Well, Germany are through, but that was a pretty tepid performance. I would have thought Loew would have seen the writing on the wall and put in Kuranyi or Neuville for Gomez, but I guess he wanted to give him a chance to put one on the board and rebuild his confidence. As it was, he blew a two yard open net tap in five minutes into the game, didn’t go for the rebound header and then meandered his way about for 60 minutes before being subbed for Neuville. Ballack did step up and blasted a rocket of a free kick – the first one scored at Euro 2008 – but was quiet for the rest of the game. Podolski was again the only German, with momentary flashes from Lahm, who seemed capable of doing anything meaningful. Still, it was enough to send Austria home. Thanks for hosting, we have some nice parting gifts for you (my version of Kenny Smith’s “Time to go Fishing”). Players of the game – for Germany it was Podolski, for Austria it was Korkmaz.
If Germany are to beat Portugal, they are going to have do way better. The main thing missing seems to be creativity and drive in the middle of the park and a lack of team speed, especially on the wings. Ballack has not really got into gear in any of the matches so far. Will have more on game tactics against Portugal before Thursday’s quarterfinal.
The Poland game saw Croatia’s second team show aggression and desire and they deservedly won that game 1-0 with Klasnic putting a very nice left footed grasscutter to the far post. End of Poland’s tournament. Keep in mind that Poland is the team that finished above Portugal in qualifying and beat Portugal at home 2-1 and drew 2-2 away. Not that that means much if you want to triangulate those facts with Germany beating Poland 2-0 a week ago to determine the winner of the quarterfinal between Germany and Portugal…
Pre-game prediction: Germany 3 Austria 1
Result: Germany 1 Austria 0
Scorer: Michael Ballack (Germany)
Pre-game prediction: Poland 2 Croatia 1
Result: Poland 0 Croatia 1
Scorer: Ivan Klasnic (Croatia)
Can’t wait till tomorrow. This is going to a treat with the France v Italy game juxtaposed with Romania v Holland. Hopefully, the Romania game is 0-0 at the half so as to give France and Italy all the motivation they may need to go for the win…