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Posts tagged ‘euro 2012’

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FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Portugal

FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Portugal

Early at 11′, Robben darted in from the right and again he unselfishly laid it off, this time to Van der Vaart on the edge of the area. He opened up his body and then curled a delicious shot with his left foot into the left corner, the ball bending beautifully past Rui Patricio’s dive. 1-0 for Holland.

It had to happen eventually, and Portugal fully merit this, because they have been the superior side since Holland’s goal. At 28′, the move started from a poor clearance from Willems, who allowed Portugal to come straight back at the creaking Dutch defence. Pereira scooted in from the right and then poked a reverse-pass through to Ronaldo, who had made a cracking run in from the left. He took a touch and then coolly clipped it past the helpless Stekelenburg from close range. 1-1.

At 74′, an aimless Holland attack broke down, Sneijder and Van der Vaart losing it between them. Immediately Portugal broke, Moutinho finding Nani in oodles of space down the right flank. He clipped a sublime pass from right to left towards Ronaldo. He could have hit it first time, but a gentleman always takes his time, and he took the chance in swaggering fashion, cutting inside to leave Van der Wiel on his backside before slamming it into the bottom-left corner from close range. He has been outstanding. 2-1 for Portugal.

A miserable Bert van Marwijk stands on the touchline, a disbelieving look on his face, wondering where it all went wrong. The clues were there tonight: Holland were a bunch of talented strangers, while an effervescent Portugal were so much more than the sum of their parts and fully deserved their win. To be fair, they also had Cristiano Ronaldo in unstoppable form, which tends to be quite useful. He answered his critics with two fine goals to cap a fantastic display and if he continues in this form, Portugal have no reason to fear anyone.

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FT Germany 2 – 1 Denmark

FT Germany 2 – 1 Denmark

As expected Germany have gone for a full-strength side with the exception of Boateng who is suspended; he is replaced by Bender. As for Denmark, well as you may or may not know, Rommedahl is out and he will be sorely missed by Morton Olsen’s side; he is replaced by Poulsen.

At 19′, Muller cuts inside and passes to Ozil tries a first-time pass into the box. Agger cuts out the ball and it goes for a throw. From that the ball is cut across, Gomez does one of those funny air-kicks and the ball lands at the feet of the new Arsenal man. He slams it home form the centre of the box. He could have closed his eyes there and still scored. 1-0 for Germany.

At 24′, a nice, deep corner finds Bendtner who escapes the clutches of Schweinsteiger and heads the ball across the box. It finds Krohn-Dehli who heads it home for his second goal of the night. 1-1.

Finally at 80′, Mesut Ozil slides the ball across but Klose cannot reach it. No matter. Bender is at the back post and he slips it home. 2-1 for the Germans.

Germany started well and looked like they would win by a few but Denmark got back in the game thanks to some generous defending from the lads on the other side. After half-time, neither offered much. Germany spent most of the time camped just outside the Danish box but the Danes were resilient until a nice counterattack was finished off by Bender.

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FT Russia 0 – 1 Greece

FT Russia 0 – 1 Greece

Russia have made one change from the side which drew 1-1 with Poland – Denis Glushakov comes in for Konstantin Zyryanov. Greece have made four changes from the defeat to Czech Republic.

At 45+2′, Zhirkov makes a huge mess of it and Karagounis nips in behind and rifles a shot under Malafeev. They weren’t even trying to score yet somehow they lead.

Incredible scenes as the Greece players celebrate and the rest of us wonder if we’re back in 2004. We’ve seen all this before, haven’t we? They defended so well in the second half once they had a lead to protect. The goal itself was bizarre – I still maintain that they were barely even trying to score, they were just eating up time to get to the interval at 1-0. But Karagounis got the goal – he should have had a penalty. He picked up a booking which means he’ll miss the last right match which would be his record appearance. Holebas also got booked at the end and he too will be suspended but is less of a loss. Congratulations to Greece.

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FT Czech Republic 1 – 0 Poland

FT Czech Republic 1 – 0 Poland

Tomas Rosicky failing to recover from his achilles injury. Tyton keeping his place in goal despite the return of Wojciech Szczesny after his suspension.

At 70′, Milan Baros charged at the backtracking Poland defence and incredibly, for the first time in his career, he lifted his head up and found Jiracek to his right. His first touch took him inside Wasilewski, who was sent sliding off into the distance, and then he slid a shot with his right foot past Tyton and into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards out. That’s a wonderfully cool piece of play from Jiracek. The goal means the Czech Republic top the group as it stands, with Greece in second. Russia have to score once; Poland have to score twice. 1-0 for Czech Republic.

The co-hosts, Poland, are out and they’ve still never won a game at the Euros. That’s six games and running now, and frankly, save for a fine opening 20 minutes, they deserved nothing more from a cowardly performance. The Czechs are through as group winners because Greece have remarkably beaten Russia 1-0.

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FT England 3 – 2 Sweden

FT England 3 – 2 Sweden

On the right flank at 23′, Steven Gerrard bends a sumptuous ball into the area that was just begging to be headed in. With Sweden’s central defenders all over the place, Carroll gets in between them and bullets a towering header into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards out, Isaksson given no chance. What a header! What a managerial masterstroke! 1-0 fro England.

At 49′, Carroll brings the Swedish midfielder down as he lined up a shot 25 yards out, giving away a free-kick. Ibrahimovic smacked his first effort into the wall, but it came back to him, so he tried an optimistic scissor-kick back into the area. It was going well wide, but it squirmed through to Mellberg, who was played onside by Glen Johnson, having a wee snooze around three yards behind the rest of the England defence. On the right side of the area, Mellberg scuffed a finish that spooned up off Hart and then clanged off Johnson’s chest, the ball eventually spinning over the line despite his best efforts. What a slapstick farce that was. 1-1.

From the resulting free-kick at 59′,  Larsson hangs a high, deep free-kick to the far post where Mellberg, totally unmarked six yards from goal, barely has to jump to nod past Hart and into the left corner. Where on earth was the marking? No one was near Mellberg, apart from more Sweden players. England have completely collapsed. 2-1 for Sweden!

At 64′, Theo Walcott equalises with his first touch! What a substitution from Roy Hodgson! It all came from an England corner, won when John Terry’s close-range header from Johnson’s cross was somehow turned over the bar by Isaksson, who may not have known too much about it. From the resulting corner, a clearance falls to Walcott 25 yards out. He takes a touch and rams a shot goalwards. It takes a tiny but decisive touch off Larsson and flies past the wrong-footed Isaksson into the middle of the goal. A fine response from England after a disastrous opening to the second half. 2-2.

At 78′, Theo Walcott, who has made a real difference since coming on, drove into the area on the right. It looked like he was going nowhere, but he managed to clip a cross into the six-yard box, where Welbeck was lurking. Even then, there appeared to be little danger for Sweden, because Welbeck had a defender up his back, was facing away from goal and was on the verge of losing his balance. But somehow he contorted his body into an absurd position, letting the ball run across his body before sticking out his right leg and deftly flicking it beyond Isaksson and into the bottom-left corner with his right heel! A moment of pure genius from Welbeck, rather reminiscent of Ibrahimovic’s ridiculous backflick against Italy in 2004. 3-2 for England.

England have beaten Sweden in a competitive game of football. No, really. Who said Roy Hodgson’s England don’t do excitement? That was one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament so far, full of moments of genius and ineptitude in equal measure. It looked like England had blown it when they found themselves 2-1 behind in the second half, but an inspired comeback, led by Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, means they are second in the group, behind France only on goal difference.

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FT Ukraine 0 – 2 France

FT Ukraine 0 – 2 France

At 52′, France launch a swift and incisive counter through Ribery on the left. He finds Benzema who moves the ball on to Jeremy Menez on the right. Menez cuts inside Selin and hits a left footed shot low into Pyatov’s left hand corner. Lovely finish to a great counter attack. 1-0 for France.

At 55′, Karim Benzema drops deep to pick up a ball from Ribery. He spins his marker and spots the advancing Cabaye at the edge of the area. Benzema finds the Newcastle man with a crisp pass. Cabaye holds off the challenge and slots under Pyatov. 2-0.

Score did not change till Full Time. Laurent Blanc’s side move onto four points with an extremely comfortable win thanks to goals from Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye. Ukraine were very poor while France rarely got anywhere near top gear. The game was at it’s most exciting when the players were hauled off the pitch after just four minutes as a spectacular electrical storm did it’s thing over Donetsk.

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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.

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FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Germany

FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Germany

Germany lead with two victories but the Dutch, with none at all, still have theoretical prospect of advancing to the quarter-finals.

It was too easy for Bastian Schweinsteiger to pass the ball straight through the middle, but Mario Gomez still reacted beautifully, spinning to shoot beyond Stekelenburg.

The match appeared to tilt when Robin van Persie trimmed the Dutch deficit to 2-1, but Germany were the more poised side.

“Germany has a very good team, with lots of passing. They can score as they please. They’re definitely favourites.”

Bert van Marwijk

Holland, all the same, had not despaired. The gap was closed to 2-1 by Van Persie’s unanswerable drive from the left.

FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Germany