Thursday, 12 June 2008

Euro 2008 Review: First Round, Part One

Okay, as titles go it's effective rather than pretty. Not bad if this was to be all about Romania. I'm not going into too much detail, but let's have a look at the highs and lows of the first eight games:

The Good
* The entertainment factor. So far, only Romania v France and Greece v Sweden have disappointed. And they were down to teams who have to sacrifice style to level the playing field.
* The quality of the counter-attacks. Especially those of the Dutch. Less than thiry seconds between a save at one end, and a goal at the other. Spain and the Czechs got in on the act too.
* The lack of playacting. In most of the games at least. Not a single goal has come from a player conning a referee. Mind you, only one penalty so far (and that was cast-iron), and most of the free-kicks have been rubbish.

The Bad
* The injuries to Alexander Frei and Chistian Wilhelmsson. The former was the main hope of the co-hosts, and the latter was the best thing about Sweden v Greece. His performance, not the injury.
* The punditry. van Nistelrooy's goal was legitimate, according to directives from FIFA. The BBC even read the directive out (rule 11.4.1 of the refereeing code: "An opposing player cannot be offside when one of the last two defenders has left the field of play"), while accusing UEFA of closing ranks to protect the referee, because he got the decision wrong. Which he didn't. Gordon Strachan and Martin O'Neill questioned this. Shouldn't they know the rules as part of their day jobs? As rules go it's not the greatest, but it's to stop players stepping out of play to avoid being offside/playing someone onside. There could be a little room for manoeuvre for situations such as Panucci's mind. Ah well, bang goes the 'not much detail' bit.
* ITV. Once again, they prove they are shit at sport. Unless the nation is now known as Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, in which case I apologise.
* The Spanish and Dutch defences. A lackluster Russian attack, and goals from breakaways made those results looks a lot better than the winning Nations deserved. Both looked shaky at the back. Spain will get probably get away with it until the quarter finals, but the Dutch won't be so lucky.

The bit where I highlight things I've got right so far
* Lucas Podolski being Germany's one to watch. Although if I'd known that Joachim Löw was going to play him at left midfield, I might have chosen someone else....
* David Villa's goalscoring record is even better than it was last week.
* Like I say, Cesc Fabregas can do everything. Including head the ball.

Let's ignore the bits about Patrice Evra being France's one to watch (not picked) and the same with Andrei Arshavin - with a little more research, I'd have realised he was suspended for two games. Poland's Kuba Blaszczykowski also withdrew two days after I previewed Group B.

1 comment:

MayMaggot said...

For the Polish guy did you just type random letters and hope they were right?