- Ukraine. Obviously, the hosts saved the best for last with a thriller of a 2-1 bashing of Sweden starring ancient (?) Andriy Shevchenko. Sheva ticked the twine twice and is the tournament's leading scorer with the upset of the Ibrahimovic-led Swedes. Cripes, it was an all-AC Milan affair today on the scoreboard and a real peach of a game. This leaves a good taste in our mouths as we head back toward Group A on Tuesday and the crucial second matches in each group. Until then, the tourney's been tasting a little bland.
- Poland. The other cordial host of Euro 2012 opened with a flourish against Greece on Friday with a quick goal and a lot of pressure against an older Greek side. Toss in a red card against its keeper and a miracle penalty-kick save by the cold backup and Greece's tying goal and we had a chipper start to the best tournament in the world.
- Denmark. Yes, they partied like it was 1992 after beating Holland 1-0 in what becomes the most compelling storyline of the tournament. What of the Dutch? Netherlands and Germany clash on Wednesday in what is sure to be the match of the tournament with the talented and oh-so-fortunate Germans waiting for the Dutch. Fortunate? Sure I'm biased, but Portugal should have beaten Germany. Should haves are lame in sports, but the German goal came on a cross deflected by a Portugal defender to the head of Mario Gomez (how the fuck is he German?) Portugal deserved better and should get it against Denmark, making the Portugal-Holland game Match of the Tournament II.
- Spain, Italy, France, England. Snore, bore, zzzzz, no more. Please. No more. From ESPN's incessant whining that England would have done better with Wayne Rooney, to France's late winner in 2008 against England (what does that have to do with today?), to Spain going for three major titles in a row (a first) to Italy making me reach for my melatonin, can we just eliminate them all from polluting the final eight?
- Russia and Croatia. The biggest outbursts of the tournament came from the clubs least expected to burst outwardly. Russia dismantled the Czechs like it was their freaking job. And Croatia sent Trapattonni searching for his passport outta Dublin. Let's see if it lasts with Croatia still having Spain and Italy on its dance card and the Russians having to hold on against Poland and Greece.
Meh? Maybe not so much. I have high hopes for Matchday 2.