09 June 2012

Matches 3 & 4

This is about what I expected from the first matches in the Group of Death: cagey, cautious, feeling each other out. The two 1-0 wins were not surprising. What was, of course, was that Holland was on the losing end. Coming into this tournament as one of the favorites, maybe we all expected too much from the Dutch. It's not all over for them by any stretch of the imagination - remember what Spain did after they lost their first game of the World Cup in 2010? - but we'll definitely need to see more from them if they even want to make it out of the group now. And after two 1-0 victories you can bet that the next two rounds in this group are going to be something special.

Best. Headline. Ever.

From the Fox Soccer homepage: Police detain shirtless feminists outside Euro stadium

Non-Euro related but...

Can we pause a moment and talk about how distasteful these people really are...
Rubentus Merda!!!

Trouble in Paradise

So while the games on the pitch were excited enough, there are already a few reports of trouble from the first day of the tournament as well.
Apparently there were clashes between the Russian and Ukrainian fans last night, Russian fans attacking stewards at the stadium, and, even worse, reports of some Russian fans racially abusing one of the Czech Republic players during the match yesterday.
I guess we'll wait and see how Uefa responds.

08 June 2012

Matches 1 & 2

Wow. What a way to start a tournament!
First we get Poland v Greece with 2 red cards, 2 goals, and a saved penalty. And a fantastic home crowd.
Then we get Russia v Czech Republic where the Russians show they really do deserve the dark horse tag. They can easily top this group and once they are in the knockout rounds, anything can happen. That Dzagoev boy is a bit special, as they say. And poor Cech. I was hoping his Chelsea form would bleed over to the Euros... but then again, he doesn't have the Chelsea defense in front of him, now does he?

Mario Balotelli

I just referenced him in the racism post but I thought I should mention that I LOVE Balotelli. Seriously, one of the best characters in modern football and he could be one of the GREATS if he doesn't go completely off the rails. Either google him, check out this Top 10 list, or watch his excellent Euro 2012 Nike advert.

Racism at the Euros

If you were following any of the buildup to the Euros then you are already aware of the many fears that racism will rear it's ugly head at this year's tournament.
There was a "sensationalist" documentary shown in the UK that focus on the racism and antisemitism alive in the stadiums of Poland and the Ukraine (unlike the crowds in England which are oh-so-perfect?) and there was news from the Holland camp this past Thursday that the team was subjected to disgusting chants during their public training. Uefa has already denied that there is any problem and the referees have vowed to book any players walking off the pitch due to racist chants. Several players have expressed their concerns and Mario Balotelli, in particular, has been very vocal on what his response will be if faced with racist chants or actions during a game.
It is a difficult position for Uefa who don't want the threat of racism to overshadow the tournament as a whole but they need to stand firm. This is their chance to show the world that the football community wants to take a strong stance against racism and I feel they already missed their first opportunity to show that commitment by ignoring Holland's concerns. It's a shame that they are already too frightened by the threat of controversy to focus on the real threat at hand.

07 June 2012

Uefa Euro 2012!

It's time, my friends. Time for my favorite tournament: the one that serves up the best goals, the most outrage, the craziest controversies, the worst hairstyles, the hottest players...
It feels like Christmas Eve.