Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Euro 08--Kinda Like The World Cup I Guess, Day 4
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.
Posted by GRRM Jr. at 7:07 AM