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Archive for June 15th, 2012

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BREAKING NEWS : France vs Ukraine Match Suspended

BREAKING NEWS : France vs Ukraine Match Suspended

The players are being taken off because of the lightning storm above the stadium. What an odd start. The subs have stayed put, those hardy souls. It really is an incredible storm. The oppressive heat broke just before kick off – during the national anthems in fact – and has been replaced by rain, rain, more rain, thunder and so many flashes of fork lightning that it may as well be a nightclub.

The Donbass Arena is almost empty as most of the crowd hide, not so much from the rain I imagine, but from the threat of the ground being hit by lightning. There are puddles building on the pitch so, if and when the game gets restarted, that’s likely to cause havoc.

 

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FT Spain 4 – 0 Republic of Ireland

FT Spain 4 – 0 Republic of Ireland

After typically tidy interplay from the Spanish, Richard Dunne slid in to tackle Silva but the ball broke to Torres at the edge of the area. He effortlessly ghosted past Ward and cracked a decent shot past Given, who should have stopped it. 1-0.

At 49′, Given blocked an Ineista shot but only batted it out as far as Silva, who collected it eight yards out, feinted past St Ledger and then sidefooted it through two pairs of Irish legs and into the bottom corner. 2-0.

At 70′, McGeady lost possession in the middle, the ball was slipped through to Torres, who got away from Ward easily and then, despite pressure from Dunne, slotted it past Given and into the net from 18 yards. 3-0 for Spain.

Bang! At 83′, Fabregas fires the ball in off the post after Ireland fall asleep from a short corner. 4-0.

 

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FT Italy 1 – 1 Croatia

FT Italy 1 – 1 Croatia

Italy won a softish free-kick on the edge of the area at 41′, a fair way to the left of centre, after Balotelli was challenged by Rakitic. Pirlo has always been a master at getting it up and down from 18.00001 yards, and he did it again with a beautiful free-kick that went over the wall and right in the corner at the near post. Pletikosa got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. That was an effortlessly suave free-kick from one of the most elegant footballers in the world.

At 72′, Mandzukic scored a goal for Croatia. This is a really poor goal to concede as well. Strinic, aided by Vukojevic’s overlapping run, swerves a long cross towards the far post, where Chiellini hopelessly mistimes his jump. It goes straight over his head, allowing Mandzukic to pull it down deftly, six yards from goal, before ramming it above the sprawling Buffon and in off the post. That was a cool finish because most forwards would have hit that first time

That was a fair result in an enjoyable game. Croatia fought back excellently in the second half, aided by Italy’s excessive caution, and a draw keeps both teams alive going into the final match. Croatia have four points to Italy’s two, but I still think Italy are in a slightly better position.