17 June 2012

PORTUGAL 2 (Ronaldo 28, Ronaldo 74)
NETHERLANDS 1 (van der Vaart 11)

Van der Vaart gave the Dutch hope with a fine curling shot from the edge of the box - Robben with the lay-off. Despite the early goal, it was the Portuguese who dominated. Ronaldo and the awful Postiga had two chances within two minutes while Stekelenburg made an excellent save from a meaty Ronaldo header. Pereira split the Dutch defence with a beautiful disguised pass, Ronaldo ran clear of Vlaar before side footing past Stekelenburg. Ronaldo carried the ball 70 yards before passing to Coentrao but he wastefully shot at Stekelenburg. Cheat Pepe made a meal of a Van Persie challenge for a high ball. Like that other Real Madrid bastard Marcelo, he can dish it out but can't take it. Ronaldo rolled a centre to the back post but Stekelenburg made a stunning point blank save to deny Nani. Van der Vaart dribbled into traffic (like a typical Spurs player), Pepe intercepted and Ronaldo turned his pass onto Moutinho, he released Nani with one of the most gloriously weighted passes you will ever see, Nani angled a ball around the Dutch defence, Ronaldo stepped inside van der Wiel, sending him flat on his arse, then hammered low into the left corner. Goal of the tournament. Van der Vaart curled a shot against the inside of the right post from slightly further out than his opener. Van Persie wasted another easy chance.

The base of the right post prevented Ronaldo from scoring a hat-trick and, more importantly, the internet from exploding with another round of the Messi v Ronaldo debate. Everyone likes Messi - apart from me and Ronaldo. Messi can fuck off.

Ronaldo Koeman is an early candidate to succeed BVM should the KNVB sack him and they must surely do.

Attendance : 37,445
Assists : Robben, Pereira, Nani

DENMARK 1 (Krohn-Dehli 24)
GERMANY 2 (Podolski 19, Bender 80)

Muller's poor tournament continued. In the first five minutes he flashed over from 16 yards then from 6 scuffed Podolski's deflected cross. At this stage he's the German most likely to miss a penalty. Muller trapped a throw in on his chest and pushed a centre to Gomez, he inadvertently back heeled and Podolski blasted the Germans into a predictable lead while at the same time gooners deluded themselves into thinking they can mount a title challenge. Less predictable was the Danes equaliser five minutes later. Bendtner towered above Schweinsteiger to head forward Jacobson's corner and midget Krohn-Dehli got above the giants in the German defence to head his side level. Khedira should have restored Germany's lead but failed to punish a terrible mistake by Kvist in the Denmark box.

Simon Poulsen charged down Germany's right before firing in a centre, Bendtner knocked the ball onto to Jacob Poulsen but his shot struck a post. Another bad miss. Germany were lucky not to concede a penalty when Badstuber yanked at Bendtner's shirt as they challenged for an Agger longball. The goal-line official bottled it but in general referees do not want to award penalties in this tournament. Khedira lead a Germany counter attack after the Danes cheaply lost the ball in the opposition half, Khedira passed to fellow Turk Ozil, he overcooked his pass to Klose but Bender ran past the slack Jakob Poulsen to tap in the winner.

Attendance : 32,990
Assists : Gomez, Bendtner, Ozil

The reward for surviving the group of death is the bracket of life. Portugal and Germany should be nailed on semi-finalists.

13 June 2012

NETHERLANDS 1 (Van Persie 73)
GERMANY 2 (Gomez 24, Gomez 38)

In the opening minutes the Bomber dropped a ball between Boateng and Hummels, Van Persie watched it over his shoulder then tamely passed to Neuer. Ozil volleyed a Van Bommel clearance against the inside of the right post and into Stekelenburg's grateful arms. Van Persie snatched at a chance from a Robben pass and Affelay, rewarded for 2 years of doing nothing at Barcelona with a place in the squad, wasted a great chance to play in RVP on the break. The lethargic Dutch centrebacks watched Gomez, standing with his back to goal, pirouette onto a Schweinsteiger pass and fire past Stekelenburg. Badstuber headed an Ozil free kick at Stekelenburg shortly after Robben tried his parody cut inside and shoot trick. Standing on the right wing Gomez played a ball in Ozil, Ozil passed infield to Schweinsteiger and he played in Gomez, who jogged past Mathijsen and from an improbable angle slammed the ball into the left corner. Excellent finish though Sticky Bricks went down too early.

BVM response to an inept first half display was to bring on the Hunter for Affelay (plays for Barcelona so must be good) and van der Vaart for Van Bommel. Neither of them had a significant impact. Robben pulled back a centre from the left and from the edge of the box RVP thumped a first time shot, drawing an excellent save from Neuer. Boateng made an excellent block from Sneijder, once again Robben supplying the pass and Van Persie scored shortly thereafter. Turning onto a Robben pass 35 yards from goal he ran to the edge of the D and curled a right footed shot between Badstuber's legs and into the right corner of the net. That was as good as it got for the Dutch as the Germans rode out time and coped with the Dutch longball to almost certainly seal their place in the last 16.

Germany teams of old would not pass up the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and that's what they can do if they lose to the Danes, a result that would guarantee not only the elimination of their bitter rivals but the potentially dangerous Portuguese as well.

The Dutch need to send their young defenders to the EPL. In the last 20 years the only World Class defenders they have produced are Koeman, Stam and GVB and Koeman wasn't in the team for his defending.

Attendance : 37,750
Assists : Schweinsteiger, Schweinsteiger, Robben

DENMARK 2 (Bendtner 41, Bendtner 80)
PORTUGAL 3 (Pepe 24, Postiga 36, Varela 87)

Ronaldo had two sights on goal, one from a rebound which he snatched at and a free kick and boy did he look stupid standing with his legs spread and sending it miles over. Pepe headed in a Moutinho corner at the near post. Pereira passed a ball into Nani and Postiga swept his centre past Andersen, who didn't even move. Jacob Poulsen's first time inswinging cross bounced near the penalty spot, Krohn-Dehli headed the ball back across goal and the unmarked Bendtner headed into an empty net. Nani intercepted a through ball and Postiga, with his back to goal, turned it on with a beautiful pass inside his marker to send Ronaldo clear but he shot straight at Andersen. Nani split the Danish defence with a wonderfully weighted pass, all Ronaldo had to do was score, he opened up his body and sent a shot a metre wide of the right post. Shocking miss. Jacob swung in a cross from the right and Bendtner towered above his marker to crash a header in off the left post. As good a header as you could hope to see. Coentrao dispossessed Agger and fired a cross into the penalty spot, Varela, on in the 84th minute for Meireles, misskicked, sliced the ball against his trailing body but he was alert to the rebound, stepped into it and blasted low into the right corner. Substitute Schone passed up the chance to snatch what would have been an ill deserved equaliser in the 4th minute of injury time with an awful shot.
Well done to the Portuguese for behaving themselves in this match. No cheap shots or playacting and their football was excellent. If they show this much ambition in their final game (and Ronaldo doesn't miss) they'll should win. As for Ronaldo the greater the name the greater the pressure. On Ronaldo Jamie Carragher, who has been tremendous with his analysis for ITV (no really) said before the game he's "still waiting for a defining moment, want to see him take over a tournament or CL final". Couldn't agree more.

Attendance : 31,840
Assists : Moutinho (ck), Nani, Krohn-Dehli, Jacobsen, Coentrao

9 June 2012

DENMARK 1 (Krohn-Dehli 24)

Van Persie shot an early chance wide after a deflected Robben cross landed at his feet - it was the only way he was going to get a pass from him. Robben passed up the opportunity to shoot when through on goal after Van Persie rolled a defender and returned his pass down the channel. Simon Poulsen tried to fire in a cross from the left, the ball took a deflection off van der Wiel and broke to Krohn-Dehli, he shaped to shoot with his right as he ran onto the ball but took it away from two defenders onto his left then angled a shot between Stekelenburg's legs. Brilliant finish. Andersen sent a goalkick straight to Robben, he ran at goal and the dumb bastard still couldn't resist cutting inside a defender before shooting - the ball came back off a post.

Sneijder, who was anonymous in the first half, laid chances on a plate in the second. He found Van Persie free in the box with a fabulous disguised pass found but he kicked fresh air. Robben headed a fantastic cross hopelessly wide. The Bommer stung Andersen's palms from distance. Huntelaar, who came on for the awful Affelay, killed the pass of the tournament (from Sneijder of course) with a great first touch, Anderson blocked his shot and Van Persie drove the rebound into his body. The Dutch were jobbed out of a late penalty for handball.

Attendance : 35,923
Assist : n/a

GERMANY 1 (Gomez 72)

The only highlight in an otherwise dreadful opening half came from Pepe of all people. The Real Madrid defender curled a shot against the underside of the bar and it bounced on the line after the Germans failed to clear a corner. Meireles should have been sent off for punching Badstuber in an off the ball incident. Gomez scored as Loew was about to substitute him for Klose. Khedira swung in a cross from the left via a huge deflection and Gomez got between Pepe and Pereira to direct a header into the right corner. The goal brought the Portuguese out of their defence shell. Oliveira chased down a Coentrao long ball before pulling a centre across goal, Varela, free at the back post, took aim but Neuer spread himself and saved brilliantly with his body.

Attendance : 32,990
Assist : n/a