16 June 2012

GREECE 1 (Karagounis 47)

Katsouranis almost gave the Greeks the lead inside five minutes with an outrageous volley from a corner, Malafeev tipped the ball away. Arshavin got in front of his marker to attack a Dzagoev cross but his tame finish was parried by Sifakis. Kerzhakov flashed a half volley wide of the right post. Zhirkov ruined an excellent solo run with a selfish shot with others better placed. Karagounis seized on awful defensive header from Ignashevich to run in on goal and from a similar position to the one Balotelli had against Spain, he drove low and hard wide of Malafeev. Karagounis picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, weaved his way in between three players, Ignashevich stuck out a leg, Karagounis hooked his left leg against it and went over, yellow card for diving and out of the quarter-finals. Good call by the ref as most would have gave a penalty. Tzavelas rattled the post with a stunning free kick. Arshavin picked out Dzagoev with a super cross but his header bounced wide of the left post.

Germany, assuming they finish first, are going to absolutely fuck Greece in the quarter-finals. I was planning on more post match analysis yesterday but the games sucked so much I lost the impetuous and watched Family Guy & American Dad instead.

Attendance : 55,614
Assist : n/a

CZECH REPUBLIC 1 (Jiracek 72)

Boenisch sent an overhead kick into the side netting after the Czech's failed to clear a free kick. Pilar sliced backwards from 10 yards after Gebre Selassie, who has been linked with Bremen, beat Boenisch down the right before rolling in a centre. Sivok underhit a backpass, Lewandowski worked an opening despite being tracked by Gebre Selassie but shot wide, awful miss and the clearest chance the Poles got all night, it was also their last. Kadlec got on the end of a Plasil free kick, drawing a great save from Tyton. Murawski's attempt to play a through ball was intercepted by Hubschman and he strode past the centre circle before passing to Baros, Jiracek made a lung busting run into the box, Baros gave him the ball, with an excellent first touch he took it onto his right foot, sending Wasilewski crashing to the turf, then rolled a shot under Tyton. Substitute Brozek headed on a longball, Blaszczykowski turned and shot goalwards but Kadlec headed off the line. Seconds later the ref blew for full time.

Poland suck. The Czech's suck too but suck less than the Poles. The group B runners up should whack them as soundly as the Russians did.

Attendance : 41,480
Assist : Baros

12 June 2012

POLAND 1 (Blaszczykowski 57)
RUSSIA 1 (Dzagoev 37)

Obraniak swung in a free kick from the left, Boenisch got something on the ball, drawing a brilliant reaction save from Malafeev. From a near identical position in the Polish half Dzagoev made a late run from deep, caught the ball on his shoulder and it lopped inside the right post. Blaszczykowski stung Malafeev's palms with a shot from the edge of the box. Malafeev twice bravely closed down Lewandowski. He's been arguably the best 'keeper in the tournament. Blaszczykowski made a smart run inside Kaminski onto Obraniak's pass, with his first touch he took the ball inside the defender onto his left foot then hammered a shot into the left corner. Excellent goal. Malafeev made an alert save at his near post to prevent Roman Polanski from scoring the winner.

The Russian's lost their discipline in attack after the goal, they were too hurried and continually failed to pick the right final pass. One of the Russian players kept running offside - Izamileov.

Attendance : 55,920
Assists : Arshavin, Obraniak

GREECE 1 (Gekas 53)
CZECH REPUBLIC (Jiracek 3, Pilal 6)

The makeshift Greek defence was breached twice in the opening six minutes. Hubschman, standing near the centre circle, played a simple pass straight down the middle, Jiracek made a diagonal run onto it past Holebas before smashing a shot in off the 'keeper. Gebre Selassie, who was one of the few Czech players to shine against the Russians, was played in by Rosicky on the overlap, Chalkias parried his centre and Pilal bundled the ball into an empty net as he fell running in between two defenders. The Greeks found their shape in defence and the rest of the game was pure and utter shit. In keeping with the previous 46 minutes, Cech punched at a low cross, under no pressure, sliced the ball and left Gekas with a tap in. Rosicky went off with an injury in the second half and without him the Czech midfield has no direction.

I imagine this is the 'quality' of football we can look forward to in the next Euros when the tournament is expanded to 24 teams. Some nations need to take a long, hard look at youth development. Although the Czech's finished 4th in the last European U21 Championships they hadn't qualified for three of the previous four tournaments. Greece haven't qualified since 2002.

Attendance : 41,105
Assists : Hubschman, n/a, n/a

8 June 2012

RUSSIA 4 (Dzagoev 15, Shirokov 24, Dzagoev 79, Pavlyuchenko 82)

Dzagoev smashed in a rebound after Kerzhakov miscued his header and it rebounded off the opposite post. Five minutes later the two players were involved again, Kerzhakov angled a ball around three defenders but Dzagoev sliced wide. Minutes later a pass inside the awful Czech defence found Shirokov in a near identical position right of centre and he made no mistake. Kerzhakov missed another sitter to close out an entertaining first half.

The Russian offside trap gifted the Czechs a route back into the game, Pilar rounded Malafeev and tapped into the bottom left corner. The wretched Kerzhakov missed three great chances before Dick made the tournaments first mercy killing and subbed him for Pavlyuchenko - who had an immediate impact. Shirokov hit a pass into traffic, the ball broke to the Spurs reject and he played a perfectly weighted first time pass to Dzagoev, his powerful shot should have been saved by Cech - who dived far too early. Three minutes later Pavlyuchenko gave the scoreline an accurate reflection on his teams dominance with a fabulous fourth. He cut in from the left flank, turned Hubnik inside out three times, took a couple of steps forwards and hammered a vicious right foot shot into the roof of the net.

A good performance by bus driver Advocaat's men but I still don't trust their defence. The Czech's are awful.

Attendance : 40,803
Assists : n/a, Arshavin, Plasil, Pavlyuchenko, Arshavin

POLAND 1 (Lewandowski 17)
GREECE 1 (Salpingidis 51)

Two Dortmund players combined for the first chance, Lewandowski backed into a defender to lay off Piszczek's centre, Obraniak shot was charged down and Chalkias tipped over from Murawski on the rebound. Blaszczykowski, the other member of the Dortmund trio, swung over a deep cross the back post and the unmarked Lewaondowski headed in at the back post. Papastathopoulos was shown a bullshit yellow card by the Spanish referee for climbing over Lewandowski to head clear a longball. He was sent off for shoving down Murawski. In between the cards Perquis should have made it 2-0 but skewed horribly wide after the Greeks failed to clear a free kick.

Szczesny flapped at a cross when challenging Gekas and Salpingidis beat him to ball to equalise. Fortounis chipped a great ball over the top of the Polish defence, Salpingidis touched the ball past Szczesny but was tripped before he could shoot. Szczesny was sent off, evening up the sides but sub goalkeeper Tyton came to the youngster's rescue when he saved Karagounis' hopelessly telegraphed penalty.

High on drama but low on quality. The Greeks were the better side in the second half, even before Szczesny's red card. I don't see what Karagounis or Samaras add to this team anymore. Hopefully this will be their last tournament.

Attendance : 56,070
Red Cards : Papastathopoulos 40 (Greece), Szczesny 68 (Poland)
Assists : Blaszczykowski, n/a