As in 1982 and 2006, when Italian football scaled the heights, nobody predicted a win for the so-called Azzuri at Euro 2012. But amid perhaps unfair criticism that Spain have become “boring”, Italy may become the popular choice to win the competition in Kiev. Spain are not disliked, but their obsession with possession – training ground football, some say – has prompted a yawn or … Continue reading Euro 2012: It could be Italy’s night
There’s a sense of the inevitable about the last four in Euro 2012, and while this should ensure that quality will prevail, the competition has a slight tinge of the predictable about it. A couple of early surprises deprived the competition’s latter stages of Russia and the Netherlands, but the knockout part of Euro 2012 has been pretty much true to form. But let’s not … Continue reading The best four are there…..but where’s the shocks?
Justice was done, although losing on penalties is a bitter pill to swallow. After all this time, you would think England just might be able to handle these occasions. One win in eight penalty shoot-outs. Considering the amount of penalties in the English game, it’s strange that the national team just can’t get its head around a shoot-out. Each defeat by this method inevitably leads … Continue reading England out….and now Hodgson’s work really begins
There’s a growing feeling – or hope – that England can beat Italy and march on to the semi-finals. This sudden optimism that England can break the habit of a lifetime and beat a “blue chip” nation is perhaps a little over-zealous, especially as their record against Italy is far from convincing. Only six times of the 22 meetings between the two nations have the … Continue reading England v Italy: The cunning plan is about to be tested
Cometh the man, cometh the hour, as they say, and Wayne Rooney proved to be “johnny on the spot” just at the right time. England have, against the odds, “ponced” their way through to the quarter finals of 2012 and they could even go a stage further. If the three England games proved anything, it was that Sweden, France and Ukraine are not very good … Continue reading England can “ugly” their way through….until they reach the Germans
So far, Euro 2012 has been entertaining and has kept the spectator on the edge of his seat. There has scarcely been a dull game and we have yet to see the scourge of the modern game – the sterile 0-0 draw. But then, we have not reached the “business end” of the tournament. It may become tighter. But some teams have certainly been careless … Continue reading Spare the tears for careless Dutch, but hats-off to Greece
One-down, one to go. Poland really blew their host nation status, turning in a poor performance against an average Czech Republic team to tumble out of Euro 2012. They failed to win a single game and as a result the two underdogs from Group A – the Czechs and Greeks – go into the quarter-finals. It’s a pity, because the heart of Euro 2012 has … Continue reading UEFA hope for Ukraine after Poland polka out
If ever the continent of Europe needed a distraction it has to be this year. With the continent’s economy in turmoil and uncertainty hanging over the Eurozone in particular, Euro 2012 can fill the role of the old Roman trick of “bread and circuses”. Ironically, the country that is seen as keeper of the solution, Germany, could wind up winning Euro 2012. If they save … Continue reading Europe needs its “bread and circus” tournament
Alan Shearer, the former England striker, has predicted a semi-final place for Roy Hodgson’s side, because he is patriotic and wants them to do well. That doesn’t sound like an “expert” opinion but more a case of wishful thinking. He also knows that the reason expectations are low is because people realize that England have no chance. And they are right, because England’s squad, depleted … Continue reading The problem with England: Euro 2012 Group D
Spain will either make history or be the nearly men of world football at this year’s European Championship. Spain can make history if they win the competition to make it three straight victories in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Nobody has achieved that feat, although West Germany went closest when they missed out on penalties in the 1976 European Championship after winning in 1972 and then … Continue reading Carry on Spain? – Euro 2012 Group C
David Beckham has been talking up England’s chances in Europe 2012, but you cannot take anything too seriously that comes from the old clothes horse. Beckham, like most ex-players, rarely says anything that isn’t cliché or jargon. He’s either out of touch or just trying to do an ambassadorial role for his old mates. In some ways, Beckham’s ramblings can be compared to a passage … Continue reading Beckham’s wrong….England are in big trouble
Euro 2012 Group B Every major competition purports to having one, but in Euro 2012, the so-called “Group of Death” is Group B – Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Portugal. The favourites will undoubtedly be Germany and the Netherlands, in that order. But both Denmark and Portugal have the ability to shock. Both underdogs have had their moments in the past. Danish fans still fondly recall … Continue reading Will the old “one-two” win the Groupe de la mort?: Euro 2012 Group B
They must pay well in Ukrainian football, because it seems to be a prime location for Brazilian and Nigerian footballers chasing the dollar. You can always tell where the money is in the game by the number of foreign players streaming into the market and right now, African and Latin American players , chaperoned by their agents, are looking at Ukraine and Russia. How much … Continue reading Ukraine – perhaps it is the “wild east” after all….