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?

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.

1 comment:

Fumas said...

Time for Ricardo to step down, don't be surprised if he is no longer called to the national team, along to what happened to Baia.. Thunder voice Ricardo.. yesterday someone sent me 2 pictures- 1 of the goal against Germany, and the other one against Greece in the EURO 04 final - and there he is, good ol voice of thunder, in the same pose, eyes closed and hands in front. Like a 9 year old reaching for his first set of boobies. It's very easy to point fingers now, on what went wrong and what could have been corrected, On a mental aspect, I felt that the Scolari's announcement and all of the transfer rumours surrounding the team weren't good at all for the team. If the FPF knew that Scolari was exiting why didn't they, in conjunction with Scolari, announce that this would be his last big competition at the helm right off the bat? Wouldn't that give the team extra motivation?
Then there are the numerous "Monday morning Scolaris" who say
Alves or Meira should have been in the line up for the aerial game.
that Scolari could not change the team to counter Germany's tactical change, Ronaldo took himself out of the game by coming to the middle.. on and on.

As for the rest of the tournament.
I very much doubt that Turkey will have enough gas in the tank, not to mention, the limited number of players they will have available, 12-13? Germany have the experience and the cynicism to go on. On the other side, it'll be interesting to see a rematch of the opening game of group D. Russia is a very different team with Arshavin. Spain is notorious for their almosts, much like Portugal. I like the way the Russians are playing and the spirit of the Turkish, those 2 have brought excitement to the competition.
I'm going with Germany-Russia in the final, with the Russians taking their first major competition since the break up of the USSR.