Euro 2012: Round 3

The last round of group games has been played and now we know who is through, and who is out, of Euro 2012.

Obviously, the major shock is that the Netherlands have left the competition, finishing bottom of their group after losing all three games. Another shock is that of Group A. How Greece and Czech Republic managed to literally turn the tables on Russia and Poland is beyond me.

Group A

Czech Republic 1 – 0 Poland

A game in which Poland were expected to cruise through, either winning it or drawing. Not the case. Jiracek scored a pretty good goal in a Czech dominating performance.

The Poles were poor. Really poor. It was so obvious that they were purely relying on their three main players, with nobody else being of ample quality to chip in with a killer pass or goal.

It’s a real shame that Poland couldn’t progress, especially as co-hosts. It’s always a good atmosphere in and around the ground when the home nation is playing, but now we’re going to lose that.

Czech Republic will progress to play Portugal in the next round. I really can’t see the Czech’s making it through to the semifinals, but stranger things have happened – like them actually getting through to the quarterfinals!

Greece 1 – 0 Russia

The other big shock of the group. Russia were in such a commanding position coming into this game, and were almost dead certs to go through. They bossed the game from beginning to end but just couldn’t make any of their possession or attempts count.

I actually can’t believe how lucky Greece were. I said in my previous post that they would have to be extremely lucky to get through, and they got that luck! But I suppose you make your own luck, don’t you? If you create the chance, and take them, then you deserve to win, especially if the other team doesn’t.

It’s just unfortunate for Greece that they’ll be missing Karagounis for the quarterfinal. One of their most inspirational players, who scored the goal to take them through, tripped in the area and should have had a penalty, but instead was booked for diving. Surely there should be a case for appeal in circumstances such as this?

Greece now have the task of taking on Germany in the quarterfinals. I just can’t see how Greece can progress. They’re outclassed in every position. Not a chance. Mind you, I said that about their qualification hopes and look where that got me…

Group B

Denmark 1 – 2 Germany

After their opening game heroics against Holland, Denmark couldn’t put together a strong enough performance to chance their arm at qualification. Even if they battered Germany 10-0 though, they still wouldn’t have progressed because their head to head rating against Portugal would go against them, so it was a game in vain essentially.

The game was quite stagnant for the majority, but there were some quality passages of play worth watching. Some of the intricate football that Germany can play rivals that of Spain, and might just take them to the podium with a trophy to life.

Denmark gave themselves every chance of qualifying, but it just wasn’t to be.

Germany face Greece in the quarterfinals in what should be an easy enough game for them to win and progress to the semifinals.

Portugal 2 – 1 Netherlands

 This was another good comeback of sorts. Portugal looked to be playing absolutely miserable football in their first game, and for much of their second, but in this game they took advantage of an out of touch and unmotivated Holland.

It was also a good comeback in the game, as they were 1-0 down after 11 minutes, but managed to claw back two goals and three points courtesy of Ronaldo.

The Netherlands will be disgusted with themselves after this tournament. Coming in as one of the favourites and not even winning a game in the group stages – what a disappointment and utterly embarrassing to themselves, their fans and their country. I don’t expect it to be long before van Marwijk will be making a swift exit from the Dutch hot seat.

Portugal have the pleasure of meeting the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. If they play like the did in this game, and Ronaldo is firing on all cylinders with the right service, then they shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. The difficulties will come when they start to play like they did in the first game.

Group C

Croatia 0 – 1 Spain

I have never been so angry watching a football match. Spain were absolutely infuriating. For about 85 minutes they refused to shoot and tried to play at least two more passes than they needed to, just to show off, and it didn’t work.

I hope they play like that for the rest of the tournament and France actually go and knock them out. The build up to the final goal was pretty good, a nice lobbed ball and then a cut back to be simply walked into the open net, but they aren’t always going to get that in every game.

Even though they have the players to score goals from 6-yards to 35-yards, they didn’t want to shoot from anywhere outside of the 6-yard box. It was embarrassing to say the least.

They go through and play France now, and as I said, I hope they get beat if they play like that.

Italy 2 – 0 Rep of Ireland

The Irish did a good job of frustrating Italy, and even came close on a couple of occasions. You can’t fault their effort! But Italy were just better than them on the day.

They were 1-0 down before Balotelli scored Italy’s second and proceeded to shout something and someone, which didn’t go down well with the other players on the pitch, although they claim they “didn’t know what he was going to say” but decided it was best for him not to talk anyway?

Never mind, Italy are through and play the mighty England in the next round, let’s just see…

Group D

England 1 – 0 Ukraine

A game in which England were second best to pretty much everything. Should it have been a goal? Yes, the ball crossed the line. No, the player was offside when the ball was played. It doesn’t really matter, you win some, you lose some and football generally evens itself out with (un)lucky decisions.

Rooney started ahead of Caroll, not a decision Hodgson made quickly I’m sure, but he scored and that’s all you can ask for from your strikers, right? Even if it was from about 6 inches out, they all count.

It was a pretty ugly affair from England’s perspective. Ukraine were one step quicker to the ball all through the game they created good openings but couldn’t quite make them count.

England vs Italy in the next round. What a match up that is going to be. Two teams who aren’t quite at their best, and arguably with their “golden” periods over and trying to introduce some fresh blood.

The flair vs the defence and break – more than likely anyway. Keep our fingers crossed that we’ll get through to the finals!

Sweden 2 – 0 France

A shocking result really. After losing their opening two games, Sweden finally find some form, from where!? The goals were really good, especially Ibrahimovic. And yes, it does pain me to praise him.

I really don’t understand how France didn’t score in this game. 21 attempts, 10 on target and still nothing.

Shooting practice is needed if they’re going to get anything against Spain in the next round. The front three have been quite disappointing so far this tournament, they’ll need to be at their best now it’s the knockout stages. No more second chances.

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About Matthew Norman

A Search Manager working in the SEO department with three years of digital marketing experience in Middlesbrough, UK and now in Sydney.

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