Europe once again celebrates it’s sportsmanship with the second most important football-event worldwide, the UEFA Euro that conveniently takes place two years after the World Cup… no, not by accident. Hey, can you really blame us? Football was born in England, no wonder Europe loves it the most and even until today, there’s still a lot more competition between European countries than anywhere else. South America has some amazingly good national teams… like, 3 of them, but you get the idea. I actually consider the UEFA Euro harder than the World Cup, because less countries are allowed to participate, we have a lot strong national teams around here, there’s no round of best 18 (so you jump right into the quarterfionals where most of the lesser great teams have already been eliminated) and the rules for the group-matches are insanely complicated, so it’s harder to advance to the knock out-rounds.
The group-matches are over and we finally have our quarterfinalists. Just as a note: I watch football every two years: FIFA WC und UEFA Euro. I know the rules, I know how it’s supposed to be played, but I’m no expert by any means. Still, seeing the groups, I guess Group A was the easiest group, Group B… well, Group of Death and all, Group C had a very strong Croatia, Iratly and Spain and Group D had a pretty good Ukraine, France and England.
I was very surprised that Russia lost to Greece in their final Group-match and Greece managed to advance to the quarterfinals and actually, I would’ve preferred if this didn’t happen. One reason is because I think Russia deserved the quarterfinals more than Greece, because Russia had the overall better apperance. The other reason is because the media tries to push politics onto the Greek/German-match now and this is freaking annoying. It’s a football match fot god’s sake, not a political banquet. I want to watch a good game friday, fair and square, no hate, no anti-german parols after a greek defeat, because they wanted to beat us because of the €uro-debate. None of this crap, I just want a good game, but actually I highly doubt that thanks to the kind of football Greece plays. It’s extreamly defencive, so it’s going to be hard to show some awesome to look at offensive football, because there will hardly be any room to work with for Germany. I’m positive they can crack it up, but it’s not going to be a very exiting match when Greece walls itself up with 9 people in front of their goal. I personally would’ve preferred Russia, because they also play offensive and very fast football. Nicer to look at. Thanks for losing, guys…
Group B was truly the Group of Death, with 4 teams ranked in the top 10 of the FIFA worldrankings. I was very surprised that the Netherlands did so bad, they have such great players, but were all over the place. It was like, you know, they have great individual players, but didn’t worked well as a team. I’m really sad it turned out this way, I would’ve loved for them to continue, it’s always something special to play against the Dutch for Germany. But how it turned out, they had to go home after 3 losses, that’s a bitter pill to take für the vice-worldchampion. Portugal was a bit disappointing during it’s first two games as well, but when Ronaldo remembered how to play the game in the 3rd match, it got a lot better. Ronaldo is pretty much their toughest weapon and when he has a good day, he’s very dangerous. As for Denmark, they successfully annoyed all the other countries in Group B and did better than most expected. To be honest, I would’ve loved for them to advance into the quarterfinals, because they tried so hard and fought with all they had in this hars group, but it just wasn’t enough. 😦 Germany, well, not much to say about us. We played worse than expected, but it was still enough for 3 (way too close) wins – the only country with 9 points btw – and to be able to keep being a favorite for the title. That’s quite an accomplishment, let’s so how far we can go this time. If you ask me, we should be able to get into the final and meet Spain there – again.
Talking about Spian, they nearly got kicked out of the tournament as well. Croatia annoyed the hell out of them, that’s for sure. In all respect for their great gameplay and everything, but if they would have failed to reach the quaterfinals, I would’ve laughed to hard. I’m sorry, you have a really amazing team, but this would’ve been just too funny. And Spain also played worse than expected, actually I see Spain and Germany pretty even right now and both teams still have a lot room to improve, so if they do, we’ll see a breathtaking finale with no favorite. This’ll be awesome, especially because Germany already lost 2 titles to Spain, this heats up the whole thing a lot. Before that, there’s still Italy and they did surprisingly good, after the huge shock 2 years ago during the World Cup, I guess we can expect some more surprises from them. Last is Ireland… well, you see, the Irish probably had the worst team that amde it into the tournament, but by far the most amazing fans I’ve ever seen. Guys, I love you so much, I would’ve loved to see more of you, please qualify for the next World Cup, altough you’re in our qualification-group and considering the others we’re kinda expected to go first place, you can still make it through the play-offs. We will all miss you during the knock out-rounds, that’s for sure.
Now, last group, France disappointed, could’ve been better, but still made it to the quarterfinals anyway. Sweden tried really hard and I think they would’ve probably deserved to advance more than France and their Captain Zlatan Ibrahimović was really good, he scored an amazing goal against France and absolutely deserved that win. Too bad it wasn’t enough. Same goes for Ukraine, they tried hard, but sadly failed. England advanced and did pretty good, but now there’s a lot of complaining going on the match between Ukraine and England, because of that one “goal” that would’ve tied the game. I perfectly understand that Ukraine is very pissed about that, because the ball was over the line, it was in the goal, but two passes before, there was an offside-situation the referee didn’t see. I know the goal was a different playing situation, but it was pretty close after the not-given offside, so honestly, I think it’s ok that the goal was not given. One referee-mistake kinda neutralises the other referee-mistake. Both were mistakes and because of that I wouldn’t have complained even if the goal would have been given, but as it is… this is actually the fairest outcome for both teams.
As for the hosts: I think they tried to play good games and I’m sad they failed to make it into the quarterfinals. Especially for the host, it’s always a very special tournament and the overall exitement in the hosting country is better when it’s still in the tournament.
Predictions for the upcomming matches? Oh well… I guess Portugal will beat the Czech Republic, Spain will beat France, Germany will beat Greece and Italy will beat England. Then we would have Portugal agianst Spain and Germany against Italy in the Semifinals from which Spain and Germany advance to the final match. Actually winning the whole thing sounds too good to be true, but of course I hope our boys can make it.
And these are my very amateur-ish thoughts on the UEFA Euro 2012. Let’s hope we’ll see some more good matches.