Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Euro2008 Day 12 Open Thread

11.45 a.m. PST ESPN

Scenarios: Greece are already eliminated; Spain are already qualified as group winners and will play Italy in the quarterfinals on Sunday. As such, this is a glorified exhibition match.

Greece 1-2 Spain
. Final.

Or should I say... Greece 1-2 Spain Reserves. I didn't see a minute of this match, so I don't have much to say.

11.45 a.m. PST ESPN2

Scenarios: Sweden advance as group runners up with a win or a draw, as they have a better goal difference than Russia. Russia must win to go through as group runners up at Sweden's expense. Whichever team goes through will face Netherlands on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

I've been saying it since before the tournament started; 2 of Sweden's big 3 are past it, and I have predicted from the get go that they would lose this match to Russia. Now their best player and main offensive threat, ZLatan Ibrahimovic, is questionable to even play tomorrow with the knee injury that forced him to be substituted at halftime against Spain. Even is he plays he is clearly not at 100%, which just adds to my feelings about Sweden's prospects. Russia on the other hand, get their best player, Arshavin, back after missing him in the first two matches through suspension. That just makes me feel even stronger that Russia are going to outplay Sweden and beat them. For me they have more talent, younger legs {they are youngest team in the tournament while Sweden are the oldest}, a better coach, and they are healthier. If I lived in England then I would stop off at the betting shop tomorrow on my way to work and put down a nice juicy win bet on Russia. Sweden's time was in the past, especially with Larsson/Ljungberg. Russia's time is now. I'm no expert, but everything I know and have seen tells me that Russia should outplay Sweden and beat them, and that is what I expect to happen tomorrow; all that remains is whether they make me look wise or foolish.

Russia 2-0 Sweden

If a broken clock is right two times a day, then this match turned out to be one such time for the Kanu Wrong-O-Matic Prognostication Clock- it pretty much played out as I though it would. Russia were lively, ran circles around the aging Swedes, and looked significantly better with playmaker Arshavin. Truth be told they should have won this game by a wider margin, but they continued a bad habit of players going it alone when a simple square ball to a teammate would have resulted in a free shot on an open goal or a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. That said, both goals were things of beauty, clinical finishes after a buildup of several one touch passes- very Arsenal 2002-2004-esque. After watching today I am prepared to say that with Arshavin in the team, they will give Holland a good game and might even surprise everyone and beat them in the quarterfinal. Not saying they definitely will win, but don't think they will give the Dutch a much better match then they've had thusfar, and their wondercoach Guus Hiddink being Dutch and being supremely familiar with all of their players certainly won't hurt either.

1 comment:

oc phil said...

You were certainly right about Russia. For stretches in the first half they were passing the ball around like a certain North London club team. Apparently this Hiddink can coach, though the addition of Arshavin obviously helped as well.

I love the match-up between Netherlands and Russia, two teams with tons of offensive firepower and defensive liabilities. Unless I suppose Guus puts Russia in a defensive lockdown and tries play like Greece did in 2004. I think his chances would be better in a shootout, but he's the one getting paid the big money.