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Yachtzee
06-07-2008, 11:58 AM
Since it starts today, I thought I would put up a thread on Euro 2008. I'm looking forward to watching games played in Austria for the first time since I left in the mid '90s. The conventional wisdom says that Italy and Portugal are the teams to beat. Does anyone think there might be another Greece out there to pull off the upset?

While I'd like to see the co-hosts Austria do well, it sounds like the Austrians, in their typical self-deprecating manner, have a dim view of their chances. Check out this site, an apparel site where you can buy items informing visitors that they are being "hosted by losers." http://www.zugastbeiverlierern.at/

NJReds
06-07-2008, 12:01 PM
They should put a freeze on the transfer window during Euro.

MWM
06-08-2008, 12:09 PM
I've got England to win...... oh wait..... :laugh::laugh::laugh::devil::devil::cool:

MWM
06-08-2008, 02:13 PM
Awful penalty call against Austria in the 4th minute against Croatia. I can't believe the ref made that call on this stage.

Yachtzee
06-08-2008, 02:58 PM
Austria goes down to Croatia, 0-1, with the early penalty being the difference maker. I thought Austria made a good showing against Croatia and played with a lot of heart, but just couldn't get one to go in.

Yachtzee
06-08-2008, 04:14 PM
Germany up 1-0 on Poland. Klose to Podolski. I just love watching the smooth transitions in this game. I'm getting excited about watching the top teams play.

Anyone going to watch US v. Argentina? I'd like to, but my family might be back from their wedding trip, so I might not get to.

Where's WilyMoRocks, by the way? Busy studying for the Bar Exam maybe?

westofyou
06-08-2008, 04:18 PM
Where's WilyMoRocks, by the way? Busy studying for the Bar Exam maybe?

Nope... he's suspended IIRC

Yachtzee
06-08-2008, 04:28 PM
Nope... he's suspended IIRC

Gotcha. That's too bad. Well, we'll have to soldier on in the soccer threads without him.

Yachtzee
06-08-2008, 04:31 PM
Ouch, Podolski takes one to the "Mertesacker."

cincy jacket
06-09-2008, 12:49 AM
Germany up 1-0 on Poland. Klose to Podolski. I just love watching the smooth transitions in this game. I'm getting excited about watching the top teams play.

Anyone going to watch US v. Argentina? I'd like to, but my family might be back from their wedding trip, so I might not get to.

Where's WilyMoRocks, by the way? Busy studying for the Bar Exam maybe?

All in all a solid effort by the US today. They continue to show though their complete lack of anything closely resembling a finisher up front. Altidore cannot progress fast enough, hopefully this transfer to Spain will help him. I am also very impressed with the progress Bradley is making since last summer.

Javy Pornstache
06-09-2008, 01:50 AM
Agreed about the Americans' lack of a finisher, but all-in-all a solid effort, very impressed with Tim Howard's performance tonight, he had CONSTANT heat upon him.

MasonBuzz3
06-09-2008, 02:17 AM
I'm not a big soccer fan, but I'd love to have someone explain Euro 2008's opening ceremony.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtEfcfZ21S4

hebroncougar
06-09-2008, 11:17 AM
Italy/Netherlands ought to be a doozie today. Anyone here play Football Manager on the computer?

NJReds
06-09-2008, 01:05 PM
Agreed about the Americans' lack of a finisher, but all-in-all a solid effort, very impressed with Tim Howard's performance tonight, he had CONSTANT heat upon him.

I liked Adu's contributions off the bench. I think the US has a bright future with Adu and Altidore.

NJReds
06-09-2008, 01:11 PM
Italy/Netherlands ought to be a doozie today. Anyone here play Football Manager on the computer?

That's quite a group. France, Italy, Holland and Romania.

When the group was drawn, the Romanian coach had a good line: "We're with the World Cup champion, the runner up and Holland. It's an easy group."

I suspect that they might beat France.

hebroncougar
06-09-2008, 04:18 PM
The Dutch are putting on a clinic today.

Cedric
06-09-2008, 04:30 PM
The Dutch are putting on a clinic today.

Absolutely terrible formation and starting 11 from the Italians. How Del Piero doesn't figure is beyond me. I don't really care if he doesn't want to play out wide on the left. Play him and give him the freedom to get in the middle.

Pirlo and Ambrosoni are just not good right now. Pirlo had a bad Serie A season and he's not exactly playing well now. Just too old and not exactly good.

It also doesn't help when you are shell shocked by one of the worst non calls I have ever seen. Still they clearly are the lesser of the two sides.

MWM
06-10-2008, 02:26 AM
It was weird watching France without Zidane, Henry, or Barthez. The FRance-Romania match was one of the more boring I've seen in a while on this kind of stage. The French team looked flat, kind of like they did in the group stage of the 06 World Cup.

Italy, the odds-on favorite for the tourney, is probably going to have to win both games against France and Romania with a -3 goal differential. They're capable of doing it, but it's not going to be easy. I know I won't shed any tears if they wind up not advancing. :)

The Dutch (and Nigeria) have been my favorite international team since the 1998 World Cup, so I'm hoping they can be the Greece of 2008.

hebroncougar
06-10-2008, 11:21 AM
Absolutely terrible formation and starting 11 from the Italians. How Del Piero doesn't figure is beyond me. I don't really care if he doesn't want to play out wide on the left. Play him and give him the freedom to get in the middle.

Pirlo and Ambrosoni are just not good right now. Pirlo had a bad Serie A season and he's not exactly playing well now. Just too old and not exactly good.

It also doesn't help when you are shell shocked by one of the worst non calls I have ever seen. Still they clearly are the lesser of the two sides.

I wonder if the side judge counted the downed Italian sitting next to the goal as a defender. That was the only explanation I could see.

NJReds
06-10-2008, 11:40 AM
I wonder if the side judge counted the downed Italian sitting next to the goal as a defender. That was the only explanation I could see.

The rule is a little sketchy. If a player goes off the field on their own, then they are supposed to be 'in play.' If the player is off injured, then they our not 'in play.'

Panucci was obviously stunned when he got clobbered by his own goalie, but the shot that was redirected was merely seconds after the collision. That's asking a lot for a line judge to determine in a blink of an eye.

The biggest problem for Italy, IMO, was that their defense was exposed without Cannavaro. They also should have started DeRossi over Ambrosini.
The Italians created a lot of chances, but Van Der Saar was on his game.

M2
06-10-2008, 01:06 PM
I wonder if the side judge counted the downed Italian sitting next to the goal as a defender. That was the only explanation I could see.

I liked that the ref took the "get yer butt up" approach on that play. Panucci should know that defenders are afforded no drama.

The Dutch looked great, though they looked great in their first game at the last World Cup too and then got progressively worse. It was nice to see that sort of positive football.

The good news for the Italians is, even though they got outplayed, they could have poached two goals easily if it weren't for Edwin van der Sar.

Spain and Russia should be entertaining today. The Spanish play a pretty game and Guus Hiddink will surely have a game plan to attack them (counter attack more likely). Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Daniel Guiza, Raul Albiol and Pepe Reina are on the Spanish bench. Guti and Raul are at home. That team has sick depth.

M2
06-10-2008, 01:25 PM
Spain scores first on a quick strike play rather than a 30-pass build up. Torres and Villa played a real pretty combo. Theoretically they form the most dangerous striker duo in the tournament.

And now Russia's banged the ball off the post for what could have been an equalizer. We've got us an action game.

M2
06-10-2008, 01:47 PM
And another quick strike from the Spanish. Iniesta blew apart the Russian defense with a feed to David Villa, who did a superior of keeping himself onside. Even though it's 2-0, the Russians haven't been dormant. They just haven't quite had the timing on that final pass.

RawOwl UK
06-10-2008, 06:20 PM
I wonder if the side judge counted the downed Italian sitting next to the goal as a defender. That was the only explanation I could see.

:D :beerme:

That has made my day .

M2
06-11-2008, 10:41 PM
Watching the Czech team is kind of sad. That was a dynamite club for about a decade with Nedved, Poborsky and Smicer. Now Koller looks like he's no longer the force he was and something has disappeared from Baros' game. Add in Rosicky's inability to stay healthy for more than a week at a time and there isn't much left from the glory days. The Turks should be embarrassed if they can't put that team away.

MWM
06-11-2008, 11:26 PM
What an ending to the Swiss/Turkey game. That was quite a defensive lapse by the Swiss right at the end of the game. Lots of standing around.

And have I ever mentioned how much I can't stand Cristiano Ronaldo.

paintmered
06-12-2008, 08:16 AM
:D :beerme:

That has made my day .

We're yanks, cut us some slack. ;)

M2
06-12-2008, 04:09 PM
Croatia beat Germany today, which throws that entire bracket into turmoil. It also might mean Germany plays Portugal (vying for the title of most impressive team in the tournament so far) in the quarterfinals, which would be an absolute clash of the titans.

Yachtzee
06-13-2008, 03:24 PM
Romania pulls a 1-1 draw with Italy. Looks like the Italy-France matchup is going to be a big one again! Someone call Zidane to see if he wants to unretire.

Yachtzee
06-13-2008, 04:56 PM
Henry had a golden opportunity to equalize against the Dutch.

Yachtzee
06-13-2008, 05:02 PM
Man, it is a Dutch world in this tournament. 2-0.

westofyou
06-13-2008, 05:15 PM
Wow... counter 15 seconds after France got back in the game

NJReds
06-13-2008, 05:45 PM
Romania pulls a 1-1 draw with Italy. Looks like the Italy-France matchup is going to be a big one again! Someone call Zidane to see if he wants to unretire.

Could just once the officials get an offside call correct. If your best officials in a top tournament can't get one of the most important rules in your sport correct, then you have a problem.

I can't stand the offsides rule -- not the rule itself -- but the inability of linesmen to ever get the call right.

improbus
06-13-2008, 08:26 PM
I've watched almost every minute of the tournament (I love teaching), and this might be the most attractive soccer I've seen in years. I could watch the Dutch, Germans, Spanish, and Portuguese play all day. Fabulous stuff.

Yachtzee
06-13-2008, 11:42 PM
I've watched almost every minute of the tournament (I love teaching), and this might be the most attractive soccer I've seen in years. I could watch the Dutch, Germans, Spanish, and Portuguese play all day. Fabulous stuff.

I haven't watched every minute, but I've seen a lot of good soccer over the last week. Even Austria-Poland, which most would find a snoozefest, was fun to watch. Korkmaz for the Austrians had some moves that were a joy to watch. In the games I've watched, it seems there has been less diving and simulation than there was in the World Cup. I love watching guys beat the defense on some beautiful dribbling or a well turned give and go rather than waiting for a challenge and falling all over themselves and writhing on the ground like an idiot. The one thing that seems odd is that teams seem to have issues with finishing, unless you are Dutch. I've seen a number of chances where a player has no one but the goalie to beat and he flubs it.

But those Dutch. . . I must say the way their playing it makes you almost want to go out and buy one of those orange jerseys.

Yachtzee
06-14-2008, 12:08 AM
Could just once the officials get an offside call correct. If your best officials in a top tournament can't get one of the most important rules in your sport correct, then you have a problem.

I can't stand the offsides rule -- not the rule itself -- but the inability of linesmen to ever get the call right.

Which offsides call/non-call are you referring to? The non-call against Van Nistelroy in the game against NDL or the call against Luca Toni today v. Romania? I think the Van Nistelroy goal w/ Panucci off the field is one that will have to be clarified after the tournament. Personally I think it was justified in calling it onside because Panucci had been thrown out of the way by Buffon himself (if you want to rule by whether it was intentional), but it's the same with any rule or statute when something happens that hasn't happened before: the powers that be put their heads together and figure out how it should be handled in the future. Today's call against Toni was bad, but I haven't seen an overabundance of bad calls. I've seen a number of teams get burned trying to set the offside trap, but I'd rather see them let it go if its close. Nothing slows things down more than a slew of offsides calls on close plays.

NJReds
06-14-2008, 08:55 AM
Nothing slows things down more than a slew of offsides calls on close plays.

ESPN's wrap up show does a great job showing the plays. The Toni play today is unforgiveable. The ref and linesman were in perfect position and it wasn't even close to offside. One of ESPN's crew said that there have been 4 goals called back by bad offside calls in this tournament so far, and all 4 teams lost. The refs must be held to a higher standard.

Also, the Dutch benefited from a horrible non-call on a handball in the penalty area. France should've had a penalty shot when the game was 1-0. I'm not saying that France would've won, but who knows.

I can understand a bad call or two over the course of a tournament, but not what we're seeing here. These aren't "close" calls. They should be obvious to top officials.

improbus
06-14-2008, 09:36 AM
But those Dutch. . . I must say the way their playing it makes you almost want to go out and buy one of those orange jerseys.

If only they weren't around $90...

Yachtzee
06-14-2008, 09:52 AM
ESPN's wrap up show does a great job showing the plays. The Toni play today is unforgiveable. The ref and linesman were in perfect position and it wasn't even close to offside. One of ESPN's crew said that there have been 4 goals called back by bad offside calls in this tournament so far, and all 4 teams lost. The refs must be held to a higher standard.

Also, the Dutch benefited from a horrible non-call on a handball in the penalty area. France should've had a penalty shot when the game was 1-0. I'm not saying that France would've won, but who knows.

I can understand a bad call or two over the course of a tournament, but not what we're seeing here. These aren't "close" calls. They should be obvious to top officials.

I haven't seen all four goals that were called back on offsides. I saw the Toni goal and I'll agree. As far as refs at this level making bad calls, it was complained about all the time at the World Cup 2006. I'm guilty of complaining about the refs too. I think we'd like the refs to be perfect, but it's much more difficult that you'd expect. I think missing calls happens more often than we realize, but we tend to forget because they even out over time. Italy gets hosed by a bad call this game, they get the benefit of a bad call the next game.

I think what I care about more than missed calls is controlling the flow of play. I like to see play moving, with refs stepping in at appropriate times to keep players from mauling each other. If they keep a lid on diving, simulating, and cheap shot fouls so that players can win the game with their ball skills rather than their acting skills or brute force, I'm content to let some missed calls slide.

I have noticed a lot of teams playing high on defense to try and set an offsides trap, so that might have something to do with the offsides calls too. I think the only way you get rid of the errors is to allow instant replay on goals. Maybe some day they'll put chips in the players' shoes and have sensors on the sidelines determine where a player is. When the offense is behind the defense, a light will turn on in the booth. If the light's on when the ball is struck, offsides.

improbus
06-14-2008, 11:46 AM
I haven't seen all four goals that were called back on offsides. I saw the Toni goal and I'll agree. As far as refs at this level making bad calls, it was complained about all the time at the World Cup 2006. I'm guilty of complaining about the refs too. I think we'd like the refs to be perfect, but it's much more difficult that you'd expect. I think missing calls happens more often than we realize, but we tend to forget because they even out over time. Italy gets hosed by a bad call this game, they get the benefit of a bad call the next game.

I think what I care about more than missed calls is controlling the flow of play. I like to see play moving, with refs stepping in at appropriate times to keep players from mauling each other. If they keep a lid on diving, simulating, and cheap shot fouls so that players can win the game with their ball skills rather than their acting skills or brute force, I'm content to let some missed calls slide.

I have noticed a lot of teams playing high on defense to try and set an offsides trap, so that might have something to do with the offsides calls too. I think the only way you get rid of the errors is to allow instant replay on goals. Maybe some day they'll put chips in the players' shoes and have sensors on the sidelines determine where a player is. When the offense is behind the defense, a light will turn on in the booth. If the light's on when the ball is struck, offsides.

Offsides might be the hardest thing to call in sports. You have to know when the ball is kicked and where the players are lined up, within inches. I do not envy the refs. What compounds it is that an individual offsides call can impact a soccer game more than any other call in any other sport because goals are so hard to come by.

I do hope that some of these calls start getting cleared up, but I have to say that it hasn't ruined the experience of watching the games for me.

M2
06-14-2008, 11:48 AM
I've watched almost every minute of the tournament (I love teaching), and this might be the most attractive soccer I've seen in years. I could watch the Dutch, Germans, Spanish, and Portuguese play all day. Fabulous stuff.

Thanks to the magic of DVR I've seen been able to see almost every minute too.

Historically speaking, when the Dutch are on their game no one looks better (well, maybe the Brazilians). Check out some Johan Cruyff videos on YouTube sometime. Anyway, it's nice to see them become the executioner inside the group of death.

The Spanish get a test today with the Swedes. On paper the Spanish have the best attack duo, the best keeper, a top five midfield and a top five back line. Of course the whole never seems to equal the sum of its parts with that team. I expect the Spanish will win that group and then face a sterner test with the second place finisher in the Dutch group. Theoretically it should be the winner of France-Italy, but the Romanians could sneak in there (e.g. France and Italy fight to a draw and Romania manages to lose by two or less against the Dutch). If that happens, then I'd say Spain's in trouble because Romania is exactly the kind of team that could catch an overconfident Spanish side napping.

The Croats are looking real strong and they should handle the Turks or Czechs in the quarterfinals.

Right now the Portuguese are my pick to win the whole thing. They can attack, they can play the possession in the midfield, Ricardo's a big game keeper, and Pepe and Carvalho are the cream of the crop, IMO, when it comes to central defense. They've got a lot of ways to beat you. Of course, the Germans might be the toughest matchup for them and that's who it looks like they'll be getting in the quarters.

MWM
06-14-2008, 12:15 PM
Historically speaking, when the Dutch are on their game no one looks better (well, maybe the Brazilians).

Totally agree. Dennis Bergkamp converted me to the orange in 1998 and I've really enjoyed watching them ever since.

Thanks to the DVR I've also been able to watch just about every minute of every game. Unfortunately, one of my German colleagues who I talk soccer with quite a bit came over complaining about the German loss to Croatia, so I didn't bother watching that one.

redhawkfish
06-14-2008, 01:33 PM
Spain up 1-0 over Sweden in 1st half.

redhawkfish
06-14-2008, 01:34 PM
Sweden just tied it up 1-1 30 seconds after my previous post.

Yachtzee
06-14-2008, 01:42 PM
Something I've noticed: When did the tune to "7th Nation Army" replace "Ole, Ole-Ole-Ole" as the primary soccer chant?

NJReds
06-14-2008, 02:02 PM
Good first half between Spain and Sweden. Spain denied an obvious penalty at the end of the first half, though.

JayBruce4HOF
06-14-2008, 02:12 PM
Greece has been the only team I've really disliked watching so far this tournament. They play a very ugly, negative style of soccer. I was ecstatic when Ibrahimovic cracked their bunker the other day.

paintmered
06-14-2008, 03:54 PM
Something I've noticed: When did the tune to "7th Nation Army" replace "Ole, Ole-Ole-Ole" as the primary soccer chant?

Probably around same time as when it happened in Happy Valley.

Yachtzee
06-14-2008, 04:22 PM
Wow, the Greek keeper makes the boneheaded play of the tournament to give the Russians an open goal.

MWM
06-14-2008, 05:16 PM
I was really impressed with Sweeden today right up until the second minute of extra time. What a collosal defensive collapase that was to allow Spain the winner.

IslandRed
06-14-2008, 07:48 PM
But those Dutch. . . I must say the way their playing it makes you almost want to go out and buy one of those orange jerseys.

In the "things I don't understand about soccer" category, how come the numbers on their jerseys look like a third-grader drew them on with a magic marker?

Yachtzee
06-14-2008, 08:45 PM
In the "things I don't understand about soccer" category, how come the numbers on their jerseys look like a third-grader drew them on with a magic marker?

Nike's style department often does goofy things. They were probably bored with messing around with the latest Oregon Ducks uniforms and thought they'd spruce up the Dutch uniforms. I think they look like third-graders got into dad's masking tape. Of course Puma has their teams, including hosts Switzerland and Austria, rocking pixelated "anti-aliased" numbers. It looks like someone was trying to be too fancy with photo shop and used the .jpg file for the template instead of the .gif. Adidas probably has the better looking jersey fonts in this tournament.

Betterread
06-14-2008, 11:12 PM
Something I've noticed: When did the tune to "7th Nation Army" replace "Ole, Ole-Ole-Ole" as the primary soccer chant?

Its been a AS Roma's unofficial song since April 2007. I cannot recall a Serie A game featuring this Ole, Ole ...chant you mention.

Betterread
06-14-2008, 11:14 PM
I was really impressed with Sweeden today right up until the second minute of extra time. What a collosal defensive collapase that was to allow Spain the winner.?

Mistake? What did Sweden do wrong on that play? They had three guys covering Villa. How about Villa's sublime touch to get into shooting position? He beat three guys with two touches and his speed.

I like Spain's form right now as the best in this tournament. However, if Puyol is hurt and can't dress for upcoming games, they will be vulnerable in the center.

Yachtzee
06-14-2008, 11:38 PM
Its been a AS Roma's unofficial song since April 2007. I cannot recall a Serie A game featuring this Ole, Ole ...chant you mention.

I suspect it's probably been the unofficial song for a lot of teams since April 2007, judging from the Euro 2008 crowds. Here's the past "unofficial song" of many teams from the late '80s until recently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0GmxnlXv3s&feature=related

M2
06-15-2008, 09:52 PM
I was really impressed with Sweeden today right up until the second minute of extra time. What a collosal defensive collapase that was to allow Spain the winner.

It was an interesting game. Both teams played their version of defense - the Swedes packed their half of the field and the Spanish passed the ball around for minutes on end (holding the ball, preferably in the other team's half of the field, is how Spaniards like to play defense).

I wouldn't be too hard on the Swedes about that last goal. The ball took a big bounce and Villa made a tremendous play on it (notice the little flick he put on the ball to cross it over the defender before he found the back of the net). Most strikers don't even touch that ball let alone score. Villa and Torres are lethal. They might just be the two best strikers in the tournament. For me, that play reinforced how well the Swedish had played given the razor thin margin of error given them by the Spanish attack. Even if you pile up bodies inside the box, they can find ways through, around or over it.

Meanwhile, the Turks today produced an instant classic. Nihat Kahveci is already a star in the Spanish League, but you've got to figure Arda Turan just moved to the top of a few western European shopping lists and that Mehmet Topal might also be moving to a top tier league.

oneupper
06-15-2008, 11:17 PM
Stupid question for Tuesday:

What stops the Dutch from Losing on purpose to Romania?
They still keep the top position in the group, and France and Italy would have to go home, regardless of the outcome of their game.

MWM
06-15-2008, 11:19 PM
What stops the Dutch from Losing on purpose to Romania?

Nothing except athletic pride. It wouldn't be a bad move, but I would never condone it.

YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!!!!!

improbus
06-16-2008, 09:25 AM
It was an interesting game. Both teams played their version of defense - the Swedes packed their half of the field and the Spanish passed the ball around for minutes on end (holding the ball, preferably in the other team's half of the field, is how Spaniards like to play defense).

I wouldn't be too hard on the Swedes about that last goal. The ball took a big bounce and Villa made a tremendous play on it (notice the little flick he put on the ball to cross it over the defender before he found the back of the net). Most strikers don't even touch that ball let alone score. Villa and Torres are lethal. They might just be the two best strikers in the tournament. For me, that play reinforced how well the Swedish had played given the razor thin margin of error given them by the Spanish attack. Even if you pile up bodies inside the box, they can find ways through, around or over it.

Meanwhile, the Turks today produced an instant classic. Nihat Kahveci is already a star in the Spanish League, but you've got to figure Arda Turan just moved to the top of a few western European shopping lists and that Mehmet Topal might also be moving to a top tier league.
What is funny is that the Spanish were most dangerous counter-attacking, not during their marathon ball-hogging passing sessions This may sound counter-intuitive, but they might have done better off letting the Swede's have some of the ball. When Spain was passing the ball around the pitch, Sweden was able to keep its defensive shape and put 9-10 guys behind the ball. But, after they went forward, the Spanish were able to catch the Swede's out of shape. Just a thought.

westofyou
06-16-2008, 10:31 AM
Nike's style department often does goofy things.

Yes... we all know about The University of Oregon don't we?

improbus
06-16-2008, 10:49 AM
Nike's style department often does goofy things. They were probably bored with messing around with the latest Oregon Ducks uniforms and thought they'd spruce up the Dutch uniforms. I think they look like third-graders got into dad's masking tape. Of course Puma has their teams, including hosts Switzerland and Austria, rocking pixelated "anti-aliased" numbers. It looks like someone was trying to be too fancy with photo shop and used the .jpg file for the template instead of the .gif. Adidas probably has the better looking jersey fonts in this tournament.

I might be in the minority but I like the numbering on the Nike jerseys. It does have that "Rec" league feel, which is cool. If it weren't for the $90 price tag and the half-collar colored like the Dutch flag, I would buy one.

M2
06-16-2008, 12:32 PM
What is funny is that the Spanish were most dangerous counter-attacking, not during their marathon ball-hogging passing sessions This may sound counter-intuitive, but they might have done better off letting the Swede's have some of the ball. When Spain was passing the ball around the pitch, Sweden was able to keep its defensive shape and put 9-10 guys behind the ball. But, after they went forward, the Spanish were able to catch the Swede's out of shape. Just a thought.

You're 100% right, but the Spanish are stubborn. They believe in their skill above all else. Tactics? That's for the unworthies. It's what makes them fascinating to watch. They can own the ball against anyone, even Brazil and Argentina, but, as you pointed out, it allows the opposition to keep an organized defensive shape.

Invariably, in a tournament they run into a game where they can't pick the padlock and where the opponent hits on a counterattack or two. I think it's kind of funny that Spain so far has scored most of its Euro goals on quick strike counters. There is a lesson there. It allows Torres and Villa to run at the net. That vertical style is the chief reason Torres was such a sensation with Liverpool.

And notice who springs those vertical attacks for Spain, the outer backs. It's Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevilla, not the midfielders. When the ball gets to Xavi, the offense slows to a crawl. It's the main difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona the past two years in La Liga. Real knows how to pounce while Barca tries to score impossibly beautiful goals (something they do a lot). Spain could really use Guti, Mikel Arteta or Ariel Ibigaza - players skilled in springing attackers.

improbus
06-16-2008, 01:44 PM
You're 100% right, but the Spanish are stubborn. They believe in their skill above all else. Tactics? That's for the unworthies. It's what makes them fascinating to watch. They can own the ball against anyone, even Brazil and Argentina, but, as you pointed out, it allows the opposition to keep an organized defensive shape.

Invariably, in a tournament they run into a game where they can't pick the padlock and where the opponent hits on a counterattack or two. I think it's kind of funny that Spain so far has scored most of its Euro goals on quick strike counters. There is a lesson there. It allows Torres and Villa to run at the net. That vertical style is the chief reason Torres was such a sensation with Liverpool.

And notice who springs those vertical attacks for Spain, the outer backs. It's Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevilla, not the midfielders. When the ball gets to Xavi, the offense slows to a crawl. It's the main difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona the past two years in La Liga. Real knows how to pounce while Barca tries to score impossibly beautiful goals (something they do a lot). Spain could really use Guti, Mikel Arteta or Ariel Ibigaza - players skilled in springing attackers.

I would also say that David Silva was a black hole. He almost dribbled the game away.

M2
06-16-2008, 02:48 PM
I would also say that David Silva was a black hole. He almost dribbled the game away.

He certainly needed to do better when it comes to delivering a dangerous ball, but his energy was outstanding. I believe he covered more of the field than anybody else on the pitch in that game, something on the order of a km more than the next best guy.

Part of his problem was the Swedes. It's not easy to dribble around an entire forest of giant defenders. Another part was Xavi and Iniesta were constantly stationed behind him ("Hey, pass it back here!"). He was moving forward and they weren't joining the attack. He had a lot more to work with when Cesc and Cazorla got on the field. To Silva's credit, he at least attacked down the wings and tried to lash crosses into the middle. Iniesta didn't hit a single cross all game.

This is where I once again lament the absence of Guti. He makes quick decisions and dissects a tightly packed defense as well as anyone on the planet. You could still have Silva running the opposition ragged out on the wing, but he needed a player with whom he could work quick hitters and switches. Xavi's not that guy.

improbus
06-17-2008, 09:50 AM
I'm both excited and worried about the Italy v. France today. I'm afraid that it will be an ugly snooze-fest with few scoring chances, chippy play, and lots of diving. In other words, I expect a repeat of the World Cup Final....

NJReds
06-17-2008, 10:45 AM
I'm both excited and worried about the Italy v. France today. I'm afraid that it will be an ugly snooze-fest with few scoring chances, chippy play, and lots of diving. In other words, I expect a repeat of the World Cup Final....

The final was pretty electric if I remember correctly -- I'd guess close to 30 shots on goal. At a few of which that hit the post. Much better than the France-Brazil game, which was a snoozefest. And Domenech's constant attacks on the Italians makes for good theater as well.

M2
06-17-2008, 12:34 PM
The final was pretty electric if I remember correctly -- I'd guess close to 30 shots on goal. At a few of which that hit the post. Much better than the France-Brazil game, which was a snoozefest. And Domenech's constant attacks on the Italians makes for good theater as well.

I liked the WC final too. Zidane had a sterling game and the French kept attacking down the wings. The Italians play rope-a-dope for the most part, but the skill level on the field was immense.

NJReds
06-17-2008, 12:50 PM
I liked the WC final too. Zidane had a sterling game and the French kept attacking down the wings. The Italians play rope-a-dope for the most part, but the skill level on the field was immense.

Today's games are interesting because Donadoni and Van Basten are good friends from their Milan days, and Van Basten vowed to play his best lineup to beat Romania. I think Holland, like Portugal, earned the right to rest its starters. Frankly, they're so deep it may not matter. Against France it was Holland's substitutes that ignited the offense.

If Italy doesn't advance, Donadoni is likely finished as coach despite recently signing an extension. Lippi, who resigned after the World Cup, would return.

NJReds
06-17-2008, 04:17 PM
Italy up 1-0; France down to 10 men on a red card.

Also, Ribery is out of the game. Apparently he seriously injured himself getting tangled up with Zambrotta. Things looking bad for the French and the game is only 25 minutes old.

M2
06-17-2008, 04:41 PM
Awful sub by Domenech after Abidal got sent off with a red card. I understand bringing in a central defender to replace Abidal, but when you're down 1-0 and a player in a must-wim game, don't pull one of your most creative players in Nasri. He should have pulled a defensive midfielder like Makelele or Toulalan. His team needs two goals and it's only got three players who can do much damage on the pitch.

NJReds
06-17-2008, 05:03 PM
Holland takes a 1-0 lead over Romania. Italy could qualify with a 1-1 tie if Romania loses.

NJReds
06-17-2008, 05:11 PM
2-0 Italy. DeRossi with a free-kick that's deflected in off Henry.

Toni could've scored at least three goals today if he could finish.

M2
06-17-2008, 05:16 PM
2-0 Italy. DeRossi with a free-kick that's deflected in off Henry.

Toni could've scored at least three goals today if he could finish.

Toni is either having the best awful game I've seen or the worst great game. I can't decide which one. He did a crackerjack job of collapsing like he'd been hit by a sniper rather than taking a shot on net to set up the penalty shot in the first half.

Henry's touch on that second goal was sublime, too bad the ball went into his own net instead of the Italians'. I guess he can at least claim his scoring instinct is so keen he can't shut it off even when he's playing defense.

NJReds
06-17-2008, 05:34 PM
He did a crackerjack job of collapsing like he'd been hit by a sniper rather than taking a shot on net to set up the penalty shot in the first half.


So are you saying it wasn't a foul, because the defender earned a straight red.

Gattuso and Pirlo will not be able to play in the Spain game (accumulated yellow cards) if these results hold.

M2
06-17-2008, 06:36 PM
So are you saying it wasn't a foul, because the defender earned a straight red.

No, it was a foul, but I don't find it all that admirable that Toni's first instinct was to mimic Marcelo Mastroianni and not Roberto Baggio. I think that a determined striker, especially with Toni's size, could have shaken off Abidal and scored a goal in that situation.

NJReds
06-17-2008, 06:38 PM
No, it was a foul, but I don't find it all that admirable that Toni's first instinct was to mimic Marcelo Mastroianni and not Roberto Baggio. I think that a determined striker, especially with Toni's size, could have shaken off Abidal and scored a goal in that situation.

That's a pet peeve of mine also. I don't understand when these guys don't keep their feet and fight through the contact.

improbus
06-17-2008, 10:29 PM
That's a pet peeve of mine also. I don't understand when these guys don't keep their feet and fight through the contact.

I don't think Toni was trying to dive that time, but the Italians do tend to hit the ground now and then...

I think they should make any player that holds his foot, ankle, knee, etc... sit out for three minutes of play. That would stop them from rolling around like they got the Nancy Kerrigan treatment.

NJReds
06-18-2008, 10:06 AM
I don't think Toni was trying to dive that time, but the Italians do tend to hit the ground now and then...

I think they should make any player that holds his foot, ankle, knee, etc... sit out for three minutes of play. That would stop them from rolling around like they got the Nancy Kerrigan treatment.

Yeah. I saw the replay. Getting kicked in the back of the knee will tend to make you go down. Awful work by the French defender there.

It's not just the Italians that hit the ground. Most teams do it. Argentina and Mexico are masters. In fact, I think the U.S. players are so bad at it that it hurts them in international competiton. The U.S. players have an "American football" mentality and tend to fight through fouls while their opponents are dropping like flies with the slightest of contact ... and the refs fall for it constantly.

I'd like to see more officials just let play go on and signal for these guys to get up.

improbus
06-18-2008, 11:46 AM
Yeah. I saw the replay. Getting kicked in the back of the knee will tend to make you go down. Awful work by the French defender there.

It's not just the Italians that hit the ground. Most teams do it. Argentina and Mexico are masters. In fact, I think the U.S. players are so bad at it that it hurts them in international competiton. The U.S. players have an "American football" mentality and tend to fight through fouls while their opponents are dropping like flies with the slightest of contact ... and the refs fall for it constantly.

I'd like to see more officials just let play go on and signal for these guys to get up.
Players should take a look at Christiano Ronaldo, who stopped going down everytime a defenders leg came within three feet (not that he doesn't take the occasional fall, he is Portuguese after all). He began to score more goals... Amazing how that works.
Some of the worst players for diving and writhing on the ground
1) Drogba - I believe he tears his calf muscle three time a half
2) Owen - Oh wait...he really does get hurt...sorry...

Some funny Diving compilations:
http://vidfootball.com/videos/Funny_Football_Videos/The_Worst_Football_Dives_Ever_-_Ham_Actors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3qpE8WZMt8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_NU2G7A5k8&feature=related

camisadelgolf
06-18-2008, 01:07 PM
I just realized this thread existed. Damn, I wish I knew earlier. I didn't think anyone in the States on a Reds board would've cared about what we, in Germany, call the EM.

Am I the only one here who kind of hopes that Luca Toni dies?

NJReds
06-18-2008, 01:28 PM
Am I the only one here who kind of hopes that Luca Toni dies?

That's harsh. Why?

camisadelgolf
06-18-2008, 04:27 PM
That's harsh. Why?

I'm mostly kidding. I just think he epiomizes a lot of things I don't like about athletes. I also question his effort on the field, and I naturally have a small hatred for anyone who doesn't play for a team that I want to win.

NJReds
06-18-2008, 04:32 PM
I'm mostly kidding. I just think he epiomizes a lot of things I don't like about athletes. I also question his effort on the field, and I naturally have a small hatred for anyone who doesn't play for a team that I want to win.

Got it. He's been very active in this tournament, but he's been awful at finishing. Although he scored one goal that the officials wrongly disallowed. He could have scored at least four times against France and drew the penalty. So I don't know about effort, but he's been wreaking havoc on opposing defenses.

I know that he played in the Bundesliga this year, so I didn't get to see him in action all that much.

JayBruce4HOF
06-18-2008, 05:22 PM
Wow Russia has played perhaps the most beautiful soccer of the entire tournament today.

Simply stunning.

M2
06-18-2008, 08:25 PM
Wow Russia has played perhaps the most beautiful soccer of the entire tournament today.

Simply stunning.

Their game against the Dutch should be a real shootout, could be six or seven goals in that game. They, the Turks and the Croats are the choices for anyone looking to root for an underdog. Mind you, underdog is a relative term here. Those would be the three best teams on every continent except for Europe and South America.

improbus
06-18-2008, 08:28 PM
Wow Russia has played perhaps the most beautiful soccer of the entire tournament today.

Simply stunning.
I agree. Russia is coming and coming fast. Their club teams have won 2 of the last 3 UEFA Cups. It's amazing what happens when a free market economy takes over. The best athletes go to the sports that pay, not the Olympic Sports, as they were forced to in the USSR.

Also, I hope Ibrahimovic was tired or injured, because if not, then that was the worst performance I've seen in this tournament from an "elite" striker. He didn't try to get open, had no idea how to play off of Larsson, and couldn't win any balls. Shockingly appalling play from the lead striker on one of the 5 best clubs in the world (Inter).

JayBruce4HOF
06-19-2008, 12:57 AM
Their game against the Dutch should be a real shootout, could be six or seven goals in that game. They, the Turks and the Croats are the choices for anyone looking to root for an underdog. Mind you, underdog is a relative term here. Those would be the three best teams on every continent except for Europe and South America.

I wouldn't include Russia in the same category as Turkey and Croatia in your best team on any continent... also, leaving out Africa as an exception is a grave error, IMO. Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria are all capable of beating either of those 3 you list...

however, even on North America, I would give the United States an excellent chance of beating/playing with Russia (as well as Mexico, I suppose). Also Australia.

Russia's form right now, however, is great. Guus is the man. :D

NJReds
06-19-2008, 09:25 AM
Their game against the Dutch should be a real shootout, could be six or seven goals in that game.

One would hope, but when these tournaments hit the elimination stage, the games tend to become more conservatively played. Unless someone is able to grab an early goal that would open up the game, I wouldn't expect a lot of offense from here on out.

NJReds
06-19-2008, 09:28 AM
Also, I hope Ibrahimovic was tired or injured, because if not, then that was the worst performance I've seen in this tournament from an "elite" striker. He didn't try to get open, had no idea how to play off of Larsson, and couldn't win any balls. Shockingly appalling play from the lead striker on one of the 5 best clubs in the world (Inter).

Watching 'Ibra' in Serie A, I'm not surprised by this performance. I was never a big believer in him due to inconsistant play. One day he's world class, the next day invisible. He was tremendous for Inter this year, so I thought maybe he'd turned the corner, but the old 'Ibra' showed up yesterday.

camisadelgolf
06-19-2008, 10:15 AM
Russia certainly played well, but as it was shown against Spain, they just don't have the talent to consistently beat the better teams.

M2
06-19-2008, 10:56 AM
I wouldn't include Russia in the same category as Turkey and Croatia in your best team on any continent... also, leaving out Africa as an exception is a grave error, IMO. Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria are all capable of beating either of those 3 you list...

however, even on North America, I would give the United States an excellent chance of beating/playing with Russia (as well as Mexico, I suppose). Also Australia.

Russia's form right now, however, is great. Guus is the man. :D

African teams don't defend consistently. Until they do, they're going to lag behind Euro and South America squads. I'm sure Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria (and Cameroon and Mali) could win a single game against any number of teams, but put them up against a steady parade of good teams in a World Cup tournament and they'll get bounced without advancing overly far (maybe one could make the round of eight). It's no mistake that the Egyptians have won the Africa Cup two times running. They lack much in the way of inventiveness, but they dominate that tournament with their defensive organization.

M2
06-19-2008, 11:07 AM
Russia certainly played well, but as it was shown against Spain, they just don't have the talent to consistently beat the better teams.

Agreed. They can be attacked. It's why I think that QF game looms as the one shootout of the round. The Dutch have the skills to expose the Russian defense and, if they can net an early goal, the Russians will have to press forward.

JayBruce4HOF
06-19-2008, 12:16 PM
Actually, I think getting the one player back who missed the first two matches "Asharvin" or something like that, is what made all the difference. He received a two match ban during their last qualifying match. They look like a different team with him on the pitch. Now their defense is suspect, no doubt about that.

JayBruce4HOF
06-19-2008, 12:18 PM
What about the part of my post comparing Russia vs. United States, M2? The USA certainly has more players in top leagues than Russia... then again, they have Guus while we have Bob Bradley, the bunker lover. :(

M2
06-19-2008, 02:03 PM
What about the part of my post comparing Russia vs. United States, M2? The USA certainly has more players in top leagues than Russia... then again, they have Guus while we have Bob Bradley, the bunker lover. :(

In a one-off game, I'd say it's a tossup. Over the course of a tournament, I'd take the Russians every time. The U.S. would not be in the quarterfinals of Euro 2008. In fact, the U.S. would not even have qualified for the tournament out of the bracket the Russians came through (England certainly would have beaten them and possibly the Israelis too).

I think you could safely put the U.S. in with the top non-Euro qualifiers: England, Serbia, Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Belgium, Ukraine, Norway, Denmark and Bulgaria. The U.S. probably wouldn't be the worst team in that group, but it wouldn't be all that close to the best either.

M2
06-19-2008, 03:45 PM
It's damn-near impossible not to root Portugal for after you hear its national anthem. Every player sings it in full voice as does every Portugal fan in the crowd.

M2
06-19-2008, 09:30 PM
Heck of a game today. Hopefully the other QF games can match the action standard set in this one. The Germans demonstrated why everyone fears them and the Portuguese go home yet again with that feeling that they just missed on their chance to capture a major tournament. What's Portuguese for Dem Bums?

It will be interesting to see if Aragones uses this game to scare the Spanish straight ahead of their game with Italy: You see what happens when you give a team like that an inch?

NJReds
06-20-2008, 10:16 AM
Heck of a game today. Hopefully the other QF games can match the action standard set in this one. The Germans demonstrated why everyone fears them and the Portuguese go home yet again with that feeling that they just missed on their chance to capture a major tournament. What's Portuguese for Dem Bums?


Portugal has to learn how to defend set plays. And their goalie is fantastic at penalties, but has no clue what to do with crosses and free kicks.

It doesn't help when you best player and coach are perusing the want ads while preparing and playing in the tournament.

All said though, it was a great game and fun to watch. I really would've liked to see another 10 minutes to see if Portugal could score again.

JayBruce4HOF
06-20-2008, 06:15 PM
Holy. Bleeping. Moly.

JayBruce4HOF
06-20-2008, 06:17 PM
OH MY GOD

Turkey strikes back in stoppage time!!!!!!!!!!!

:eek: :eek: :eek:

JayBruce4HOF
06-20-2008, 06:29 PM
Turkey will be huge underdogs versus the Germans. Not only did they play a hard-fought 120 minutes versus the Croats, they'll be missing 4 of their best players as well due to suspension.

The Germans must be very pleased with this result.

TheBigLebowski
06-20-2008, 06:51 PM
Turkey has played, quite possibly, the 3 most entertaining matches of soccer I've ever seen in this Euro. Wow.

westofyou
06-20-2008, 07:17 PM
My DVR stopped recording in the middle of the first OT... and I was watching it 1 hour behind

aaarghh

MWM
06-21-2008, 12:37 AM
My DVR stopped recording in the middle of the first OT... and I was watching it 1 hour behind

aaarghh

Same here. I was not happy.

M2
06-21-2008, 12:52 AM
The Turks are the Yellowbeard team, they're never more dangerous than when they're dead.

camisadelgolf
06-21-2008, 04:28 AM
The Turkey vs. Germany match might just start WWIII.

Yachtzee
06-21-2008, 12:06 PM
The Turkey vs. Germany match might just start WWIII.

Winner gets the Doner Kebap trophy. Mmmmm. Doner Kebap.

Yachtzee
06-21-2008, 06:14 PM
Wow. Netherlands vs. Russia. Is it over yet? I just saw Russia score their second in overtime to go 3-1, but then we've got weather alerts cutting in with tornado warnings. Is it official?

Yachtzee
06-21-2008, 06:14 PM
By the way, thanks to ESPN and ABC for putting this game on ABC in HD. Very nice.

NJReds
06-21-2008, 06:17 PM
Wow. Netherlands vs. Russia. Is it over yet? I just saw Russia score their second in overtime to go 3-1, but then we've got weather alerts cutting in with tornado warnings. Is it official?

It's all over. The Russians played beautifully today and could've scored 6-7 goals easily. The Dutch were shellshocked, and a group winner still has not won a QF match.

MWM
06-21-2008, 08:37 PM
Wow, didn't see that coming at all. I'm not surprised the Russians won, but the Dutch were completely dominated from kick-of to the final whistle. I don't have near the soccer acumen most here have, but the Dutch looked completely confused by what the Russians were doing. Actually, as I was watching this game, I kept having similar feelings watching Holland as I have watching the US against top international teams. That's what they looked like, totally overwhelmed without any answers.

Must be something about wearing orange and playing defense. I wonder if Chuck Bresnahan coaches the Dutch defense, too. :evil:

Yachtzee
06-21-2008, 09:54 PM
I think the problem for the Dutch is that it looked like they kept waiting for the ball to come to them and looking for an opening whereas the Russians were going after the ball and trying to make something happen. I don't think that bodes well for the Spanish, who so far this tournament have shown a tendency to play the passing game while waiting for an opening. I want to say I'd feel more confident about the Italians' chances against the Russians than I do the Spanish after today.

JayBruce4HOF
06-21-2008, 10:02 PM
If I was a top club, I'd be doing whatever it took to add Arsharvin to my club. Kid is just sick. I think he can play for any club in the world.

The Russians really took it to them today, that was the biggest thing that I noticed.

I'm officially rooting for the Russians to win the whole thing. They have done what I WISH the United States would do: turn the team over to the youngsters (and hire Guus Hiddink haha).

JayBruce4HOF
06-21-2008, 10:03 PM
Arsharvin actually reminds me of Landon Donovan quite a bit.

camisadelgolf
06-22-2008, 05:06 AM
Russia forced the Netherlands to play Russia's game, and the game just stayed that way the entire time. Russia deserves a lot of credit. They were sloppy at times, but they compensated with effort and determination. Going into the game, I thought the Netherlands had played the smartest of all the teams in the tournament, but Russia really stuck to their strengths and made the Netherlands pay for it. That was a great match.

RawOwl UK
06-22-2008, 07:38 AM
Russia were just SUPERB.

I also have them in the Sweep at work so CMON Russia :)

hebroncougar
06-22-2008, 09:04 AM
Arsharvin actually reminds me of Landon Donovan quite a bit.


Donovan doesn't hold a candle to Arsharvin.

JayBruce4HOF
06-22-2008, 10:15 AM
Donovan doesn't hold a candle to Arsharvin.

He's a Landon clone. He's a better passer than dribbler, pacey, quick, mean streak, seems to like getting others involved, and a quick finisher when the opportunity presents itself.

He might do those things BETTER overall than LD, but the 'content' of their games are very much the same.

NJReds
06-22-2008, 05:15 PM
The ref is having a bad night in the Italy - Spain affair. He's bogged this game down to a crawl. It doesn't help to have Spanish and Italians falling constantly like there's a sniper in the stands, but sometimes the ref has to see through that and just tell players to get up, while letting the play move on.

camisadelgolf
06-22-2008, 08:44 PM
The ref is having a bad night in the Italy - Spain affair. He's bogged this game down to a crawl. It doesn't help to have Spanish and Italians falling constantly like there's a sniper in the stands, but sometimes the ref has to see through that and just tell players to get up, while letting the play move on.

Toward the end of the match, I think that's what they were doing. David Villa's yellow card was just one example of that. Overall, until the penalty shots, it was a pretty boring match between two normally-exciting teams.

MWM
06-22-2008, 08:57 PM
Yep, horribly officiated game. Nice to see the better team win this one.

NJReds
06-22-2008, 09:16 PM
Toward the end of the match, I think that's what they were doing. David Villa's yellow card was just one example of that. Overall, until the penalty shots, it was a pretty boring match between two normally-exciting teams.

They played like they didn't want to lose. Spain pushed a little more and deserved to win. Italy showed how much they miss Pirlo directing the offense. They really didn't even try.

JayBruce4HOF
06-22-2008, 09:45 PM
I really hope Russia crushes Spain. Too bad both teams couldn't have lost today... I really detest simulation in soccer. I wish referees would be more ardent about punishing it with cautions.

M2
06-23-2008, 12:22 AM
The Italians tried for a smash-and-grab win. To their credit they did a great job of closing down whenever the Spanish moved at the net. It also helped that the ref let them do whatever they wanted inside the 18-yard box (at least in the first half), but Italy put on a clinic on how to make a game ugly. Was it a cynical decision? Sure. Yet the Italians aren't proud. They figured they had little chance of winning a positive game against Spain and they had the discipline to keep it packed in the back, trying to poach a win.

This is exactly how Italy beat France and Germany at the World Cup two years ago. They played brilliant anti-football. There were only two problems with that plan today:

1) No Pirlo, relegating the Italian offense to crossing the ball into the box in search of Luca Toni's lazy head.

2) Iker Casillas. In the World Cup, all Italy had to do in the WC final was beat Fabian Barthez (who was awful throughout that entire tournament). They put one tough shot on him all game and it went in. Casillas is the best keeper in captivity (maybe Edwin van der Sar can claim to be as good at this moment). Italy put two trying shots in at Casillas and he stopped them both (foot save in the first half and fingertip save in the 2nd). Against some other teams that's a 2-0 win, but it was going to take serious quality to beat Casillas and, without Pirlo, Italy couldn't muster it.

When it finally came down to penalties, Casillas really shined. He was on all four shots. Two were placed perfectly and they went in. Two weren't and they got stopped.

Spain's back line also put on a nice defensive display. They didn't have the numbers back like the Italians, but Carlos Puyol in particular won almost every ball that came near him. Great game for Captain Caveman.

The Spain-Russia semifinal should be interesting with Arshavin in the mix. Yet Russia's defense is built for Spain to exploit with its passing game. We'll see if Hiddink dares to open it up against the Spanish side or if he chooses to set up a forest on the edge of his 18-yard box and counter the Spanish. It might make more sense to choose the former because he's got a young team that likely won't be as disciplined in a shell as the Italians.

redhawkfish
06-25-2008, 03:24 PM
Turkey vs. Germany will start in about 10 minutes? Who is every one picking in this match?

M2
06-25-2008, 05:18 PM
Colin Kazim-Richards is having the game of life today and the Turkish midfield is owning the ball. Germany may win this game, but it's getting outplayed.

JayBruce4HOF
06-25-2008, 05:45 PM
A shame the best game of the tournament was mired with "technical difficulties." Would have been awesome to actually see the entire 2nd half in its entirety.

camisadelgolf
06-26-2008, 09:59 AM
A shame the best game of the tournament was mired with "technical difficulties." Would have been awesome to actually see the entire 2nd half in its entirety.

Yeah, that was crazy. The weather was perfect, and this far in the tournament, you'd think they would've had a handle on how these broadcasts should go. It was still a great game to watch, though. It wasn't exactly all-around clean, sound soccer, but it was entertaining.

JayBruce4HOF
06-26-2008, 10:12 AM
That goal Lahm scored was simply incredible. Talk about atoning for a mistake in a big, big, big way. :D

M2
06-26-2008, 05:43 PM
Well, I guess it's fair to say that Russia was tailor-made for Spain now that the Spanish have won two games on a 7-1 aggregate.

Spain carved them up something fierce. Too much skill on the ball and the Russians had no answer.

The Germans play a similar game to the Russians. They've beaten two sides stylistically similar to Spain (Portugal and Turkey) by 3-2 scores, but Spain has a superior keeper, plays tougher defense and dominates the midfield like no one else. Do the Germans attack or stay in a shell?

M2
06-29-2008, 06:37 PM
Dominant Spanish defense, who'd have guessed it? The rojos didn't allow a single goal in the knockout rounds, so much for the theory that they were soft in the back line. Puyol, Marchena, Ramos and Capdevilla put on a clinic in winning the ball, both on the ground and in the air (where they supposedly were vulnerable). Senna deserves a nod here too. He owned the midfield in all five games he played.

Yachtzee
06-29-2008, 08:28 PM
Dominant Spanish defense, who'd have guessed it? The rojos didn't allow a single goal in the knockout rounds, so much for the theory that they were soft in the back line. Puyol, Marchena, Ramos and Capdevilla put on a clinic in winning the ball, both on the ground and in the air (where they supposedly were vulnerable). Senna deserves a nod here too. He dominated the midfield in all five games he played.

Spain wins and with the close of tournament, so closes ESPN and ABC's interest in soccer for 2008. See you in 2010 for the World Cup ESPN and ABC.

NJReds
06-29-2008, 08:44 PM
Spain wins and with the close of tournament, so closes ESPN and ABC's interest in soccer for 2008. See you in 2010 for the World Cup ESPN and ABC.

They do show MLS games. ESPN shows the UEFA Champions League as well.

M2
06-29-2008, 10:47 PM
They do show MLS games. ESPN shows the UEFA Champions League as well.

Yep, they've stepped up their coverage quite a bit. They also air most of the U.S. national team games. My guess FSC, Setanta and GolTV are drawing strong ratings (for cable) for live games and ESPN figures that beats running endless World's Strongest Man reruns.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to see ESPN try to launch it's own soccer network somewhere down the road, maybe partnering with Setanta or GolTV.

paintmered
06-29-2008, 11:51 PM
Spain wins and with the close of tournament, so closes ESPN and ABC's interest in soccer for 2008. See you in 2010 for the World Cup ESPN and ABC.

I do have to give ABC/ESPN credit for their coverage of the tourney. Adding Andy Grey in the booth made them instantly credible compared to their announcing debacle for the World Cup. I really enjoyed their coverage and hope they don't revert back.

Yachtzee
06-30-2008, 12:22 AM
They do show MLS games. ESPN shows the UEFA Champions League as well.

Unfortunately, as of late it seems like the games are on 10 pm on Thursdays and the UEFA Champions League coverage appears to be non-existent until the final knockout stages. In fact, it seemed like the year before they had a weekly UEFA Champions League show on Fridays that they stopped showing this past season. From what I gather, they moved most of their Champions League coverage to ESPN Deportes, which I don't receive. I think it would be nice if they had a weekly hour-long highlight show covering MLS and the major international leagues and cup competitions.

M2
06-30-2008, 09:03 AM
Unfortunately, as of late it seems like the games are on 10 pm on Thursdays and the UEFA Champions League coverage appears to be non-existent until the final knockout stages. In fact, it seemed like the year before they had a weekly UEFA Champions League show on Fridays that they stopped showing this past season. From what I gather, they moved most of their Champions League coverage to ESPN Deportes, which I don't receive. I think it would be nice if they had a weekly hour-long highlight show covering MLS and the major international leagues and cup competitions.

ESPN covers the Champions League group stages with double headers each Tuesday and Wednesday (usually a live game on ESPN 2 and a 2nd game replay on ESPN Classic).

As for the MLS games, when it's an east coast game it starts at 7, when it's west coast it starts at 10.

Yachtzee
06-30-2008, 09:47 AM
ESPN covers the Champions League group stages with double headers each Tuesday and Wednesday (usually a live game on ESPN 2 and a 2nd game replay on ESPN Classic).

As for the MLS games, when it's an east coast game it starts at 7, when it's west coast it starts at 10.

Really? I didn't start picking it up on my schedule on Direct TV until the knockout stages. I did see some of the double headers in the knockout rounds, but I didn't see those this past season until after the new year. I felt like there was practically no coverage when the group stages started in the fall.

M2
06-30-2008, 10:03 AM
Really? I didn't start picking it up on my schedule on Direct TV until the knockout stages. I did see some of the double headers in the knockout rounds, but I didn't see those this past season until after the new year. I felt like there was practically no coverage when the group stages started in the fall.

They had games every week there was action in the group stages. We even had a thread running here that started in the fall. In fact they even had the round of qualifiers before the group stage (last year they showed Liverpool vs. Toulouse). The coverage is pretty extensive.

They also still do the weekly CL wrapup show (during the weeks where there's action), but I think its time slot bounces around a lot.

Yachtzee
06-30-2008, 01:59 PM
They had games every week there was action in the group stages. We even had a thread running here that started in the fall. In fact they even had the round of qualifiers before the group stage (last year they showed Liverpool vs. Toulouse). The coverage is pretty extensive.

They also still do the weekly CL wrapup show (during the weeks where there's action), but I think its time slot bounces around a lot.

Are you sure you aren't thinking about the season before this past one? I remember there more coverage prior to this past season, but I felt this season's coverage was pretty bad. I even tried setting up my Tivo to seek out and record Champions League games and they couldn't find them. When I did a search through the program guide, all Champions League matches were listed on ESPN Deportes, while ESPN2 and ESPN Classic were showing other stuff. The only soccer I could find was the weekly EPL matchup shown on FSN Ohio on Tuesday afternoons. Champions League games didn't start showing up on the non-Spanish ESPN channels, for me at least, until February. I think I might have even commented on it in the fall. I've also noticed ESPN moving a lot of its soccer coverage to ESPN360, which I don't have access to either. Other than the Round of 16 and beyond for the Champions League, Euro 2008, the MLS game of the week and the occasional USMNT tilt, there really hasn't been much soccer coverage at all. If you're like me and don't have Fox Soccer Channel, you aren't getting that much soccer on a weekly basis, and when you do, it's at weird times.

M2
06-30-2008, 02:14 PM
Are you sure you aren't thinking about the season before this past one?

100% positive. I was particularly interested in the Liverpool-Toulouse game because both teams had new strikers (Torres and Andre-Pierre Gignac, obviously that worked out better for Liverpool).

And I made sure to telecommute each day the group stages were played.

Yachtzee
06-30-2008, 06:14 PM
100% positive. I was particularly interested in the Liverpool-Toulouse game because both teams had new strikers (Torres and Andre-Pierre Gignac, obviously that worked out better for Liverpool).

And I made sure to telecommute each day the group stages were played.

Are you sure you're watching those games on an ESPN channel available to the general public? I have DirectTV and get ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, and ESPN News, but not ESPNU or Deportes. No GolTV or FSC or Setanta Sports. I have never seen a qualifying round match listed on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN Classic. I guess I'll have to watch out for them when they come around again.

M2
06-30-2008, 07:10 PM
Are you sure you're watching those games on an ESPN channel available to the general public? I have DirectTV and get ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, and ESPN News, but not ESPNU or Deportes. No GolTV or FSC or Setanta Sports. I have never seen a qualifying round match listed on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN Classic. I guess I'll have to watch out for them when they come around again.

ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. 100% sure.