Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Euro 2008 - Part 1

After 3 days of Euro 2008, this being my first post on it... sigh.

I never thought England would win Euro... not with the current crop of players anyway. But it must have been jinxed from the start for McClaren to face the unwanted of guiding England OUT of Euro 2008. Yet there are no shortage of quality.

First two days of the tournament ended with all the favourites taking the points although I feel bad for Switzerland, I guess they have to learn that at the top flight, if they do not take their chances well, they would be punished. They were. For all their industry they lost 1-0 to Czech Republic who were at best trying hard to avoid defeat yet walked away with all 3 points.

The big day was of course Day 3 where Euro 2008 Group of Death play their game. Italy, France, Romania and Netherlands. I guess no other team would want to share the same group as Netherlands. They are a team that oozes with class yet, falter spectacularly each time at the last hurdle except for Euro 1988 where they hoisted their first and only major trophy to date. Ever classy, this team seemed laced with the potent self destruct potion during the eve of every major tournament defied all that to lift the cup in 1988 which boasts of names like Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Wim Kieft etc.

Last night, it was vintage Dutch yet again as they demolished World Cup holders Italy 3-0 to stake their claim as a potential champion this time round, 20 years later. But will the team that shines in group go on to win the cup? I guess its a different question altogether. Yet, it was vintage display by the Dutch. Italy was peppered with members of the triumphant 2006 World Cup winners sans their influential captain Fabio Cannavaro, but looked good enough to compete. Yet the ever reliable Azzuri defence lay in tatters as Van Der Vaart, Snieder and Van Nistelrooy ruled the day making mockery of the champions.

But with the tournament just underway, many teams are staking their claims. Portugal with Ronaldo, Simao and Deco impressive in their opening match. Germany at last looking impressive after last World Cup with Podolski, Sweinsteiger, Lahm, Ballack and Klose. France with Henry, Ribery, Nasri and Benzema. The unfortunate Italians still look formidable with Buffon, Pirlo, Gatusso, Toni and gang. Not forgetting the other of Europe's perennial under achievers... Spain with Fabregas, Torres, Villa will want to fancy their chances this time round.

Whatever it is, we have one month of sheer class soccer to look forward to. Maybe more droopy heads at work but hey, its once every four years... well.. yeah yeah.. World Cup is once every four years too... so is the Olympics but I guess we footie freaks could be forgiven for our over indulgence.

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