Thursday, June 12, 2008

Euro2008 Day 6 Open Thread

9.00 a.m. PST ESPN2

Plain and simple, Croatia will need to play a hell of a lot better than they did Sunday against Austria or they will get beat fairly handily. Germany are playing much better and will be favored to win. Maybe Croatia can get back into the groove with their Pizza Hut tablecloth jerseys. This looks like a 2-0 or 3-1 for Germany, but they games are not played on paper as they say.

25 min- Game on! Croatia 1-0 Germany. A great goal from a perfect cross and finish. Croatia will be better served from here on out by continuing to push forward and look for a 2nd rather than shutting up shop. The former is more their style than the latter, so the rest of the match should be great for the neutrals.

Halftime: Croatia 1-0 Germany. Mario Gomez has been pretty worthless up front for Germany through a game and a half; is it time for Low to cut him loose and try something else? 2nd half should be wide open, with Germany pushing up to get an equalizer and Croatia counterattacking.

60 min - 2-0 to Croatia. Germany not showing many signs of storming back either. Group B is getting turned on its head.

78 min- Game on! 2-1. Podolski, who I believe now has all 3 German goals in the tournament. Half volley rocket shot. Last 12 minutes should be frantic and great.

Croatia 2-1 Germany.
You can't say Croatia didn't deserve it. The 2nd goal was a bit lucky, but overall they outplayed the Germans. Schweinsteiger's red card was pretty harsh after seeing the replay, but he was stupid to retaliate- I can only assume that he misses the next match. Of course Mad Jens ran over, went a bit mental, and got himself a yellow. Chances that he gets a couple more and misses a match due to card accumulation if they go through = significant. very significant.

Croatia control the group, and will be group winners before the final matches if Poland fail to beat Austria. This whole group went from the most boring one to very very interesting...

11.45 a.m. PST ESPN2

If Austria are going to do something, this is their best chance {although if Germany clinch group winner status today then they will rest starters and not try too terribly hard in the final group match, but will still not want to roll over against their neighbors}. Based on watching both teams' first match, a draw isn't out of the question, but at this point, Austria are just hoping for a goal- so much so that they're handing out free beer for life to any player who scores one. Poland will know the Croatia result before they take the field, so if Croatia lose to Germany then Poland will know that they if they go out and win then they will have a great chance to go through, and will be extra motivated. With both teams limited offensively and the kind of teams that focus on defense first then try to catch their opponents on the counter attack, don't expect this to be a high flying, exciting match. There may only be 1 goal in it, or maybe not even that.

Austria 0-1 Poland. Halftime
The first 25 minutes were as dominating a 0-0 match as you will ever see, it was one way traffic for Austria. They created 4-5 incredible chances but somehow managed to squander them all, including two 1-on-1s with the Polish keeper. A team with any proficiency at finishing would have been 3-0 after 20 minutes. So naturally the first time Poland even remotely have a sniff of any sort of threatening attack, they score. Totally and completely against the run of play. After the goal Austria lost their attacking momentum, and the game was more even. In one sense they are extremely unlucky; in another sense, they have no one to blame but themselves for their poor finishing, as they should have been 3-0 and this game should have been over long ago. If they play like they did in the first half they can definitely scrape a draw or even win- Poland has been very poor other than the 1 sequence that led to the goal, and they look very wobbly at the back. Come on Austria, finish one off- is free beer for life not enough of an incentive? Are y'all in AA or something?

Austria 1-1 Poland
Austria were a shadow of themselves in the 2nd half, and Poland controlled it but couldn't get the 2nd goal to put the match away. For Austria it seemed like the first 30 minutes were all adrenaline and emotion, and after they conceded the goal it burst their balloon, as they came back down to Earth and created almost nothing after that. Poland looked to have it wrapped up, but in a free kick lobbed into the box in extra time, a Polish defender grabbed an Austrian's jersey and pulled him down, and a penalty was given. With a lifetime of free beer on the line you would have thought a brawl might erupt between the teammates as to who wold take it, but there wasn't and captian Ivica Vastic, the oldest player in the tournament at age 38, slotted it to earn Austria a draw and keep them alive. Vastic also will be getting free beer for life. For his sake, here's hoping that their beer is good and not the Austrian version of Budweiser.

With the draw Croatia are through to the quarterfinals as group winners, and may very well rest players, setting up a really interesting final matchday in this group, where each of the other teams are still alive for that second spot, even if the smart money is on Germany handily beating Austria to grab the second spot. A quick glance says that all Germany need is a draw against Austria and they clinch 2nd place- you have to like their chances to do that.


beast in 'bama said...

The Croatian National Team, brought to you by the fine folks at Ralston Purina.

I like this team A LOT. They have a good mix of the two predominant European styles - lots of on-ball skill and big, powerful set piece potential on every dead ball.

beast in 'bama said...

Why do I like Judy Foudy so much? She's definitely not a beauty; if anything, she's got too much bone structure in her face. And yet I've always had this crush on her for some reason.

Perhaps it's her confidence and presence - what made her a good player - and that cute little nose.

Kanu said...


1st comment- agreed on all counts.

2nd comment- not so much. To each his own, my man. To each his own.

beast in 'bama said...

It'll be interesting to see if any of the Poles, if they get up 3-0 in extra-time, try to find a loophole for the free beer and score an own-goal to make it 3-1.

beast in 'bama said...

And it's Vastic!!! The oldest guy in the tournament wins free beer for life...conspiracy?

I don't know if I've ever rooted for a player (other than Liverpool) to make a PK more in my life. I was dreading a miss.

Kanu said...

Funny, I was thinking along similar lines and was actually nervous for the dude. I was thinking "he's going to miss this, or have it saved, and then every single time for the rest of his life that dude orders a beer, that alone is going to be a depressing experience, and how shitty is that?- that having a beer would be a cause of depression for the rest of your life" and I too was really nervous and hoping that he converted it.

Yay that he did. Hopefully someone else will cash in during their final match.