Quantcast
Euro 2012 Round Up - Days 1-4 - Euro 2012 Round Ups - The Liverpool Way Jump to content

Welcome to the new and improved TLW!

 

Some of you may experience issues logging in and will get an 'incorrect password' error. Don't worry, you haven't typed it in wrong and your password hasn't been changed. You will need to reset it though in order to log in. Click the reset password link and you will receive an email with your new temporary password. Once logged in, you need to choose a new password (or restore to your old one) otherwise you will be locked out again.

 

If you have an out of date email address linked to your account, then you won't receive the new password. If that's the case then you'll need to email me (dave @liverpoolway.co.uk) or send me a tweet @theliverpoolway and I'll update your password manually. 

 

Any other problems or questions just let me know.

 

Thanks

Dave

Sign in to follow this  
TLW

Euro 2012 Round Up - Days 1-4

Recommended Posts

balotellieuros.jpg

Euro 2012 kicked off with the joint hosts Poland taking on the Greeks in what might be the least attractive looking tournament opener ever. The Greeks are to international football what Chelsea are to the Champions League. Dull as fuck, negative, boring spoilers. That didn’t bode well, especially as Poland are a bit shite too. Turns out it was pretty entertaining, although the Spanish referee had a significant hand in that as he decided he wanted to be the opening day’s star turn.

The BBC had this game and it started off quite promising, as they brought their A game with Jocky, Lee Dixon and the legendary Clarence Seedorf in the studio with jug ears, whilst Shearer was pitchside sweating like he stole something alongside some office junior called Jake. So far so good, but then they wheeled out Mark ‘Not so’ Bright as the co-commentator. Fucks sake BBC, the only way that could have been worse would have been if he had Motson alongside him.

The opening ceremony was predictably gash, although the DJ in the gold jacket was entertaining in a slightly disturbing kind of way. It was all a bit too ‘Eurovision’ for my tastes. I don’t even know why I watch these things, they’re always crap. As the two teams took to the field there were a couple of things that struck me. First, the Greek lads don’t even look like footballers. It was like a casting call for ‘300′ or ‘Troy’. Stocky, short, mean looking, bearded dudes who looked like they were ready to take on the Persians rather than the Poles.

They’re not big on razors in Greece are they? I haven’t seen so much facial hair since the time I accidentally wandered into the Blue Oyster bar one drunken night in the early 90’s. At least the Greek’s weren’t wearing those leather pants with no arse in. Come to think of it, I may be confusing real life with a Police Academy movie. Again.

I can’t believe Karagounis is still playing, he’s old enough that he may have actually been inside that Trojan horse back in the day. Still a tidy little player too. Samaras laid down an early marker for ‘hair of the tournament’ but that’s about the only positive thing that can be said about him. His shooting and lack of composure is laughably bad, which is a pity as there are some things he does well and he always puts a shift in. To me he looks like he should be much better than he is, so much so that it took me some time to realise he’s incredibly shit.

Poland began the game brightly and kept getting in down the Greek’s left flank. Skipper Błaszczykowski and his Dortmund team-mate Piszczek ran amok down that side and created several chances before eventually setting up the opening goal when Błaszczykowski crossed for the third Dortmund star in their team - Robert Lewandowski - to head into an empty net. The Greek keeper had come for the cross and got nowhere near it. He’s been the back up for the last three major tournaments and didn’t play in the qualifiers either, but at the age of 38 he’s finally been given his chance. I dread to think how bad the rest of their keepers must be if he’s the best they have. Actually, come to think of it, Charles Itandje plays in Greece. That tells me all I need to know about the standard of goalkeeping over there.

Things got worse for the Greeks when they lost both of their centre halves in a short space of time. The strength of their side is their resilience and defensive solidity, and losing both centre backs was a huge blow, especially as one was lost to two ridiculously harsh yellow cards from the awful Spanish ref.

Papadopoulos went off injured to be replaced by…. er Papadopoulos. The substitute, Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a big unit with a ‘Desperate Dan’ jawline. He’s only 20 but he was quality I thought. The other centre back, Socratis Papastathopoulos was desperately unlucky to be given a red card just before half time. The first booking was for a clean header, the second was when he was turned by Murawski who then stumbled into him. He had ‘Socratis’ on his shirt, which as regular readers know would usually be enough to earn him a place on the twat list, but he gets a pass as if my surname was Papastathopoulos I’d do the same.

The Greeks were furious at the Spanish ref and rightly so, but their sense of injustice seemed to inspire them as they were a different side after the break. The introduction of Salpingidis for the infuriating Sotiris Ninis made a huge difference. Ninis is the golden boy of Greek footy, but his display was bordering on criminal as he repeatedly gave the ball away cheaply, often through stupid backheels that were never going to come off. It was like watching Luis Garcia on one of his bad days. For the record, he was wearing pink boots. Just saying.

Ninis’ recklessness in possession meant they were effectively playing with nine men, and his replacement was the polar opposite. Salpingidis is another who to look at him you’d never guess he was a footballer. He just doesn’t have that ‘look’, but he was very effective. He wasn’t flashy, but he caused mayhem with his clever running off the ball. Reminds me a bit of Maxi actually. He scored the equaliser, had another disallowed for offside and then won the penalty that should have secured the win for the Greeks as it also led to Szcesny being sent off. Karagounis’ pen was piss poor though and the sub keeper made himself a hero with his first touch. Neither side then did enough to deserve the win, and a draw was a fair result overall. These may be the two worst sides in the competition.

A final point on this, I’ve taken an instant dislike to the Polish left back. He’s a big old grock and he’s got a stupid quiff. He’s got a long way to go to join Jon Dahl Tommasson and Ludvig Magnin in the ‘completely irrational hatred’ stakes, but the early signs are promising that he can follow in their not so illustrious footsteps.

Next up was the turn of the Czech Republic and Russia. I was really looking forward to this as my boy Milan was leading the line for the Czechs. Unfortunately he was one of only about four players I’d even heard of. What’s happened to the Czechs, where have all their good players gone? And where’s Jan Koller? I miss Vladi, Paddy, Nedved, Ujfalusi, hell I even miss Poborsky and that head case Repka. I don’t like this new crop, they’re a bit shit and dull.

The Russians look a bit tasty though don’t they? Alan Dzagoev gave them the lead and then should have made it 2-0 not long after following a stunning break. His shot was woeful though, which was a pity as it would have been a wonderful goal. Is ‘Alan’ the least Russian sounding name ever? Unless there’s a ‘Bruce’ or a ‘Chad’ over there then I think it might just be.

Shirokov made it 2-0 with a cut little finish over Cech after a nice passing move. The Czechs were really overmatched and the Russians were finding all kinds of space in and around the Czech backline. A half time substitution helped to plug some of those gaps as a holding midfielder came on, and the Czechs got themselves back into it when the diminutive Pilar collected a fine pass from the otherwise horrific Plasil to round the keeper and make it 2-1.

Russia stepped it up again and wasted a load of chances before eventually going 3-1 up through Dzagoev again, and substitute Pavlyuchenko scored a brilliant solo effort to make it 4-1. The scoreline didn’t flatter them at all, and they look very dangerous. Great to watch too. And when did Arshavin suddenly become arsed about football again? Shushing little fucking garden gnome.

Footnote to this game. Milan was crap, but it’s difficult to do much when every time you get the ball you’ve got a Russian either kicking you up the arse or holding you with both arms. Howard Webb gave Baros nothing all night. I wonder why? Eventually he was subbed, and his replacement was awarded a free-kick within minutes. Figures.

Holland took on Denmark in the first game of day two. The Dutch were obviously favourites having reached the final of the last World Cup and boasting an impressive looking forward line. Such is the strength of Holland’s attack force they could afford to leave the likes of Huntelaar and Van Der Vaart on the bench. Denmark on the other hand, had to pick Nicklas fucking Bendtner. Still, the Danes had the imperious Daniel Agger at the back whereas the Dutch had to make do with Johnny Heitinga, so swings and roundabouts and all that.

At left back for Holland was 18 year old Jetro Willems from PSV. He looks a player him, no nerves whatsoever from the kid. The other full back was Gregory van der Wiel, who commentator Johnathon Pearce informed us is ‘the bad boy of Dutch football’ because he ‘has tattoos, likes his rap music and has been in trouble a few times’. Dear me, come back Motty all is forgiven. No not really, but still, that’s pretty lazy stereotyping from Pearce.

There wasn’t much happening in the early stages of the game, the most significant thing was Van Persie repeatedly catching Agger and Simon Kjaer in the face with stray hands and elbows which made me think back to dear old Neil Warnock and his hilarious outburst on MOTD after QPR visited the Emirates: “I look at Van Persie and he’s so clever isn’t he? Deary me. Every ball in the air… he fouls the centre half and gets away with it. He gets away with absolute murder. I wish I could educate referees on free-kicks that he commits. We make it obvious when we go for a ball if it’s a free-kick but Van Persie gets his arm up, he backs in, he fouls and looks at the referee and gets away with it. It’s amazing how he does it. But he’s a great player.”

Agger said this afterwards: “I’ve played against Van Persie many times. His elbows are old news” Have to give this one to Warnock I’m afraid, it’s all in the timing you see. Van Persie is a bad snide though isn’t he? He was shite in this game too, totally unrecognisable from the player who single handedly got Arsenal to third place.

Denmark took the lead through Krohn-Dehli who sold a dummy to Heitinga, who completely bought it and turned his back, before drilling a low shot through the keeper’s legs. After that it was like watching a Liverpool game as Holland continued to create chance after chance, only to squander them. They hit the woodwork too, as Robben was unlucky to see his curler come back off the foot of the post. Van Persie wasted a great chance as an awful first touch sent him wide and allowed the keeper to make a save, and he had a hilarious fresh air shot in the second half that resulted in him falling flat on his face.

Sneider was in absolutely wonderful form though, he was a joy to watch and if Holland’s finishing had matched his set up play they’d have won handsomely. One pass with the outside of the foot to release Huntelaar was just unreal. But no matter what Holland threw at Denmark, Agger and Kjaer seemed to have an answer for it. Those two were giants at the back. I’ve always liked that Kjaer, solely based on watching him for Denmark admittedly as I’ve never seen him play a club game. Apparently he was fortunate to make the side as he’s had a bad couple of years. Plays great with Agger though doesn’t he?

Denmark held on for the win and Pearce described it as “one of the biggest upsets in recent times”. To quote Neil Warnock again, “deary me”. Denmark are 9th in the current FIFA world rankings and topped a qualifying group that included Portugal.

Speaking of Portugal, they were incredibly unlucky to lose to Germany in the night game, but they only have themselves to blame for it as they didn’t show any attacking ambition until they fell behind. Germany have been much hyped coming into the tournament, but they were a little disappointing for me. In Germany’s defence, Portugal parked the bus which made it very difficult for them as they are a side that loves to counter attack. Can’t do that when the other team is basically keeping eight players back at all times and hoping that Ronaldo or Nani can do something on their own. The other member of that front three is Helder Postiga, you know he’s not going to contribute anything.

Portugal always seem to have a mediocre centre forward, it’s bizarre really. A nation that produces so many wonderful footballers, be it flying tricky wingers, marauding full backs, bruising centre halves or silky ball playing midfielders, yet they can never find a good old fashioned goalscorer. Nuno Gomes, Pauleta, Liedon and now Postiga. Gomes and Pauleta weren’t bad, but the striker has always been the poor relation to the rest of the side where Portugal are concerned. It’d be like Barcelona having Ngog or Di Santo up front. Do kids in Portugal not want to be strikers when they grow up? Seriously, what’s the deal there as it’s pretty bizarre.

Not a great deal happened in the first half. Pepe hit the bar with a good effort following a corner and Portugal players were pelted with rolled up paper balls every time they went near the section where the German fans were congregated. UEFA made an announcement that ‘this is not sporting behaviour’ and threatened to call the game off if it continued. Cue a load more paper balls being thrown! As if they’d stop the game for that, they weren’t fooling anyone although the message it sent out wasn’t a good one. “Racism? Yeah we’ll let that go. Throw some rolled up bits of paper on the pitch though and we’re calling the whole thing off”

Yogi Loew was caught on camera picking his nose and eating it again. You’ve got to admire the fact that this fella clearly doesn’t give a fuck. He must have been ridiculed incessantly after being caught doing it last time, yet he just carries on regardless. I don’t think he sniffed his pits this time, but it’s only the first game and he’s probably saving that party piece for the knockout stages. He may wipe his arse bare handed if they reach the final.

Mario Gomez had been hugely disappointing and was about to be subbed when suddenly a cross into the box was deflected and looped up perfectly for him to send a terrific header across goal and into the far corner.

Portugal had to come out of their defensive shell now. They made a couple of attacking substitutions, got some support for Ronaldo and suddenly they were all over the Germans. They should have equalised but wasted three glorious late chances as Germany got their tournament off to a winning start.

Couple of final observations from this one, the referee was terrible and Thomas Muller is a bad shithouse.

Day three, and the most mouth watering game on paper so far. Spain v Italy, a real international rivalry and a game I was really looking forward to watching, especially as I get to sing along with the fantastic Italian National Anthem. Then I saw the Spanish line up and began to fear the worst. No striker? Six midfielders? This was going to be Spain playing that tippy tappy shit in the middle of the park and trying to go through the middle with every attack, whilst the Italians stay compact and repel them. Basically Barca v Chelsea all over again.

That was partly the case, but Italy were pleasantly surprising in how they approached the game. De Rossi dropped into the backline but it wasn’t a negative move as the two full backs were actually playing as wide midfielders. They had two up front as well, and kept two up front most of the time which meant they were aways a threat.

Spain were Barcelona without Messi. Fabregas was playing the ‘false nine’ role * Insert your own joke about them already having a false nine in Fernando Torres * and the only player who looked remotely dangerous for the Spanish was Iniesta. The Italians looked the more likely scorers in the first half, with Cassano threatening and Marchisio excellent in the middle of the park.

Balotelli was his usual self, sulking, pouting, throwing his arms up in the air and at one point hilariously punching hell out of the turf after a decision went against him. He picked up his inevitable booking late in the first half, wasted a glorious opportunity early in the second and was quickly subbed a couple of minutes after. Complete liability, I don’t know why they’d pick him when they’ve got the likes of Di Natale to call on.

The brilliant little Udinese frontman replaced Mad Mario and wasted no time making his mark with a clever run to beat the offside trap and collect Pirlo’s exquisite pass and then beat Casillas with a superb finish. No more than Italy deserved, but within a couple of minutes they’d lost concentration and allowed Fabregas to steal in and put Spain level. Excellently worked goal by Spain but Italy will feel they should have done better with it.

Eventually Del Bosque realised that playing with no strikers was not actually a smart move, it was a fucking stupid one, and he sent on Torres. Straight away he began causing havoc with runs in behind, but unfortunately for Spain he was in ‘couldn’t hit a barn door’ mode again and didn’t take any of the good chances that came his way.

A draw was probably a fair result, Italy look better than I thought they’d be and if Spain don’t try and be smart arses by not playing with a striker then they should go far as they have quality all over the park.

Both teams should go through as the other two sides in the group don’t look up to much. Croatia aren’t bad to be fair but they looked suspect at the back on several occasions against a spirited but extremely limited Irish side. Ireland were unbeaten in 14 games going into this and had kept 11 clean sheets in that time. Yet two minutes into this they’d given away a bad goal and they looked vulnerable all night, giving up two more poor goals in a 3-1 defeat.

The effort and determination couldn’t be faulted, but there was very little quality from Trapatoni’s side. Not being disrespectful, but that’s got to be expected when your side is almost exclusively made up of players from shit Midlands teams like Wolves, Villa, Leicester, West Brom and Stoke.

The referee didn’t help, denying Keane a clear penalty that may have gotten them back into the game with plenty of time still to play, but Croatia were a class above the Irish and deserved the win.

Terrahawk Jelavic got on the scoresheet and his strike partner Mandzukic got the other two, the second going in off the head of the unfortunate Shay Given after it had hit the post. Given’s face was covered in white dust from the goal-line, he looked like he’d had a night on the town with Rio.

That Mandzukic was a handful, but what a fucking baby. Spent the whole game on the floor crying and wanting the trainer on, this is the first time I’ve seen him but I hate him already. Shades of Drogba about him.

Final point on this, there was some dick in the crowd that kept blowing a whistle while the game was on, pretending to be the referee. It was incredibly off putting and annoying, and even at the end of the game he was giving it the three blows to make people think it was full time.

I’m deadly serious when I say this, whoever that was should have been taken outside and shot. Seriously, find him, take him out back and shoot him. The twat.

Onto Monday, and the big one. The game everyone wanted to see. ‘The Wolf’ lining up for the Ukraine against Sweden. Everyone except my dad that is, he really despises Voronin even though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know his name. He never bothered finding out, he didn’t see the need. He’d always just refer to him as ‘Ponytail’. As in “aaargh sod off you ponytail” or “come on Benitez, get ponytail off”. He’s no longer sporting the ponytail, so I don’t know what my dad will call him now. “The gobshite formerly known as ponytail” maybe, I don’t know I’ll have to ask him. The short back and sides version of Voronin played pretty well though. Maybe it’s the reverse Samson effect? That shitcunt Zlatan should try it and lop off that crap ponytail of his, maybe then he’d stop being so, y’know, shit.

I upset a lot of Swedes on twitter with my Zlatan-hating on twitter during the game. Thing is, that’s the effect he has on people. You either love him or hate him. More specifically, you either think he’s great or massively over-rated. No prizes for guessing which camp I’m in. Look, I’m fully aware he was the top scorer in Serie A last season. I know he won eight successive league titles with a load of different teams. I know he can juggle a tennis ball, possibly even as well as our boy ‘Hendo’. I get it, he’s talented. All I’m saying is that in the 20-30 games I’ve seen him play over the years, I’ve hardly ever seen him doing anything to justify even a tiny bit of the hype he gets.

He scored in this game and did some good things, but he also committed a load of stupid fouls and appears like a lazy, sulky bastard a lot of the time. He’s bound to have at least one great game in this tournament though, someone with his reputation and wonderful goalscoring record can’t go on indefinitely doing fuck all in games I watch him play, and I’ll be watching every game in this tournament so he’s got time to make me eat my words. I hope he does it against England in a few days, and if they defend so deep again he probably will do as he’s a big bastard and you want to keep him as far away from goal as possible.

But enough about him, let’s talk more about ‘the Wolf’. Ok, let’s not. Let’s talk about Shevchenko instead, he deserves it. I didn’t have any rooting interest in this game, I didn’t really care who won it but I was happy to see Shevchenko emerge as the hero with two goals. He’s a true legend of the game, in his swansong, captaining his country in a tournament they were hosting. It was fitting that he was the matchwinner. Great goals too, the movement he showed for both of them was terrific. The legs may have gone but the brain still works, and the little runaround he did on Zlatan for the second goal was ace.

Sweden probably deserved a draw but wasted two great chances to equalise late on and now have their work cut out to qualify as they’ll have to beat both England and France by the looks of it.

Not that England and France looked any good. That was a fucking terrible game between two teams happy to settle for a point. England were brutal to watch, but Hodgson is doing what needs to be done for them to get results. They aren’t going to ever be able to play like the Dutch or Spanish, others have tried that and failed. It’s not going to be pretty, but playing like this is the best chance they’ve got of doing anything.

Hodgson’s England are well organised, very disciplined, hard to break down, and fucking shocking to watch. Lescott getting the first goal was hardly a surprise. In fact betting on an England centre half to finish as their top scorer is like buying money, I wish I’d done it. It was a decent ball in by Gerrard but the French keeper has to be coming for that.

The lead didn’t last long, as Nasri beat Hart at his near post with a low shot that found the corner. Not sure whether Hart could have done better, he won’t have seen it until late and it was a good strike. After that neither side looked capable of, or interested in, finding a winner and at the end England would be knocking it around at the back whilst the French sat off and watched, waiting for the ref to blow for time.

The ref was terrible, and Cabaye in particular got away with murder. Dirty bastard him, gets away with it as he’s got an angelic face and looks like garlic butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. I think I wanted England to win this, simply because of the Evra factor. I couldn’t root for any team he was in, but then I feel the same about Mongo so it was a difficult one. I’d have been happier with an England win than a French one purely because of Gerrard’s presence, but a draw didn’t upset me.

Other notes from this; The French right back was brilliant. I really, really can’t stand Franck Ribery and Patrick Vieira is worryingly morphing into Howard from the Halifax ads.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest TK-421

Nice one.

 

Had the very same thoughts about the portuguese striker situation when i saw the postman in the line up.

 

Expected to to see joao pinto or whatever other joao they have wheeled out.

 

They should just play ronaldo up there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nice one.

 

Had the very same thoughts about the portuguese striker situation when i saw the postman in the line up.

 

Expected to to see joao pinto or whatever other joao they have wheeled out.

 

They should just play ronaldo up there.

 

Did someone steal your login TK?

 

Joao Pinto, what a brilliant player he was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The ref was terrible, and Cabaye in particular got away with murder. Dirty bastard him, gets away with it as he’s got an angelic face and looks like garlic butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth."

 

HAHA!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest TK-421
Did someone steal your login TK?

 

Joao Pinto, what a brilliant player he was.

 

Yep. Fancy a pint?

 

It is weird how Portugal never have a decent striker. But then they must look at us and think "um, Heskey is the best you can do?".

 

Surely Ronnie as a number 9 (false, if you must) is a solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

C.Ronaldo up front would make way for the introduction of Quaresma out wide so that can only be a good thing for Portugal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great report Dave, hilarious as ususal too, the highlight being Yogi's antics.

 

"There was very little quality from Trapatoni’s side. Not being disrespectful, but that’s got to be expected when your side is almost exclusively made up of players from shit Midlands teams like Wolves, Villa, Leicester, West Brom and Stoke."

 

I'm Irish and I take no offence to this, it is a fair assessment. Actually while you're at it why don't you throw into the mix "when your captain is in the retirement home that is the MLS".

 

Anyway, roll on Thursday when we will beat Spain 1-0 with 28% possession.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It s really important for Ukraine to do well they need collective scientific to be Proud as a nation. Shevchenko is amazing what a Player

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually while you're at it why don't you throw into the mix "when your captain is in the retirement home that is the MLS".

 

I almost did do that, pretty much word for word too but I took that line out as I wanted to just stick with the midlands angle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×