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improbus
06-03-2012, 01:42 PM
The best top to bottom international competition in the world begins soon. It needs to start soon because England might not have a team left to compete. Look at their injury list:
Gary Cahill
Jack Wilshere
Kyle Walker
Frank Lampard
Gareth Barry
John Ruddy (3rd GK)
Michael Dawson
Chris Smalling
Tom Huddlestone
Jack Rodwell
Darren Bent

That's a team that may have qualified for the tournament by itself.

Yachtzee
06-03-2012, 02:19 PM
It should be an interesting tournament. Some of the favorites are facing major issues. England is wracked with injuries. Italy is once again facing a huge scandal. Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal are going to beat each other up in the Group of Death. Joint host Ukraine has all kinds of issues. It could be a good opportunity for a dark horse to make it through and pull another stunner like Greece did in 2004.

improbus
06-03-2012, 04:47 PM
It should be an interesting tournament. Some of the favorites are facing major issues. England is wracked with injuries. Italy is once again facing a huge scandal. Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal are going to beat each other up in the Group of Death. Joint host Ukraine has all kinds of issues. It could be a good opportunity for a dark horse to make it through and pull another stunner like Greece did in 2004.

If they would have made the tournament, I would have fancied Belgium. Not too many teams can boast their middle and back of the lineup with Fellaini, Kompany, and Vermaelen.

If I had to pick a winner, it would be the Dutch. They are playing well, haven't been hit as hard by injuries, and are looking for some revenge from the WC Final.

5TimeWSChamps
06-05-2012, 03:14 AM
Starts in 3 days

Group A:
Czech Republic
Greece
Poland
Russia

Group B:
Denmark
Germany
Netherlands
Portugal

Group C:
Croatia
Ireland
Italy
Spain

Group D:
England
France
Sweden
Ukraine

My predictions:
Group A Winner - Czech Republic
Group A Runner Up - Russia

Group B Winner - Netherlands
Group B Runner Up - Germany

Group C Winner - Spain
Group C Runner Up - Croatia

Gruop D Winner - France
Group D Runner Up - Sweden

Quarterfinals:
Group A Winner - Czech Republic
Group B Runner Up - Germany
Winner - Germany

Group B Winner - Netherlands
Group A Runner Up - Russia
Winner - Netherlands

Group C Winner - Spain
Group D Runner Up - Sweden
Winner - Spain

Group D Winner - France
Group C Runner Up - Croatia
Winner - Croatia

Semifinals:
Germany vs Spain
Winner - Spain

Netherlands vs Croatia
Winner - Netherlands

Final:
Winner - Netherlands, avenging the 2010 World Cup Final loss to Spain, the Netherlands FINALLY gets over the hump and gets their major trophy.

BuckeyeRed27
06-05-2012, 03:38 PM
I'm going to be pulling for the Dutch as well. Should be a great tournament and I love that almost every game is available on TV now.

Yachtzee
06-05-2012, 05:16 PM
I'm going to be pulling for the Dutch as well. Should be a great tournament and I love that almost every game is available on TV now.

If the Dutch played the way they did in the World Cup, I hope they get nowhere near the finals. Maybe they'll play more soccer and less karate this time around.

The Argentinians have a word for that style of dirty play. It's called "Antifutbol." I think that describes the current Dutch team as opposed to the "Total Football" style the Dutch of years gone by invented.

BuckeyeRed27
06-05-2012, 06:03 PM
If the Dutch played the way they did in the World Cup, I hope they get nowhere near the finals. Maybe they'll play more soccer and less karate this time around.

The Argentinians have a word for that style of dirty play. It's called "Antifutbol." I think that describes the current Dutch team as opposed to the "Total Football" style the Dutch of years gone by invented.

I didn't like the way they played in the WC Final, but I get why they did it. Spain was a better team and they needed to play physical. I do agree that they went a little overboard with the style of play.

Robben, RVP and Sneijder all seem to be in good form right now so hopefully they can rely more on their attack.

Yachtzee
06-05-2012, 09:55 PM
I didn't like the way they played in the WC Final, but I get why they did it. Spain was a better team and they needed to play physical. I do agree that they went a little overboard with the style of play.

Robben, RVP and Sneijder all seem to be in good form right now so hopefully they can rely more on their attack.

9 yellow cards, one being a second yellow for a red, is more than a little overboard. De Jong should have been given a straight red, leaving the Dutch down to 10 men in the first half. A couple of other fouls could have drawn reds, leaving the Dutch even further down. They blew away the record for yellows in a final. If the ref Webb had just given De Jong the straight red like he deserved, maybe the Dutch would have dialed back on the thuggery and tried playing soccer. The US beat those same Spaniards 2-0 on 2 yellows and a red, so you don't need to resort to dirty play to beat them.

I can only hope they don't play that way again.

MWM
06-07-2012, 02:28 PM
The Dutch was always my team (other than the US) since watching them, especially Dennis Bergkamp, in the 98 World Cup. But their play was so awful in the WC semis and the finals that I don't know that I can root for a team that Robben plays on.

improbus
06-07-2012, 03:09 PM
One thing I love about soccer is the terminology. Perhaps my favorite applies to the Dutch in the WC Final, and that is "Negative Football". It is a strategy reviled throughout the footballing world and I would love to see it applied to other sports. Instead of "3 yards and a cloud of dust", call it what it is. Negative Football. Wisconsin hoops. Negative Basketball. Perhaps we could stigmatize some of those teams for those tactics.

IslandRed
06-07-2012, 03:15 PM
I think it's important to not lump in "conservative" with "dirty/cynical," though.

improbus
06-07-2012, 03:59 PM
I think it's important to not lump in "conservative" with "dirty/cynical," though.

That's true. I was talking about what the Italian used to call, "Catenaccio" - which means "door-bolt". Maybe "Negative Football" isn't the best describer of the Dutch. The Dutch were just dirty. Negative is putting 10 men behind the ball and playing for a draw or hoping to squeek out a 1-0 win. Some examples in soccer.

-Greece at the 2004 Euro's.
-Chelsea and Inter under Mourinho had that reputation (sometimes undeserved, sometimes very deserved.)
-The Italians are known for it at times.

ervinsm84
06-07-2012, 07:36 PM
Any last minute interest in some type of bracket style pool predictions just for fun? I know group play may make that a little more complicated on a scoring system though.


ESPN does it this way fwiw

Group Stage: 1 point per correct pick
Group Stage Bonus: 1 point per pick if team is in correct slot
Quarterfinals: 2 points per correct pick
Quarterfinals Bonus: 2 points per pick if team is in correct slot
Semifinals: 8 points per correct pick
Finals: 16 points for correct pick

Maximum Points Breakdown:

Group Stage: 16 points
Quarterfinals: 16 points
Semifinals: 16 points
Finals: 16 points

thatcoolguy_22
06-08-2012, 06:41 AM
I have a wager with a friend that if Russia wins Euro 2012, I have to spend the next year learning the language. To be honest, I'm pulling for them. Sounding like a 1950's spy sounds awesome.

Yachtzee
06-08-2012, 11:15 AM
I have a wager with a friend that if Russia wins Euro 2012, I have to spend the next year learning the language. To be honest, I'm pulling for them. Sounding like a 1950's spy sounds awesome.

What's the alternate wager?

Yachtzee
06-08-2012, 03:50 PM
[AtiQUOTE=IslandRed;2620598]I think it's important to not lump in "conservative" with "dirty/cynical," though.[/QUOTE]

In soccer, I think "negative" refers more to the gamesmanship that goes on with the diving, the cynical fouls, and the baiting of the other team to get players sent off. It involves trying to gain an advantage using dirty tricks. While the Italian "catenaccio" style is often associated with it, they come from two different sources. I believe the catenaccio was actually originated by the Swiss as a means for a weaker team to hold on against a stronger team, not unlike what we in the US call bunkering. Italian teams started adopting it and it spread like wildfire in the Italian pro ranks. The real negative play gained prominence in Argentina in the late 60s-early 70s, where matches became bloody affairs reflecting the political strife, and was called "antifutbol." With the Italians' penchant for importing Argentinians of Italian descent, it became the ideal place for synthesis between the two styles.

In the NFL, I would liken the negative play of the Dutch to the dirty play exhibited by the Raiders in their heyday and the Steelers of today.

Yachtzee
06-08-2012, 04:05 PM
And Euro 2012 opens with a 1-1 draw between Poland and Greece, each playing with 10 men on a card happy Spanish ref. This guy gave out 16 reds in 19 La Liga matches. I imagine if this guy had worked the 2010 World Cup Final, they would have finished with a 8v8 match (which in that case wouldn't have been bad). Some of the cards given were pretty cheap. There needs to be balance between maintaining control and inserting yourself in the game.

Yachtzee
06-08-2012, 05:27 PM
The Russians are looking strong against the Czechs. 4-1 with 6 minutes to go.

BuckeyeRed27
06-08-2012, 06:04 PM
The Russians are looking strong against the Czechs. 4-1 with 6 minutes to go.

Sounds like Christiano Arshavin had a nice game.

improbus
06-08-2012, 06:31 PM
The biggest difference between playing 10 behind the ball and doing what the Dutch did is that there are rules and consequences (or at least supposed to be) against playing dirty. The Dutch should have been punished in the game for their tactics. The refs have that capacity. There is nothing anyone can do if Mourinho decides to "Park the Bus" to recover the game from its unwatchable depths. As much as I love the beautiful game, when a team decides to go 2004 Greece it becomes a miserable experience.

Yachtzee
06-08-2012, 06:59 PM
The biggest difference between playing 10 behind the ball and doing what the Dutch did is that there are rules and consequences (or at least supposed to be) against playing dirty. The Dutch should have been punished in the game for their tactics. The refs have that capacity. There is nothing anyone can do if Mourinho decides to "Park the Bus" to recover the game from its unwatchable depths. As much as I love the beautiful game, when a team decides to go 2004 Greece it becomes a miserable experience.

The crazy thing is, the Dutch don't really play 10 behind the ball either. They were just plain dirty. They have a wealth of scoring threats. Van Persie, Huntelaar, Sneijder, Kuyt, and Robben (when he stays on his feet) are all goal scorers. They could play a clean, attack-oriented game if they wish.

improbus
06-08-2012, 08:11 PM
The crazy thing is, the Dutch don't really play 10 behind the ball either. They were just plain dirty. They have a wealth of scoring threats. Van Persie, Huntelaar, Sneijder, Kuyt, and Robben (when he stays on his feet) are all goal scorers. They could play a clean, attack-oriented game if they wish.

I must have written it poorly, because that is what I was trying to say. It was a real shame that the refs didn't red card De Jong. It would have forced the Dutch to change things up.

westofyou
06-08-2012, 08:13 PM
The Russians are looking strong against the Czechs. 4-1 with 6 minutes to go.

I was at the Russia/Cameroon game in WC 94 when the Russian guy scored 5 goals... Dominating is a weak word for that day

MWM
06-09-2012, 11:51 AM
We have a major international soccer event and once again the ref becomes the story- in the very first game. He was atrocious. The first yellow to Greece was barely a foul, and the second probably wasn't a foul at all. Anyhow, I'm not sure what happened to Poland, but they looked great until they scored their goal. They seemed to play scared the rest of the game, even when they were up a man.

I couldn't believe the ineptitude of the Czech defense. It was like watching the US in the last worlds cup. I actually thought Czech looked good in the early going of th game but left themselves way too exposed on the counterattacks. But Russia did look really good.

Yachtzee
06-09-2012, 02:54 PM
The first shocker! Denmark beats the Dutch 1-0. I think this puts pressure on everyone else in the group.

BuckeyeRed27
06-09-2012, 02:56 PM
Wow huge upset there. Going to take a huge effort for the Dutch to even get out of the group.

improbus
06-09-2012, 03:09 PM
Sometimes, the weakest team in the group of deat advances. Crazy things happen in group play.

MWM
06-09-2012, 03:18 PM
I was impressed with the Danes. The Dutch were very sloppy in their attacks, especially finishing. They wasted several great scoring opportunities just by sloppy touches.

I'm curious how they go about putting the groups together. Having Germany, Holland, and Portugal in the same group doesn't make sense to me.

Yachtzee
06-09-2012, 05:47 PM
And Germany gets past Portugal 1-0.

Yachtzee
06-09-2012, 06:07 PM
Just saw the Dutch coach complaining about the no call on the handball. When did Tony LaRussa become the coach for the Netherlands. I thought it was inadvertant. Maybe he should worry about his team making 28 shots and not getting any in. The Danes made some great saves, but a lot of those shots just plain missed the mark.

Got to watch the first half and the end of the Germany-Portugal game. Neither team looked awe inspiring. I think the group is still wide open even with two teams getting 3 points.

MWM
06-10-2012, 01:20 PM
Geez, serious Italian theatrics already. I just can't root for them regardless of who they're playing, maybe even Mexic.

BuckeyeRed27
06-10-2012, 01:23 PM
I was impressed with the Danes. The Dutch were very sloppy in their attacks, especially finishing. They wasted several great scoring opportunities just by sloppy touches.

I'm curious how they go about putting the groups together. Having Germany, Holland, and Portugal in the same group doesn't make sense to me.

They put all the teams into four "pots" based on their rankings. The host nations are also put in the first pot followed along with the highest ranked teams. After that it's a random draw.

MWM
06-10-2012, 01:33 PM
How did Cassano not get carded for that foul against the goalie?

Outrider
06-10-2012, 02:17 PM
England does not have a shot this time around. One of the teams that looks like they are greatly improved so far is Russia.

MWM
06-10-2012, 02:29 PM
I'd love to hear Balotelli explain what was going through his head when he had a one on one and leisurely waited for the defender to come take the ball.

MWM
06-10-2012, 02:57 PM
Soccer is pretty much impossible to officiate. This guy did a good job in the first half but has been pretty bad in the second. That card to Torres was as bad as any I've seen. He didn't do anything.

improbus
06-10-2012, 02:58 PM
Spain have a real problem if they can't find an actual striker. The Italians looked good, especially when Balotelli came off the pitch. Di Natale is great.

improbus
06-10-2012, 07:22 PM
Soccer is pretty much impossible to officiate. This guy did a good job in the first half but has been pretty bad in the second. That card to Torres was as bad as any I've seen. He didn't do anything.

The Balotelli card was awful too. He gets half of his cards on reputation and sheer size alone. He got the ball and barely got the defender. If Balotelli fouls someone, it is obvious.

But, I agree that they pretty much negated a potential divefest in the first half, except for the one Italian dive early in the game just outside the Spanish penalty area. But, the second half looked more like a game between Mediterranean powers played with random sniper shots from the crowd. I do believe that Iniesta blows out two ACL's and his left Achilles in every game.

Yachtzee
06-10-2012, 07:42 PM
The Balotelli card was awful too. He gets half of his cards on reputation and sheer size alone. He got the ball and barely got the defender. If Balotelli fouls someone, it is obvious.

But, I agree that they pretty much negated a potential divefest in the first half, except for the one Italian dive early in the game just outside the Spanish penalty area. But, the second half looked more like a game between Mediterranean powers played with random sniper shots from the crowd. I do believe that Iniesta blows out two ACL's and his left Achilles in every game.

I think Balotelli's card was for accumulation of minor stuff. I think the ref had warned him after he was pounding his fist in the ground that he wasn't going to put up with Balotelli's antics. I had to miss the second half. I'm glad I did.

SunDeck
06-10-2012, 08:03 PM
I don't know about you folks, but I can't stand listening to Lexi Lalas. Can't ESPN find anyone else?

Yachtzee
06-10-2012, 08:43 PM
I don't know about you folks, but I can't stand listening to Lexi Lalas. Can't ESPN find anyone else?

I agree. Lalas is a tool.

5TimeWSChamps
06-11-2012, 02:43 AM
I cant believe ESPN put that GD traitor Giuseppe Rossi on their coverage. They have to know all Americans hate his guts

MWM
06-11-2012, 10:40 AM
I don't understand the hate for Rossi. His parents are Italian he moved there when he was 12. He lives in Europe and plays there. Why would he want to travel over here every time they played. And how many guys as good as him who live in Europe wouldn't rather play for Italy than the US. The US has a big international event every 4 years, Italy has one every other year. It's a more desirable situation and he lived there for much of his life.

NJReds
06-11-2012, 11:14 AM
I don't understand the hate for Rossi. His parents are Italian he moved there when he was 12. He lives in Europe and plays there. Why would he want to travel over here every time they played. And how many guys as good as him who live in Europe wouldn't rather play for Italy than the US. The US has a big international event every 4 years, Italy has one every other year. It's a more desirable situation and he lived there for much of his life.

I thought he lived in the US through high school and played for the Clifton, NJ High School team (which I think his dad coached, but I could be mistaken). Then he was signed by Parma's youth squad and moved overseas.

I wish he chose to play with the US, but this certainly isn't unprecedented. It's not like he moved through the ranks of US Soccer and then bailed. I don't think he ever had any intention of playing for the US. On the other hand, I believe the US has a player who was born in Mexico.

NJReds
06-11-2012, 11:15 AM
I agree. Lalas is a tool.

Lalas has really gotten pompous. He doesn't seem to enjoy commentating very much, and comes across extremely negative.

improbus
06-11-2012, 12:02 PM
I don't understand the hate for Rossi. His parents are Italian he moved there when he was 12. He lives in Europe and plays there. Why would he want to travel over here every time they played. And how many guys as good as him who live in Europe wouldn't rather play for Italy than the US. The US has a big international event every 4 years, Italy has one every other year. It's a more desirable situation and he lived there for much of his life.

Playing for Italy is certainly more desirable, but there is no guarantee (like the previous WC) that he will be picked. If he played for the US, he would be a mainstay for years and the offense would be built around him. I don't hate Rossi, but I do feel like he left a set in stone opportunity for a maybe.

thatcoolguy_22
06-11-2012, 12:46 PM
What's the alternate wager?

If Denmark, Ireland, or Croatia win the tourney, my buddy has to complete every tutorial in the khan academy on art history.

Denmark looked good :laugh:

improbus
06-11-2012, 01:07 PM
Armageddon time. England vs. France. I feel like both teams come in with diminished expectations, which could be good for both.

improbus
06-11-2012, 01:17 PM
The game is opening up. Milner missed a huge chance. France has looked menacing, but England's speed up front is dangerous.

MWM
06-11-2012, 01:36 PM
Playing for Italy is certainly more desirable, but there is no guarantee (like the previous WC) that he will be picked. If he played for the US, he would be a mainstay for years and the offense would be built around him. I don't hate Rossi, but I do feel like he left a set in stone opportunity for a maybe.

According to his wiki page he moved with his father to Parm to begin his youth soccer career. His dad did coach the team until then.

improbus
06-11-2012, 01:44 PM
Goals by Lescott and Nasri. Good game so far.

BuckeyeRed27
06-11-2012, 02:55 PM
Goals by Lescott and Nasri. Good game so far.

Only got to catch bits and pieces online. Seemed like both teams were a little slow in the final third. Pretty entertaining game though.

I'm really glad England didn't have Hart in the WC. He is so much better than Green it's silly.

OUReds
06-11-2012, 02:57 PM
Lalas has really gotten pompous. He doesn't seem to enjoy commentating very much, and comes across extremely negative.

I'd love to see Ballack reach over and give him a good smacking.

WMR
06-11-2012, 02:59 PM
Not sure if I was watching England or Guatemala out there. I understand England has some issues, but seeing them bunker like that against France has got to be a bit depressing for English fans.

WMR
06-11-2012, 03:01 PM
Alexei is becoming more and more annoying as time goes on. I'd rather listen to Marcelo Balboa for a while at this point. :lol:

MWM
06-11-2012, 03:01 PM
I watched the last 10 minutes of the game at the airport standing next to a Brit with a Gerrard jersey on. Interesting experience. I thought he was going to have a breakdown. We have passionate fans here, but I'm not sure we have that equivalent in the US.

BuckeyeRed27
06-12-2012, 04:57 PM
First half of Poland Russia was pretty good. Great set piece goal by Russia. Unfortunately won't be able to watch the 2nd half, but I can't stress enough how much I love the Watch ESPN app.

Yachtzee
06-13-2012, 03:15 PM
Alexei is becoming more and more annoying as time goes on. I'd rather listen to Marcelo Balboa for a while at this point. :lol:

Lalas is the Thom Brenneman of soccer. It was refreshing the past few days without him in studio. Now he's back. Ugh. ESPN has made great strides in soccer coverage since the days of Tommy Smith and Marcelo Balboa. They'd be even better if they could find someone to replace Lalas.

Yachtzee
06-13-2012, 05:02 PM
Wow. 1 half down and Germany has taken to the Dutch to go up 2-0. Germany has been showing some of that great passing they displayed in the World Cup. The Dutch are once again having issues finishing, but haven't been given all the chances the Danes gave them. We'll have to see if they can come back in the 2nd half.

reds1869
06-13-2012, 05:21 PM
I would love, love, love it if the Dutch didn't advance.

Yachtzee
06-13-2012, 05:49 PM
I would love, love, love it if the Dutch didn't advance.

Being down 2 in goal differential, they're going to have to take it to Portugal and hope Germany doesn't go easy on the Danes. Who would have thought it would be the Dutch sitting at the bottom of the Group of Death after 2 games? Karma for their display in the last World Cup?

BuckeyeRed27
06-13-2012, 05:56 PM
I don't understand what the Dutch were doing after the RVP goal. They had to get a point there and showed no urgency and basically just let the Germans kill the clock.

Yachtzee
06-13-2012, 06:58 PM
I don't understand what the Dutch were doing after the RVP goal. They had to get a point there and showed no urgency and basically just let the Germans kill the clock.

From halftime to the RVP goal was about the only time period where they generated an organized attack. I wonder if Van Bommel sits and they start Huntelaar and maybe Van Der Waart against Portugal.

MWM
06-13-2012, 08:45 PM
Man, it's brutal watching Portugal games. They spend so much time going to the ground and whining to the ref, that there's never any rhythm to the game. They're every bit as bad as Argentina or Italy has ever been. I wonder if the focus on theatrics actually does more harm than good. It seems sometimes like they would rather get the calls than formulate an attack. If they tried to stay with a play rather than go down every chance they get, I think they may wind up with more scoring opportunities. Or maybe it's just that I despise watching that kind of football.

I hated seeing the Danes lose. After about halfway through the first half, they outplayed the Portugese the rest of the game until their equalizing goal. I've been impressed with them both games. But they brought it on themselves. They went into the equivalent of the prevent defense and it worked about as well as it does when NFL teams employ it.

MWM
06-13-2012, 08:50 PM
The Germans are going to be tough to beat. They're so disciplined and patient that defending them is tough. They remind me of Joey Votto at the plate. They might look great early, but they're going to keep battling and learning throughout the game and when you make a mistake or leave an opening they're going to jump on it. The only player I don't care for on their team is Ozil.

SunDeck
06-14-2012, 08:35 AM
These last two posts illustrate my favorite and least favorite parts of the game. Watching a team play patient, prodding, thinking soccer is a treat; watching players take flop after flop is infuriating.

Yachtzee
06-14-2012, 09:25 AM
These last two posts illustrate my favorite and least favorite parts of the game. Watching a team play patient, prodding, thinking soccer is a treat; watching players take flop after flop is infuriating.

I think the ref in the Germany-Netherlands game handled it well. While there were a few flops, the ref didn't buy into them and just waved them to play on. Guys didn't have time to hold up the game selling a dive or lobbying the ref because the other team was moving the ball down the field. I don't think he issued a yellow until well into the second half.

improbus
06-14-2012, 09:55 AM
I think the ref in the Germany-Netherlands game handled it well. While there were a few flops, the ref didn't buy into them and just waved them to play on. Guys didn't have time to hold up the game selling a dive or lobbying the ref because the other team was moving the ball down the field. I don't think he issued a yellow until well into the second half.

I think the refs have done a pretty solid job against divers so far in the tournament. If only the NBA refs would do the same in the Finals....

MWM
06-14-2012, 11:10 AM
Croatia-Italy should be a good match. Italy looked better than expected against Spain. It I think Croatiacould be a sleeper. This game will be a good barometer for how good they really are.

Yachtzee
06-14-2012, 11:46 AM
I think the refs have done a pretty solid job against divers so far in the tournament. If only the NBA refs would do the same in the Finals....

I think it helps that the refs are all European, where leagues have been working to cut down on the diving and gamesmanship. One of the problems with the World Cup is that they have to draw refs from all over the world, some of whom are less experienced with high level play or come from leagues where that kind of stuff is tolerated. I think the players sense it and take advantage accordingly (although the ref for the final was English and just mismanaged the game).

Yachtzee
06-14-2012, 01:48 PM
Italy up 1-0 on Croatia on a free kick goal by Pirlo. Some early diving, but Croatia seems to be the side trying to sell theirs with the overacting. Italy has actually been generating some attack.

NJReds
06-14-2012, 01:55 PM
Italy up 1-0 on Croatia on a free kick goal by Pirlo. Some early diving, but Croatia seems to be the side trying to sell theirs with the overacting. Italy has actually been generating some attack.

They need to attack. Gone are the days of Maldini, Nesta and Cannavaro. They have a midfielder (DeRossi) in center defense, and Buffon is in the twilight of his career.

The Italians have to take advantange of their dynamic attack options in Cassano, Balotelli and DiNatale. Pirlo is solid in organizing the attack.

BuckeyeRed27
06-14-2012, 02:11 PM
The free kick goal was perfect. Cleared the heads of the line by inches and squeezed in between the pipe and the keepers glove. Pretty awesome.

5TimeWSChamps
06-14-2012, 02:13 PM
Croatia is pretty solid.

Love Jelavic, was awesome for Everton this year.

I have them going to teh semis

Yachtzee
06-14-2012, 02:31 PM
Tied up. Croatian fans need to knock it off with the flares.

MWM
06-14-2012, 09:12 PM
What a mismatch Spain-Ireland was. I knew it would be uneven, but Spain made them look like amateurs in the second half. Spain is so good at finding that small crease on the defense and perfectly delivering a ball there.

improbus
06-15-2012, 11:49 AM
I am fascinated to see what England and France do today. Neither of them will win the tournament, but they are both absolute soap operas on a daily basis.

IslandRed
06-15-2012, 11:53 AM
I am fascinated to see what England and France do today. Neither of them will win the tournament, but they are both absolute soap operas on a daily basis.

Speaking of...


It's just possible that England's problems go beyond the hotel issue. It's possible, in fact, that England's problems go beyond the whole issue of England's physical existence. ... England is less interesting as a team than as a vision of sports media, the logical result of setting Stephen A. Smith loose in a hall of mirrors. Is this where the rest of us are heading? What happens when the conversation about the thing overwhelms the thing it's supposed to be a conversation about?

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8052903/the-sound-fury-mediocrity-english-national-soccer-team

improbus
06-15-2012, 06:27 PM
England vs. Sweden might have bee nthe game of the tournament. 2 goals from Mellberg? Welbeck had a truly great goal. I also like seeing Andy Carroll succeed. He is an old school English striker.

MWM
06-16-2012, 12:13 AM
I thought the TV commentator's jabs on Carrol throughout the game were uncalled for and unprofessional. They had no place in the broadcast.

How in the heck did Ukraine beat Sweeden. Monday's games are the only ones I missed so I didn't see it. But either France is that good, or Ukraine is that bad. They did not look like a team that belonged on the same field today, even though it was still tied at half. And Sweeden looks to be a really good team. So how did they lose to Ukraine?

That cross by Gerrard was a think of beauty. And Welbeck's goal was stunning. I agree, that was a great game.

improbus
06-16-2012, 12:39 AM
I thought the TV commentator's jabs on Carrol throughout the game were uncalled for and unprofessional. They had no place in the broadcast.

How in the heck did Ukraine beat Sweeden. Monday's games are the only ones I missed so I didn't see it. But either France is that good, or Ukraine is that bad. They did not look like a team that belonged on the same field today, even though it was still tied at half. And Sweeden looks to be a really good team. So how did they lose to Ukraine?

That cross by Gerrard was a think of beauty. And Welbeck's goal was stunning. I agree, that was a great game.
Probably the same way that Korea reached the semifinals in 2002.

MWM
06-16-2012, 09:10 PM
As good as Russai looked the first game I'm really surprised to see them not advance.

improbus
06-17-2012, 04:03 PM
Early goal for te Dutch. Somehow, they could still advance. Unbelievable.

improbus
06-17-2012, 04:08 PM
The Dutch and Portuguese could each have around 3 or 4 goals, only 20 minutes in. This is the kind of game that can bring fans to soccer (not the games yesterday....)

improbus
06-17-2012, 04:09 PM
Denmark 1 - Germany 1. It changes by the minute.

improbus
06-17-2012, 04:13 PM
Ronaldo scores. Here we go. Both games are top notch.

improbus
06-17-2012, 04:16 PM
Two things Ian Darke mentioned about the tournament so far that are interesting,
1) No one has scored a Penalty.
2) No game has ended 0-0.

MWM
06-17-2012, 04:17 PM
The Dutch left their defense at home. It was just a matter of time. Portugal might score 4 times with that defense.

MWM
06-17-2012, 05:11 PM
Portugal is an embarrassment to competitive athletics.

WMR
06-17-2012, 05:19 PM
Dutch Epic Fail. :lol:

WMR
06-17-2012, 05:46 PM
Not a single point from the team that many fancied to win the whole thing. :eek:

WMR
06-17-2012, 05:48 PM
Portugal v. Czech Rep.

Germany v. Greece

MWM
06-17-2012, 06:08 PM
The Dutch team had no chemistry, and didn't play with any heart or urgency. Arjen Robben is a really good player, but i think they'd have been bett off without him this time around.

improbus
06-17-2012, 07:17 PM
Portugal is an embarrassment to competitive athletics.

If you go down and grab a body part. You should have to sit out 5 minutes to "heal".

The Robben wasn't great, but he did create their only goal today. Sneidjer was just atrocious. Every pass was off the mark and he kept taking long shots that were way off target. Also, I have heard that not only don't he and Van Persie talk, but they absolutely hate one another. You can't have your "engine" be such a bad player and devisive force. They probably should have left him off the teams and ran everything through Robben and Van der Vaart, who looked dangerous.

Yachtzee
06-17-2012, 10:35 PM
The Dutch team had no chemistry, and didn't play with any heart or urgency. Arjen Robben is a really good player, but i think they'd have been bett off without him this time around.

I watched Germany-Denmark over the Dutch-Portuguese match, but from what I saw, the Dutch seem to play more like an English team than a classic Dutch squad. Positioning seemed static, with players stuck in predetermined roles. The Germans actually look more Dutch than the Dutch, with overlapping wings, defensive mids and defenders taking part in the attack, attackers working back on defense, wings working the center and central players drifting to the wings. They seem to be constantly probing the other team's defense looking to find a mismatch to create goals.

NJReds
06-17-2012, 11:13 PM
I watched Germany-Denmark over the Dutch-Portuguese match, but from what I saw, the Dutch seem to play more like an English team than a classic Dutch squad. Positioning seemed static, with players stuck in predetermined roles. The Germans actually look more Dutch than the Dutch, with overlapping wings, defensive mids and defenders taking part in the attack, attackers working back on defense, wings working the center and central players drifting to the wings. They seem to be constantly probing the other team's defense looking to find a mismatch to create goals.

Germans were fortunate a penalty wasn't called late. Would've been a 'last man' red card as well that might have sent them home from the tournament.

Yachtzee
06-17-2012, 11:23 PM
Germans were fortunate a penalty wasn't called late. Would've been a 'last man' red card as well that might have sent them home from the tournament.

Fair enough. The shirt grab was a mistake, but whose to say they would have stayed down for long. They seem to be the team that always gets a goal when they need one. They only needed a draw to advance, yet they played for the win.

NJReds
06-17-2012, 11:33 PM
Fair enough. The shirt grab was a mistake, but whose to say they would have stayed down for long. They seem to be the team that always gets a goal when they need one. They only needed a draw to advance, yet they played for the win.

True, and I'm glad the Germans are through, because I admire their style of play.

But refs are criticized for rewarding diving and players who accentuate fouls, however, in this case the player fights through the foul to try to score and gets nothing for his effort. It's a shame because it emboldens the argument of those who fall at the first sign of contact.

The Germans would've been down 1 late in the second half and down a man ... A tough situation for even the best of teams.

WMR
06-17-2012, 11:58 PM
I want to see Germany play Spain.

I also want to see Ireland send Italy home tomorrow in the worst way.

MWM
06-18-2012, 01:34 PM
What I don't understand is why UAEFA (or FIFA) doesn't take the obvious approach of awarding red cards after the game based on video evidence. If it's blatant like the German defender, he should not be playing in the next game. I thought Pastigo from Portugal should have been suspended the game after the Netherlands game for stopping the game while laying on the ground pretending to be hurt when the replay shows he was barely touched, it at all. It's an easy fix, and it would definitely work.

Michael Ballack was very critical of the German defender after the game.

NJReds
06-18-2012, 01:46 PM
What I don't understand is why UAEFA (or FIFA) doesn't take the obvious approach of awarding red cards after the game based on video evidence. If it's blatant like the German defender, he should not be playing in the next game. I thought Pastigo from Portugal should have been suspended the game after the Netherlands game for stopping the game while laying on the ground pretending to be hurt when the replay shows he was barely touched, it at all. It's an easy fix, and it would definitely work.

Michael Ballack was very critical of the German defender after the game.

I agree. If anything, they should use replay to punish diving.

bucksfan2
06-18-2012, 04:44 PM
What I don't understand is why UAEFA (or FIFA) doesn't take the obvious approach of awarding red cards after the game based on video evidence. If it's blatant like the German defender, he should not be playing in the next game. I thought Pastigo from Portugal should have been suspended the game after the Netherlands game for stopping the game while laying on the ground pretending to be hurt when the replay shows he was barely touched, it at all. It's an easy fix, and it would definitely work.

Michael Ballack was very critical of the German defender after the game.

I don't watch a whole lot of soccer aside from the big events. I don't quite understand the two yellow cards and missing a game thing. When I watch the best in the world square off I want both teams to be at full strength. The last thing I want to watch is a team down their best player for something that happened before the event or something that happened in the group stages.

I realize that those are the rules but I think they make more sense in league play, not big time tournaments.

NJReds
06-18-2012, 04:51 PM
Today at the half:
Italy 1, Ireland 0
Spain 0, Croatia 0

Right now based on tiebreakers, Italy would qualify first, and Spain second.

But there's still 45 minutes of soccer left to play in each game.

NJReds
06-18-2012, 05:39 PM
Spain wins 1-0 and wins the group.
Italy wins 2-0 and finishes second.

Croatia and Ireland go home.

WMR
06-18-2012, 05:40 PM
That second golazo by Italy was amazing.

Sounds like the Croats were robbed of a penalty.

NJReds
06-18-2012, 06:11 PM
That second golazo by Italy was amazing.


Balotelli is a ticking time-bomb, but also capable of some incredible things.

Yachtzee
06-18-2012, 09:01 PM
I don't watch a whole lot of soccer aside from the big events. I don't quite understand the two yellow cards and missing a game thing. When I watch the best in the world square off I want both teams to be at full strength. The last thing I want to watch is a team down their best player for something that happened before the event or something that happened in the group stages.

I realize that those are the rules but I think they make more sense in league play, not big time tournaments.

Well, it might be difficult to understand for Americans. Most of our sports arose from the amateur sporting clubs and collegiate ranks, where there was always a sense of "fair play" involved. Although soccer rules initially developed from the fusion of various rules of football games played at English public (what we call "private") schools, games of "mob football" between neighboring towns were often played with few rules, hundreds of people, numerous injuries, and even the occasional death. The Football Association was formed and initial rules outlawing certain types of foul play were introduced. As the British codified association football as the "no hands" sport we know, they spread it to other countries, where clubs formed across social and political divides and games had significance beyond just the play on the field. Winning had more meaning, so notions of fair play often fell by the wayside. Thus different countries developed their own tolerances for what constituted foul play. By the time the World Cup really started to take off in the 1950s, it was commons for teams facings a high-skill player like Pele or Ferenc Puskas of Hungary to send out their "hard men" to try to take them out of the game. I've heard Pele often got brutalized by teams trying to counter his wizardry with the ball. Add to that the fact that substitutions generally weren't allowed until the 1960s and you can see the incentives there were for injuring star players. Your guy may get sent off, but the other team is down to 10 men as well. The bonus is that your guy comes back but the other team might lose their star for the rest of the tournament. Many accounts of games in the '50s and '60s tell of games turning into all out wars on the pitch and spreading into the stands.

With international matches, part of the problem was arose from language barriers and players not knowing what would and what would not be tolerated. It wasn't until 1970 that yellow and red cards were introduced in the World Cup to provide a non-verbal means of sanctioning a player and attempts were made to standardize notions of dangerous play. That, coupled with increased allowances for substitutions really opened up the game to where we see more teams playing a free-flowing style. The red card for accumulation of yellows is not unlike a pitcher getting tossed for throwing at a batter after the ump issues a warning. The difference is that the player in soccer only gets tossed for warnings he's personally received. Making the player sit out a match for accumulation of yellows guards against teams using "goons" who just collect yellows without fear of repercussions in future matches.

bucksfan2
06-19-2012, 09:45 AM
Well, it might be difficult to understand for Americans. Most of our sports arose from the amateur sporting clubs and collegiate ranks, where there was always a sense of "fair play" involved. Although soccer rules initially developed from the fusion of various rules of football games played at English public (what we call "private") schools, games of "mob football" between neighboring towns were often played with few rules, hundreds of people, numerous injuries, and even the occasional death. The Football Association was formed and initial rules outlawing certain types of foul play were introduced. As the British codified association football as the "no hands" sport we know, they spread it to other countries, where clubs formed across social and political divides and games had significance beyond just the play on the field. Winning had more meaning, so notions of fair play often fell by the wayside. Thus different countries developed their own tolerances for what constituted foul play. By the time the World Cup really started to take off in the 1950s, it was commons for teams facings a high-skill player like Pele or Ferenc Puskas of Hungary to send out their "hard men" to try to take them out of the game. I've heard Pele often got brutalized by teams trying to counter his wizardry with the ball. Add to that the fact that substitutions generally weren't allowed until the 1960s and you can see the incentives there were for injuring star players. Your guy may get sent off, but the other team is down to 10 men as well. The bonus is that your guy comes back but the other team might lose their star for the rest of the tournament. Many accounts of games in the '50s and '60s tell of games turning into all out wars on the pitch and spreading into the stands.

With international matches, part of the problem was arose from language barriers and players not knowing what would and what would not be tolerated. It wasn't until 1970 that yellow and red cards were introduced in the World Cup to provide a non-verbal means of sanctioning a player and attempts were made to standardize notions of dangerous play. That, coupled with increased allowances for substitutions really opened up the game to where we see more teams playing a free-flowing style. The red card for accumulation of yellows is not unlike a pitcher getting tossed for throwing at a batter after the ump issues a warning. The difference is that the player in soccer only gets tossed for warnings he's personally received. Making the player sit out a match for accumulation of yellows guards against teams using "goons" who just collect yellows without fear of repercussions in future matches.

Thanks for the background info. I guess my problem with the accumulative yellows is that I don't particullarly care for them carrying over into another tournament. Is it two yellows in two games? or just two accumulative yellows?

I watched some of the Champions league final and in one of the biggest soccer events Chelsea was playing with a couple of their best playes out because of what happened in the previous games. The game kinda lacked something without those players. In the Euro events I tend to root for the English and Germans (my heritage) and I just don't understand Rooney being out for 3 games for something that didn't happen in the Euro Cup.

WMR
06-19-2012, 05:11 PM
Goal line technology strikes again! :eek:

NJReds
06-19-2012, 05:27 PM
Goal line technology strikes again! :eek:

What's the point of having an extra official on the line if he can't correctly make the one call that he's tasked with?

Yachtzee
06-19-2012, 07:13 PM
Thanks for the background info. I guess my problem with the accumulative yellows is that I don't particullarly care for them carrying over into another tournament. Is it two yellows in two games? or just two accumulative yellows?

I watched some of the Champions league final and in one of the biggest soccer events Chelsea was playing with a couple of their best playes out because of what happened in the previous games. The game kinda lacked something without those players. In the Euro events I tend to root for the English and Germans (my heritage) and I just don't understand Rooney being out for 3 games for something that didn't happen in the Euro Cup.

The yellows only accumulate for the competition being contested. Likewise, bans for red cards stay within the competition. So if a player accumulates yellows or draws a red in the domestic league, they have no effect on the player in Champions League play or for National team games, and vice versa. However, cards picked up in qualifying rounds of a tournament can carry over to subsequent rounds. It used to be that cards reset each round, but they found players would go nuts in the last game of a round knowing the cards would reset and they wouldn't receive a match ban.

Rooney originally got a 3 match ban for Euro 2012 on a flagrant red in the last game of qualifying, but it got reduced to 2 games on appeal.

improbus
06-21-2012, 05:23 PM
Goooooooooaaaaaaaaalllll Ronaldo. No one is better at heading the ball. He generates more power than anyone.

NJReds
06-21-2012, 05:47 PM
I didn't watch the game, but it sure looks like Portugal dominated the match:

Shots on goal: 6-0 advantage
Shots total: 14-2 advantage
Possession: 57%-43%
Corners: 11-6

Portugal seems to be in very good form right now, and a game v. the Spain/France winner should be very entertaining.

BuckeyeRed27
06-21-2012, 06:25 PM
Goooooooooaaaaaaaaalllll Ronaldo. No one is better at heading the ball. He generates more power than anyone.

Ronaldo was quite impressive in that game. It's really too bad he hit the post on that ball he brought down in the box in the first half.

MWM
06-21-2012, 09:51 PM
It's just painful watching Portugal play. I don't enjoy their games, it's too much for me to take. That was a nice goal by Ronaldo, but I have no idea what that Czech defender was doing. He just stood there while Ronaldo came up from behind and put his head on it.

Czech was awful today. They had no offensive attack at all. They were so far outclassed that they really looked like they didn't belong in the quarters.

bucksfan2
06-22-2012, 11:38 AM
Anyone else find the irony in the Germany Greece matchup?

MWM
06-22-2012, 11:58 AM
There's a lot of irony in this tournament. Group B was called the group of death, but someone else dubbed the group with Greece, Ireland, and Italy the "Group of Debt."

Yachtzee
06-22-2012, 03:11 PM
Anyone else find the irony in the Germany Greece matchup?

The lineups for today's match:

Germany:
#1 Gottfried Leibniz
#2 Immanuel Kant
#3 Georg "Nobby" Hegel (capt.)
#4 Arthur Schopenauer
#5 Friedrich Schelling
#6 Franz Beckenbauer
#7 Karl Jaspers
#8 Karl Schlegel
#9 Ludwig Wittgenstein
#10 Friedrich Nietzsche
#11 Martin Heidegger

Greece:
#1 Plato
#2 Epictetus
#3 Aristotle
#4 "Chopper" Sophocles
#5 Empedocles of Acragas
#6 Plotinus
#7 Epicurus
#8 Heraklitus
#9 Democritus
#10 Socrates (capt.)
#11 Archimedes


Last time these two teams met, Greece won 1-0 on a header by Socrates from a beautiful cross from Archimedes.

WMR
06-22-2012, 03:12 PM
Is this a soccer match or a debate on philosophy? :D

Yachtzee
06-22-2012, 03:21 PM
Is this a soccer match or a debate on philosophy? :D

Well, last time Nietzsche did get booked for arguing with the ref, Confucius, claiming he had no free will. ;)

Yachtzee
06-22-2012, 03:24 PM
International Philosophy - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiZt79UKUFQ)

Yachtzee
06-22-2012, 03:24 PM
The shot hit the double post

WMR
06-22-2012, 03:24 PM
"Chopper" Sophocles... he'll break your ankle with a challenge and then write a tragedy about it. :lol:

MWM
06-22-2012, 08:04 PM
Total domination by Germany. They had one defensive lapse, but if they play like they did today, the only team with a real chance to beat them is Spain.

Nice to see Klose get another goal. He's been one of my favorite players for a while now, regardless of his lack of great success in club football. He didn't look very good in the first half but I thought he had a solid second.

MWM
06-22-2012, 08:59 PM
Really looking forward to tomorrow's game. I'm gonna call the upset right now. France over Spain 2-1 on a late goal.

NJReds
06-22-2012, 09:30 PM
Nice to see Klose get another goal. He's been one of my favorite players for a while now, regardless of his lack of great success in club football. He didn't look very good in the first half but I thought he had a solid second.

He had a pretty good year with Lazio, but was injured for a while, too.

bucksfan2
06-23-2012, 09:17 AM
Total domination by Germany. They had one defensive lapse, but if they play like they did today, the only team with a real chance to beat them is Spain.

Nice to see Klose get another goal. He's been one of my favorite players for a while now, regardless of his lack of great success in club football. He didn't look very good in the first half but I thought he had a solid second.

Really? I thought the Germans looked sloppy for most of the game. In fact the only guy who really stood out was Ozil. It was like watching a Top 5 basketball team play a warm up game against a DII opponent. The controlled the game but looked sloppy at times. There was a time in the game when the Greeks tied it up that I thought the German coach was going to come under fire for sitting both Gomez and Mueller.

The Germans controlled the middle 3rd of the field but it appeared as if the Greeks were fine with that. From my untrained eye the Germans are going to need to play better when the competition starts to heat up.

MWM
06-24-2012, 04:50 PM
Yeah, Spain is good. France has a pretty good team and for most of the game it looked liked Spain was barely breaking a sweat and making them look like also rans. I'd love to see a Spain/Germany final.

MWM
06-24-2012, 04:53 PM
How can England be SO bad technically? It makes no sense. They are better than the US, but they're closer to the US than they are the Spanish, or Italians.

MWM
06-24-2012, 06:19 PM
Andy Caroll can't wait to get rid of the ball when he gets it. He wants no part of it.

MWM
06-24-2012, 06:26 PM
Ashley Young had that scared look on his face before the PK. I said to my son, "uh, oh. He's about to screw this one up."

Maybe it was karma. Young had the worst flop of the game that landed the Italian guy a yellow card making him miss the next game.

reds1869
06-24-2012, 08:27 PM
How can England be SO bad technically? It makes no sense. They are better than the US, but they're closer to the US than they are the Spanish, or Italians.

Because their youth development system is terrible in comparison to the continent. Everything is about what is best for the club rather than what is best for the country.

improbus
06-24-2012, 09:47 PM
Ashley Young had that scared look on his face before the PK. I said to my son, "uh, oh. He's about to screw this one up."

Maybe it was karma. Young had the worst flop of the game that landed the Italian guy a yellow card making him miss the next game.

Young is a spiritual Portuguese.

improbus
06-24-2012, 11:30 PM
Because their youth development system is terrible in comparison to the continent. Everything is about what is best for the club rather than what is best for the country.

Maybe. They simply haven't developed the midfield wizard who can control the game with his passing and space. Nearly every world power has that player. Spain has 4 of them (Xavi, Iniesta Silva, and Fabregas), along with Sweinsteiger, Pirlo, and Modric. That player has never really been a part of the English game. Parker is a worker, not an engine. Gerrard/Lampard/Rooney all play that forward midfielder role right behind the striker (just like Dempsey), but they are better at scoring than creating. But, it does seem that the maestro role is vitally important in building elite teams.

bucksfan2
06-25-2012, 10:20 AM
How can England be SO bad technically? It makes no sense. They are better than the US, but they're closer to the US than they are the Spanish, or Italians.

Was it the style of game they decided to play? They looked technically bad but they had no one in the midfield to control the game. They decided to play a defensive game and hope to score on the counter. They really had no one to get the ball to Rooney and Carroll was in there to win headers and hopefully score on a set piece. The Itilians looked like the dominant team but I think that is two fold, they are better technically but also the English let them play that way. I have a feeling that Italy will look more like England when they play Germany this Thursday.

MWM
06-25-2012, 11:28 AM
Technical skills are different than game strategy.

reds1869
06-25-2012, 11:42 AM
Technical skills are different than game strategy.

Indeed. I thought England played exactly the strategy they needed to to have a chance. They were severely overmatched because in fairness they were essentially running out a B Team for this tournament. As mentioned Italy will look like the English against Germany.

NJReds
06-25-2012, 12:33 PM
As mentioned Italy will look like the English against Germany.

Maybe ... maybe not. Prandelli has shown to be a more aggressive coach than his predecessors. Also, with Chiellini injured, the Italians are thin on the back line and can't depend on Buffon. They have some dynamic players on the attack in Pirlo, Ballotelli, Cassano and DiNatale. It should be an interesting matchup.

That said, Germany is just better and deeper and they have the advantage of two extra days of rest heading into the matchup. I'd expect them to win and be a heavy favorite to beat Spain/Portugal.

WMR
06-25-2012, 02:06 PM
I always sentimentally pull for England in these big tournaments because they have had such dreadful luck in the Euros and World Cup. Also because, as others have mentioned, they play the style closest to the United States, but with much better players overall.

It was a double root for them yesterday b/c I despise Italy. I still feel very confident that Italy won't win it all, but they are in the semis.

bucksfan2
06-25-2012, 02:35 PM
I always sentimentally pull for England in these big tournaments because they have had such dreadful luck in the Euros and World Cup. Also because, as others have mentioned, they play the style closest to the United States, but with much better players overall.

It was a double root for them yesterday b/c I despise Italy. I still feel very confident that Italy won't win it all, but they are in the semis.

I pull for the Germans and English (my heritage) when the USA isn't playing. The ironic thing about these big time soccer games is more often than not a team ends up hanging around longer than it should. In watching the Germany Greece game, the Germans dominated it from start to finish but for about 10 minutes in the 2nd half the Greeks tied it up and a counter could have put the Greeks ahead.

I don't think the Itilians stance a chance against Germany. But if the Germans can't find the back of the net and allow the Itilians to hang around then Italy can win. Anytime you reach the semi's you have quality teams playing.

IslandRed
06-25-2012, 05:33 PM
Stat I just saw: Counting Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and now Euro 2012, Spain hasn't allowed a goal in eight straight knockout matches. "The best defense is a good offense" would seem to apply here.

Betterread
06-25-2012, 10:16 PM
Die Mannschaft lost in the 2008 euro finals and the 2010 WC finals to Spain, who have basically the same squad as the 2012 Euros. Germany has not won a major national tournament since 1996. If Spain conquers Portugal, I see Spain vrs Germany in the final. Spain will win. Germany knows it cannot beat Spain. They will go home with a triumph over Italy, to somewhat erase the memory of PK defeat in Germany in the WC in 2006. Italy ripped Germany's heart out by beating them at home in 2006.

NJReds
06-25-2012, 10:41 PM
They will go home with a triumph over Italy, to somewhat erase the memory of PK defeat in Germany in the WC in 2006. Italy ripped Germany's heart out by beating them at home in 2006.

I think Italy won v Germany in ET ... Very late, like the 119' minute. Italy won the final in PKs.

Betterread
06-25-2012, 11:18 PM
I think Italy won v Germany in ET ... Very late, like the 119' minute. Italy won the final in PKs.

You're right, I forgot. Not Pks. Two goals in the last two minutes of ET. 2-0 german loss at home. They still haven't recovered.

improbus
06-25-2012, 11:40 PM
You're right, I forgot. Not Pks. Two goals in the last two minutes of ET. 2-0 german loss at home. They still haven't recovered.
Except when they made it to the last Euro Final.

Yachtzee
06-26-2012, 07:56 PM
Maybe ... maybe not. Prandelli has shown to be a more aggressive coach than his predecessors. Also, with Chiellini injured, the Italians are thin on the back line and can't depend on Buffon. They have some dynamic players on the attack in Pirlo, Ballotelli, Cassano and DiNatale. It should be an interesting matchup.

That said, Germany is just better and deeper and they have the advantage of two extra days of rest heading into the matchup. I'd expect them to win and be a heavy favorite to beat Spain/Portugal.

Italy has played a more attacking team this time around, but I think their weakness is that they play to go 1 goal up and then go into a shell. I don't think they can afford to do that against a German team capable of scoring 3-4 goals in a game.

Yachtzee
06-26-2012, 08:02 PM
Die Mannschaft lost in the 2008 euro finals and the 2010 WC finals to Spain, who have basically the same squad as the 2012 Euros. Germany has not won a major national tournament since 1996. If Spain conquers Portugal, I see Spain vrs Germany in the final. Spain will win. Germany knows it cannot beat Spain. They will go home with a triumph over Italy, to somewhat erase the memory of PK defeat in Germany in the WC in 2006. Italy ripped Germany's heart out by beating them at home in 2006.

I think Germany poses a real problem for Spain. Spain is one of those teams that always wins when you let them control the tempo. However, Germany can play a high pressure game where they can punish a mistake quickly. If the Germans can disrupt Spain's possession passing game and get into their heads, Germany can win.

improbus
06-26-2012, 10:51 PM
Germany has never defeated Italy in a competitive match (over 7 games).

5TimeWSChamps
06-26-2012, 11:22 PM
England really missed Wilshere.

NJReds
06-27-2012, 09:50 AM
Italy has played a more attacking team this time around, but I think their weakness is that they play to go 1 goal up and then go into a shell. I don't think they can afford to do that against a German team capable of scoring 3-4 goals in a game.

No they can't, but they may be forced to hold back today because they're coming off a 120 minute affair only three days ago, and Germany has two more days of rest.

To be honest, this setup for EURO stinks. Portugal and Germany each have two extra days off, which in soccer is a pretty big deal. I understand that this is a money decision, but the second round games should've been played on the same day.

MWM
06-27-2012, 04:14 PM
Should have been a hand ball in the box by Spain.

MWM
06-27-2012, 04:22 PM
Spain not looking very Spain-like.

MWM
06-27-2012, 04:35 PM
Kind of a dull first half. Portugal really controlled the game but never really got any serious look at a goal. Spain did nothing at all on offense. Hopefully it picks up in the second half.

NJReds
06-27-2012, 04:46 PM
Kind of a dull first half. Portugal really controlled the game but never really got any serious look at a goal. Spain did nothing at all on offense. Hopefully it picks up in the second half.


Interesting. I thought this game would be non stop action.

MWM
06-27-2012, 04:57 PM
Quite the opposite.

MWM
06-27-2012, 05:02 PM
Ronaldo got booked for diving. I LOVE IT!!!!!

MWM
06-27-2012, 05:07 PM
This has been one of the best reffed games of the tourney, IMO.

NJReds
06-27-2012, 05:11 PM
Ronaldo got booked for diving. I LOVE IT!!!!!

Not according to the BBC feed:


YELLOW CARD Spain - Sergio Busquets
There was a yellow card I missed for Sergio Busquets of Spain. It was for waving an imaginary card, designed to get Ronaldo booked for diving.

Ronaldo isn't showing up with a card, yet. But I'm not watching, I'm following a commentary feed.

The BBC seems to think this ref is calling too many "nitpicky" fouls.

MWM
06-27-2012, 05:15 PM
Ah. The TV guys made it sound like Ronaldo was booked for diving.

improbus
06-27-2012, 05:25 PM
Spain really miss the old Torres and David Villa. They simply don't have the finishers that scare the defense and give their midfield wizards guys to play through balls to.

MWM
06-27-2012, 05:25 PM
Yeah ok, he's getting very ticky tack now.

NJReds
06-27-2012, 05:26 PM
Yeah ok, he's getting very ticky tack now.

This late in the game, seems like it's headed for another 0-0 PK shootout, unless someone makes a huge blunder or a brilliant play.

I suspect both teams will start to get very conservative.

MWM
06-27-2012, 05:42 PM
Spain has looked like a different team. I think the short rest has really effected them.

MWM
06-27-2012, 05:55 PM
Damn. Thought Spain had a goal there.

improbus
06-27-2012, 06:17 PM
This has been a very forgettable game

MWM
06-27-2012, 06:32 PM
This has been a very forgettable game

Worst one of the tournament possibly. Not sure if these games are worse, or if the clear mismatches in the first round of the quarters were worse.

reds1869
06-27-2012, 08:18 PM
Glad to see the Portuguese bow out. I missed the match today but after reading the reports I don't think that is a bad thing.

NJReds
06-27-2012, 11:43 PM
If Ronaldo is the best in the world, how does he not get a turn at a PK? What exactly were they saving him for?

MWM
06-28-2012, 12:28 AM
Ronaldo is the 2nd best in the world. But your point is valid. I was wondering what they were thinking. Many teams have their strongest guy go first. It was dumb to save him.

bucksfan2
06-28-2012, 10:43 AM
Ronaldo is the 2nd best in the world. But your point is valid. I was wondering what they were thinking. Many teams have their strongest guy go first. It was dumb to save him.

I tuned on to watch the PK's and thought to my self I am either putting Ronaldo 1st or last. You put him first and he misses and it may demoralize the team. You put him last and it may give the team a psychological boost knowing they have the best in the world still to come.

NJReds
06-28-2012, 10:45 AM
I tuned on to watch the PK's and thought to my self I am either putting Ronaldo 1st or last. You put him first and he misses and it may demoralize the team. You put him last and it may give the team a psychological boost knowing they have the best in the world still to come.

I'm putting him no later than 3rd. He has to kick in a spot that matters. You can't lose a shootout with your best player never taking a shot.

MWM
06-28-2012, 10:53 AM
I tuned on to watch the PK's and thought to my self I am either putting Ronaldo 1st or last. You put him first and he misses and it may demoralize the team. You put him last and it may give the team a psychological boost knowing they have the best in the world still to come.

When you have one of the world's best players, you don't make decisions in a situation like that based on what will happen if he fails.

texasdave
06-28-2012, 11:14 AM
When the goalkeeper from Portugal stopped the first shot, I felt sure the Portuguese coach would have his best players kicking from first to last. Being up one goal in a five- goal shootout seems huge to me.

WMR
06-28-2012, 11:57 AM
The Spain v. Portugal game was just pathetic. What an awful semi.

I could be wrong, but it honestly looked to me like Cristiano made the decision himself to switch out with another kicker. Need to hunt down some interviews of the manager and Ronaldo after the game.

Not having your best penalty taker, and far and away best player, get to even attempt a penalty is simply criminal.

bucksfan2
06-28-2012, 12:42 PM
When you have one of the world's best players, you don't make decisions in a situation like that based on what will happen if he fails.

PK's in the end boil down to nerves and confidence don't they? If you can make a move to boost the confidence of the 4 other kickers won't you do that?

Its kinda ironic of the similarities of the Italy/England and Spain/Portugal PK's. The first team to kick won both games after missing the first kick. Then the kicks seemed to change on a kicker going up there with confidence and kick the ball lightly where the goalie was standing.

MWM
06-28-2012, 03:04 PM
Its kinda ironic of the similarities of the Italy/England and Spain/Portugal PK's. The first team to kick won both games after missing the first kick. Then the kicks seemed to change on a kicker going up there with confidence and kick the ball lightly where the goalie was standing.

I'm pretty sure England made their first two kicks. And England sent their best first, in Gerrard. They sent their next player, Rooney, to go next.

improbus
06-28-2012, 03:52 PM
Let's hope today is better than yesterday.

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:07 PM
Damn

improbus
06-28-2012, 04:09 PM
Great goal.

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:10 PM
I don't think Italy can play prevent defense for 70 minutes.

improbus
06-28-2012, 04:15 PM
I don't think Italy can play prevent defense for 70 minutes.

No, but I expect Pirlo to make a few seeing eye passes for excellent chances. That 30 yard pass he hit to Balotelli earlier was a work of art.

improbus
06-28-2012, 04:18 PM
I change my mind on Gomez about 10 times a game. Sometimes it looks like he doesn't belong on this stage, but then be scores. Just a strange player.

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:19 PM
Pirlo has been one of the best players in the tournament.

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:23 PM
Damn again. I really loathe Italy.

NJReds
06-28-2012, 04:31 PM
Damn again. I really loathe Italy.

Looks like they're didn't sit on a 1 goal lead. Maybe Germany underestimated them a bit. However, Germany is also capable of scoring 3-4 unanswered goals. There's a lot of game left.

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:31 PM
And right there is why. Cassano not even touched and he stopped the game for 2 minutes.

BuckeyeRed27
06-28-2012, 04:33 PM
That second goal was awesome. Pretty surprised that Italy is basically dominating.

Cedric
06-28-2012, 04:34 PM
Italy has played great this tournament. Playing some real fluid soccer and deserving of where they are right now.

I'm glad to see Balotelli playing so well and keeping his head. Not a more talented player in the world than him if he keeps his head on straight.

bucksfan2
06-28-2012, 04:35 PM
That second goal was awesome. Pretty surprised that Italy is basically dominating.

I didn't think that Italy dominated the first. I thought German controled the game but Italy scored on two of its opportunities.

The German coach has made a few questionable decisions in this trounament. First it was sitting Gomez and Mueller against Greece and now Mueller against Italy. Germany needs a goal and a quick goal to get back into the game.

improbus
06-28-2012, 04:36 PM
What is the over/under on Italians laying on the ground writhing in pain in the second half? I would say 12.5.

improbus
06-28-2012, 04:37 PM
Does anyone understand why Jack Wilshere is in a commercial with Messi and Aguero, two of the worlds best players? It would be like having Dave Concepcion, Barry Larkin, and Kurt Stillwell in the same commercial...

BuckeyeRed27
06-28-2012, 04:41 PM
I didn't think that Italy dominated the first. I thought German controled the game but Italy scored on two of its opportunities.

The German coach has made a few questionable decisions in this trounament. First it was sitting Gomez and Mueller against Greece and now Mueller against Italy. Germany needs a goal and a quick goal to get back into the game.

I haven't watched the whole thing, just seemed like Italy has been more dangerous and obviously has the goals. I wouldn't say it's over, but Italy is about as hard as it gets to come back against.

bucksfan2
06-28-2012, 04:42 PM
I haven't watched the whole thing, just seemed like Italy has been more dangerous and obviously has the goals. I wouldn't say it's over, but Italy is about as hard as it gets to come back against.

True. I have been watching off and on and Italy has had the more dangerous opportunities.

Something just seems wrong about Germany winning a Euro Cup in Poland....

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:50 PM
Germany misses Schweinsteiger

improbus
06-28-2012, 04:52 PM
Is Reus actually a relative of Jerry Reuss?

WMR
06-28-2012, 04:53 PM
Balotelli is a force of nature. Prepare yourself for a boatload of time wasting.

WMR
06-28-2012, 04:53 PM
Lahm misses a sitter.

MWM
06-28-2012, 04:56 PM
Germany misses Schweinsteiger

Oops. Thought he was hurt today.

improbus
06-28-2012, 05:00 PM
Germany is coming.

improbus
06-28-2012, 05:02 PM
Chiellini looks like a thug from a Guy Ritchie movie.

MWM
06-28-2012, 05:06 PM
I'd feel better about Germany's chances if Buffon weren't in goal.

Cedric
06-28-2012, 05:12 PM
Italy always plays well at major tournaments while their domestic league is under chaos.

MWM
06-28-2012, 05:13 PM
Classless but not surprising.

MWM
06-28-2012, 05:15 PM
Boateng did nothing today.

improbus
06-28-2012, 05:29 PM
It is hard to see Buffon giving up two goals at this point.

Cedric
06-28-2012, 05:31 PM
Germany look ragged and done. Dominated and humbled today by a better team.

improbus
06-28-2012, 05:36 PM
DRAMA!!!!

NJReds
06-28-2012, 05:37 PM
So an Italy-Spain rematch. Should be interesting to say the least. I'd tip Spain as the favorites, but Italy has been underestimated throughout the tournament and they just took it too the Germans with two days less rest.

I think it all hinges on Ballotelli. There's not a player like him right now, and he can be dominant or disastrous.

EDIT: May have spoke to soon here ... thought we were at FT, but now I see that it's 2-1.

WMR
06-28-2012, 05:38 PM
If Germany and their manager had treated the first half like the second they might have won today. Germany is best when they're on the front foot. Going defensive was a mistake and invited Italy to take advantage.

Cedric
06-28-2012, 05:39 PM
So an Italy-Spain rematch. Should be interesting to say the least. I'd tip Spain as the favorites, but Italy has been underestimated throughout the tournament and they just took it too the Germans with two days less rest.

I think it all hinges on Ballotelli. There's not a player like him right now, and he can be dominant or disastrous.

EDIT: May have spoke to soon here ... thought we were at FT, but now I see that it's 2-1.

Italy vs Spain was the best match of the tournament, IMO. I think the two best sides are in the final.

Should be an awesome final.

NJReds
06-28-2012, 05:40 PM
If Germany and their manager had treated the first half like the second they might have won today. Germany is best when they're on the front foot. Going defensive was a mistake and invited Italy to take advantage.


They gave Pirlo and Cassano too much room to operate, and the good Ballotelli showed up today. Prandelli has this team playing well right now.

bucksfan2
06-28-2012, 05:42 PM
If Germany and their manager had treated the first half like the second they might have won today. Germany is best when they're on the front foot. Going defensive was a mistake and invited Italy to take advantage.

The went defensive against the Greeks as well. They looked great in the round robin part but really didn't click in the knockout stage.

WMR
06-28-2012, 05:47 PM
They gave Pirlo and Cassano too much room to operate, and the good Ballotelli showed up today. Prandelli has this team playing well right now.

Yep.

Italy (along with Spain, Brazil, and Argentina) is probably the most technically gifted team in the world. Backing up and trying to form a defensive shell is a sure-fire way to see them net a few against your squad. I'm really surprised Loew went so far away from what had been working so well.

He is going to get absolutely eviscerated in the German press.

BuckeyeRed27
06-28-2012, 05:55 PM
This clearly proves that the US could win the Euro ;)

reds1869
06-29-2012, 10:41 AM
Should be an interesting final. A clash of styles featuring two technically superb sides.

improbus
06-29-2012, 01:59 PM
Yep.

Italy (along with Spain, Brazil, and Argentina) is probably the most technically gifted team in the world. Backing up and trying to form a defensive shell is a sure-fire way to see them net a few against your squad. I'm really surprised Loew went so far away from what had been working so well.

He is going to get absolutely eviscerated in the German press.

Is this the third or fourth tournament in a row where the Germans play the most beautiful football, become the tourney darlings, and then flame out before finishing it off? There definitely seems to be a pattern.

But, they really missed a healthy Schweinstwiger. He was a non factor. It would be like having a less capable Buffon or Pirlo.

Betterread
06-29-2012, 09:37 PM
Is this the third or fourth tournament in a row where the Germans play the most beautiful football, become the tourney darlings, and then flame out before finishing it off? There definitely seems to be a pattern.

But, they really missed a healthy Schweinstwiger. He was a non factor. It would be like having a less capable Buffon or Pirlo.

Germany has a squad of very good quality, but wouldn't go so far as to call the "the most beautiful football". They just can't win the big games.

Comparing Schweinsteger to Pirlo is ignorant. The Italian comparison is Simone Pepe. Ozil is Germany's midfield general. He has 10X more class than schweinsteger. But I give Schweinsteger credit for having a pretty good tournmanment before the Italy game - no temper tantrums, especially.

improbus
06-29-2012, 11:13 PM
Germany has a squad of very good quality, but wouldn't go so far as to call the "the most beautiful football". They just can't win the big games.

Comparing Schweinsteger to Pirlo is ignorant. The Italian comparison is Simone Pepe. Ozil is Germany's midfield general. He has 10X more class than schweinsteger. But I give Schweinsteger credit for having a pretty good tournmanment before the Italy game - no temper tantrums, especially.
Hmmm. Germany did beat England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0 in the last World Cup in consecutive games (while Spain struggled to 1-0 wins over Portugal and Paraguay), and nearly every one of those goals was a work of art. If you get a chance, watch the free kick Schweinsteiger makes to Muller for the first goal vs. Argentina. Simply perfect.

Also, my comparison between Schweinsteiger and Pirlo isn't as far off as you think. They both play further back on the pitch than Ozil, who plays a role closer to the one Messi plays for Argentina, where he roams behind the striker. Messi is a much more clinical finisher obviously and Ozil is a superior passer, but their positioning is similar. In contrast, it isn't very common to see Pirlo in the penalty area.

But, without a healthy Schweinsteiger, the German attack was pathetic vs. Italy. They couldn't get anything going. I'm sure there were many more factors, but his role is huge on that team.
Is Ozil better, probably, but they looked pretty hopeless without Schweinsteiger linking the play between the back and front.

improbus
06-29-2012, 11:22 PM
Should be an awesome final.
I hope so, but I am very pessimistic. Both teams are notorious divers (I'm looking at you Iniesta). Both generally like the slow the game down (although Italy has been playing more attacking soccer than they usually do, but that may be a product of playing England and Germany who both hid in a shell and invited Italy forward). Spain likes to strangle the game to death in the midfield and use their passing as a substitute for defense. But, for all of their talent, they haven't scored many goals in this tournament, unless you count the Ireland game when even Torres could score. I just get the feeling it is going to be a cagey final and end with less than 2 goals scored. It definitely feels like penalties.

Betterread
06-30-2012, 01:36 PM
Italy and Spain have featured briliiant midfield play this tournament. Spain dominated midfield possession in every game. Even against Italy. Italy's strength is its defense to midfield linkup play. DeRossi has been magnificent this tournament at leading the Italian defense' distibution. On the second Italian goal vrs Germany, Italy defended a corner kick and whenthey won the ball deep in their end it was one, two short passes to Montolivo who had time to pick out and deliver a ball over the German back line to an umarked Balotelli. Balotelli took one touch to move the ball in position to shoot. The whole movement took about 10 seconds.
I though Portugal played Spain the toughest. They fought hard to win back possession in midfield and while spain still held the ball longer, they did pretty well in possession themselves. But they were horrible at finishing their chances, so they lost.

Yachtzee
06-30-2012, 03:35 PM
Is this the third or fourth tournament in a row where the Germans play the most beautiful football, become the tourney darlings, and then flame out before finishing it off? There definitely seems to be a pattern.

But, they really missed a healthy Schweinstwiger. He was a non factor. It would be like having a less capable Buffon or Pirlo.

If the Germans can take any consolation from this, it's that the starting lineup is filled with young players who will be around for a few more cycles, and most of them now have both World Cup and Euro experience. Just look at the ages of some of these guys who got significant playing time:

GK Neuer (26)
DF Hummels (23)
DF Badestuber (23)
DF Lahm (28)
DF Boateng (23)
MF Khedira (25)
MF Schweinsteiger (27)
MF Oezil (23)
MF Schuerrle (21)
MF Podolski (27)
MF Mueller (22)
MF Bender (23)
MF Kroos (22)
MF Reus (23)
FW Gomez (26)
FW Klose (34)

Barring injury, the only player I don't expect to see on the team at the next World Cup in Brazil and the next Euro tournament is Klose at 34. A lot of these guys could probably still be on the team for Russia in 2018. Not only that, but most of these guys either start for teams that regularly make the Champions League or will be soon.

Meanwhile, if you look at the Italians, they're going to be losing some of the players that were keys to their success in this tournament pretty soon. Buffon is 34, Pirlo 33, and Di Natale 34, so Italy won't have these guys to rely on much longer. Much of the rest of the team is the 27-29 age range and might not be around for Brazil, and probably won't see the next Euro tournament or Russia in 2018, and most of their recent call-ups are older than most of the German starters. Really they can only expect to have Balotelli around for a long time.

Spain isn't quite as old a team as Italy and has been working younger players into the mix, but again some of their stars are at their peak right now and will probably bow out of international play between the next World Cup and the next Euro.

Yachtzee
07-01-2012, 04:04 AM
Mario Balotelli = The OchoCinco of Soccer

improbus
07-01-2012, 03:50 PM
Mario Balotelli = The OchoCinco of Soccer

So much closer to Tyson (or maybe Jerome Brown), only without the criminality so far. You have to take into account his size and menace, two things Ocho doesn't have.

BTW, I hate the camera angle. The far side is difficult to follow.

improbus
07-01-2012, 03:52 PM
That was a foul. Ramos obliterated Balo.

BuckeyeRed27
07-01-2012, 04:31 PM
Wow that Alba goal was amazing. That pass and timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Yachtzee
07-01-2012, 05:34 PM
So much closer to Tyson (or maybe Jerome Brown), only without the criminality so far. You have to take into account his size and menace, two things Ocho doesn't have.

BTW, I hate the camera angle. The far side is difficult to follow.

Really? There is actually only a 1 inch difference between the two as far as size goes. Much of his antics off the pitch are very reminiscent of the kind of goofball craziness Ochocinco often displayed. Other things about him, like the tendency for coaches to criticize his tendency to go off and do his own thing and his tendency to lose interest when he's not involved in the game sound very familiar. The one thing he does that OchoCinco never really did is lose his cool at times and draw a red card. But I chalk that up to the difference in culture between the NFL and European soccer. Plenty of world class soccer players are know for losing their cool and doing something stupid that draws a red card. That doesn't necessarily make players like Wayne Rooney and Zinedine Zidane thugs. It just means they're hot headed at times. If they did that kind of stuff in the NFL, the league would come down hard on them. And with the different number of games in a season, getting banned 3-4 matches in soccer is no big deal, whereas having to sit out 4 games in the NFL is 1/4 of the season.

I guess maybe Balotelli is OchoCinco with a little Corey Dillon mixed in.

MWM
07-01-2012, 05:41 PM
Wow, Spain is REALLY good, I'd say the best national team I've ever seen. Total domination against a pretty good Italian team.

improbus
07-01-2012, 07:13 PM
Really? There is actually only a 1 inch difference between the two as far as size goes. Much of his antics off the pitch are very reminiscent of the kind of goofball craziness Ochocinco often displayed. Other things about him, like the tendency for coaches to criticize his tendency to go off and do his own thing and his tendency to lose interest when he's not involved in the game sound very familiar. The one thing he does that OchoCinco never really did is lose his cool at times and draw a red card. But I chalk that up to the difference in culture between the NFL and European soccer. Plenty of world class soccer players are know for losing their cool and doing something stupid that draws a red card. That doesn't necessarily make players like Wayne Rooney and Zinedine Zidane thugs. It just means they're hot headed at times. If they did that kind of stuff in the NFL, the league would come down hard on them. And with the different number of games in a season, getting banned 3-4 matches in soccer is no big deal, whereas having to sit out 4 games in the NFL is 1/4 of the season.

I guess maybe Balotelli is OchoCinco with a little Corey Dillon mixed in.

I still don't agree. Rooney and Zidane were never left off of their squad during the time when their teams were struggling because their coach was afraid of what they would do or because of off the field conflicts. The same goes for Ocho. His antics never compromised his on the field play in the way that Balotellis did. Also, Balotelli picks up a yellow card every game almost exclusively for just being Mario Balotelli, even though he rarely deserves it. That didn't happen to Zidane and hasn't happened to Rooney since his Everton days. Also, Balo isn't really a giant, but for an international striker he is.

Bill Simmons has a term that applies very aptly to Balotelli (and this brings me back to Tyson). He calls it the Tyson Zone. The definition is roughly as follows: "They could be in any headline in the news and it wouldnt surprise you." Any headline. Something silly, something dangerous, something criminal, anything. Tyson is there, Charlie Sheen is there, Rodman is there, and Balo is there. I don't think Ocho applies, (he doesn't seem the criminal or dangerous type). All of the following headlines could apply to Balo.

"Italian football star sleeps in bed every night with two panthers."
"Manchester City Striker sets pub on fire after being disappointed in their selection of red wines."
"Italian superstar actually international spy."

I would read any of those headlines about Mario and not be surprised. I would be surprised to see Ocho in similar headlines, and that's the difference, at less to me.

M2
07-01-2012, 07:33 PM
Wow, Spain is REALLY good, I'd say the best national team I've ever seen. Total domination against a pretty good Italian team.

Today was a demonstration of what kind of whipping a team can receive if it comes out and tries to play against Spain. The Spanish defense has more skill than most midfields. It's insane.

They'd be even scarier with a striker. Actually could have used Raul for this tournament.

Yet today was a message game. This was about claiming a place in history and obliterating Italian mystique.

improbus
07-01-2012, 07:52 PM
Today was a demonstration of what kind of whipping a team can receive if it comes out and tries to play against Spain. The Spanish defense has more skill than most midfields. It's insane.

They'd be even scarier with a striker. Actually could have used Raul for this tournament.

Yet today was a message game. This was about claiming a place in history and obliterating Italian mystique.

Agree. They were aggressive, not letting Italy get into any kind of rhythm. If they had a finisher like Raul, yikes.

Betterread
07-01-2012, 07:57 PM
I still don't agree. Rooney and Zidane were never left off of their squad during the time when their teams were struggling because their coach was afraid of what they would do or because of off the field conflicts. The same goes for Ocho. His antics never compromised his on the field play in the way that Balotellis did. Also, Balotelli picks up a yellow card every game almost exclusively for just being Mario Balotelli, even though he rarely deserves it. That didn't happen to Zidane and hasn't happened to Rooney since his Everton days. Also, Balo isn't really a giant, but for an international striker he is.

Bill Simmons has a term that applies very aptly to Balotelli (and this brings me back to Tyson). He calls it the Tyson Zone. The definition is roughly as follows: "They could be in any headline in the news and it wouldnt surprise you." Any headline. Something silly, something dangerous, something criminal, anything. Tyson is there, Charlie Sheen is there, Rodman is there, and Balo is there. I don't think Ocho applies, (he doesn't seem the criminal or dangerous type). All of the following headlines could apply to Balo.

"Italian football star sleeps in bed every night with two panthers."
"Manchester City Striker sets pub on fire after being disappointed in their selection of red wines."
"Italian superstar actually international spy."

I would read any of those headlines about Mario and not be surprised. I would be surprised to see Ocho in similar headlines, and that's the difference, at less to me.

I disagree with control freaks Mancini and Mourinho that Balotelli is a problem. He is undisciplined and he wears his emotion on his sleeve but I think he is targeted for way too much criticism. It is because he is the best Italian striker in a long time - and Italian soccer is on a 24 hour media cycle as the country's most popular sport.
I'm sorry, but borderline psychos like Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo (all of these Real Madrid guys committ horrific fouls every year and Mourinho defends them to the letter) are in your " Tyson zone". Those three clearly go through brief periods of blind rage where they are really trying to hurt opponents. Balotelli's bad fouls (I remember him being redcarded vrs. Aresenal a few months back) seem more stupid than vicious.

M2
07-01-2012, 08:42 PM
I disagree with control freaks Mancini and Mourinho that Balotelli is a problem. He is undisciplined and he wears his emotion on his sleeve but I think he is targeted for way too much criticism. It is because he is the best Italian striker in a long time - and Italian soccer is on a 24 hour media cycle as the country's most popular sport.
I'm sorry, but borderline psychos like Mario Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo (all of these Real Madrid guys committ horrific fouls every year and Mourinho defends them to the letter) are in your " Tyson zone". Those three clearly go through brief periods of blind rage where they are really trying to hurt opponents. Balotelli's bad fouls (I remember him being redcarded vrs. Aresenal a few months back) seem more stupid than vicious.

Sergio Ramos, not Mario.

I agree that Balotelli isn't a thug. However he loses the plot was too often in the middle of a game and sometimes he stays lost for the next month. Mostly he's immature, which you get to be when you're young.

The real question is whether Balotelli is a physical specimen or if he's someone who'll develop into a truly great striker. He got taken to school Ramos and Pique today and didn't have a Plan B when it became clear he couldn't physically dominate them.

And Italy hasn't been doing too poorly in terms of producing strikers. It's just finishing up the Del Piero, Inzaghi, Totti, Toni, Vieri, Di Natale generation. Gilardino gets overlooked, IMO. I'd actually say the best Italian striker to come along recently is injured - Giuseppe Rossi. Balotelli's currently at the front of the next wave, but Fabio Borini or Mattia Destro (or a number of others) could easily overtake him.

improbus
07-01-2012, 09:19 PM
I disagree with control freaks Mancini and Mourinho that Balotelli is a problem. He is undisciplined and he wears his emotion on his sleeve but I think he is targeted for way too much criticism. It is because he is the best Italian striker in a long time - and Italian soccer is on a 24 hour media cycle as the country's most popular sport.
I'm sorry, but borderline psychos like Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo (all of these Real Madrid guys committ horrific fouls every year and Mourinho defends them to the letter) are in your " Tyson zone". Those three clearly go through brief periods of blind rage where they are really trying to hurt opponents. Balotelli's bad fouls (I remember him being redcarded vrs. Aresenal a few months back) seem more stupid than vicious.
I guess I am taking in the complete package with Mario. I don't expect to see Sergio Ramos catching his bathroom on fire with fireworks anytime soon. You're right that Mario hasn't been flagrant with his fouling on the pitch, but just give him time, his Eric Cantona moment might come someday.

My favorite Mario moments.
-Setting his bathroom on fire.
-Getting arrested at 17 for trying to sneak into a female prison. (no joke)
-Throwing darts at youth players.
-Giving 1000 pounds to a hobo.
-Reading his iPad on the Italy bench.
-Stealing Sergo Agueros gloves (as a teammate by the way) before a game. Aguero was working on his shoes right before kick off and set them down when Mario pounced.

improbus
07-01-2012, 09:43 PM
Now, I will agree that the glove stealing sounds a lot like something Ocho would do, as does the Hobo thing. But, he wouldn't throw darts at players or get into a fight with Rio Ferdinand at Wembley.

bucksfan2
07-02-2012, 11:24 AM
Today was a demonstration of what kind of whipping a team can receive if it comes out and tries to play against Spain. The Spanish defense has more skill than most midfields. It's insane.

They'd be even scarier with a striker. Actually could have used Raul for this tournament.

Yet today was a message game. This was about claiming a place in history and obliterating Italian mystique.

I would have really liked to see the German squad play Spain. For my money Ozil was the best player in the first 4 matches of the tournament.

The final was a decent game until Italy was forced to go all in trying to score goals with 10 men. Spain blew it open late but I was happy the game was played the way it was. It seems to me that the title game more often than not is pretty boring.