Tag Archives: Football

Euro 2012 – Poland vs Russia

As I said before, I am writing this late as I had things to do this morning. But I just got to half-time and its time for my tips for these teams.

Russia- Although Russia has a great attack and Dzagoev might end up being the Euro’s top goal scorer, but Arshavin needs to step up as an attacker if they are going to go past the Round of 8. Russia’s defense is shaky as in terms of skill but solid in terms of discipline. This trait has saved the Russians more than once already, including that awkward save by their keeper. Yuri Zhirkov is playing okay, and maybe it is because he used to play for Chelsea but I expect more from him. Mainly, Russia needs another goal more than better defense to hold them up.

Poland- I am semi-surprised at the strength of the Polish attack, even though they do possess the Dortmund Polish Three (as I call ’em). Lewandowski is such an phenom of a striker and Poland needs to find a way to get him even more looks at the net. I don’t want to leave the host side’s fate in one guy’s hands but he is truly a man of power. Hopefully Poland uses their creative side to move ahead, as I would like them too. Other than that, I think that their defense will be their downfall, as the discipline that Russia has isn’t there.

First place in Group A is by far the most important place to achieve in the group stages because no one wants to face the winner of Group B. It might be the deciding factor for the Group A winner to make the semi-finals.

Final Score- Poland:1/Russia:1

Dzagoev-37′, Blaszczykowski-57′

The tie in this match has made Group A a do or die. All four teams have the ability to move on, and everyone but Greece will move on with a win. Greece will need a win and a better goal differential, which is possible but tougher. As of now though, I will talk about this game.

Poland and Russia really duked it out today and the game was a really fun game to watch. I enjoy ties in group stages because it makes the whole group more interesting. The game was well paced and back and forth. Poland came out stronger in the second half with a beautiful build up and goal from the Polish side in the 57′ minute. Russia still looked dangerous, but arguebly not as dangerous as the first half or even the Czech Rep. game. The Polish defense was stronger in this half as they needed to be, and the strength of Poland’s offense came through. I will talk about why this was a tie, and what these teams need to get out of this group stage.

Russia- Lost the lead on a well executed counter attack, and, let’s face it, a unstoppable shot. But this is the least of their worries as the strength of Russia is not doing was Russia has the most of, which is strong attackers. I believe that Russia needs to go all offensive against the Greeks. Czech do not really have a strong attack or defense, but I would be worried about counter attacks. I also think having an Arshavin-Pavlyuchenko-Dzagoev line up top will do wonders for them, but I have a soft spot for Roman since 2008. Playing a 4-3-3 against Greece will work if you force them to attack in small numbers and make sure you have the ball +60% of the time. If and only if. Another thing to take note is that Russia will move on with another tie, and are also in the best spot for winning the group, both can be used to their advantage. Although I believe the Polish are the strongest side in this Group, with the addition of home field, Russia seems like they will take group A.

Poland- Who I believe was the stronger side, Poland looks like they have all the ideals of a good team without the execution 100% of the time. That counter attack that gave them the equalizer in the 57’th was spot on and flawless, and if they can find a way to replicate this on a more consistent level, then this team will be much more deadly. Defense is still okay, sadly I think it will be their downfall in this tournament. I do believe that I will see them on the opposite side of the group stages, but it will be something special to go any further. Poland will need to play a strong attacking  formation against the Czech, and making sure that the Czech do not get far into their half will make for a sure win.

 

I’m sorry for the late write-up, I had a couple things to do. But I will try to do a pre-game analysis before Group B’s games as I know these teams very well.

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Euro 2012 – England vs France

Half-time in the match. Pointers

England- The idea that Roy had for his team was a sound idea. Play good defense and counter attack in numbers. But looks like it got unraveled after the goal at the 30′ by Lescott from Manchester City. Milner’s chance was almost too good, and sad to see it go to waste and this might end up kicking England in the end. Roy Hodgson needs to make sure that Parker and Gerrard get up and out of the defense, which is very uncharacteristic of him, and make sure that he can support Welbeck and Young, both phenomenal strikers that only need one chance to fix a match. The main thing to note is after the goal by Lescott, England played defense for 15 minutes. This cannot be done against the French side, as they have too many players in form and too much attacking power, regardless of the strength of the England back line.

France- Honestly, I cannot say too much about this side. Blanc is a veteran manager and player and has been to many tournaments as both. He looks like he knows exactly what he is doing with the team. Of good note, however, France is currently sitting on the perfect balance of possession and attack. They are not straining too many opportunities and finding one good look after another, with Nasri finding a great slot and possibly catching Hart off his toes. The main criticism I bring up for them is their defense, which needs to be stronger on set plays and fast attacks in order to come out with points today, because England is looking for a good counter, luckily without the likes of Rooney or Lampard.

On another note, Ian and Steve are quite entertaining as always.

Final Score- France:1/England:1

Lescott-30′, Nasri-39

Very exciting match. Loved the paced back and forth attacking, as it was engaging the whole ninety minutes. It seemed like a textbook football match. Some notes to make for both teams in the future.

England- Although I do believe that this defensive mindset was for France and other strong attacking teams, I hope they don’t make a habit of it. With so much attacking force, it will be disappointing to sit back like that against teams like Sweden, who aren’t known for their defense at all. This side will also be missing Rooney for another match but after that I think that England will feel the confidence surge a bit to carry them into the knockout rounds. Not much to say about this other than Gerrard needs to get out even more than he did the second half, but obviously will feel better about it with Rooney in the back. Sadly, this injury-struck team could do more with the likes of Lampard and Cahill (bias?). I do question the reason of not starting Theo Walcott, but maybe Roy has realized that. Sadly, like I hoped against, the game came down to Milner’s miss.

France- I can say even less about this side. They played some very pretty football all the way through the game and were, in my opinion, the stronger team on the pitch. Samir Nasri played like a big name should, but France needs to see more from Ribery and more importantly, Benzema. I am a true Benzema fan since his Lyon days, and he has been doing so well for his club, almost making the other veteran striker Higuain look like he was a novelty item. He did have some strong looks and looks promising, but I’m glad that he found his footing against England and hopefully he can take that into the rest of the tournament. By no means did Ribery play poorly, in fact I think he did a wonderful job, but a little more would propel this team to the semi-finals in this tournament. I do not agree with the Malouda choice over Ben Arfa, even as a Chelsea fan, but maybe that experience was needed on the pitch. Ben Arfa is one of France’s more creative players and giving that asset to Benzema could be vital. On a positive note, I loved Cabaye’s pace and prowess on the field. I truly believe he is a player to watch so as long as France is in the tournament. After this game, I believe France will be coming out on top of the group and exceeding England in this tournament.

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Pacquiao vs Bradley and other referee blunders.

So I watched the Pacquiao vs Bradley fight. I was excited for it, so I had it recorded, ready to go.

Almost wish I didn’t see it.

Pacquiao, by no means, had an easy fight, but was clearly the victor of the fight. The world is on fire saying many various things along the lines of what football fans say…

And I stopped my thought process there. Any football fan can tell you their team has been the shit-receiving end of the bias referee at least once in their life time. A die-hard fan will remember a major one on the spot (Chelsea vs Barcelona, Round 2 in Semi’s in 2009. Sweet, sweet revenge…). So I ended up hearing and reading the same things that I would hear and read about football referees, even some criticisms I’ve heard as a referee myself. I can say I have been on both sides of the coin, but not at the magnitude of a UEFA sanctioned match or a Welterweight Championship, but the smaller ratio of the sort. Most recently, the opening match of the Euro 2012 was the Greece and Poland game, with head referee Carlos Velasco Carballo showing some very quick yellow cards to Sokratis Papastathopoulos to give the Polish side a man up early. This was very controversial, and even though the fans knew this man was card-happy, it was still (in my humble opinion) too much. Obviously, Greece had their opportunities, but that is not the matter of the subject.

One thing I have learned in all my years of playing, coaching, and refereeing is that when that final whistle blows, the bell rings, or buzzer is heard, it is over. The result stays and the victor is the victor. I can see the political side of why Pacquiao was unjustifiably handed his loss, but it is a sad day regardless. I feel ya Pacman fans, I do, but maybe it’s just an injustice that needs to be swallowed.

Thoughts?

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Euro 2012-Portugal vs Germany

It’s half time in the Portugal vs Germany game. Just a few points

Portugal- Needs to switch to a 4-2-3-1. They have a strong defense. Fabio Coentrao is playing better than he does for Real Madrid and they should take advantage of this. Sub out Postiga for Hugo Almeida and throw him up top. Other than that, a tie against the favorites is not a bad turn out.

Germany- Do not look convincing on either side of the pitch. Neither their offense or defense is doing what they need to do, and it’ll take one chance for Ronaldo to break that line. Line up is fine, but they need to start thinking of solutions for other strong defensive teams like Denmark.

End Game -Portugal:0/Germany:1
Mario Gomez -72′

Germany- In my opinion, still unconvincing and this kind of play will not work against teams with midfields(see below). The midfield for Germany and their forwards need that connection that makes champions, which will lie in the crafting hands of Bastian and Khedira. Not to let the strikers off the hook, Muller has a poor show and Gomez, although making the goal, missed many opportunities that would of made the win more convincing. The good news is that the 3 points are theirs and will make their next games a tad less stressful.

Portugal – Who I thought was the better show of the match, Portugal sadly failed to find the net, despite a convincing second half and multiple healthy looks on the frame. The two play makers, Ronaldo and Nani, were on opposite sides of the pitch, and being the only two players who showed any life from the Portuguese side, its hard to create anything separately. If Portugal would like to see themselves out of this group, the midfield needs to make a stand. Sadly, the midfield of the Portuguese is not filled with the likes of the old genius Deco, but that is no excuse for that poor show. Defense and offense was disconnected by a shabby midfield, and even If they don’t have too many big names there, the pace needs to be fixed. It’ll be surprising to see this side come out of the group stages without support for the stars of this team.

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