luni, 28 iunie 2021

Euro 2021 - Red Alert

Netherlands - Czech Republic 0-2
Portugal - Belgium 0-1

Well this is annoying. I am genuinely upset about Portugal losing, and I thought the game was pretty even, but at the end of the day even doesn't cut it sometimes. Even after the goal, Portugal had an entire second half to score, but couldn't. They came close on a few occasions but again, coming close doesn't count, even if it's as close as hitting the bar. Dare I say, the game might've been lost in the sixth minute, with Jota missing that sitter from 12 yards. Jota was poor overall, but then Bruno came on in the second half and he was no better, wasting a couple of good balls in front of the box and not creating enough. Ronaldo never looked like scoring either, but he's got a solid excuse: Portugal got no penalties.

Belgium? Not much to say about them either. 'Didn't convince the spectators they were the better team, but ended up winners' is the conclusion on livescore and I feel that's a very accurate sum-up. A brilliant goal from young Hazard, Rui Patricio or the defense couldn't do much more, but that's it. Lukaku is very good at keeping the ball, not necessarily at doing anything useful with it.

I'm now throwing my lot fully with Italy. Incidentally, they play Belgium next.

Why was the Netherlands defense so bad?
It had Holes in it!

The other low-lying country appearing today wasn't as lucky. Dominated the first half and for a good while it looked like it's going to be their game. The Czechs were shaky going forward and didn't look impenetrable in defense. Second half reversed the trend somewhat, but it was really the red card for De Ligt that changed the game. I thought red card was a harsh decision, but the internet was quick to shut me down on it. What the internet cannot change is the fact that the game was decided by a referee decision rather than by a goal. Coming out already with more attacking intent after half-time, the Czechs were really encouraged by the extra man, and scored in the 68th minute. Then Schick closed it with 10 minutes to go with a shot so powerful that the ball got stuck in the net. Patrick Schick is now on 4 goals, and Ronaldo with 5 is out. Czech Republic plays Denmark next, so the kid's got a real shot at the golden boot.

I have said before that this is the worst Netherlands team I remember, but I still feel sorry for the way they were eliminated. It feels unfair, but football, like life, offers no guarantees of fairness. At the same time, I'm happy for the Czechs, they are a good team and they seem to be making excellent use of their resources. Navigated a tricky group well and are now facing an accessible opponent to get to the semifinals. Once in the last 4, belief starts to become a factor. Their game against Denmark will certainly be an interesting one.

I fancy Croatia and France tomorrow, let's see if Switzerland can throw a curveball and smooth Italy's way.

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