FRIDAY, JUNE 15: We are now just past half way in the opening round of Euro 2012. Her’s what we learned so far…
England need Rooney
A decent draw against the French and Hodgson will take positives from the defensive qualities but there was no spark up front. Welbeck was able to do a decent job of holding the ball up but with no outlet of Rooney running off him it was very difficult to create any major possession in the final third.
Under-estimate the hosts at your own risk
I am a culprit of this as I didn’t see the golden oldies doing the business for Ukraine against a strong Sweden. The support of home fans can really inspire some players and the hype surrounding this tournament has created some excellent games already.
Old rivalries never die
Poland and Russia made headlines for off the ball events this week.
Their relationship history isn’t for the faint-hearted and we still see repercussions of past feelings being unearthed. You could tell there was an underlying passion throughout the game but it was fantastic the players kept their heads and didn’t ruin the game. Outside the stadium is another story.
The Group of Death lives up to its name
Anyone could advance from Group B, anyone could fall short of qualifying — it hasn’t failed us in this competition either. Some of the best drama has come out of this group, the final fixtures are guaranteed to be fireworks. Germany has the easiest route, but Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands all can still make the quarter-finals.
Experience is key
Shevchenko is a great example of how past quality can continue to help your country towards success. The hosts came from behind to win and now are top of their tough Group C. Croatia also fit the bill and are in great shape to cause an upset.
Stage fright doesn’t help opening games
Lots of draws in the openers are not a shock. France were guilty of nerves against England and we could see they have much more to bring to the table. It’s sometimes not the players’ fault as Spain and Italy were tactically set up ‘not to lose’.
Real stars always shine on big stage
Ribery, Gomez, Dzagoev, Fabregas and the list goes on. Who will the big game-changer for their team?
Gomez showed up when it mattered the most for Germany and Fabregas took the high line for a defensive Spain outfit.
Torres is tainted
Somehow El Nino has come undone, leaving his shooting boots in Liverpool a couple years back. He missed some amazing chances including a one-on-one with Italy’s stopper. His confidence has been struggling with Chelsea recently and now for his country. Villa —a natural goal scorer — is a big time miss for the holders.
Dark horses start strong
Russia look in the best form of anyone and how they don’t have six points from their first two fixtures is beyond me as they let Poland off the hook with a 1-1draw. There are a few others in contention for a shock, the luck of the draw will determine the flight home for some.
Germany are the ones to beat
Spain may be the bookies favourites, but for me Germany are the all-around stronger team. Two wins out of two in the group of death – those results echo as a warning to others.