Saturday, June 14, 2008

Liveblog Euro 2008: Spain v. Sweden

Spain and Sweden sit atop group D with 3 points apiece, but nobody is calling Sweden a tournament favorite. Why not? Because they looked only slightly better than Greece in their 2-0 opening victory and Greece was using the 4-corners offense in the first half. Only a sublime strike from Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the match up now it's rumored that Sweden will bench Ibrahimovic and it is rumored Sweden will play for the draw against Spain. Wonderful, just wonderful.

The honor and burden of favorite belongs to Spain, who along with Holland and Portugal, have been putting on offensive showcases. David Villa scored the tournament's first hattrick since 2000 against Russia in a 4-1 victory. Probably the biggest issue Luis Aragones has managing the squad is how to get all of his offensive starpower on the pitch. Cesc Fabregas was only a substitute in the first match, but brought off Fernando Torres, who the media says was miffed with his benching.

After the jump...the lineups and other bonus material...

Oksana Andersson, fiancee of Christian Wilhelmsson

Elisabeth Reyes, former flame of Sergio Ramos

Sweden: 1-Andreas Isaksson; 5-Fredrik Stoor, 3-Olof Mellberg, 4-Petter Hansson, 2-Mikael Nilsson; 8-Anders Svensson, 19-Daniel Andersson, 9-Fredrik Ljungberg, 11-Johan Elmander; 10-Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 17-Henrik Larsson

Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 5-Carles Puyol, 4-Carlos Marchena, 11-Joan Capdevila; 19-Marcos Senna; 6-Andres Iniesta, 8-Xavi, 21-David Silva; 7-David Villa, 9-Fernando Torres

Today's match is in Innsbruck, Austria.

And we are greeted by the dulcet tones of Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth.

Not a single Spanish player singing the national anthem. I wonder if they have any political divisions in their country.

But, Sweden they all sing save for Ibrahimovic.

I can't get the stupid formatting right for the pictures above. Oh well, I'm sure nobody noticed.

0:00 Sweden with the kick.

1:00 Early foul by Spain and the kick gets to Ibrahimovic in the box but his touch is poor. Torres on the counter gets in close but his cross is intercepted.

4:00 That's a stern looking ref. Not quite Ed Hochuli but close. Iniesta's shot goes high and left. He should have done better.

6:00 Mike Georger informs me that Spain's national anthem, La Marcha, has no lyrics. Lame.

7:00 There were about 6 passes in sequence where the ball never touched the ground. Interesting, but it doesn't amount to anything.

9:00 Nice counter by Sweden after Sergio Ramos went forward, but Ljungberg couldn't do anything with it but put a weak shot on goal.

13:00 The Swedes are tackling tough at the outset trying to knock the Spaniards around and off their game a bit.

14:00 Goal!!! Torres. 1-0 Spain. Villa wins a corner. Xavi plays it short to Silva at the top of the box and puts a shot in the box that Torres deflects into the goal. Yeah for my fantasy team.

15:00 Sweden almost immediately counters when Larsson laid it off to a streaking Elmander who can only put into the side netting.

21:00 Just a bunch of midfield possession with attempts into the box headed away by the Swedish big men.

22:00 Gets free in the box on a nice ball from Ibrahimovic but Larsson couldn't chip the keep.

24:00 Albiol on for Puyol who looks injured. This could be trouble for Spain since they already have a suspect backline.

28:00 Foul on Senna, which is a nice segue to this, my favorite Senna picture.

33:00 Tommy Smyth says Elmander can score as a striker but isn't sure he can score as a midfielder.

34:00 Goal!! Ibrahimovic 1-1.

Not the prettiest goals, but a Sweden middie defender, Stoor, crossed the ball into the 6 yard box perfectly to Ibrahimovic who had beaten Ramos. It looked like Ibrahimovic had squandered it with a poor touch but he powered through it and squeaked it past Casillas.

38:00 Villa puts a strong volley in on Isaakson but he covers it.

40:00 Sweden looks a lot better this match than it did against Greece. Although, that is not too difficult.

44:00 That was a nice play between Ljungberg and Elmander who laid it off right outside the box to Ljungberg who found Elmander on a run but the Spanish defense just got a boot in to break it up.

45:00 One added minute.

Iniesta was just leveled in the box by Elmander but no call. Incredible.

Tweet. Tweet. And, the Spaniards swarm the ref. You would have thought it was a Chelsea match.

Well, this has been a great match of contrasting styles. Spain was dominant at first but Sweden is finding their spots on the counter. Great match so far. See you in a few.

Ha! That MLB apparel commercial was funny. So authentic, a fat white guy is mistaken for a fat hispanic guy.

Apparently, on his day off Sergio Ramos was photographed in a disco with a Swedish fan. This might explain his defense in the first half. The picture published in a Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, is below. [Photo Credit: Aftonbladet]

46:00 Start of Second Half and I just took a P'zone. That's an Italian piss for the uninitiated.

Markus Rosenberg on for Ibrahimovic. Wow. At least they are getting production from him while injured. I am impressed by his performance while injured.

51:00 So that's Sweden's strategy? Just hack the Spanish defenders until they can't play. That sounds like something Mexico might try.

53:00 Marchenna is booked after a professional foul that slowed up Elmander on a run into free space.

55:00 Svensson is booked after a emmy worthy performance by Silva. See Kathrine Heigl Silva can earn honors even with substandard material.

56:00 Xavi with a corner that gets headed up high and Ramos, the genius, attempts a bicycle in traffic.

58:00 Fabregas on for Xavi. Iniesta off for Cazorla.

60:00 Ljungberg making a midmatch footwear change. Always the fashion model.

63:00 Somehow Spain didn't score. Villa sends a rocket in on Isaakson who spills it and Villa follows it but Isaakson stones him again, catching a knee in the face, and then Torres gets a clean shot but it's blocked by a Swedish player for a corner. The corner is not fruitful.

68:00 Senna lasers a shot from 35 and Isaakson dives to his right for the save but concedes the corner. Ramos gets a head on the corner but never had a chance.

71:00 I think 2:45 of the last 3:00 minutes have been in Sweden's half of the field.

75:00 What was the purpose of the slow motion gape of Aragones? To scare the hell out of me. I was wondering where the fly was.

76:00 Cazorla nearly picked out Silva in the box but Isaakson dove and picked it out cleanly with Silva near.

78:00 The match has really bogged down with Sweden mucking up the middle and Spain unable to unlock it.

79:00 Elmander off and Sebasion Larsson on.

Nearly a goal off of the set-piece. Svenssen was picked out and flashed the ball across the face of the goal just out of the reach of Henrik Larsson. So close.

83:00 David Villa bowls over the Swedish defender to get the ball and then doesn't know what he did and gets out his handbag.

86:00 Torres picks out Ramos on the edge of the box, but Ramos fails. Sweden concedes a corner. Henrik Larsson off for Kim Kallstrom.

89:00 Torres whips one in on Isaakson from 18 but the save was made. Needed to be higher and not a ground sweeper.

90:00 3 additional minutes.

90:00 +2 GOAL!! David Villa. 2-1 Spain. Incredible. Sweden's defense played so well for 90 minutes but just made a hash of it by Hansson and Villa beats Isaakson nicely.

Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.

Just a heartbreaker for Sweden. They played so well for the entire match to lose it in stoppage time. So organized for the entire match, but failure in the end.

In an hour, Greece takes on Russia...we'll have a liveblog of it as well.


Mike Georger said...

good. god.

Mike Georger said...

there arent any words to la marcha damnit

/ we talked about this last time

The NY Kid said...

That is the best-looking woman named Oksana that I have ever seen.

And fuck not starting Cesc - how am I supposed to win my fantasy league?

Mike Georger said...

youre right about the political thing though, the last time it had lyrics was under franco, so most of the players probably wont be singing those

Mike Georger said...

toulouse ... more like teh lose! am i right or am i right!

gonna be a long day

Mike Georger said...


The NY Kid said...

Bah. Torres is an asshole.

Mike Georger said...

he wasnt nearly the player he is now? i mean goal tally wise sure but everyone knew how good he was
tommy is a fucking idiot

fleur said...

I thought that the Spanish anthem doesn't have any words... lol

Mike Georger said...

theyd push ramos into the middle and have albiol as a right back? interesting tommy as your partner in crime just pointed out hes a strapping centre half

again, tommy = shit for brains

Mike Georger said...

nice dive dick, he'll fit in well at united

The NY Kid said...

ZLATAN! And there are my fantasy points.

Mike Georger said...

zlatan just senderosed the shit out of ramos

The NY Kid said...

and with that bit of keepy-uppy, he shattered the UF record set at the USA-Argentina match (only because I didn't get there in time)

Goat said...

That was some Roger Dorn-esque ole bullshit defense from Ramos

The NY Kid said...

did Tommy Smyth just call Iniesta and Xavi underweight midgets?

Mike Georger said...

im impressed uefa was able to pull ray stevenson off the set of punisher to ref this game

Mike Georger said...

generally you know its a penalty when midway through the challenge the defender already has the 'what did i do' pose busted out

titus is a dick

The NY Kid said...

Titus Pulo!

Chad said...

Goat: referencing Major League during a soccer match? You have made my day. Thank you.

/why yes, I have been lurking these threads for most of the tournament.

Mike Georger said...

thats a really really racist commercial

but accurate

Mike Georger said...

espn axis ... austria .... DAS VERBOTEN!

Goat said...

For the last couple of days I haven't been able to stop saying "You no Big Paaa-pi" in completely at random.

Mike Georger said...

he wasnt diving in he fucking fell down. good god foudy is an idiot

The NY Kid said...

Really? You identified Zlatan and El Nino as potential match-changing players? How bold!

The NY Kid said...

@Goat - me too. Unfortunately, only my dog is around and she thinks I'm crazy. But she does kind of look like Big Papi.

Goat said...

@NYK--does your dog look like this?

The NY Kid said...

i'm pretty sure that Derek Rae is going to kill Tommy Smyth before the Euro is over.

Goat said...

Cesc is coming on. Now I'm obligated to root for Spain.

The NY Kid said...

30 min left and Spain have used all of their subs.

Goat said...

Did this game get so interesting that people can no longer comment?

The NY Kid said...

I was entranced by El Nino's flowing hair. Get a cut, Nancy!

Goat said...

It does seem more red today.

The NY Kid said...

well that sucks for Sweden

Goat said...

Oh, and Villa scored.

Precious Roy said...

I bet that was exciting to watch, even better that ESPN's gamecast stalled at the 89th for a good 5 minutes... Stupid seminar.

Phil Barnes said...

For as good as David Silva is I think he is going to shortly pass up Demarcus Beasley in the category of "worst weak foot." Was it just me or did he miss a few opportunities because he needed the ball on his left foot? I think Smyth mentioned it early in the game and everytime he touched the ball it looked more and more noticable.