Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Turkey controlled the play for much of the rest of the match, but that and 10 lira will get you a klau kalash and crab juice on the streets of Istanbul. Germany took the lead late in the second half, only to see the hero of the quarterfinals, Semih Senturk, tie it up in the 86th minute.
Another miraculous comeback for Turkey, yes?? No. Phillip Lahm scored in the last minute of regulation to give the Germans a 3-2 lead, and Turkey had no more miracles left in them. Germany advances to the finals.
Not a whole lot has changed in two weeks as far as how Mother Russia compares to Spain at playing soccer. Spain blew out Russia then, and they blew them out this time too.
Spain will go to the finals to face Germany, but they'll have to win without David Villa, who has been their best player in this tournament. Villa went down with an injury in the first half, and was replaced ably by Arsenal stud Cesc Fabregas, who had a huge hand in this victory, setting up a 2 of Spain's scores.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Well, the team to beat has been beat.
Russia, which is actually coached by a Dutchman, shook off an 86th minute equaliser by Ruud Van Nistlerooy to score twice in extra time. Andrei Arshavin set up the go ahead score with a nice cross, and put down the nail in the coffin himself minutes later, and the biggest stunner of the tournament was complete.
Russian coach Guus Hiddink can now look forward to being beaten to death with wooden shoes and have his bedraggled corpse tied to a windmill when he returns home to Holland after this tournament. Andrei Arshavin, meanwhile, is going to get a 20 million pound offer to play for Chelsea.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
RUSSIA 2, SWEDEN 0
And finally, our quarterfinals are set. Good thing too, because they start today. Wouldn't want to have a quarterfinals without knowing whose playing in them would you?
Russia dominated this game as if they had poisoned the Swedes with some sort of radioactive compound, which they may have. Roman Pavluchenko scored for the Original Evil Empire, in the 24th minute, and Andrei Arshavin tallied early in the second half to put the game away.
This is the first time Russia has advanced out of the group stages since they were known as the Soviet Union. It's the same name change strategy that has worked so well for the Tampa Bay Rays this year.
SPAIN 2, GREECE 1
My God Greece, that was the worst title defense I've seen since Bob Backlund lost in 7 seconds to Diesel at Wrestlemania that one year. Way to suck.
GROUP D FINAL STANDINGS
* SPAIN 9 PTS
* RUSSIA 6
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
ITALY 2, FRANCE 0
Entering play today, we knew that one of the 06 World Cup finalists would be going home. Both Italy and France got drummed by the Netherlands, and tied Romania, meaning they both entered the game with only 1 point apiece, and both needed a win and help from the Netherlands in their game against Romania to guarantee safe passage into the elimination round.
Italy won the 06 final, and it was clear they would win this one too, when in the 25th minute French defender Eric Abidal was given a red card for bringing down Luca Toni in the penalty box. Not only did the ensuing PK give Italy the 1-0 lead, but it meant that France would have to play the final 65 minutes with only 10 men, if they can even be called men.
This game was a bloodbath that saw 7 yellow cards, 1 red card, a beheading, 3 nut shots, and 1 waterboarding. These 2 countries hate each other. I'm sure they'd probably go to war if their men weren't so effeminate.
What Is This, a Mariners Game?
NETHERLANDS 2, ROMANIA 0
This game was going on simultaneously with the Italy/France game, so there was a lot of scoreboard watching. If Italy and France tied, Romania could possibly advance with a tie, but once it became clear Italy was going to win, that meant that Romania needed a win to advance.
Cue the Rocky IV training in Siberia music! I smell an upset!
Or not. Holland dominated Romania just like they did Italy and France, and ended their 3 game dominance of the group of death with a perfect record and a 9-1 goal differential. Hope you all like windmills, because this team is the favorite right now.
RRRRROWWWRRRR...I'm gonna gets me an online degree!!
GERMANY 1, AUSTRIA 0
Austria entered this tournament as the 90 somethingth ranked national team in the world, behind Mozambique and a few other made-up countries. They were one of the host nations though, so they got an automatic spot in the tournament, and whaddaya know, they still had a chance to advance heading into their final opening round game.
Germany, meanwhile, is one of the favorites but has been terrible so far, teetering on the brink of a national catastrophe of not qualifying for the quarterfinals that would be rivalled only by David Hasselhoff's embarrassing YouTube video of last year.
No worries for Germany though. Austria summoned the spirit of 1938 and laid down for Germany faster than you could say "Anschluss". Well, actually, it wasn't THAT bad. Chelsea's Michael Ballack scored early in the second half, and Austria had no prayer of answering. Germany wobbles into the quarters, while we say goodbye to Austria, and their heroically named goalkeeper, Jurgen Macho. I encourage you to go start a band called Jurgen Macho now.
CROATIA 1, POLAND 0
This was like a Week 17 NFL game that doesn't mean anything where all the scrubs play. I'm pretty sure Kyle Orton was playing goalie for one of these teams.
GROUP B FINAL STANDINGS
* CROATIA 9 PTS
* GERMANY 6
GROUP C FINAL STANDINGS
* NETHERLANDS 9 PTS
* ITALY 4
So, to review, we've got seven of our final 8 revealed! Come on down!
Span, I mean, SPAIN!
The only spot still in doubt is either going to go to Sweden or Russia, who play tomorrow. Since Russia is playing, you know the game will be fixed, I just don't know for who though.
Monday, June 16, 2008
TURKEY 3, CZECH REPUBLIC 2
Forget Tiger Woods, this past weekend belonged to Nihat Kahveci. No that's not a word jumble you need to rearrange, that is the name of the Turkish forward (who plays his club ball for Spain's Villarreal), who scored twice in the final 3 minutes of the match to lead Turkey to an absolutely insane 3-2 win over the Czech Republic, sending Turkey on into the elimination round of the tournament and sending the Czechs home.
The Czechs led this match 2-0 in the second half, before everything went to hell. Arda Turan scored his second goal of the tournament in the 72nd minute to bring the Turks within a goal. Then, with time running out, a high cross bounced off the hands of the Czech keeper, right to Kahveci, who put it in the net to tie the game. It was a big boo boo by the goal keeper. Minutes later, Kahveci put one under the crossbar from the top of the box to win the game, and it was fire up the hooka time all over the Anatolian peninsula.
Kahveci is now the greatest Turkish sports hero since Bald Bull. Maybe even greater.
RUSSIA 1, GREECE 0
Oh woe to me, Greece is eliminated and won't repeat as Euro Champions. Their no-scoring, Chicago White Sox-esque, wrist slashingly boring style of play won't lead them to victory this time. Russian midfielder Konstantin Zurianov scored in the 33rd minute, and that was, as expected, an insurmountable deficit for the Greeks. They will now have to turn their attention to winning the World Cup of Buttsex in 2009.
SPAIN 2, SWEDEN 1
Coming into this tournament, everyone was all like, "Ooooh Cristiano Ronaldo, he's so great, I totally want his balls". Well, Ronaldo is still good, but the best player in this tournament so far has been Spain's David Villa. The tiny (5-9, 152 lbs), forward from Valencia scored his 4th goal of the tournament in this match, and it was a huge one. He put home the winner in the 90th minute to send Spain on to the elimination round, and send Sweden into a do-or-die All-Viking Ragnorok against Russia in their Group D finale.
Sweden got their second goal of the tournament from Inter Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He'll be the best player on the field in that Russia finale, and it should be a good one to watch.
SWITZERLAND 2, PORTUGAL 0
Aaand this game was a big wack-off as Portugal had nothing to play for, and neither did Switzerland except to avoid getting 0 pts as one of the host nations. Swiss midfielder Hakan Yakin had two goals. Yakin plays for a club called "Young Boys", how gay is that?
GROUP D STANDINGS
SPAIN 6 PTS
GROUP A STANDINGS FINAL
*PORTUGAL 6 PTS (+2 GD)
*TURKEY 6 (0 GD)
CZECH REP 3
*-Advances to Elimination Round
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
SPAIN 4, RUSSIA 1
The Spaniards are always the great underachievers in any international tournament. It goes the same way for them every time, they are always picked as one of the top 4 teams, and then they shit the bed and disappoint. Most blame it on the fragmented nature of the nation itself, and the inability of Castillans, Basques, Catalonians, and Andalucians to play together as a harmonious unit. They'd much rather bomb each other's subway stations then play futbol together.
Russia kind of backed into this tournament. They needed England to lose its qualifying finale in order to get in, and coupled that needed outcome with 1-0 win over mighty Andorra to reach the tournament. Despite this, they are seen as a darkhorse pick to make some noise, probably because if they lose Russia will cut off all the electricity for the rest of the tournament and that'll be it.
If Russia was the dark horse, the dark horse broke down, bled out, and had to be euthanized. Valencia striker David Villa had 3 goals, which I think was more than the rest of the teams have scored in this tournament combined so far, as Spain rolled in a driving rainstorm, 4-1. The rain and the goals made this the most aesthetically pleasing match of the tournament so far, and the dominating score makes Spain look like the team to beat right now.
SWEDEN 2, GREECE 0
As I've mentioned before, Greece won this thing in 2004. To draw an analogy to the most famous American tournament, that would be something like George Mason not only advancing to the Final 4, but winning the whole thing.
They did it by playing excruciatingly boring football, with long stretches of their defensemen kicking the ball back and forth to each other in their own half of the field. Since it worked so well last time, they came out doing the same thing this time.
For the first 2/3 of the game, it was working, if by "working" you mean getting a 0-0 draw and inciting all the fans who paid a big heap of Euros for a ticket to start whistling and throwing things.
Finally, Inter Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic broke the ice in the 67th minute, and since Greece was never really trying to score anyway that was pretty much a wrap.
Everyone hates the way Greece plays. Me, I'm wondering how someone named "Zlatan Ibrahimovic" is Swedish. To me he sounds about as Swedish as this guy:
Today, we're back around to Group A again already! Turkey (0-1-0) plays the Swiss (0-1-0) in a battle of two sandwich ingredients, and the Czechs (1-0-0) take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal (1-0-0) to determine which is the greatest nation on Earth.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
You all remember this right? Of course you do. World Cup Final, 2 years ago, Greasy Daygo calls bald French guy's sister a whore, bald French guy headbutts greasy Daygo. It was awesome.
So what happened when the Group Of Doom convened for the first time on Monday? Let's find out.
FRANCE 0, ROMANIA 0
Like the vampires they probably are, Romania sucked the life out of heavily favored France's jugular vein, impaling anyone's desire to watch this game as they ground to a 0-0 draw. They celebrated this moral victory well into the night, all the way until sunrise in fact, when they all crawled back in their coffins and went to sleep.
Monday, June 9, 2008
CROATIA 1, AUSTRIA 0
The Croatians entered this match as the team perhaps most responsible for keeping the English out of the tournament, having beaten them twice in qualifying and finishing ahead of them in their group.
Austria is one of the host nations, which usually portends big things, but ESPN's Soccernet describes them as "unfancied" entering the tournament, giving more evidence why I love soccer, because you'll never hear, say, the Houston Texans be described as "unfancied". Another preview I read about them described them as being, "Comfortably the worst side to be taking part in the European Championships, possibly ever." Alright then.
Given the description of the Austrian side, you would expect their defensemen to spend half the game sitting cross-legged on the grass, picking dandelions. I watched the game and that wasn't the case. Croatia scored early in the game on a penalty kick, but Austria pressured the Croats the remainder of the game, finishing the game with an 18-9 shot advantage, and forcing the Croatian goaltender to make 12 saves.
Croatia won 1-0, but for a team expected to contend for the title, it was disappointing.
Yakszemash, Gupee Dupa
GERMANY 2, POLAND 0
When you think of world soccer powers, Germany definitely comes to mind. They consistently do well at the World Cup, and are one of the favorites in this tournament. However, they entered this match having not won a match at the Euro tournament since 1996?!? I no believe.
In their Euro 08 opener, they faced a Poland side who they beat 1-0 at the 06 World Cup, thanks to a goal in stoppage time.
This time, there was no such drama, as the Germans shrugged off a shaky start to win 2-0 behind a pair of goals by Bayern Munich's Lukas Podolski. Podolski was actually born in Poland, but here he was scoring a pair of goals against the country of his birth. Judas. I hope he chokes on his sauerbraten.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I remain a little underwhelmed with the event. The last one, in 2004, was won by Greece. How in the hell that happened I don't know. Greece didn't even qualify for the 2006 World Cup, and the Greek domestic football league probably would be defined as Division I-AA or Division II if you think of it in terms of American college football. But they won it, and they're the defending champs.
Another thing about this tournament that makes it a little hard to get all hot and bothered over it is that England is not in it. I kept looking for them in the group tables. I must have looked about 10 times, thinking I was just missing them. But no, England is really not in this. They did not qualify. So they are not competing for the European championship, which is kind of like having an American football tournament that doesn't have America in it.
But, all this considered, it's still probably the next best thing to the World Cup, and it started today.
This Is Why Switzerland Doesn't Fight Any Wars
CZECH REPUBLIC 1, SWITZERLAND 0
Switzerland is one of the host countries for this tournament, and they treated their fans to a 1-0 loss that was as boring as everyone says soccer is.
That's to be expected though, because that's just the way Switzerland rolls. They are as neutral on the football pitch as they are in international affairs. In the last World Cup, they were the first team ever to be eliminated from the tournament despite not having conceded a goal. I won't get into the metaphysics of how that is possible, but let's just say it involves some excruciatingly boring football.
They came with more of the same, and it seemed for a while that they would get one of their patented 0-0 draws. Former Hertha Berlin scrubeenie Vaclav Sverkos ruined that though, when he came on as a sub and scored in the 70th minute. The Czechs took 2 shots the whole game, and this one went in. Now all the Swiss fans will have to cry themselves to sleep tonight on their big piles of Nazi gold.
A Manly Embrace Of a Guy Named "Pepe"
PORTUGAL 2, TURKEY 0
Portugal was the team that lost to Greece in the 04 Euro finals. They also were a semifinalist in World Cup 06. They're good, and they've got the consensus best player in the world right now in Cristiano Ronaldo.Ronaldo didn't score in this game, despite being turned away on a few opportunities. Ream Madrid defender Pepe, who is actually a native Brazilian, broke the tie in the 60th minute, and the Portugese added a goal in extra time to stuff Turkey.