The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, is now four days old and there has been a lot fo good exciting football – we have now seen all the teams and groups in action. I will be writing a daily blog article with the salient features of all the games. Please send us your thoughts and comments on the form below. – Filip v d Plas-
FRANCE – ENGLAND 1-1
England achieved a Euro 2012 draw with France yesterday evening in Donetsk, and while not a great game like Italy-Spain, it did have its moments and can be considered ‘a win’ of sorts for the English.
Definitely the best man on the field was French mid-fielder Samir Nasri who stood out for his tactical and strategical visionary passing and great ball control – he was the creative centre of everything that happened for the French team and is a pleasure to watch. The Manchester City player’s style is similar to that of Dutch player Wesley Sneijder – both have a great vision dynamism which can create such brilliant combinations.
As France are expected to advance from their group – they are the team with the best credentials in Group D – the new English coach Hodgson had to go back to basics and prepare for this competition and all of this in a very short period of time.
It became easily recognizable that Roy Hodgson’s work had paid dividends with the seemingly heightened ability and confidence of the English players. They seemed to be competing again on a level playing field.
Over the last 30 years they have been known for being technically and tactically slower and less creative than most other nations in Europe. In one-on-one encounters they would always lose the ball and seemed to not have the basic ball skills to compete competitively in Europe. Proof of this is that there are very few English players in mainland European clubs while UK clubs are full of ‘foreigners’.
However England got on the scoreboard first when defender Joleon Lescott put them in front after just 30 minutes heading in of a free kick.
However this lead they could only maintain for all of 9 minutes as Samir Nasri struck from the edge of the area and after this England never really looked like they wanted to go for a win and restore their advantage, instead thinking that a tie would suffice in this game. And it appears that French coach Laurent Blanc had come to the same conclusion so the remainder of the game was not very exciting.
The pre-match temperature at 31C may have had something to do with that though – good luck World Cup in Qatar in 2022!!!!
There were some brief moments in the ascendancy for the English team after the French goal – but only just some. France mainly controlled the play from midfield. To prove this point UEFA statistic at the end of this game showed that France had completed 634 of its passes to England’s 307 – which is a pretty amazing difference.
Wayne Rooney could bring the necessary fire power, experience and reading of the game in England’s last group match against the Ukraine on the 19th. However a loss to Sweden on the 15th could make all that academic.
James Lawton wrote in todays Independent – “ This new dogged England dig in to deny the fleet-footed French” – http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/james-lawton-this-new-dogged-england-dig-in-to-deny-the-fleetfooted-french-7836949.html
The Olympic National Sports Complex or ‘Olimpiyskiy stadium’ in Kiev was full of yellow and blue this evening- not a great surprise because those are the colours of both Sweden and Ukraine so a win-win solution in which everyone was for both teams – well sort of.
In the end there was to be no ‘Euphoria’ for Sweden – which was the name of the Swedish winning song in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the large and lethal Swedish goal making machine, missed a couple of chances in the first 45 minutes but quickly made amends early in the 2nd half when he more or less floated the ball into the Ukrainian net from close range – Sweden up one to nil.
Ukraine’s legendary striker Andrei Shevchenko shot wide once in the first half but made no such mistakes in the 2nd half.
Shevchenko – who has over 17 years international football experience behind him – scored twice in quick succession in the 2nd half to hand Ukraine a deserved win.
Both were headers and showed he has not lost any of his scoring ability or knack to create a goal from nothing.
With 175 goals scored for AC Milan when he played there between 1999 and 2006 Shevchenko is the 2nd most prolific striker in the history of the club. He is also the 3rd highest goal scorer in Champions League history with 58 goals; behind Ruud van Nistelrooy with 60 and and Raúl González Blanco with 71.
After these 2 Shevchenko goals -try as they might – Sweden brought on striker Christian ‘Chippen’ Wilhelmsson to replace the ineffective Markus Rosenberg but nothing seemed to go their way. They did have some very good chances near the end with Zlatan and Wilhelmsson however the game ended in a 2-1 victory for the Ukraine.
Swedish fans were briefly ecstatic in the afternoon when they heard that ‘Funtik’ the pig had predicted a Swedish victory. However they were more in a mood to take him to the sausage factory when they found out that Futnik’s accuracy was more than somewhat wanting. Earlier in the day he predicted a French win in the afternoon match between France and England which ended in a 1-1 draw!
Meanwhile the Swedish coach brands players ‘cowards’ after Ukraine defeat – read it in todays Guardian – amazing stuff and very disconcerting but true!!!!- “We didn’t show the courage we were supposed to. Only five or six players did. We all need all the players doing that. We were cowards in the first half and should have done more. I’m not happy with the team, I was expecting more. The players do want it very much, but we should have scored with the three last chances we had.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jun/12/euro-2012-sweden-branded-cowards
In Berlin there are many places to watch the games – one is ARENA – http://www.arena-berlin.de/event.aspx?eventId=392832
Frank Ribery Soup? This is in a series of daily pictures and this picture keeps moving ………it is today about 6 from the first [F v d P] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/news-in-pictures-6584677.html?action=gallery&ino=1
Filip v d P
And from the BBC who know a lot about football if not a lot about politics – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18091750
and from the US ………a very educated article from ESPN – http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/7306134/euro-2012-draw-favorites-underdogs-long
This blog is brought to you by …..OTA-Berlin Constituency Blog’ is part of OTA-Berlin ‘……the intelligent Apartment-Alternative to Hotels in Berlin’. The views of the article are those of the writer Mr Filip v d Plas and not necessarily those of OTA-Berlin.
EURO 2012 – Daily Report – DAY 4 – England draw with France – yawn & Shevchenko 2 – Sweden 1, ……no Euphoria for Sweden ! – Later Today Poland vs Russia & Czech Rep. vs Greece – by contributor Mr Filip van der Plas from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.
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