duminică, 20 iunie 2021

Euro 2021 - A new Löw

My watching of the Euros this weekend has been fragmentary, and so will be my impressions. But I will drop them down here in full.

Sweden - Slovakia 1-0

It felt quite a dull game and a horribly unfair result. Slovakia is clearly the better team, they need to rise to the occasion a little bit. More confident going forward, more direct, more ruthless. Unfortunately, they've got what's deemed to be the toughest game of the group, against Spain. Frankly, they deserve qualification more than Spain, but if they can somehow play without a ball, that would help.

Sweden is a big disappointment for me in this tournament. Bar the momentary flashes of Alexander Isak, the football they showed is so negative and so unpleasant to watch, it's disgusting. Oh, yeah, they defend well. That's like saying about a runner that he can stand well. It's not the point of the sport! The goal of the game of football is to put the ball in the opposition's net. If you don't set out to do that, you're doing football wrong. They should thank their Nordic gods for the lucky win and the position they're in. Although something tells me the game against Poland will be another festival of incompetence.

Croatia - Czech Republic 1-1

This is the game I regret most not seeing more of, but by the bits I've seen looked like a dynamic game and probably a fair result. Croatia is clearly some distance from the World Cup finalist of two years ago, while the Czechs look like a team on the up. Of the two, Croatia seems to be in a thorny position. They should beat Scotland, though the Scots will also be winded by the point they got against England. And Czech Republic can, and probably will, get something against England, especially considering a point apiece would qualify them both.

England - Scotland 0-0

So... England are no longer favorites for the tournament, are they? This time around, the switch from over-hyped to mournful came earlier at the BBC. Funnily enough, this might help the team. With the pressure off, and very likely qualified from the group, England might go into the knock-out stages rejuvenated. They'll still flop, but will give a better account of themselves.

Hungary - France 1-1

Well, try and make sense of that! France clearly the better them, but not by enough if they could not come back to win the game. The good thing is, Hungary threw a bit of a spanner in the workings of this most spectacular group. Now Germany will probably win the group, while in Portugal - France nothing is guaranteed.

Les Bleus still displayed some beautiful football, Mbappe is still a joy to watch, but it was the putting the ball in the net bit they missed today. And all for a few inches along Benzema's shinpads.

Portugal - Germany 2-4

The smell of victory
What is annoying about the Germans is how easy they make it look like. I mean, for the first goal, Ronaldo has to run across the pitch at x3 speed, wait for Jota's perfectly weighed pass, then score. The second Portughese goal takes a jump above the defense and a masterful lob by the same Coca Cola PR nightmare. The Germans scored 4 times from the same type of attacker: take it forward, pass to the wings, crowd the box and force it in. 

Oh and that kid Gosens: have you got a spare one, by any chance?

For the people who discounted them after the loss against France, they shouldn't have. That game was very tight and it could've easily gone either way. But with this win they're back in the qualification mix and back amongst the favourites. By the football played so far, I dare say third favourites.

Spain - Poland 1-1

Spain tried hard not to win this game, and overall they don't seem all that interested in scoring. Luis Enrique might as well give it a go himself, he'll probably still be a more effective forward than Morata, minus the hair gel. I mean, I wouldn't head the ball either if it means running such a perfect hair. But for goodness' sake, from the penalty spot it should be really easy. Not for Moreno [insert black sheep joke here]. In the last 10 minutes or so, when the prospect of two points from two games became more and more substantial, I kept meaning to ask the Spanish players: 'Have you considered trying to shoot?'

I can't really tell if Poland is a huge disappointment or they were expected to be this bad. Oh, yey, we got Lewandowski, but bless, what do you expect him to do by himself? Kudos to him, he scored a good goal and the point should be credited all to himself (was it not a foul in build-up, when he pushed the defender, though?) This is as far as it will go though. Poland - Sweden will probably be painful to watch and a slow, eeked-out affair with maybe 2-3 attempts on goal. My guess is points will go Sweden's way.

With this second round done, tomorrow we start the round of simultaneous games. Italy vs Wales should be a good one, while for Switzerland - Turkey all I want is for Turkey not to score. If the Swiss settle for a 0-0, so be it, but the Turks haven't shown enough quality to warrant a goal. And for the late game, I'll probably go for Finland - Belgium, although Denmark - Russia sounds interesting as well: part football, part therapy, and all VAR decisions to go for Russia.

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