torsdag den 26. juni 2008

More EURO 2008 thoughts

So much has happened since my last entry that I'm not sure where to start even.

Well as I predicted in my last entry Russia beat Holland, and then what I unfortunately didn't make an entry about, but which I also predicted, Spain then beat Russia.
Both of these games were really good examples of how it's not only in boxing but very often in football as well, that styles make fights. A great example of it and one of my favorite figths right there^^

But I already went through in detail why I thought Holland didn't match up well with Russia and as far as the Spain-Russia match was concerned it's even more simple.
Russia and Spain basically share the same major strenghts but Spain just does everyone of those a little better and in such cases where you have no unique strenght, like for an example a great defensive organizaion, to counter the opponent's strenghts, you just share strongpoints but the opponent's are even stronger, things can very easily turn one sided.
Russia at this point just does not have the defensive quality or experience for that matter to resist a team with as much quality possession as Spain.
One thing Holland did do well against Russia was actually suprisingly keeping the majority of possession against them and by doing that in many ways delayed the inevitable but as they did so they sacrificed their normal high tempo resulting in not really troubling the normaly vulnerable Russian defence to the extent it was needed, except for on set pieces.
A lot of the time, unlike with Spain, the dutch possession wasn't high quality but really more geared towards somewhat spoiling the Russian high quality. Slowing them down.

Spain tonight of course was the exact opposite and when the deadly duo upfront was dissolved because of a David Villa injury, what replaced it when Fabregas entered was a midfield probably more capable than any other of very high quality possession.
I must admit the prospects of seeing Fabregas, Iniesta and Xavi work their passing magic together had me drooling and no they did not disappoint.
The only negative would have been if they had gone stale and settled for just passing the ball around but both Silva and especially Iniesta stepped up their game and provided plenty of deep runs forward to support Torres. Xavi of course had already done so with the goal.
Fabregas was everywhere and behind them, in front of a solid defence, Marcus Senna had yet another virtually perfect game.
There was just no way that Russia would resist this kind of quality.
In many ways their own fluid passing medicine shoved right down their collective throat.
And they couldn't. Just like in the first game, easy win for Spain.

But credit to Russia for a great tournament.
The Holland match was great drama and the football throughout a joy to watch.
Ukranian Lobanovsky who fathered the Soviet total football would have been proud.
This team was right in his spirit.

Then there is the other half of the draw. By the way I'm saving an entry on the Italian failure against Spain and Marcello Lippi returning as the coach for later.
But what can you even say about Turkey?
It seems forever ago that I wrote that they just could not keep escaping jail, yet this was exactly what they did against Croatia only to ironically have Germany pull a similar trick on them in what was yet another crazy drama filled match.
Not made any better by the tv signal going out everywhere.

Now I don't know if the German team had a blackout in this game but they really did suck in many ways.
The pressure 4-4-2 was once again dropped and it seemed the balance was nowhere to be found.
Ballack played sort of a free role behind Klose and in front of the two central midfielders but when he does that you sort of only get half of what he is so good at.
You take a lot of the steel out and you take a lot of the hard work out.
One thing was for sure. Even with a well populated midfield Germany was still getting run over the majority of the game. Definitely not something you've seen a lot in recent years.
Credit to Turkey who probably played their best game by far in the tournament and I thought especially Aurelio, Turkey's Senna, and the right sided fullback Sabri played great.
Sabri was just dynamite throughout, a cannonball, and actually outplayed probably the best leftback in the world Philipp Lahm, for most of the game.
Then Lahm, after being thoroughly owned when Turkey equalized, bouncing right back and in spectacular fashion scoring the winner was quite simply the stuff of legends.

Hopefully I won't be too lazy to write a finals preview where I think I'll salute the missing in action German 4-4-2, its Italian connections and why I have feeling it will be desperately needed in a final that before the tournament and following the Portugal game, I thought they would win, but now I'm not so sure of.

1 kommentar:

Morten sagde ...

Woohoo, Spain won - finally. They rule the school this summer, those Spanish bastards!

I suppose the unfortunate inactivity on this lovely blog is a sign of you preparing the coverage to end all coverage of the upcoming Olympics? :)