The Euro Cup is getting hot and heavy as we charge towards the June 29th final game. I’ve watched a great deal of it and thought I’d share some thoughts so far:
-France looks old. They didn’t get out of the group round for a reason. They just don’t look like they have much firepower. Eric Abidal’s moronic red-card, in-the-box penalty in the first 22 minutes of their game against Italy sealed their fate. It sounds stupid and obvious to say, but they really miss the glue between the front and back that was Zidane.
-The Dutch peaked too soon. They mopped up France and Italy in the group round, but were taken down 3-1 in extra time on Saturday by the Russians. Big, big disappointment.
-Can someone explain what Italy’s Luca Toni does other than constantly sport a flabbergasted look of disappointment on his face? Italy got bounced by Spain on Sunday in penalty kicks and got zero help from Toni, who was supposed to be considered the world’s best target man (that means he’s a finisher up top. Send it in to him and he’ll put the biscuit in the basket…in theory). He failed to register one goal in the entire tournament, and I’m glad that Italy is out just so that I don’t have to look at that stupid face he makes after he botches a crossed ball in the box.
-Despite not having Fabio Cannavaro in the back, Italy’s defense is simply filthy. They lock up the back like not many others can do. If Toni was worth a damn, perhaps Italy is on to the semi’s.
-How about those Turks! Congratulations to Turkey for making the semi-finals. They were left for dead down 2-0 against the Czech Republic and not only tied it with a minute remaining, but closed the deal with a follow-up goal to win in regulation 3-2. It was cute. They did the impossible to move into the next round. Every dog has his day, right?
Against, the Croatians, the hammer fell on the Turks. With one minute left in extra time, the Croatians scored to seal the fate of the Turks and send them home. The dream was over…but wait! Here comes Turkey! With about zero seconds left on the clock, the scrappy, never-say-die Turkish team put one home to send the game to penalties. And they pulled it off on the spot kicks to find themselves in the semi’s.
These were games that made non-believers into soccer fans. You don’t need to love soccer to appreciate what the Turkish players have done in this tournament. I’m not kidding when I say if they can find a way to at least get to the final, they may have a movie deal.
-Spain’s keeper, Iker Casillas, was phenomenal in the penalty shootout vs. Italy Sunday. The two misses from Italy were more due to Casillas guessing correctly and keeping the net clean. Anyone that has ever been a goal keeper in soccer knows that you are left to die in penalty kicks.
-Spain needs to learn how to shoot during the regular game. They have some nice players, but they don’t finish well at all.
-I’m not a huge fan of Germany’s squad, but I will say that I’m releasing my hatred towards their big striker Miroslav Klose. I have bashed him in the past for being a “me guy” that plays with his head down. I will admit, he seems to be more of a team player than he was in the 2006 World Cup. I even saw him pass the ball in the box!
-Keeping it with Germany, check out Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 24-year old is finally getting to start and he really brings the heat. He’s fun to watch and it’s fun to say his last name in a loud, German accent.
-So, what’s next? Germany takes on those tough-as-hell-despite-not-having-much-talent Turkish team on Wednesday, June 25th. Spain will try to dispose of Russia on Thursday, with the two winners meeting on Sunday the 29th.
Yup, it’s fun.
I LOVE this turk team. They won the penalty kicks with a backup keeper who hasn’t played in years because their starter got a dumb, DUMB red card by a card-happy ref for a love-tap shove
But I dunno if they can keep it up, especially against the Germans. The Turk’s hero two games ago, Nihat, got sent home with an injury and 3 more players are suspended on cards.
Can’t say die though…i’m rooting for them against an excellent German team