The Euro 2012 Group Stage … Thrills, Spills and Chills

Posted: June 13, 2012 in EURO 2012, European Football, UEFA, World Football

Are you sick of the Euro 2012 international football tournament yet? Well, regardless of your answer, buckle in for 18 more days of  some of the best international soccer action you’ll see, probably until the 2014 World Cup.  Here’s TRF’s short list of Euro 2012 Group notables based on the first 8 matches:

  • Biggest upset: The mighty Danes stole 3 points from the Netherlands Express which looked more like the local mass transit during Saturday’s group B face-off. An ‘honorable’ mention’ goes to Ukraine for a come from behind victory vs. Sweden in group D
  • ‘What a goal’ award: Robert Lewandowski’s opening match zinger not only got the Warsaw stadium Polish supporters going, but also qualified for the nicest finish we have seen of the 20 goals scored in the first 8 games
  • Worst referee call: This dubious distinction goes to Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo who sent-off Greece’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos shortly before half-time in a highly questionable second yellow card call. He issued another red in the 69th minute when he sent off Poland’s goalkeeper

  • ‘Feelgood’ win award: Ukraine scored two second half goals against Sweden to win their opening match on Tuesday. It was great to see the co-hosts, who have been repeatedly criticized for controversial political actions as well inadequate Euro 2012 stadium conditions, play so well, led by 35-year-old striker Andriy Shevchenko who scored two headers to lead his country
  • ‘Clutch’ play award: This one goes to Polish reserve goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton. Tyton came off the bench in the second half for the co-hosts after Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off for bringing down Greek substitute Dimitris Salpigidis. He promptly saved the resulting spot-kick from Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis to secure the draw for Poland

  • Biggest blowout win: Russia beat the Czech Republic 4:1 (2:0 at halftime) in their group A opener on June 8th completely dominating the Czech’s midfield and back-line.  21-year old Alan Dzagoev netted two goals and in-form Andrei Arshavin added two assists to cap a great evening for the Russians
  • Biggest tactical surprise: Out of all the opening games at Euro 2012, the one that stood out from a pure tactical point of view was Italy vs. Spain. The surprise came from the Italians showcasing a mere three defenders at the back and Spain, who started without a center forward. An unbelievable decision when you consider their striker firepower including the two Fernandos — Torres and LLorente

  • Biggest waste of talent on the bench: This one goes to Holland’s benching of Klaas Jan Hunterlaar, the Bundesliga’s leading scorer and top goal-getter during Holland’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. In their loss to Denmark, the Dutch stuck with Robin van Persie until late  int the second half when they inserted Hunterlaar … too little too late
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Comments
  1. T-Bone says:

    Hi Jobst,
    wish you a great game today against the dutch;
    maybe you better put some chili on Dude’s “Holland-goodie”!?

    In the wonderful area of palatine it’s raining like crazy,
    but hey, the Weizen-Beer is in the fridge, so let’s go … and shove them into the ocean.

    Cheers,
    T-Bone

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