joi, 17 iunie 2021

Euro 2021 - Whoa, Italy!

For some 20 teams or so in the tournament, it's time to plan how to make the best exit, because it has become clear who the favorites are. Let's take today's game in order though, beginning with the only one who didn't pan out as I predicted yesterday.

Finland - Russia 0-1

I mean, in fairness, the Fins did score first, and quickly. Right after the goal I tweeted to Kremlin, asking if Vladimir Putin is on VAR duty today. No reply as of yet, but I moved on, whereas Finland didn't. It was almost like the canceled goal took the wind out of their sails. They let the Russians slowly crawl back in the game, dominate, and eventually win.

Was it off-side? Mmmaybe. But I think 9 times out of 10 that goal stands. And it is in no way a 'clear and obvious error' so that it needs turning by VAR. And the linesman didn't see it as off-side in live action.

Regardless, the Fins should have pressed on. Whether they didn't want to or they're not capable of it, they missed a great opportunity. Russia is a poor team and it was totally beatable. 6 points in the bag, whatever Belgium. Now, however, they have to try and get something against Belgium and wait for the other results to qualify. Fat chance, though judging by today maybe they don't belong in the knock-out rounds.

Turkey - Wales 0-2

You know who does belong in the knock-out stages? Wales. They have to believe it too, of course, but they will qualify from second, and with a choice of Denmark, Russia or Finland in the last 16, Wales is in the quarter-finals.

Turkey confirmed the first game was not a fluke, they are really an incompetent team living off the fumes of the big Turkey teams at the turn of the century. That late display of Yilmaz, when his team needed to score, it's injury time, but he would rather get in a fight with the whole Welsh defense is telling: Turkey doesn't do football anymore.

Turkey, Russia and Hungary - all teams of autocratic countries - remind me of communist clubs of the 80s: clearly inferior in skill and mentality, setting out just to frustrate the opponent and cheat the game. Any tiny success would be intensely politicized at home, while the news spin always link back to historical misfortunes and corruption of values of the Western teams. That's why I'm saying godspeed to Turkey who will return home with 0 points, most likely 0 goals, but with an Erdogan whose wife was displaying a huge-ass hijab from the stands today and only made the trip to Baku to see the Turkish crescent next to the Azeri one. It's a sad state of affairs, but if there's one thing I know about dictatorships is that none lasts forever.

Wales. This team is better than they think they are, better than the British media thinks they are and generally underrated. They play with the mentality of underdogs, and this cost them 2 points against Switzerland. An injection of confidence and a touch of ruthlessness would make Wales a really strong competitor. Because you can't be as nonchalant about missing 1-on-1's as Aaron Ramsey has been today. Or Bale, for that matter, missing the penalty. It wasn't even a lot of pressure on him, team is in the lead and dominating, just hit it hard and low. True, Bale was absolutely brilliant throughout, and especially in the closing minutes, keeping the ball, creating danger and masterminding the second goal. One does not excuse the other in my book, though. Anyway, start prepping the quarter-finals, last 4 will be hard, but possible.

Italy - Switzerland 3-0

Locatelli two-times
Words I never thought I'll say: Italy is playing beautiful football! The way they draw their passes, the way they find each other and feel each other on the pitch, the way they move their lines in perfect order up and down, you wonder who's gonna beat them, and how?

France has better individual footballers, sure, but they're not so well coordinated. And the fact he's not an international superstar doesn't seem to be stopping Pinazzola to run riot and completely dominate the whole left half of the field. Chiellini is the definition of calmness when dribbling in his own box, simple and precise when launching attacks and whaddaya know, he can score, too. Bit unlucky to have his goal canceled, but it was indeed a clear handball. Don't matter, it feels like Italy can score whenever and however many they need. And that's against Switzerland, not at all a bad team, with a few big footballers and some very creative attacking players. They managed one shot on target.

That's why Wales will lose to Italy, they took way too many chances to score. When playing Italy, you probably get a couple of glances at goal, max. You have to make good use of them.

All that remains in Group A is for Switzerland to score a lot against Turkey to give them a shot at second place. Meanwhile, they'll have to hope Italy keeps scoring three against Wales as well, which I doubt, as the Italians have already won the group and will be playing for the next game rather than for the result.

Oh, by the way, you all said Immobile or Locatelli will get the Golden Boot, right?

Three interesting games tomorrow, in that they're rather unpredictable. Belgium will probably beat Denmark, though it's impossible to predict what the Eriksen effect will be. I'll call Ukraine - Macedonia for the Ukrainians, but it won't be a straightforward affair. Likewise, Austria might trouble Netherlands and a draw is fully on the cards. All in all, not a good day for betting, tomorrow.

Niciun comentariu: