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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Euro Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go...


Right so I've been sick the last while in case you were wondering what happened to my *award winning coverage of the Euros and a lot has happened, in fact the entire knock-out part of the competition.

QUARTER FINALS
Czech Rep 0-1 Portugal (Prediction 1-3)
Greece 2-4 Germany (Prediction 0-4)
Spain 2-0 France (Prediction 1-1, France on pens)
Italy 0-0 England (Italy 4-2 on pens) (Prediction 1-1, Eng on pens)
The Czechs never really offered anything going forward so it was only a matter of time before Portugal scored but they still made hard work of it, they really need to find a striker from somewhere.
Germany changed their front three for no reason, and could have possibly been the reason why they lost momentum, obviously scoring four was great but conceding two against a very average Greece side was poor.
Spain brushed aside France who went out with a whimper and I'd say Blanc was only too happy to walk away, I apologise to him wholeheartedly for backing them publicly, obviously what went wrong.
Italy dominated England in a 0-0 draw as only they could and then held their nerve in a penalty shoot out where Joe Hart thought it would be a good idea to mimic a man possessed for some reason, tongue wagging and all, to which Pirlo showed him who was in charge. English press bemoan the fact there's no English player like him, obviously they've never heard of Paul Scholes.

SEMI FINALS
Spain 0-0 Portugal (Spain 4-2 on pens) (Prediction 1-0 Spain aet)
Germany 1-2 Italy (Prediction 3-1 Ger)
Portugal's pressing high up the pitch forced Spain back for ninety minutes, but the Spanish stepped it up in extra time and possibly should have won before going to penalties. and for all the people saying the better penalty takers should go first in a shootout, Ronaldo's form of scoring penalties under pressure is mixed at best, so while I know he was probably looking to take the winner I wouldn't have let him go first either. 
Had recorded the Italy/Germany game and nearly made it all the way home before some gimp on a phone walking by me told his mate Ballotelli had scored twice, ruining my plan to watch the whole thing free from knowing any outcomes, in what seemed to be one of the games of the tournament particularly the second half, Germans were unlucky though if you ask me, but then again they weren't clinical in front of goal when their chances presented themselves.

FINAL
Spain 4-0 Italy
Italy gave everything and got beaten 4-0, which was rough on them but Spain were outstanding tonight and booked their place in history as one of the great teams of all time. Spain never really looked conceding so it was just a matter of how many they could score but in fairness to Italy they were hanging in there right up until Motta had to go off which meant they had no chance of keeping Spain out and coming away with a respectable score. 

So that's that, a fantastic tournament. August never seemed so far away, gonna go back to watching MLS in the mid mornings to get me through.

Highlights of the tournament:
Pirlo - Haven't really much to add to the superlatives that have been thrown at him this tournament, again just like to say how much he made me wish someone could have talked Scholes into playing in this and wonder could he have done a similar job lifting his team or whether England are always doomed.
Karagounis - the man is a legend and someone I would never argue with.
Some great goals - Blaszczykowski vs Russia, Welbeck's finish against Sweden, Ibrahimovic's goal against France, Van der Vaart vs Portugal, Ballotelli's second goal against Germany, to name a few.
Spain, obviously - if you find that boring God help you.

Lowlights:
Ireland's performance, life and work clashing with some of the important games (you're lucky you're funny Rhys Darby), the Dutch and the French, Craig Doyle Live promos what seemed like every three seconds on RTE, no Souness, getting most of my predictions wrong! Mexican waves, lads if you're bored go home.

*of course that's a lie