Euro 2012 – Day 11: …you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off…

Group C

Spain
Italy
________
Croatia
Ireland

Italy 2 – 0 Ireland
Spain 1 – 0 Croatia

It was never going to be a rerun of their match in the 1994 World Cup, but the Irish played their best game this morning. And their fans gave their best of some very good performances. It didn’t stop them losing, but it was a lot of fun. The players managed to hold off the Italians for a long time before they cracked, and returned to form. Two goals from two set-pieces. They got to the tournament on the back of their defending, it’ll hurt that they lost on the basics. Pirlo, majestic and commanding as ever, set up the first and Balotelli took a great striker’s second. A very critical O’Leary (lining up his application to replace one-trick Trappatoni?) was well-supported by late substitute, the fabulous Didi Hamann, blinking like a lighthouse keeper’s lantern.

In the other match a cautious Spain won ugly against a Croatian side who have gotten better with each game. Few teams get that close (Spain scored in the closing minutes), but the Spanish are too good, proving again that there is real grit beneath the pretty. Bilic’s international final bow was one he can be proud of. Watch out for him coaching a top European club in the not too distant future.

In tonight’s games, expectations have a predictable England (Boo!) seeing off the Ukraine. I’m not so sure, the ball is round and I’m less than objective. France will play a Swedish side who won’t easily surrender (there’s a Waterloo joke in there somewhere). If France win and become group winners, we’ll see them exact World Cup Final revenge on Italy. Spain will fancy a game against anti-footballers, England (Boo!) rather than the home crowd advantage the Ukraine will bring. They will win either way of course.

Comments

  1. Phantom says:

    Ther is a very scathing article on Russia on Soccernet today.

    James Appel – “Russia Heaps Scorn on Players”.

  2. Thanks Phantom.
    THey should heap as much scorn on their fans…

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