Kicker Conspiracy: Football Beyond The Euros, Hornby & Banter

June 20, 2012


“International football tournaments come around so quickly these days. Maybe it’s a consequence of getting older, but the PASSION!-themed TV advertising seems to start as the ears are still ringing with the previous competition’s sententious punditry. Sure enough, I’m still recovering from my twenty-ninth birthday – involving a Pennine reservoir’s-worth of booze and a 2010 World Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out soundtracked experimentally with Mahler’s Tragische Symphony No. 6 – and the Poland-Ukraine European Championships are getting underway. The media are microwaving their xenophobic patter, and part-time fans across England are consulting their WKD sides to escape those long-scheduled family christenings to watch the group matches down the local. Banter, endless bloody banter, drifts through the window on the breeze to chisel away that vestige of the life-force left intact by the Jubilympics. It must be hellish if you don’t like football.” The Quietus


Germany, Spain still favorites as Euro 2012 quarterfinals begin

June 20, 2012

“A new tournament starts in Euro 2012 on Thursday with the first of four quarterfinals, a showdown between Portugal and the Czech Republic here at the National Stadium. After a breathless run of 24 games in 12 days, Wednesday was the tournament’s first off-day, which gives us a chance to do a new set of power rankings and preview each quarterfinal.” SI


Gerrard proves he can deliver from deep – but Italian intelligence the real test

June 20, 2012

“Roy Hodgson has based his England side around organisation, discipline and a good shape without the ball. It’s not a system that brings the best out of individuals, particularly flair players, and as a result, it’s been difficult to name a standout man of the match in any of England’s three Euro 2012 matches so far – despite England topping their group comfortably with seven points. But over the three games, Steven Gerrard has been England’s star performer, from his deep midfield role alongside Scott Parker.” FourFourTwo


In The Premier League, The Sun Always Shines On TV

June 20, 2012


“When Sergio Aguero crashed home the injury time winner to secure Manchester City’s Premier League title, he almost certainly gave little thought to the financial ramifications of his well taken goal, but it could be argued that this sublime moment provided the impetus for last week’s record television deal, which has climbed around 70% to £3 billion over the next three-year cycle. As the Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said, ‘We couldn’t have gone to market at a better time.'” Swiss Ramble


Gavin Hamilton Euro 2012 diary, June 20, Warsaw

June 20, 2012

“The longer England stay in this tournament, the luckier they get. Last night’s win over Ukraine – the first time England have beaten the hosts at a tournament – included a huge dose of luck, with the match officials refusing to award Ukraine a goal after Marko Devic’s shot was cleared from behind the line by John Terry. However, England demonstrated a spirit and sense of togetherness that was lacking in South Africa.” World Soccer


Argentine title race is a sprint, relegation a marathon

June 20, 2012

“In the rollercoaster of tournament football it took Russia little more than a week to move from possible winners to definite failures at Euro 2012. Spare a thought, then, for Argentine club Tigre who could move to either extreme in the space of 90 minutes – or even be both at the same time. Next week is the last round of the conventional season in Argentina and Tigre have a good chance of winning the title for the first time in the club’s long history. But they are also in danger of being relegated to the second division.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Euro 2012: Poland and Ukraine has given us excitement, new stars and the hallmarks of a classic tournament

June 20, 2012


Danny Welbeck
“If these Euros maintain their winning blend of technique and tempo, Poland and Ukraine may even eclipse events in Holland and Belgium for all-round entertainment. There is so much to celebrate. The dark arts of diving, dissent and dangerous tackling have been witnessed infrequently, a hugely welcome development. Refereeing standards have, by and large, been more than acceptable. Unexpected stars have lit up the night skies, including Alan Dzagoev, Mario Mandzukic, Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Debuchy.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


England can start to dream

June 20, 2012

“After England squeaked by the unfancied Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup quarterfinal, then-coach Bobby Robson was moved to quip, ‘We didn’t underestimate them. They were just a lot better than we thought.’ Roy Hodgson’s team may feel similarly after winning 1-0 against a frenetically impressive, attack-minded Ukraine. A dour first half was followed by the entertaining spectacle of the second. England held on and was rewarded. France’s insipid collapse against eliminated Sweden in the other Group D match means the Three Lions topped their group and avoid the world champions in the quarterfinals.” ESPN (Video)

England 1-0 Ukraine: cagey game
“Wayne Rooney returned to head in a simple goal, and England finish top of Group D. Roy Hodgson dropped Andy Carroll to bring in Rooney, so Danny Welbeck returned to his position as the primary centre-forward. Oleh Blokhin made various changes – Andriy Shevchenko wasn’t fit enough to start, and Andriy Voronin was dropped, so there was an all-new centre-forward partnership of Artem Milevskiy and Marco Devic. Serhiy Nazarenko was replaced by Denys Harmash, and Yaroslav Rakitskiy came in at the back. Like all three of England’s matches, this was poor technical game lacking in quality, and many of the chances came from set-pieces and crosses.” Zonal Marking

Three thoughts: England casts aside hype to thrive on grit
“Three thoughts on England’s 1-0 victory against Ukraine, which sent England (first place) and France (second) to the Euro 2012 quarterfinals, while Ukraine and Sweden were eliminated… This England provides plenty thrills (of a slightly different kind). No wonder manager Roy Hodgson was all smiles after the final whistle: England has already exceeded expectations at the Euros, winning Group D with seven points. The English public, too, seems to have warmed to a side that has a little bit of everything — experience, grit, fight, pace, youth — but is mercifully lacking the sense of entitlement that has hampered previous versions of the ‘Three Lions’.” SI


France has reason to worry

June 20, 2012

“In a hurry, the optimism surrounding France at the European Championships has faded. Set to win Group D and avoid a confrontation with defending European and world champion Spain, France lost 2-0 to already-eliminated Sweden in Kiev on a steamy Tuesday night to set up that unwanted pairing in the quarterfinals. England, as group winner (yes, you’re seeing right), gets Italy instead. After France won at a major tournament for the first time in six years on Friday, out went Les Bleus’ 23-match unbeaten streak with a stunning Zlatan Ibrahimovic volley in the 54th minute.” ESPN (Video)