The first round of games have now taken place in the Euros 2012 in Poland & Ukraine, and as we approach the second round of games what can be surmise up to this point?
Using Roy Hodgson’s phrase “footballing reasons”, despite being marred by racism and hooliganism the competition has started off in impressive fashion. The opening game saw co-host Poland explode out the blocks against Greece. Although, the game finished 1-1 and produced two sending offs, it did set an optimistic bar for what was to come.
The mantle was then bestowed onto the Russians, who overwhelmed their respective opponents, Czech Republic with a 4-1 win.
After the first day of glorious and jam-packed football the optimism for it continue could not have been more rewarded as it was the turn of Group B (the group of death) to grace our eyes. Alas, our first shock result, as the resilient Danes provided a turn for the works with a 1-0 upset against the Netherlands.
More shockingly, goal machine Robin Van Persie obtained amnesia in front of goal, as he was unable to convert chances capable of doing in his sleep. Elsewhere, the other representatives of Group B saw the tournament’s favourites, Germany take on the stern test of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. It was Mario Gomez, the striker who couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo in the Champions league final that provided the breakthrough and the winner.
Sunday’s matchup between Italy and Spain in Group C split the opinions of footballing fans with much heated debates about the quality of this particular match. Most saw this game as nothing more than a bore stalemate. However, the well-informed football fans would have left this game marvelling at extra-time (although not possible).
In my opinion it was hands-down the best game of the tournament thus far. The question is how could you not be a fan of this game? It may not have been a high scoring game but there were an abundance of other factors that made it superior to all other games. Allow me to illustrate to you what I witnessed. It was a thinking man’s a game, a classic game bound by a battle of tactics. A game that showcased technical brilliance from the likes of Andreas Pirlo and Andres Iniesta, overall, an amazing match.
Elsewhere, the Irish were provided a flattering scoreline as Croatia diminished the Irish’s passionate display with a 3-1 win.
Finally, the first round of games finished off with a timid match between France and England. Both sides showed apprehension going forward, although, France did show more initiative. However, as the game wore on it was obvious that both managers were playing it safe with a draw.
The final game of the first round of games was a game that didn’t have a high spectacle going into the game, although definitely proved critics wrong. A night that cemented Andriy Shevchenko at the forefront of his country. The other co-host of the competition, Ukraine overcame a 1-0 deficit against Sweden with a magical brace from Shevchenko, showing that he still has that killer instinct in front of goal.
Despite the small crowds of racism and the hooliganism, its safe to say the Euro’s has been a success thus far. Although, UEFA will have to nip the above detrimental factors in a bud before a fear of the pandemic spreading.
Poland 1 – 1 Greece
Russia 4 – 1 Czech Republic
Denmark 1 – 0 Holland
Germany 1 – 0 Portugal
Spain 1 – 1 Italy
Croatia 3 – 1 Ireland
France 1 – 1 England
Ukraine 2 – 1 Sweden