Daily Archives: June 15, 2012

Spain 4-0 Ireland: whitewash

“The biggest win of Euro 2012 so far. Vicente del Bosque made one change, leaving out Cesc Fabregas and playing with a proper striker – Fernando Torres started upfront. Giovanni Trapattoni also made a single change upfront – Kevin Doyle dropped out, and Simon Cox started behind Robbie Keane. Spain were clearly the better side here – so much so, that the tactical battle was almost non-existent. Ireland did well to get to half-time at only 0-1, but Spain wrapped the game up soon into the second half. Neither side did anything different or unusual tactically.” Zonal Marking

True nine or false nine?
“True nine or false nine? That is the question Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque is wrestling with ahead of his side’s game against Ireland, its second fixture in Group C. And there are compelling reasons on both sides of the argument.” ESPN (Video)

Euro 2012: Fernando Torres and Spain end Republic of Ireland hopes
“Anything can happen in 90 minutes, said Giovanni Trapattoni. But when Spain play like this and his Republic of Ireland team see their limitations so painfully exposed, only one thing can happen. The mis-match of Euro 2012 so far concluded with Spain igniting their championship defence and Ireland beating a humble retreat.” Guardian

Euro 2012 Analysis – Day 1, Groups A, B, C, D

“This is the first piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all the matches based on our FootballrRating score. The app is currently in public beta. Register now to gain access to our match, player, and team analysis.” chimu solutions

Italy 1-1 Croatia: Pirlo dictates first half, Croatia dominate the second after half-time switch

“Croatia initially had problems with Italy’s 3-5-2, but a clever half-time switch by Slaven Bilic got them back into the game. Cesare Prandelli kept the same formation and starting XI, so Mario Balotelli remained upfront despite Antonio Di Natale’s impact as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Spain. Bilic rewarded the eleven players that played in the 3-1 win over Ireland with a second start. A game of two halves. In the first, Italy recorded 11 shots compared to Croatia’s three. In the second, Croatia ‘won’ this statistic 7-3, summing up the change in the balance of play.” Zonal Marking

Croatia shows fighting spirit vs. Italy
“Fearless Croatia demonstrated that its opening-round victory was more than a fluke, recovering from a goal down to tie Italy 1-1 amid a fiery atmosphere that left Group C finely poised. The game boiled down to a fascinating tactical battle between two of the world’s finest playmakers, Italy’s Andrea Pirlo and Croatia’s Luka Modric. The first half belonged to the 33-year-old Italian, a metronomic midfielder whose departure in 2011 after a decade at AC Milan was meant to ease him into pasture. Pirlo responded by leading Juventus to the Serie A title this past season, and he reveled in this game, alongside teammate Claudio Marchisio, as Italy dominated the initial exchange.” ESPN (Video)

Croatia rallies in second half, forces 1-1 draw with Italy in Group C
“Italy sat back and paid for it Thursday in a 1-1 draw with Croatia at the European Championship. Andrea Pirlo gave Italy the lead with a curving free kick in the 39th minute but Mario Mandzukic was left unmarked to equalize in the 72nd. Italy had numerous other first-half chances from Mario Balotelli, Claudio Marchisio and Antonio Cassano, but the Azzurri lacked finishing quality. Balotelli, in particular, appeared hesitant and missed one opportunity after another. And this time, second-half replacement Antonio Di Natale never really had a chance to score.” SI

Euro 2012: Croatia’s Mandzukic grabs point after Pirlo gives Italy lead
“Italy are still waiting for their first win against Croatia and their first win in this tournament. They seemed to have done enough to secure three points when they held a first-half lead until 18 minutes from the end, though they never played with much assurance and could not complain when the Croatians came back at them to snatch a draw with Mario Mandzukic’s well-taken equaliser.” Guardian

Euro 2012: the story so far…

“The sheer mindless idiocy of choosing Ukraine and Poland as UEFA have done for the European finals was duly and hideously exposed when the Russian and Polish fans set about each other before the game between their countries in Warsaw. The Russian hooligans have already disgraced themselves in the streets with no help on that occasion from the Poles. And to think that FIFA in their own wisdom, or perhaps something more sinister, have given the 2018 World Cup to the Russians. So much, as one has emphasised in the past, for the so-called campaign to kick out racism.” World Soccer – Brian Glanville

Holland 1 -2 Germany: The broken team…

“A match that Holland needed to win in order to keep chances of qualifying to the knock-out stages of Euro 2012 in their own hands, ended in a bitter defeat. Germany had the better of the game, except maybe in the closing stages when Van Marwijk made some changes and Holland bravely, but desperately, chased an equalizer. In the end, Germany thoroughly deserved the victory, based on their tactical superiority and several key German players outperforming their Dutch counterparts.” 11 tegen 11