Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Thoughts on the Euro 2012 Group Stage

I have watched quite a lot of the 24 group stage matches. Watched the hightlights and goals of the rest. These are my quick, unstructured reactions about each of the 16 teams.

Group A
1) Czech Republic: Not quite sure what they do well. Quite compact in midfield. Not seen enough out of Rosicky - hope he gets fit and does well in the quarters and beyond. Petr Cech had a howler #Ripleys.
2) Greece: Think they are lucky to be through. Then again, damn resilient. Rather well organised and deceptively strong across the pitch. Solid.
3) Russia: So much talent. They were cruising through before they did a South Africa. Dzagoev is the most exciting Alan since Donald. Arshavin showed in glimpses, why we all love so much. Pity, they are not going to be going forward.
4) Poland: Lewandowski is some player. As is Kuba. And despite the howler Bhocheck is still my favourite player. Chin up - big fella.

Group B
1) Germany: No signs of Gotze yet ! Still probably the best team in the tournament so far. Incredible to see Podolski get a 100 caps before he joins us. Gomez is better than I thought. Schweinsteiger is superb. As is Hummels.
2) Portugal: Excellent individual defenders. If Ronaldo is on fire, they can beat anyone. Tough team.
3) Denmark: Two words for you : Nicklas Bendtner ! Pants up or down - he was awesome in more ways than you can imagine. Krohn Dehli is an interesting player. Rather good central defensive pair in Agger and Kjaer too. Was expecting a lot more from the kid Ericson.
4) The Netherlands: WTF ? If only they had Arteta....Shit happens and it did. Now come back Robin and sign the damn contract.
PS: Has there been a more selfish player than Robben ? Like ever ?

Group C
1) Spain: Tiki-taka. Pass-pass. Sigh. Torres is slowly getting back to form. Sigh. Cesc as a False 9. Interesting. Liked it when they played a sort of 4-6-0 in the first match. Will probably win the damn thing again.
2) Italy: 3-5-2 ! Interesting. De Rossi as a Centre back is interesting. Can just watch Pirlo for 90 minutes if it was possible. Legend. Buffon = Yet another Legend. Good to see Di Natalie get some time as well. So much liking for them from me (an Old Anti-Azurri) - something is not quite right.
3) Croatia: Got to know that there is another mad Mario around: Mandzukic. Quite handy. Modric - slightly disappointing. Good team, just fell short.
4) Republic of Ireland: Best fans ever ! No comments about the team.

Group D
1) England: Wow - Woy Hodgson and his banks of 4 have made this team a tough nut to crack. Slightly lucky but generally plucky. Gerrard excellent. Wellbeck will be some player one day. As will The Ox.
2) France: More pleasing to the eye than some of the last few Les Blues editions. Shit central defensive pairing though - can't believe they haven't played Kos till date. Interesting midfield. Benzema is a class forward despite not scoring goals.
3) Ukraine: Had their epic moments with the Sheva inspired victory. Not seen much - but I get it that they have some exciting youngsters coming through as well.
4) Sweden: Zlatan Ibrahimovic XI. Whatay goal against the French. Pity - got knocked out so soon. Seb Larsson can deliver a ball - man !

Favourite Goal: A tie between Ibra's volley against France and Pirlo's freekick against Croatia.
Moment to remember: The match getting suspended due to rain, thunder and lightning ! First time ever for me
Best thing: No goalless draws !
Apacalypse Now !
PS: For a more statistics based view, read this.

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