckold David Trezeguet. Trez at least knows how to pass. Cunt.

83:00 -- I'm done. I need to take another dump (damn cheap beer giving me stomach troubles the day after). This game has been a triumph for mediocrity, a tribute to wasted talent, and a glimmer of hope for Romania in this difficult group. I realize I am tempting the soccer gods by signing off early and expecting the result to stand, but not even Zizou could revive this limp-dick French side. Domenech.... only taking 1 point from Romania will make it nigh-on impossible to advance from this group.

Feel free to lambast me for packing up and going home early in the comments. I bet I'll now miss a Toulalan hat-trick or something. Is he even still playing? Is this a dream? Is this match actually being written in the annals of history?

Corner to French. Mange le merde, Raymond.

Adieu, le monde. I'm jealous of Precious who has a much better game in the offing soon.


ΓΌ75 said...

Good luck. Hope ESPN2 treats you better today than it did to me yesterday. There was a nice 90+ second freeze frame right before Podolski scored his second.

Ian said...

Romania has a dude named Rat?

Mike Georger said...

on an unrelated note i would just like to point out the absurd hypocrisy of united reporting real to fifa about unsettling ronaldo. one only need look at this game to see someone theyve done the same too, benzema. i dont think theres a more arrogant organization than united in the world. except maybe the KKK.

Precious Roy said...

Right, but United is far more of a threat to a peaceful society. The KKK is just kind of funny at this point.

Mike Georger said...


the bbc trio covering the game...

alan shearer
alan hansen
martin o'neill

i would kill to be able to catch that coverage

Mike Georger said...

you know its a bad sign for this game when im following the pirates/dbacks liveblog on the post gazette more carefully. at least a manager has gotten tossed there.

Spectator said...

Lingering Bursitis seems to have fallen asleep. WAKE UP WAKE UP!!

Precious Roy said...

At least he had a happy ending. Zing!

Precious Roy said...

Not sure if that was intentional but I think Rae just dropped a Monty Python reference.

Precious Roy said...

"Bread the deadlock" is my new favorite phrase. The French deserve this for a manager who uses astrology to pick the line-ups. We spectators however, deserved to be compensated for pain and mental anguish for this.

Goat said...

I'm glad to see I haven't missed anything while taking the bus in to work.

Mike Georger said...

for some damn reason i cannot get onto gmail, but my repeated clicking of refresh to make it work is probably how anyone watching this game feels right now

Spectator said...

Only one lonely shot on goal.

Mike Georger said...

any chance rayray gets fired if they dont make it out of the group?

or keep him around for wc qualifying then offer all the gold on the island of monte cristo to arsene to take it over?

nicholas said...

match highlights