Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Euro Trash Day 4: "In Villa we trust"

What an afternoon.

Having managed to finagle enough time at lunch to watch The Torres n' Villa Show, I've discovered that I have a rather unhappy knack of leaving the TV area some 20 seconds before or after a goal. Rushing round the office floor, I'd get into Hirshey's office just in time to see the goal celebrations and slow-mo replay, or I'd leave to go back to work right before a moment of brilliance.

This was confirmed during the late game, as I missed Ibrahimovic's wonder strike and Hansson's bundle of joy by a matter of moments.

Still, we were treated to 100 minutes of quality football (there were about 8 minutes of compelling football in the Greece/Sweden match) and we've barely gotten into the tournament schedule.

ESPN must be thanking its lucky stars.

Also thankful: Valencia, who must have watched in glee as Villa's sublime hat-trick added about 6-8 million pounds to his eventual transfer fee.

Without further ado:

Spain 4 (Villa 20", 45", 75", Fabregas 90")
Russia 1 (Pavlyuchenko 86")

Champagne football in places from the Spaniards, although enough questions were asked of their defense to keep the other contenders sleeping easy this evening.

The Russians, led by the grim efficiency of Guus Hiddink, were up for the challenge, but Spain were simply brilliant on the counter, and made the most of their chances.

I particularly loved Torres' unselfishness to slide a certain goal-bound shot to his teammate Villa for the first goal, outhustling Denis Kolodin and squaring the ball for a routine tap-in.

It was a total team performance by Spain, although the Russians were unlucky to walk away with such a dismal scoreline. They played open, positive football and created several chances with their pace and tireless workrate. Pavlyushenko was a menace up front despite being tactically isolated by Guus in that f*cking 4-5-1 formation, and he deserved his goal. Zyryanov was unlucky not to equalize at 1-1 as his sharp shot rattled back off Casillas' post, and Bilyaletdinov had his moments.

However, Spain deserved their honors, but given the general style of play in the late match, Hiddink will not be concerned about having to play catch-up with his focused Russian squad.

Greece 0
Sweden 2 (Ibrahimovic 67", Hansson 73")

What an awful fucking match. I'd have rather watched Derby County v. Sunderland instead of this mess. Greece sauntered into the tournament with the same deadlock, unimaginative tactics that snoozed them to victory in 2004, and this time, thank the heavens above, it was punished by a plucky, persistent Swedish squad that's equally awful to watch.

Aside from Ibrahimovic, a man not known for his pedigree in the biggest occasions, there aren't many household names amid the lineup. Instead, just a few bearded blue-eyed, blond-haired workhorses who simply wouldn't quit.

Considering the tone of the first half, it became abundantly clear that it would require a flash of brilliance to shake the game to life, and Zlatan undoubtedly provided that with his snapshot from Larsson's return pass. The second goal was embarrassing as a goalline scramble left Hansson to chest the ball across the line.

Greece were shit, and deserved to lose. I am so thankful that their lack of creativity was finally exposed, although if Zlatan had caught that ball a fraction of a second later, we could have been staring down the barrel of our second 0-0 bore draw.

Unfortunately, in every tournament, you have teams just there to make up the numbers. Normally, my England side fulfills that role nicely, but in this group, Greece and Sweden are serious pretenders. I'd throw Austria in the mix, but at least they're expending the energy of co-hosting this fucking thing. What did Greece bring with them? Five o'clock shadows and cases of ouzo?

Euro Trash roundup:

First Austrian to score in Euro '08 gets a lifetime's supply of beer [Soccernet]
Modric to miss the next match with a hurt achilles? [TSN]
Emre out for Turkey in crucial match against Switzerland [Soccernet]
England is playing a role in Euro '08, although God, I wish they weren't [AdFreak]
The Euro '08 All-WAG XI.... simply brilliant [The Spoiler]


Joep Smeets said...

I thought that was a very unselfish play by Fernando as well.

but after rechecking my pick for the tournament top goalscorer, I wish the nancy would have just gone for glory himself. And again in the rebound, if need be.

Anonymous said...


Nice post.

Would like to share Euro 2008 Fan club Website for Euro 2008 Scorecard, News, Videos & Photos.


The Hundley said...

Fernando Torres: wonderful talent, awful forearm tattoos.