The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, is now four days old and there has been a lot fo good exciting football – we have now seen all the teams and groups in action. I will be writing a daily blog article with the salient features of all the games. Please send us your thoughts and comments on the form below. – Filip v d Plas-
FRANCE – ENGLAND 1-1
England achieved a Euro 2012 draw with France yesterday evening in
Donetsk, and while not a great game like Italy-Spain, it did have its
moments and can be considered ‘a win’ of sorts for the English.
Definitely the best man on the field was French mid-fielder Samir
Nasri who stood out for his tactical and strategical visionary passing
and great ball control – he was the creative centre of everything that
happened for the French team and is a pleasure to watch. The Manchester
City player’s style is similar to that of Dutch player Wesley Sneijder –
both have a great vision dynamism which can create such brilliant
As France are expected to advance from their group – they are the
team with the best credentials in Group D – the new English coach
Hodgson had to go back to basics and prepare for this competition and
all of this in a very short period of time.
It became easily recognizable that Roy Hodgson’s work had paid
dividends with the seemingly heightened ability and confidence of the
English players. They seemed to be competing again on a level playing
Over the last 30 years they have been known for being technically and
tactically slower and less creative than most other nations in Europe.
In one-on-one encounters they would always lose the ball and seemed to
not have the basic ball skills to compete competitively in Europe. Proof
of this is that there are very few English players in mainland European
clubs while UK clubs are full of ‘foreigners’.
However England got on the scoreboard first when defender Joleon
Lescott put them in front after just 30 minutes heading in of a free
However this lead they could only maintain for all of 9 minutes as
Samir Nasri struck from the edge of the area and after this England
never really looked like they wanted to go for a win and restore their
advantage, instead thinking that a tie would suffice in this game. And
it appears that French coach Laurent Blanc had come to the same
conclusion so the remainder of the game was not very exciting.
The pre-match temperature at 31C may have had something to do with that though – good luck World Cup in Qatar in 2022!!!!
There were some brief moments in the ascendancy for the English team
after the French goal – but only just some. France mainly controlled the
play from midfield. To prove this point UEFA statistic at the end of
this game showed that France had completed 634 of its passes to
England’s 307 – which is a pretty amazing difference.
Wayne Rooney could bring the necessary fire power, experience and
reading of the game in England’s last group match against the Ukraine on
the 19th. However a loss to Sweden on the 15th could make all that
James Lawton wrote in todays Independent – “ This new dogged England dig in to deny the fleet-footed French” - http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/james-lawton-this-new-dogged-england-dig-in-to-deny-the-fleetfooted-french-7836949.html
The Olympic National Sports Complex or ‘Olimpiyskiy stadium’ in Kiev
was full of yellow and blue this evening- not a great surprise because
those are the colours of both Sweden and Ukraine so a win-win solution
in which everyone was for both teams – well sort of.
In the end there was to be no ‘Euphoria’ for Sweden – which was the
name of the Swedish winning song in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the large and lethal Swedish goal making machine,
missed a couple of chances in the first 45 minutes but quickly made
amends early in the 2nd half when he more or less floated the ball into
the Ukrainian net from close range – Sweden up one to nil.
Ukraine’s legendary striker Andrei Shevchenko shot wide once in the first half but made no such mistakes in the 2nd half.
Shevchenko – who has over 17 years international football experience
behind him – scored twice in quick succession in the 2nd half to hand
Ukraine a deserved win.
Both were headers and showed he has not lost any of his scoring ability or knack to create a goal from nothing.
With 175 goals scored for AC Milan when he played there between 1999
and 2006 Shevchenko is the 2nd most prolific striker in the history of
the club. He is also the 3rd highest goal scorer in Champions League
history with 58 goals; behind Ruud van Nistelrooy with 60 and and Raúl
González Blanco with 71.
After these 2 Shevchenko goals -try as they might – Sweden brought on
striker Christian ‘Chippen’ Wilhelmsson to replace the ineffective
Markus Rosenberg but nothing seemed to go their way. They did have some
very good chances near the end with Zlatan and Wilhelmsson however the
game ended in a 2-1 victory for the Ukraine.
Swedish fans were briefly ecstatic in the afternoon when they heard
that ‘Funtik’ the pig had predicted a Swedish victory. However they were
more in a mood to take him to the sausage factory when they found out
that Futnik’s accuracy was more than somewhat wanting. Earlier in the
day he predicted a French win in the afternoon match between France and
England which ended in a 1-1 draw!
Meanwhile the Swedish coach brands players ‘cowards’ after Ukraine
defeat – read it in todays Guardian – amazing stuff and very
disconcerting but true!!!!- “We didn’t show the courage we
were supposed to. Only five or six players did. We all need all the
players doing that. We were cowards in the first half and should have
done more. I’m not happy with the team, I was expecting more. The
players do want it very much, but we should have scored with the three
last chances we had.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jun/12/euro-2012-sweden-branded-cowards
In Berlin there are many places to watch the games – one is ARENA – http://www.arena-berlin.de/event.aspx?eventId=392832
Frank Ribery Soup? This is in a series of daily pictures and this
picture keeps moving ………it is today about 6 from the first [F v d P] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/news-in-pictures-6584677.html?action=gallery&ino=1
Filip v d P
And from the BBC who know a lot about football if not a lot about politics – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18091750
and from the US ………a very educated article from ESPN – http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/7306134/euro-2012-draw-favorites-underdogs-long
Reprinted from OTA-Berlin
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