paolo

Mechanical phantoms
Those statistics are awful and Italy were clearly the better side, but let's not forget that England did manage to take the game to penalties after winning their group
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Let's hope tomorrow night is half as good as this:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/uSjlPLTf714" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The match tonight was pretty wretched, but if Portugal had won it would've been an injustice
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I'm not sure about that - so far every team has set up in a way that implies "Spain will have all the ball, we'll come up with a way to deal with that", Portugal were the first team I've seen in ages who looked as though they wanted to compete in terms of possession. Not by playing the same kind of possession football but by getting in Spanish faces. Arguably a task made easier by tiredness or whatever but they made Spain look pretty ordinary tonight I thought, they had the chances to win it and so did Spain but it was a very fifty-fifty kind of game. Even Italy in the first match against Spain played the first way - albeit effectively and they could easily have won - but it's refreshing to see someone have a proper go.
I think that if Germany get past Italy (and it's a bigger if than some think) then they will beat Spain in the final. They were knocked out of the World Cup by Spain 1-0 and they lost the final of the last Euro 2-0 (I think it was) but they look as though they've grown in strength since then and Spain look weaker. Either more teams have figured them out or missing Villa is a big deal.
That's my thoughts, now watch me be proved wrong.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Re that Germany V Italy (and Italy went on to win the whole thing of course) I have to agree with my friend who said that he found something slightly galling about the way that in a year in which Italian football had been demonstrated to be riddled with corruption from top to bottom they walked off with the two biggest trophies in the sport (I suppose the World Cup is the biggest trophy in any sport in fact).
 

franz

Well-known member
i think missing Villa is a pretty big deal, but i've seen games where they struggled to score with him in the squad too.

Disappointed with Portugal in the attacking third today. Yet again, i would love to know why the forward pecking order was what it was. Varela got 9 minutes at the end, and made one play (think he stripped Ramos on the right side?). Which was more than i think i saw Nelson Oliveira make in what, 30? 40? Would love to have seen him with more playing time.

All the commentary in the build up about how Ronaldo was somehow going to drag this team into the final by the scruff of their neck conveniently forgets that this is how Portugal has basically gone out of every tournament... with R in isolation up front, unable to link up with an otherwise toothless offense, counting on drawing fouls within free kick distance--which is counting on something that is pretty low percentage for even the best free kick takers in the world.
In the other 2 thirds i thought they played excellent, and showed, as did Italy, that you don't have to concede the lion's share of possession to this team. It's a great team, but they are definitely beatable.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yeah, that seems fair comment. Portugal had that golden break in the eighty-ninth minute or whatever (just as I was texting my girlfriend to tell her it would be extra tiem) when the pass was slightly behind Ronaldo and he smashed it well over... but I couldn't help but think that the player on the ball (who was it?) was somewhat seduced by Ronaldo's stardom and abdicated the responsibility to him, he should have delayed the pass until the defender came to him or else just gone for it, he had so much space and he wimped out by giving it quite poorly to CRon and expecting him to produce some magic.
Easy to say when you're watching of course - playing this week and realising how many of my passes are "slightly" behind the striker makes me a little more sympathetic.
 

crackerjack

Well-known member
Portugal were good first half and poor thereafter. Ronaldo is brilliant but an utter cunt. It's astonishing at his age that he still seems the most purely self-centred human ever to play football. His monumental ego proving their undoing was the most joyful (non-)image of the night.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
True that Portugal effectively got in Spain's faces and they were certainly shaken up by that, but i thought that when they did get the ball, Portugal looked surprisingly bad/witless (and not just by comparison with Spain) - too many loose passes, bad first touches etc.

As someone said, Spain looked better with Pedro rather than Xavi. Obviously that's also inflected by Portuguese tiredness, but Pedro should've come on sooner if Spain wanted to win in 90 minutes. Villa's absence is definitely key, indeed.

Yep, Germany are a better footballing side than Portugal (I'd defintiely overestimated the Portuguese team before yesterday on that score), and they can both harry Spain to distraction and do something with the possession they have. I hope either tonight or Sunday is a classic though, cos the knockout phase has lacked a great game so far.

I'm not sure about that - so far every team has set up in a way that implies "Spain will have all the ball, we'll come up with a way to deal with that", Portugal were the first team I've seen in ages who looked as though they wanted to compete in terms of possession. Not by playing the same kind of possession football but by getting in Spanish faces. Arguably a task made easier by tiredness or whatever but they made Spain look pretty ordinary tonight I thought, they had the chances to win it and so did Spain but it was a very fifty-fifty kind of game. Even Italy in the first match against Spain played the first way - albeit effectively and they could easily have won - but it's refreshing to see someone have a proper go.
I think that if Germany get past Italy (and it's a bigger if than some think) then they will beat Spain in the final. They were knocked out of the World Cup by Spain 1-0 and they lost the final of the last Euro 2-0 (I think it was) but they look as though they've grown in strength since then and Spain look weaker. Either more teams have figured them out or missing Villa is a big deal.
That's my thoughts, now watch me be proved wrong.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
Does that result make England's performance against Italy any better? Probably not.
What I don't get is in the last World Cup England were shocking but, one thing which wasn't mentioned so much in the recriminations afterwards, Italy (and France in fact) were even worse - I remember thinking that it seemed to be a bleak time for Italian football with the league weaker than it had been for a long time and the national team apparently worse than that of New Zealand. Now, two years later, England have maybe got the basics right and got rid of some kind of superstar belief that they're gonna win but Italy are in fucking final (and France look pretty good) - how did this happpen? Why can't we make such improvements ever? Is it simply a matter of not having as many good players coming through? Italy's best player is still Pirlo though and he's been there for centuries.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Italy should have beaten England easily in 90 minutes. Now Balotelli has finally found his clinical finishing boots, Italy do look a damn good team, with an extra dimension compared to the first match vs Spain, when they looked very good anyways. They played some beautiful stuff last night, even if (Pirlo apart) it's less controlled than Spain.

I think if Balotelli turns up again on Sunday, they'll do it. Could be the best final in years. I said similarly about Spain vs Portugal :/

I think if England had a Pirlo/Modric/Iniesta/Ozil, just one, they'd be OK and would start overachieving. They just don't have anyone you can rely on to control the game in that way - surely the FA should set up some kind of Playmakers' School. England certainly have good players, but they all have the same Achilles' heel, inferior control of the football compared to the best. Would've been interesting to see Wilshere in this side.
 
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franz

Well-known member
At the last world cup players like Marchisio and Montolivo were coming into the side for the first time. It was clear then that they would be important moving forward, but they were still pretty green. These two teams are kind of on either side of a transition process. It's great to have Pirlo their to quarterback and mentor this side, but i think Italy's midfield has been phenomenal as a whole. It's great to have Marchisio and Pirlo together at Juventus, as well--i think he will be a mainstay for Italy for the next several tournaments.
 

crackerjack

Well-known member
Madness that Scholes wasn't included.

Scholes retired from international football 10 years ago. The only time he was mistreated, if you can call it that, is when his adaptability meant Sven pushed him out left to make way for the Lampard-Gerrard dream team that never was. Successive England managers have tried to tempt him back and failed. Perhaps Hodgson was meant to hold a gun to his head...

And anyway, what year is this? There's been a great deal of misplaced romanticism about Scholes, largely cos he helped settle a misfiring United midfield. But he routinely disappears about one hour into games and sometimes doesn't show up at all. Remember him in the crunch game against City? Course you don't - he was part of Utd's 3-man midfield which was totally dominated by the pair of Toure and Barry and he barely touched the ball.

Hodgson made mistakes – I get the impression Young was left on purely cos Hodgson had named him as one of the 5 for penalties, a role he fluffed anyway – but England did as well as they could with the players available.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yeah, is anyone seriously saying that Scholes should have been in the squad for the Euros? He's been a great player but I can't see how it work. Then again people in my (Thursday) football team were saying Hodgson should have taken Beckham!
 

paolo

Mechanical phantoms
Rooney's a world class attacking talent but I can't remember the last time he had a decent game for England. Also let's not forget that Hodgson had only been in the job for a few weeks before the tournament started, hopefully he'll be able to get them playing a bit better once he's had a bit more time
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Rooney's a world class attacking talent but I can't remember the last time he had a decent game for England."
What about that amazing header against the Ukraine?
I still think picking Scholes would have been a backwards step.
 
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