- Curse of the Ricardos -- Woe is Portugal because of thee. What was worse? Sitting back on the line waiting for Michael Ballack to crush a header or leaving Schweinsteiger free to roam in the middle of the field? Both were goals, and both were the fault of Ricardos. Ricardo the goalie and Ricardo [Carvalho] the fullback proved to be Portugal's undoing in the Euro 2008 quarterfinals last week. Germany deservedly won, earning a semifinals date with upstart Turkey. Portugal deservedly lost, earning another date with disappointment. Let the speculation begin on a Scolari successor? Queiroz anyone? Bueller?
- Turkey and All the Fixins -- It's all or nothing with Turkey. Before 2002, Turkey had played in one World Cup. In South Korea/Japan, the Turks get in, finish second to Brazil in their group, knock out Japan and Senegal before losing 1-0 to Brazil in the semifinals. Turkey finished third beating South Korea in the third-place game. Now at Euro, they put up the greatest comeback in tournament history against the Czech Republic and rally to beat Croatia in the quarters to reach the final four. Germany-Turkey. Um, go Turkey.
- Counterintelligence -- Netherlands and Russia. OK, the 1988 Euro final rematch pits former Dutch coach Guus Hiddink against his motherland, and he gets it done with two goals in extra time. With one spirited move, Russia sends the tournament's best club home. How Ruud! In the meantime, Euro 2008 has its second darling team in the final four. Imagine a Turkey-Russia final?? Will anyone watch?
- One Prediction Comes True -- Finally, I get one! Spain. In the semifinals. Spain needed penalty kicks to get past Italy yesterday in the quarterfinals -- and if there was ever a lockdown wager, it was Spain-Italy going to penalties. Talk about a battle of deliberate playing styles, Spain and Italy was a glamour match that fizzled once the players hit the field. Talk about anticlimactic! Spain awaits Russia; Spain has probably been the best team in the tournament, especially now that Holland is out and a Spain-Germany final holds great promise. Me? I go with the hockey analogy that never fails: Always go with the hot goalie! No one is better than Casillas right now.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Lame Laments: Four Fine Whines from Euro 2008
Work travel made it impossible to update my little space last week, and I lament how much prime snarking time I missed. Where oh where to begin?