21 June 2008

Russians v the Dutch

The second half just started and hopefully the Dutch have figured out what to do next. Russia had the run of the first half and nowhere seen was the Netherlands that ran riot in the group stage. Russia really should have scored because if the Dutch come out all guns blazing and Russia go down, it will be their fault for not scoring when they had the chance.

The insane amounts of orange shirts in the stadium is almost blinding and yes, once again, we have heard 'Seven Nations Army' from the fans. I have heard it at every game so far. Thanks Roma/Italy! The White Stripes should send you a giftie from the profits they are making on the ringtone.

Another last minute equalizer. This time it's Rudd and the orange fans go wild. There was a really interesting moment at the end of regulation time when there was a foul and the ref showed a yellow to a Russian player and it was his second yellow but the assistant ref stopped him and the ref took the yellow back. Very strange but cool that the ref corrected his mistake.
In extra time now, so many chances both way. The Russians look more likely but you never know. At this rate, we could have penalty kicks again! More drama! woo hoo!

(edit again)
Second half of extra time now. You know the Dutch do NOT want to go to penalties. But then again, everyone looks sooooo tired. I'm sure both Spain & Italy are watching this thinking in a Monty Burns way "exxxxxxcellent" because whoever survives is going to be spent.

(edit again)
Woo hoo! Russia scored - nice goal - and everyone goes WILD. Oh except for the Dutch fans. They are chewing their nails off.

(edit again)
Holy crap! Russia just made it 3-1! Arshavin scored. Is he the breakout player of this tournament or what?? Amazing stuff. I can't believe that's it for the Dutch and Russia are onto the semis. Incredible.
I freaking LOVE this game.

20 June 2008

Croatia v Turkey

I have nothing invested in this game. I'm not a supporter of either team, don't care greatly on the outcome, have no favorite players.... so it's nice to just watch it for the football aspect. What a novelty.
I just hope for Drama.

19 June 2008

Portugal v Germany

Woooo hooooo. It's time! Ronaldo v Ballack. No Frings, Löw in the stands and not on the bench but Podolski in. All the usuals for Portugal. I can't wait to see Nuno Gomes belt out the national anthem.

Yay! The Guardian's MBM report agress with me:
"European Pop Idol: The anthems arrive and, by God, Nuno Gomes has got a strong voice. Unfortunately he is horribly out of tune and is about 10 seconds behind the rest of the team. He does, however, have nice hair, which should secure him the crucial teenage girl demographic."

(edit again)
Nice goal from Germany, good play, very quick. I didn't expect the Germans to score first. This will be interesting.

(edit again)
Great first half - so excited! Now Portugal have to GO FOR IT in this second half.

(edit again)
Wow wow wow.
Great freaking game. Portugal make it interesting and it's 3-2 in the end. Just wow.

Quarterfinals ahoy!

So it's down to 8. Here are my guesses at who go through to the semis:
Portugal, Turkey, Netherlands, Italy.

You know me - I am AWFUL at this so if I were you, I'd bet against me.

As I said in last night's post, the main story for me so far is the old v young debate. To be a successful manager you need to figure out the right balance. If Spain can drop Raul then Italy needs to leave Del Piero home (did anyone else notice that the one game we won Ale was on the bench?) and France can say adieu to Titi... you get the point. While on one hand I am sad that the players that made me love Italy are now old and gone (Maldini, Nesta, Totti) I am also so happy to see boys like Aquilani getting their chance.

And while everyone loooooves the Dutch right now (my coworker who has been forced to watch the games with me in our office has declared his support for the Oranje because of their attacking play), if they don't win it in the end, will everyone remember how great they were in 20 years? Or will they just see the Dutch have failed to win a tournament in a billion years???
Here, too, there must be balance. You've got to remember to win games in order to win a tournament. That's the hard part.

Overall, I am more than happy with what I have seen these past 2 weeks and I am already starting to panic at the thought that it is almost over. Seriously, I do NOT want to think about the withdrawal I am going to go through on Monday & Tuesday of next week. This is when I miss the show the most. My love to all of you Treble listeners. *sniff*

18 June 2008

End to the group stages

So this is it. It went by really really fast, didn't it? I can't believe it's time for the quarterfinals already.

And I can't believe Russia move on and not Sweden. Sweden were so outplayed today. Russia deserved it.
If this tournament has taught me anything, it's that the oldies must go. France, Italy, Sweden.... if your squad is depending on a bunch of over 30 players, it's time to move on. Sure it's great to have some veterans with experience but they are old and tired and you better balance that out. Or else you are screwed.
That said, I don't think Russia has a chance against the Dutch.

And then there was little ole Spain. They make 10 changes to their line up and they still beat Greece. Either Spain are the real deal or Greece really suck.
Oh yeah, Greece really suck.

Onto the next stage! Woo hoo!

17 June 2008

Death to the Group of Death

So, my friends, this is the end. Well, it might be for Italy. And maybe France which does brighten me up a bit.
The Dutch technically have nothing to play for but neither did Croatia and they won their game yesterday. That gives me a bit of hope.
Whatever happens, it's our own damn fault. Sure there were offsides galore but we played like crap the first game and couldn't take all our chances the second. Our own damn fault.

Lineups: Buffon, Panucci/Grosso/Chiellini/Zambo, Gattuso/De Rossi/Pirlo/Perrotta, Cassano/Toni
Interesting. Cassano from the start and Perrotta & Zambo getting another chance. I'm glad Del Piero is on the bench; let's face it, he's not a starter anymore. He's the super sub.
So will the old legs of Panuc/Zambo be able to handle this? Can Gattuso & De Rossi both avoid red cards? Can Cassano perform?
Ugh. Very. Nervous.

The French, it's the usual. Except for Vieira on the bench. And Thuram. Wow.

(edit again)
Poor Ribery. He looked to be in A LOT of pain. That was awful.

(edit again, much later)
Yay. I can breathe again. Well, we win and are rewarded with a match against Spain. But hey, at least we won. And even better - my Aquilani got a run out & I am sooooo happy about that. With both Gattuso & Pirlo missing the next match (idiots) he'll also get that start. Yay!

16 June 2008

Group B last day

Um, how did Gomez NOT score? Seriously?

Both coaches just got sent off in the Germany/Austria game. Is that a first for the Euros? Everyone seemed awfully confused.

(edit again)
So the coaches were sent off for "constant bickering". By those standards, Jenny & I should have permanent red cards when near each other.

(edit again)
Damn. Nice goal by Ballack! Our first goal scored from a freekick in this tournament.

(edit again)
Bring on Germany v Portugal! This should be fun.

15 June 2008

Craziness for final Group A!

Um, wow.
I couldn't type while all of THAT was going on. What a comeback for Turkey. I still can barely process it. 2 goals in 2 minutes to tie it and then win it for Turkey. Some awful goalkeeping by Cech. Bless. Those fans wearing the Cech-style head gear must be sad.
And the Turkish keeper must be feeling sad as he's missing the next match. What the hell was he thinking?? Like he was going to get away with knocking someone down in the box when the ball wasn't even around. Idiot. And Baros getting carded on the sidelines. Idiot.

Oh and the Swiss beat the Portugal's b-team. Good for Switzerland.