Filed under: 2014, Euro 2012, European Football, International Football | Tags: 1970, Brazil, Brazil 1970, Brazil 2014, Buffon, Carlos Alberto, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, David Villa, Fernando Torres, Gerard Pique, Gilmar, Greatest Team Ever, Iker Casillas, Iniesta, jairzinho, Nilton Snatos, Pele, Puyol, Spain, World Cup, World Cup 2014, Xavi
…so does that cement their claim as the greatest team ever? Instinct tells me no, but at the very least Spain has earned a comparison to the great international teams of the past. Before any of that discussion begins, however, we must pay homage to a dominating performance in the final. Spain was in remarkable form and took advantage of some poor defending to make a very good Italian side look very bad.
Each of Spain’s four goals was a thing a beauty. David Silva’s header was amazing. Heading the ball on the run to the upper-90 of the far post is a difficult task. Although that placement was not needed, it was perfect. To me the set up was even more impressive. Cesc Fabregas’s decision to take an extra touch in the box on a great scoring opportunity was a risk that paid off when his defender hesitated in anticipation of an early cross. Xavi’s feed to Fabregas was perhaps the simplest execution of a perfect pass and run in the entire tournament. Italy was shaky in defense all day, but that pass was unstoppable. The other goals looked very simple, but don’t be fooled into confusing perfect execution with easy goals. A vertical pass on a vertical run should never beat a good defense, but it was executed with enough precision to make sloppy defending appear downright amateur. The third goal saw Fernando Torres make Gianluigi Buffon look like an average goalkeeper, which he is not. Simply put, Spain put together an operatic performance in the finale of Euro 2012. Clearly Spain are the best team in Europe and it would be hard to argue against their global supremacy, but the question remains as to where Spain ranks against the best international teams of all time. (more…)
Filed under: Euro 2012, European Football, International Football, UEFA | Tags: Andrea Pirlo, Czech Republic, Danny Valencia, England, Euro 2012, Euro 2012 odds, Euro 2012 predictions, Euro 2012 quarterfinals, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mario Balotelli, Portugal, Ronaldo, Spain, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney
The knockout stages are here. Euro 2012 has not let us down with exciting finishes and surprise teams advancing (Greece) and falling apart (Netherlands). Somehow, England managed to win its group, while France put itself in a huge hole by settings itself up with Spain in the quarterfinals. Germany has been the most impressive team so far and look primed to win the tournament. The quarterfinals have some great matchups meaning that the knockout stages will provide fans with plenty of twists and turns along the way to crowning a champion of Europe. Who are the odds on favorites to win and who do we think will win? Read on to find out! (more…)
Filed under: Euro 2012, European Football, UEFA | Tags: England, Euro 2012, France, Group D, Sweden, Ukraine
Group D is a very interesting group in that it has two traiditonal powers in France and England that are always involved in controversy. France was the epitome of underachieving in South Africa and England lost their group to the USA before getting slapped out of the tournament by Germany. As host, Ukraine will have a lot of mojo on its side, for whatever that is worth. Finally Sweden has a tremendous winning player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could take over a tournament at any moment. This group is wide open in terms of order of finish. Would anyone be shocked if France wins 9 points or bows out without a goal? Here is our take on this group. (more…)
Filed under: Euro 2012, European Football, UEFA | Tags: Czech Republic, Euro 2012, Greece, Group A, Poland, Russia
Each day this week we will be posting our take on each of the matches from each group. Today Group A is in the limelight. (more…)
Filed under: Champion's League, England, European Football, UEFA | Tags: Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham
By Jonathan Richardson
One of the things I dig most about European soccer is the fact that just about every team has something to play for regardless of their position in the league table. Whether it is fighting for a place in the most elite club competition in the world, the UEFA Champions League, or attempting to stave off relegation into the league below, teams give fans and neutrals alike plenty of reasons to stay excited until the end of the campaign. In the English Premier League, the top four teams claim a place in the Champions League. With the top two spots having essentially been decided for last half of the campaign by the red and blue clubs from Manchester, there is a white hot race for those coveted final two spots with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Newcastle United right in the thick of it. With only five games left until the end of the league campaign (six for Arsenal), it is coming down to the nitty gritty. Four teams are knocking on the door, but only two will be invited to play with the big boys. Who will it be?