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Euro 2008 Wrap up comments

Spain wins 1-0

Pre-game prediction: Spain 3 Germany 2

Scorer: Fernando Torres (Spain)

Spain deserved to win the Final and deserved to be the Euro 2008 Champions. It is always good when the best team wins and they were the best team. They had the most depth, played the best football and scored the most goals. Germany just did enough to get to the finals and finally couldn’t squeeze any more out.

Some closing thoughts:

Aragones, you are one lucky dog. It made no sense to pull Cesc and Silva with that much time left and replace them with more defensive players. It absolutely made no sense to pull Torres who was killing the German defense. But, hey, it worked out.

Puyol and Marchena – I owe you an apology. You didn’t concede a goal in knockouts and only gave up two goals all tournament (they didn’t play against Greece). Regardless of what the opposing strikers didn’t do, you got it done.

Cesc, Ramos and Torres – hope you can handle the heat, because you three along with Iniesta, Silva, Villa and maybe Xavi are the core of the World Cup 2010 effort for Spain. Look for someone like Pique to step in at center half. But this is a young, young team and look to be there for many years.

Player of the game – Fernando Torres. He was unplayable and only Aragones could solve the problem for the Germans.

Player of the tournament for Spain – Marcos Senna. The rock that kept it together. No bad games or major mistakes.

Player of the tournament period – Andrei Arshavin. Yes, he had a bad one against Spain and only played three games, but he is the one everyone is talking about. Close seconds are Zhirkov, Senna and Casillas. Top sub is Semih Senturk.

All Star Team of the tournament:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (sorry Buffon, but he played two more games and gave up only two goals – and he did save two penalties to your one save during the shootout)

Defenders: Yuri Zhirkov, Carles Puyol, Christian Panucci, Sergio Ramos

Midfield: Andrei Arshavin, Marcos Senna, Cesc Fabregas, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Strikers: Fernando Torres, David Villa

Subs: Gianluigi Buffon, Razhvan Rat, Luka Modric, Wesley Sneijder, Lukas Podolski, Semih Senturk

Coach: Guus Hiddink

On to the club season. Here is the next discussion – Ronaldo, you would be a fool to go to Real Madrid right now…

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All Star Team of the Tournament – pre final

This team excludes any Spanish or German players.  Will put together an all tournament team including them post the final.

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon

Defense: Yuri Zhirkov, Christian Panucci, Pepe, Razvan Rat 

Midfield: Luka Modric, Wesley Sneijder, Arda Turan, Andrei Arshavin

Strikers: Roman Pavlyuchenko, Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Super subs: Semih Senturk, Arjen Robben, Ivan Klasnic, Rustu Recber, Hakan Yakin

Coach: Fatih Terim

Here are blogs on prior All Star teams from the tournament

All Star team after 3rd round of group play

https://centerhalf12.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/all-star-team-3rd-round-of-group-play/

 

All Star team after 2nd round of group play

https://centerhalf12.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/all-star-team-second-round-of-group-play/ 

All Star team after 1st round of play

https://centerhalf12.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/all-star-team-first-round-of-group-play/

 

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Germany v Turkey – post game

I am just exhausted. You know what the Turkish team reminds me of – the trick birthday candle that you just can’t blow out. So you finally get a big bucket of water and douse it. That’s what Germany had to do. I still don’t believe the Turks lost since the last two minutes of injury time were black screened due to technical difficulties. I had absolutely no doubt that Turkey would come back and score during that time. However, it was not to be. It is amazing that everyone who saw this run will talk of this Turkey team’s performance long after anyone remembers who won the tournament. Hats off to you. You played with possibly four starters and almost made it to the final.

However, the Dwarf (that’s not my nickname for him – it’s what they call him in Germany) made Turkey pay. First he crossed for Klose to leap and nod in in typical Miroslav fashion, then he got turned inside out by Sabri who crossed for Semih to score with the touch of the tournament and finally he cut in on the left wing, dished off, kept running and finished off by wrong footing Rustu with a high blast at the near post. It was a brilliant finish. And it didn’t give the Turks enough time to get another goal back.

Turkey started the game very well and had the Germans looking very ordinary. Ballack really had a sub par game and Lehmann was up to his usual walkabout tricks. Kazim Kazim blasted one off the crossbar before mishitting another one off the other side of the crossbar. Lehmann was totally lost on the rebound, Friedrich was ball watching and Ugur Boral put it in between a confused Lehmann’s legs. This after Lehmann almost let a cross by Altintop leave him stranded too far out of the six yard box. So, Germany was lucky it was only 1-0. They were also lucky that the Turks didn’t immediately shut up shop for the half and instead allowed Podolski space on the wing to cross for Schweinsteiger to make a brilliant touch finish to the far post.

Pre-game prediction: Germany 3 Turkey 1

Result: Germany 3 Turkey 2

Scorers: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Philip Lahm (Germany) Ugur Boral, Semih Senturk (Turkey)

I didn’t see enough from Germany in this game to change my prediction that the winner of Russia v Spain wins this tournament. The German backs are going to have a hard time dealing with the movement, passing and trickery of Villa/Torres/Silva or Arshavin/Pavlyuchenko/Zhirkov. I hope the Russia v Spain semi final delivers what it’s capable of – the best game of the tournament…

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1st Semi Final: Germany v Turkey – pre game prediction

Why Germany should win:

  • They are great at set pieces. Ballack has scored the only free kick in the tournament and Podolski and Schweinsteiger are also good strikers of the ball. They are strong in the air and have scored two goals off set pieces against a supposedly strong Portugese defense where Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air.
  • This is the knockout stage and the Germans traditionally get stronger as the tournament starts getting to the business end of it.
  • Ballack has now scored two straight winners. Look out. Klose is off the mark too.
  • Schweinsteiger had a hand in all three goals against Portugal. While Turkey is not Portugal, he has now had a hand in six goals against a strong Portugal side in the last two matches. His drive was missing in their games against Croatia and Austria. Now you can count on Podolski and Bastian to provide energy from the wings.
  • Loew is back on the sideline.
  • Turkey is decimated (they would be happy with a decimation – this is a thirdamation) by injuries and suspensions. It’s a bit much to have your entire starting attacking trio be out for the match – Nihat, Tuncay and Turan – along with your starting central defense and goalkeeper. It might not be a good thing to be captain of Turkey – first Emre and now Nihat are out with injuries.
  • By now they know that you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to concentrate against Turkey from minute 87 till the final whistle… and then keep playing for another 30 seconds to make sure the ref actually blew the whistle.

Why Turkey should win:

  • Why ask why? Just look at the last three games. If you can beat the host nation on a lake in the last second, then have one of the best goalies in the world drop a ball for you to equalize and then score again (all in the last three minutes) and then score in injury time of overtime after conceding with a minute to go – all on fumes and with three days rest in between in each game – what barrier does Germany pose. It’s not like Der Kaiser is suited up on the other side.
  • Super sub, thy name is Semih. He has played a total of 148 minutes and put in two last minute goals. Let’s see how he does from the start.
  • Hamit Altintop (his name supposedly translates to golden ball – Beckham the singular). He had a great game once he was restored to the center of the park instead of playing at right back. He knows the German game – he regularly tangles with Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Jansen, Klose and Podolski in practice at Bayern Munich. He has nothing to lose and one of his blasts is due.
  • I think the stadium will look like a Turkey home game.
  • Turkey should win, because the underdog seems to be winning most of the time at this tournament.

CH12 believes that Germany will win. Turkey has just too many injuries and the adrenalin will wear off when they find themselves two down and without the firepower to bring themselves back into it. Also, they will not be able to deal with the German height on set pieces. Whoever scores first in this game will win.

Pre-game prediction: Germany 3 Turkey 1

I would like to see Turkey win, though. Maybe they will come back from being two down with three sets of penalty kicks to go…

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Switzerland v Turkey – post match

The rain in Switzerland falls mainly in Basel.  Football is supposed to be played on a little bit of a wet surface.  It’s easier to run on it, the ball moves, slide tackles look cool.  It is not supposed to be played on a lake.  It was almost painful to watch players overrun the ball as it got held up by the waterlogged surface.  Hard to give anyone credit for “outplaying” the other team on this type of pitch. 

Yakin – you could have ended this game if you had tucked away your second open net opportunity.  Yes, it was a bang bang play, but you got your foot to it, so it should have been in the back of the net.  Game would have been over.  Oh well, at least Switzerland scored.  The result was cruel.  Two minutes into injury time and a deflection on top of that.  Notice how many goals have been scored on a counter attack off of a corner or goalkeeper save deep at the other end.  Maybe teams need to start putting someone deeper on each wing to stop the break.

Players of the game were Erin Derdiyokfor Switzerland and Volkan Demirel (apparently he CAN stop non penalty strikes). 

As an aside – if you are playing for a country, why wouldn’t you celebrate a goal scored for that country even if the country you scored against was the country of your birth (Podolski – somewhat understandable if you were born there) or where your parents were born (Yakin)?  It’s just weird.  Respect?  I’d rather you run around like you did something great by scoring against my country than what comes off as a bit patronizing or not a worthwhile accomplishment.  Just me.

Pre-game prediction: Switzerland 1 Turkey 1

Result: Switzerland 1 Turkey 2 

Scorers: Hakan Yakin (Switzerland) Semih Senturk, Arda Turan (Turkey)

CH12 is now 6 and 4 and was looking good to go 2 and 0 for the day till the second minute of injury time…

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