The madness of marches and referees


Euro 2012 coverage by Lee Hugh McGowan

Australia 1 – 1 Japan

Before we get to it, let’s have a wee minute for the Socceroos performance. It was brave, it was hearty and arguably it was against a much better side. A side coming off the back of a couple of big wins. They looked fitter and sharper (maybe the trip to Oman had taken its toll). A draw is a good result for the boys I think, given the circumstances and we got to see the maddest decision ever when the referee decided to call a halt to the game as the Japanese, and everyone else, had prepared for the free kick. Mental.

Okay to the joys and woes of Day 5 at the Euros…

Group A

Poland 1 – 1 Russia
(A very poor) Greece 1 – 2 (an only marginally healthier) Czech Republic

Greece looked poor from the outset, poorer than their banking system. They lost two straight-forward goals within the first ten minutes and never, ever looked like getting them back. Even when they got one, they didn’t. Without their suspended central defenders, they looked windless and sieve-like – a sinking yacht in the Aegean. The only reason they managed a goal was because without their star man, Rosicky, the Czech’s look sickly. When he was lumped off the grass and missed the second half. It was like the whole team got the same illness. We’ll call it Rosickylessness.

It’s an event the Poles will be celebrating. The day they play the Czech’s in the final game of group stages the nation will celebrate Rosickylessness. Barring disaster, unnatural or otherwise, he was the only thing hindering the Poles way into the last 16. A big deal considering they’ll have the weight of the home crowd behind them.

Tragically, the Greeks should probably avoid their next group match, save their accommodation expenses, pack their mules and head for the olive groves. The Russians don’t need the shooting practice and the Greeks don’t need the grief.

In sharp contrast the Poles and Russians played out a tight, meaty, testosterone-fueled belter. Charged with the tension of hundreds of years of history, and an unnecessary Russian independence march which led to clashes with the police before the game, everyone from the keepers the the strikers and the crowd were bon-fired up. A single goal each gave the team a share of the spoils. After the energy they spilled onto the turf, both teams will be looking forward to an easier game before the knockout stages.

Tonight sees the Dutch against Deutschland. With the German’s warming up and the Oranje yet to find their shooting boots, this should be an intriguing encounter. The Netherlands need a win, anything else and they’ll be racing the Greeks to the mules. In the other game, the controlled bluster of the Danes will be hard pushed to keep a desperate Portugese team at bay.

The ball is round.


Leave a Comment