EURO 2012: Group A and B Updates, Remarks and Predictions

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Here’s your Farm Club recap on the first two groups’ second matches.

For the original article including more in depth predictions, information and general feelings from Mike and Steve, click here.

Tuesday featured Group A’s matches, and with them, came some surprises as well. For the normal soccer fan, surprises should not be…well, surprises any longer. Truly, whenever a major tournament comes into play, there tend to be many results and things that happen in the matches that defy all initial feelings on the match’s possible outcome. This is a nice concept in a sport that seems so damn devoid of surprise for the most part in their domestic leagues. Take for instance, the English Premier League which includes 20 teams annually, in which only six different clubs have won in its existence. Now, if that stat isn’t as alarming to you, think of this one: Manchester United has won the league 60% of the time. This kind of hierarchy in domestic soccer can be seen in many of the leagues, such as the Olympiacos dominance in Greece as of late and the trio of Inter, Milan and Juventus in Italy.

GROUP A
 

W

D

L

GD

PTS
Russia

1

1

0

3

4
Czech Republic

1

0

1

-2

3
Poland

0

2

0

0

2
Greece

0

1

1

-1

1

Group A selected match:

Greece 1 – 2 Czech Republic

This match looked very badly from the start for the Greeks. They went down 2-nil very quickly. And when I say quickly, I mean within SIX minutes. Two goals from Czech stars Jiracek and Pilar come right through as the Czechs were able to dismantle Greek defense very quickly. Tomas Rosicky could not be stopped. His control of the midfield in this match was unparalleled by any other player so far in this tournament. News didn’t get any better for the Greeks as in the 22nd minute, their first choice goal keeper, Kostas Chalkias left the pitch in apparent injury. With a new keeper and was an utterly horrible defensive effort so far, it really looked grim for the Greek side. The half continued with strong Czech control of the ball, and whenever the Greeks attempted to get the ball through, it seemed to be a game of long ball with no real decisiveness or efficiency. The Greeks simply were not being innovative of any sort. In the 40th minute, the ball found the back of the net for the Greeks after continual thrashing forward would only hope it would. Unfortunately, what seemed like their 100th offsides was called and the Greeks had the goal taken from them.

Tomas Rosicky is Jared Leto, right?

In what seemed like the weirdest decision from a viewer’s standpoint, Tomas Rosicky was taken off for Daniel Kolar at half time. Maybe his yellow card from the first half was the issue? Not exactly sure, since he had really taken control of the match and the Greeks had no answer for him. Kolar is a similar type of attacking mid fielder, so it wasn’t like the Czechs were going to play defense for the whole second half.

The Greeks played another decent second half which was comparable to the Polish match they had played four days before. But every one knows soccer is a 90+ minute game, and 45 minutes of good football just won’t cut it against the better sides. The Greeks continued their barrage of crosses and attempts into the box, finally finding some luck when Petr Cech just plain drops a horrible cross from Georgios Samaras. Theofanis Gekas thanks Cech for his generosity and hammers in an easy one. The Greeks finally look to have awakened for the match 53 minutes in. The rest of the match saw the Greeks continuing their uninspired brand of football for the most part, allowing for just one more shot on goal as the time runs out for a Czech victory.

Here’s the deal: The Greeks seem dead in this tournament. They match up against this Groups strongest side in Russia next, and while a win would do much to help them towards a possible spot in the knockouts, it doesn’t seem very likely based on the two matches they have played thus far. The Czech Republic seems to have found new life and are my pick over Poland for the 2nd spot into the knockouts, barely. Tomas Rosicky was completely unstoppable and while the Czechs looked like superstars against Greece, look for them to come back to earth against Poland. Poland played a successful match against Russia, and let’s be honest: with all the shots they got off against Russia, they should have put home more than one. I’m thinking the Poles get their third straight draw, but it’s not enough as they are still a point behind the Czech Republic.

Predictions: Russia 3 – 1 Greece. Czech Republic 2 – 2 Poland.

GROUP B
 

W

D

L

GD

PTS
Germany

2

0

0

2

6
Portugal

1

0

1

0

3
Denmark

1

0

1

0

3
The Netherlands

0

0

2

-2

0

Ah, the “Group of Death.” Group B is home to four of the top ten teams in the world based on FIFA World rankings and these matches have surely showed some interesting matches and results. TheNetherlands, a team who most had going into the knockout round is stuck in the basement with almost no hope of making it into the next round. Statistically possible? Yes. But the Dutch really don’t deserve it. Their offense has been atrocious and that opening shocking loss to Denmark seems to have taken a toll on a team that did so well in the World Cup just two years ago.

Denmark, on the other hand is looking up and is tied with Portugal going into their game against Germany. But that’s the issue, the Portuguese have already withstood a loss to the Germans and have to play the uninspired Dutch at this point, while the Germans seem ready to go 3-0 in group play. The Danes will have to pull off another upset to get into the knockout round or hope that the Dutch are able to pull something together in their match. A draw against the Germans should be seen as a win for Denmark. But we’ll see what happens in three days.

Group B selected match:

Denmark 2 – 3 Portugal

This was seriously the most intense and exciting match of the whole tournament so far. I think if Americans were able to watch soccer played at this level and with this much competition, it would garner more of a following on our end. I, honestly, cannot tell you enough how much I loved watching this match, and I think every one else thought the same way.

At first,Portugal seemed primed to win this match. They were up 2-nil very quickly. Not as quickly as the Czechs the previous day, but Pepe and Helder Postiga scored at 24 and 36 minutes respectively as the Portuguese felt the winds of victory at their backs. Pepe’s goal was the effect of a truly masterful run off a corner set, complete with a nice header off of Nani’s inward curving corner kick. The stuff of top-level sides, for sure. Portugal’s second goal was the result of pinpoint accuracy from Nani to Helder Postiga. This feeling of a two goal lead was very soon squandered as Nicklas Bendtner continued his dismantlement of the Portuguese defense. I think he’s scored something like an average of more than a goal a game against them, which is just ridiculous.

Ronaldo misses on a 1 on 1.

The biggest play or non-play of the match had to be when the ball was sent to the man, the legend, Cristiano Ronaldo. He was one on one with keeper Stephan Andersen and thrashed the ball past the post. It was so poor a strike my girlfriend felt the need to text me and say, “What, like, it was right there?! That was like a 4 year old playing soccer!” Right then, the commentators both spoke of how momentous that mistake could be..how it could be the turning point of the match. And, much to the horror of the disgraced Ronaldo and the rest of the Portuguese team, he was right. Not even two minutes later, Nicklas Bendtner puts another past the keeper as he gets away from Pepe and heads one off the post. The last minutes of the match were the most hectic I had ever seen it seemed like, as the Portuguese moved in hopes that their 2 goal lead which was just squandered wouldn’t end in a draw and the Danes looked to keep the goals level.

However, it wasn’t to be as the Danes had used so much energy in their pursuit of leveling the match that they seemed spent. A substituted Varela was able to hold off his defenders long enough to not only receive a cross, but make a mistake with it off his left foot and eventually hammer it into the back of the opposing net with his right. The Portuguese had a new hero and the Danes’ joy was ended after just 7 minutes. The desperate Danes were unable to create a real chance afterwards and were sent back tied with Portugal for the last spot into the knockouts going into their match against Germany.

 

Predictions: Portugal 1 – 1 The Netherlands. Denmark 1 – 3 Germany. And just for the kicker, Ronaldo finally gets a goal.

**I claim no ownership of the media used above.

Questions, concerns, answers, opinions? Share them below in the comments section.

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  • Jordan

    According to Michal Bilek, the Czech manager, the reason Rosicky was subbed in was because of an injury to the Achilles heel. He was cleared a few hours later to play the third game against Poland. Other than that, I enjoyed the coverage and it was point on. Netherlands 2-0 Portugal to come from behind and win one game to get to the knockouts.

    • Michael Gazdik

      Thanks man. I heard those Achilles murmurs but wasn’t sure if they were truth or not. :) And I like the prediction you crazy man.