|I say Germany / Spain - Jun 24|
|2012 - Sports|
|Saturday, 23 June 2012 19:38|
Sports By Sedley Joseph, former national footballer
After one week of the 2012 Euro Cup, and with quarter-finalists decided in two groups, Holland and Russia are on their way home. In their opening fixture, Russia thrashed Czech Republic 4-1 but the Czech Republic ended up atop the group. Greece, who surprisingly beat Russia 1-0, finished in second position.
Under-performing Portugal, after a miserable run of four games without a victory and only one goal under their belt, came through with a win over Denmark and beat Holland on the weekend by a 2-1 margin. Holland always promise much but deliver little when crunch time comes. Germany, on the other hand, the team I have always supported, won their final group game by beating Denmark 2-1 and, in so doing, ended with full points in their group and a quarter-final match against Greece. The Czech Republic is in the other quarter-final decided so far, which will be against Portugal.
In their game against Italy, Spain had the better of the exchanges but the Italians defended as usual with all their players back in their own half of the field, leaving little space for the skillful Spaniards, and were able to come away with a draw. Spain pulled a surprise by starting the game with no regular strikers in their line-up, placing Cesc Fabregas at forward between David Silva and Andres Iniesta. Fabregas seemed surprised at his starting position but was happy and eventually scored his team’s only goal. Spain have only themselves to blame for not winning this opening game, as they refused to shoot from outside the 18-yard box and found a crowded penalty area whenever they advanced.
But Greece has pulled the biggest surprise of the tournament so far, beating the Russians 1-0 and celebrating as if they had won the tournament. Russia controlled the game for most of the 90 minutes but they had nothing to show at the end and have gone home a disappointed lot.
In another group, France dominated England everywhere, except where it mattered most – and that is on the score sheet. For the record, the French finished the match with 19 shots, 15 on target, while England managed only three towards goal. England were without Wayne Rooney for their first two matches because of his suspension but he will be back in the line-up for their final match against Ukraine. A draw will get England into the quarter-finals as they beat Sweden in their second match.
Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be coming into his own now in this tournament as he scored both of his team’s goals against Netherlands. It will be interesting to see how he plays against a tight German defence. This Euro Cup has certainly shown how much more the teams are focusing on plugging holes in defence, at times assigning all ten players to their own half of the field, particularly when the opponents are in possession. I therefore don’t expect that there will be many goals in the winning games.
Quarter-finalists were still to be decided in two other groups at the time of writing but I will stick my neck out on a Germany versus Spain final. And, although I admire the Spaniards, I have always supported the Germans, and my support remains there, hoping that they reach the final in the first instance and are victorious if they do.
Condolences to the families of two former footballers, Henry Govia and Franklyn Ollivierra, and to Jean Mouttet, whose wife passed on recently.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources