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EURO 2008

Posted on: June 2, 2008 11:39 pm
 
This upcoming Saturday June 6th EURO 2008 begins, the largest soccer tournament in the world aside from the World Cup. True soccer fans would venture the statement that EURO is a better tournament than the World Cup due to the equality of most teams that qualify for EURO as opposed to the World Cup where teams such as Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Togo and Trinidad+Tobago hope to SCORE a goal, let alone WIN a game.  However, to be fair EURO does miss the Brazilian and Argentinian teams and the skill that they bring.

This year, the favorites are the same (for the most part) with most picking Italy, Germany, Portugal, France and Spain to win EURO however one of the best clubs in the world, England, failed to qualify and will not be able to participate.  With these clubs come some of the best players in the world, with Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal leading the way, coming off one of the best years in recent memory for his club Manchester United.

Also, advocates of EURO love to point out that the best soccer in the world is played in Europe with the English, Italian, German and Spanish leagues considered without a doubt to be the strongest leagues in the world.

My pick this year is Spain, led by a pair of strikers that are at the top of their games as well as some of the best players in the world: Fernando Torres (Liverpool of England) and David Villa. My sleeper pick to make the semifinals is the Czech Republic as they will perform MUCH better than their lackluster World Cup performance from 2 years ago.  Look to see Portugal and Italy to fill out the semifinals.

Updates will be posted throughout.
Comments

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: June 10, 2008 11:43 am
 

EURO 2008

Results from 6/9/08:

France 0 - Romania 0
Netherlands 3 - Italy 0 (Ruud van Nistelrooy 26', Wesley Sneijder 31', Giovanni Van Bronckhorst 80')

A bit of commentary on the game from me:

First off, the explanation of the first Dutch goal where the idiotic ESPN commentators seemed to think that Ruud was in an offside position simply because the Italian defender was off the pitch. As a referee I nearly had to mute the television before I got too mad at their remarks on how the officiating crew, especially the referee and AR1, screwed that call up. To that end I will use the EXACT wording from FIFA's "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" in order to make this clear to all.

Section 11.11 reads: "A defender who leaves the field during the course of play and does not immediately return must still be
considered in determining where the second to last defender is for the purpose of judging which attackers are in an offside position. Such a defender is considered to be on the touch line or the goal line closest to his off-field position. A defender who leaves the field
with the referee's permission (and who thus requires the referee's permission to return) is not included in determining offside
position."



Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: June 9, 2008 4:10 pm
 

EURO 2008

Results 6/7/08:

Portugal 2 - Turkey 0 (POR: Pepe 61', Raul Meireles 90')
Czech Republic 1 - Switzerland 0 (CR: Vaclav Sverkos 70')

Results 6/8/08

Croatia 1 - Austria 0 (CRO: Luka Modric (pen) 4')
Germany 2 - Poland 0 (GER: Lukas Podolski 20', 72')



Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: June 9, 2008 4:02 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: June 9, 2008 3:50 pm
 

EURO 2008

My thoughts are two-fold: First, as an avid England supporter and with a good portion of family in England still I think that it is yet another extreme disappointment for the country that is SUPPOSED to be in the top tier of teams in the world yet always seem to under perform. Second, as a soccer fan as well as a referee and a former player I was not surprised to see them not qualify. I watched most of their qualifying matches and they simply looked uninspired as well as old. With players such as Rio Ferdinand, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, and John Terry on their way out and still playing a lot of minutes I don't think that the English would find success in that.  Also, there was AGAIN a coaching issue with another change in team tactics and their inability to close matches (see Russia, final game of qualifying) is just another issue on a long list of problems for England.

Going forward, I think that the English side will see success when the younger talent is allowed into the talent pool and to the full squad on a regular basis. Players such as Theo Walcott, Joe Hart, Darren Bent, Jermaine Defoe, Tom Huddlestone and Gabriel Agbonlahor are going to infuse the squad with youth and the ability to play for lengths of time that are needed to build team skills and team chemistry. I don't think that by World Cup 2010 in South Africa they will be able to compete at the level of the Spains and the Argentinas (my top two picks for the World Cup 2010) but by Euro 2012 I think that England will once again be a worldly power. 



Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2008 3:54 pm
 

EURO 2008

All good points. Especially re: Ribery.  That guy is getting better and better every breath he takes.  If I was say .. Italy (Forza Azzurri!) and we were playing France (and they will) I would be more worried about him than Henry.  He is the lifeblood of that team and without question you are spot on that France would be down a knock without those two.  The Dutch are always their own worst enemy (see 2000 Euro vs Italy) so if they can manage to get out of their own way, they really do have a great chance of taking France out of the group stage and hopefully advancing with Italia. 

But man meth - let me tell you ... I am CRUSED to lose Cannavaro. Our heart and soul at the back - and also because the options to replace are shaky at best.  Expecting Materazzi to perform as he did in 06 is wishful thinking and the rest are too green or too old so .. keeping fingers crossed.  Look for Donadoni to use both def MF's Gattuso and De Rossi - the future of heart and soul of the Azzurri.

So what are your thoughts as to England's non-placing in the tourney?  Things to improve/change/etc?




Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2008 2:44 pm
 

EURO 2008

I agree, the "Group of Death" with France and Italy playing each other in their first game of a major competition following the last major competition is EXCELLENT for the game.  I am looking forward to watching the entire tournament however I do have to say that there are a few teams that are overmatched and Romania is at the top of that list. Look for the Dutch to make a serious impact this year as I have them a sleeper to knock France out of Euro early this year. Especially so, considering that Henry and Ribbery didn't participate in the French training session because of injury. If those two men didn't play for the French side than one could bump them to second tier.

Come on June 6th!!

Being an England fan is tough.. who do I cheer for? No one! haha



Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2008 1:05 pm
 

EURO 2008

Nice little preview blog for the Euro.  I am very much looking forward to the tourney and you are right - throw Braz and Arg into the mix (and an English side that actually plays the way they should) and you would have the best of the best and not as much filler. I mean looking at the France/Italy/Romania/Neth group - man... how do the Finalists from the last World Cup make it to the same group?!  Welcome to the Euros!


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