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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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Filed under All Star Team, euro 2008, Euro 2008 Final, match comments, post match comments, SOCCER

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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All Star Team – 3rd round of Group Play

Goalkeeper: Gregory Coupet

Defense: Christian Panucci, Philip Lahm, Aleksandr Aniukov

Midfield: Andrea Pirlo, Andrei Arshavin, Yuri Zhirkov, Arda Turan

Strikers: Nihat Kahveci, Hakan Yakin, Tuncay Sanli

Coach: Fatih Terim

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Group D final day post match – Russia v Sweden, Spain v Greece

Let’s get Spain v Greece out the of way.  Spain came back and won 2-1 with Guiza setting up the equalizer from de la Red and scoring the winner in the dying minutes.  Spain started a brand new squad with only Iniesta starting from the first team.  They still won.  Xabi Alonso had a great game and almost scored from the middle of the pitch as he did against Newcastle.  As a reward for getting 9 points out of a possible 9, Spain gets to play Italy.  Sweet.  Before everyone goes on to talk about how this is just terrible for Spain, let me say this – sitting here today I think they got lucky by getting this Italian squad instead of the full French team.  Spain will beat Italy… but more on that later in the week.

Pre-game prediction: Spain 1 Greece 0

Result: Spain 2 Greece 1

Scorers: Ruben de la Red, Daniel Guiza (Spain), Angelos Charisteas (Greece)

Russia put on a master class display.  As CH12 had hoped, they moved the ball around brilliantly.  Arshavin was as good as advertised – he never seems hurried and he seems to put the ball wherever he wants to.  I can’t wait for the Russia/Holland quarter final – and Holland, you better watch out because this Russian team (especially with Hiddink in charge) could have CH12 referring to you as the Netherlands again by the time the match is over.

I said the Russians played pretty football.  They do.  I said they would win.  They did.  I said they play sort of total football.  They actually don’t.  What we saw was pretty football that looks like total football.  What they have are players who all seem very comfortable with playing one touch, on the ground, passes, moving off the ball, creating space and making the extra pass (Pavlyuchenko excluded).  It’s unbelievable how calmly they look for, and make, the extra pass in the opposing box.   Sweden is lucky they didn’t concede 4 or 5 goals – two came off the post and Russia missed a couple of breakaways as well.  Hiddink will be doubly pleased that other than a Henrik Larsson header off the crossbar, his defense kept Sweden well in check with Akinfeev looking confident as well.  Man of the match for Russia was Yuri Zhirkov (picture below).  He was brilliant down the left wing and looked like a rich man’s Fabio Grosso.  The one issue that I see is that the Russians seem to zone mark in their own box.  That will get them in trouble if teams avoid high crosses and instead play one twos on the ground against them.

Pre-game prediction: Russia 3 Sweden 2

Result: Russia 2 Sweden 0

Scorers: Roman Pavluchenko, Andrei Arshavin (Russia)

CH12’s crystal ball was working in Group D.  Look out world, because the Russians are coming.  On to the quarters – the predictions slate in now clean.   I still feel quite comfortable with my original prediction of Spain v Portugal in the finals…

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