30 June 2012

Semi Finals Thoughts

The quarter finals were exciting and with that fourth one ending in stressful penalties I really was glad for the two day break from footy.
And then the semi finals came and I was a basket case. I made the mistake of going to the pub for both of these games and I should really know better by now. It's not that I drink too much (not anymore); it's just all the energy from everyone else in the pub adds to my nerves and by the end of the game I feel broken and battered. And I was quite literally bleeding too after the Spain v Portugal match (a whole table of beer bottles and pint glasses upturned right next to me).
I was glad to see Portugal actually give it a go at Spain after so many teams retreating into their shells against the World & European champions. Both teams had chances and close calls but it went to extra time and penalties and Spain's luck continued and poor Ronaldo went home empty handed.
And then Mario happened. By now, everyone has had their say on his breakout performance so all I have to add is this: when we showed a friend the now infamous photo from his celebration of the second goal, said friend exclaimed: "He looks like an action figure!" I think that would delight Il Postino/Super Mario to no end. So Germany suddenly run out of steam and Italy, once again when no one expects it, shoot ahead and head into the final.
And you can bet I am watching the final from the safety of my own home.

24 June 2012

Quarter-Final: England v Italy

And so, color me not surprised to see our first 0-0 with this last quarter-final. Jenny called it before the game: 0-0, extra-time, penalties. Of course she was right.
What was surprising was that it wasn't a more evenly matched game; sure, the 0-0 scoreline might make it seem that way but let's be honest: Italy pretty much dominated this game. They just lacked finishing; they lacked a true goal poacher, another Pippo Inzaghi. Mario Balotelli, on the other hand, is more the battering ram style of striker - more Bobo than Pippo - and while the big striker had plenty of chances, he didn't manage to score.
England had a few chances as well but kept losing possession. They looked tired and out of ideas by the second half but were fairly valiant in defending. And by extra time, neither team looked like they'd give Germany any trouble in the semifinal. Pirlo is a great football but I doubt he alone can defeat a talented team like the Germans.