• Saturday, 9 June 2012

    Yesterday at the Euros #1

    (file this section under M for making a rod for my own back, but anyway....)

    Day 1 of Euro 2012. Ahead of the opener, consensus said that opening games are boring. Not a bit of it. Poland came flying out of the blocks against Greece in the new national stadium in Warsaw (pause here to insert joke about restricted views because everywhere you're behind a Pole) with the impressive Robert Lewandowski heading home after 17 minutes. The controversial sending off of Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave Poland a numerical advantage, but Wojciech Szczesny conspired to give Greece parity on the scoreboard and on the field by messing up a routine bit of goalkeeping and then getting sent off. Przemyslaw Tyton's first touch of the ball in this tournament was palming away Giorgios Karagounis's penalty.

    The second game saw Russia eviscerate the Czech Republic and, had Alexander Kerzhakov brought his shooting boots, it could/should have been half a dozen or more. Instead, profligacy in front of goal left the Czechs with a chance, especially after pegging it back to 2-1early in the second half, but with Alan Dzagoev and Andrei Arshavin pulling the strings, it finished 4-1. Russia were mightily impressive.

    A good first day then, but all the talk about the two yellows Papastathopoulos picked up. The first might have been harsh, but once on a yellow, there has to be an awareness that another bookable offence is going to end with a red and a stupid little tug-back produced that very result. Cue much whinging about refereeing. There's a lesson in this, as there is in most things, in the lyrics of Half Man Half Biscuit, specifically the last verse of I Went To A Wedding (about 3.20 into the following clip). Bonus namecheck of Brad Friedel.

    Tomorrow, Group B, the group with four of the world's top ten on current FIFA rankings, however much import you impart to those.

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