Saturday, June 14, 2008

Euro Trash Day 8: Heroes of the last-minute

Oh fair reader. The sacrifices I have made on your account. Knowing full well that, much like the host nations at this year's Europe Cup, I had failed miserably in my last two Euro Trash recaps, I set off today determined to make things right. I braved a rainy day to sit inside at not one but two bars for the past 6 hours just so I would have plenty to say at this very moment. And now, two bars, many drinks, and two matches later, I stand -- well, sit -- before you ready to make amends. Today's action wasn't the most compelling of the competition (that honor likely goes to yesterday's matches) but there were still thrilling goals, close matches and plenty to discuss. Please follow me after the jump!

Silva/Torres/Villa 2, Sweden 1. Two sublime goals by Torres and Villa (the first with a nice assist from Silva) were enough to garner another victory for los Espanoles (I know, 3.5 years of high school Spanish and I can't even get that right). Spain came out the better side and got on the scoreboard thanks to a cute little flick on from Torres off a corner. Puyol came off due to a knock at thirty minutes. Then came the Swedish, who looked the more composed side for much of the first half and tied the score with a typical finish from Ibrahimovic who muscled the ball past three defenders and Casillas. In the second half, it was clear that Sweden would be very happy with a draw, as they continually absorbed the Spanish pressure while making only furtive attempts at the Spanish goal. Andy Gray had just said something disparaging about David Villa when, well into stoppage time, Villa yet again drove up his impeding transfer fee: he made a sublime run down the left, juked the ball underneath the Swedish defender, cut inside and slotted the ball in for the winner. Honestly, I thought Sweden had earned a draw -- and not just because my new friend at the first bar was, in fact, Swedish. Speaking of... are the Swedish the most consistently attractive people on the face of the earth? I'd say yes, so there's a bit of consolation for Sweden after an unlucky defeat. Spain are practically guaranteed the top position in the group and, thanks to their young attacking players, will surely be a tough out in the knockout stage.

Russia 1, Greece 0 After imbibing several beers plus a bit of il Labratorio del gelato (best gelato in NYC, hands down), I was off to bar #2 for the second match of the day. Now, I am one of the few people who does not disparage Greece for their win at Euro 2004. Who cares if they won playing a dull, defensive style -- at 100:1 odds, they deserve all the credit in the world! So, let that be Greece's eulogy, because there will be no repeat performance at Euro 2008. The loss was all down to a ridiculous mistake by Greece's goalkeeper, who honestly looks to be about 57 years old. It was around the 30 minute mark that Nikopolidis improbably strayed out, only to have Semak flick the ball back to Zyryanov for an easy open goal. I have to admit the rest of the game was a bit of a snooze, although the salami and mozzarella sandwich I ate at halftime was excellent, and I earned my first buyback from my local. A goal by Greece was called offsides in a somewhat dodgy decision toward the end of the match, but frankly Greece didn't show anything suggesting they deserved to move on to the knockout stage. So long, champs!

Final tally: 6 or 8 beers, two bars, 4 goals, two strangers who are now my best friends, two scoops of gelato, one salami and mozzarella sandwich, a bag of chips and one happy Spectator. Today's results set up a must-win match between Sweden and Russia on Wednesday, which should be very exciting indeed -- especially for those of you without day jobs. (sniff!)

Other news:
- Romanian midfielder Radoi is out of Euro 2008 after nasty collision with a Rat. Radoi's nose is broken and he'll require eye surgery.
- Berlusconi to limit wiretaps that broke the Italian matchfixing scandal. They should just change the dictionary definition of "corruption" to "see Italian politicians."
- French, Swiss and Dutch fans clash resulting in 100 arrests.
- Online piracy is a problem with Euro 2008. We've never heard of this before!
- Be sure to check out the hi-larious pic of Sergio Ramos out at a nightclub (midway of liveblog).
- If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I'd want to be in Austria singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" with James Richardson and Barry Glendenning.


jjf3 said...

thanks for the effort. I probably wouldn't have bothered, but I'd have been a few drafts further in by then...

Mike Georger said...

i set my alarm for noon expecting a game, why the hell did they change the scheduling? if this has something to do with church we should probably just have the euros in america from now on

ü75 said...

Like the World Cup, in the last round of group play at the Euros, the games are played simultaneously.

Go back to bed and set you alarm for 2.30. You should be fine.

Mike Georger said...

if i had to venture a guess it would be for the sake of competition right? so that games are less easily thrown?

silly uefa, no rules will keep these teams from throwing games

ü75 said...

From what I remember, and without looking up specifics, it has to do with some questionable games in the World Cup two or three decades ago. When the last games were not run simultaneously, the last game in the group stage would almost always go the way that best benefited both teams.

If the two teams needed a draw to go through, 0-0 or 1-1 games would happen. If one team was through and the other needed a result, odd lineups and/or odd results would happen.

Anywhere from '78-'86 would be the best place to look, I think.

ü75 said...

Read the Spain '82 writeup here