Hard work and rewards

Euro 2012

Group A

Czech Republic

Greece

________

Russia

Poland

Greece 1 – 0 Russia

Poland 0 – 1 Czech Republic

Anything can happen and did. The teams I’d so flippantly dismissed have qualified for the next round. And I have to say I’m really glad they did. The Czech Republic did not quite roll over the Poles, but the Greeks sent the Russians packing. It is unfortunate to see the host nation leave. They gave us plenty to watch and talk about. In football terms it’s a little unfortunate the Russians no longer favour us with their flair, but it might just be karma. They underperformed. Their potency diminished as each game progressed. They were due nothing less. And as Phantom noted, their fans certainly won’t be missed.

It boils down to the simplistic maxim; the teams who wanted it more, got through. The Greeks and the Czechs defended with more heart, threw themselves into every challenge and crucially scored the goals.

Captained by Karagounis(!!) and guided by Samaras (!!!), the Greeks played like the wind was always behind them. Karagounis led by example, and smashed a belter under the Russian keeper. Samaras is the same for Glasgow Celtic. A cracked diamond, brilliant and flawed; an incredibly skilful enigma, wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in a beard and shaggy hair. They rode their luck, but this was a deserved and hard fought victory.

The same can be said of the Rosickyless Czech’s. The first team in the knockout stages in an international tournament with a negative goal average – now there’s a pub quiz question – they played with verve and defended with desperation against a stalwart Polish side. I grudge their going through because they entered this tournament at Scotland’s cost and, after losing four goals in the opener, shouldn’t be in the next round either, but. BUT. it’s why we love football isn’t it. The ball is round.

Tonight, Denmark need a point. The romantic in me wants them to. The Germans will want to continue building momentum, so the pragmatist says it won’t happen. And the Dutch? Technically, they can still qualify. The bookmakers have the Oranje sulks as favourites. The Portugese will want it more.

Comments

  1. Lord Bogan says:

    Proud of my heritage today Lee. Greece has always punched above its weight in sports like Basketball and Water Polo, but this was pretty special. Bring on the Germans!!

  2. You should be Sir. The Greek team were astonishing this morning. Proved beyond doubt there are no certainties in the beautiful game.

  3. Phantom says:

    Without appearing to nibble at the bait Lloyd Bochner dare I suggest that the Germans will ‘put paid’ to the Greeks bid to stay in Europe.

  4. Lord Bogan says:

    Phanto, now and then I stir you to get a reaction, but you are right. Germany has a great team and everything has to go our way for the Greeks to progress. But isn’t that why we follow sport and politics? Sometimes you never know.

  5. Do you think A Merkel will be paying attention?
    A Greek victory would do more for the European economy, wouldn’t it?
    Then again it may just bring out the brat-wurst?

  6. Lord Bogan says:

    Shug, Angela should not underestimate the Greek spirit of defiance. It has served us well over the last 400 years. Yes, Greece has been profligate with German money, but the Germans should have known that they were lending money to a nation of bon vivants.

  7. Phantom says:

    LB,

    I was on the Greeks in 2004.

    Their veteran striker (won’t even attempt to pronounce his name) is akin to what Chappy used to be around the goals at the GFC.

    The ironic thing there is that it will be the GFC that will bring the Greeks down.

    The Robots will gring out a win in this competition.

    Angela will be busy discussing knitting with Julia on the beach in Mexico this week.

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