Tag Archives: Young

Euro 2012- England vs Ukraine

Final Score- England:1/Ukraine:0

48′-Rooney

The co-hosts take their exit in an exciting fashion as they give the supposed favorites a run for their money. On the other side of the of the headline, Wayne Rooney makes his entrance and leaves his mark as his goal was the deciding factor in the match. Ukraine beating down on England in the first half with strong shots and quick ball movement were surprised not to have one end up in the back of the net, partly the fault of Joe Hart. He was not the only player of note in the white shirts as Steven Gerrard played unbelievably well. He was the heart of the attack today, on top of his pinpoint accuracy.  Although John Terry had a great game today, including causing the miscall from the 5th referee on Devic’s attempt on goal, but more on that later. Regardless, it was an exciting match and I felt like Ukraine deserves more than to be sent out this early. Of course, winning is just as important as playing well, and with the array of opportunities that the Ukrainians acquired it is hard to sympathize too much with the home team. Great game to watch and a great conclusion to the group stages.

In the 62′ minute, Devic from Ukraine made a break in the box and hit it over Joe Hart towards the box, just to be cleared by John Terry at the last second. Replays show that the ball was, in fact, in the goal and Ukraine deserved the goal. In the moments before this play, however, a clear offsides on the Ukraine team was not called and therefore allowed the continuation of the play up until the controversial call. Up until now, the refereeing has been remarkable, omitting the first game, of course. But this call was missed by the 5th referee, a solution that UEFA came up with in order to make a secondary solution to miscalled goals in crucial times. This officially negates this idea and brings back the idea of goal line technology, which Micheal Platini has been actively avoiding. On that note, I’ll make a different write-up about the pros and cons of goal line technology, as well as my personal thoughts on it.

Also, I will do a pre-quarterfinals write-up tomorrow on what to expect in the coming games.

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Euro 2012 – Netherlands vs Portugal

Well its’ half time! I decided to watch this game over the Germany vs Denmark game for a couple reasons, mainly because of the huge controversy over Holland failing to get a point in this stage of the tournament. Still, some of my thoughts for the teams.

Netherlands- The defense looks okay at times, but this is not enough to hold down a Ronaldo that is back on his feet. The Dutch were hoping they weren’t going to have to worry about him, but this is definitely not the case today. Without the defensive help of Mark van Bommel, Holland are going to have to pick the defense up by at least twice the amount to ensure that no looks are found on the goal. Ronaldo has shown that he will stop at nothing to put in another one in, and with the history of the previous games, we know that other players can definitely do the same. Once this happens, Netherlands needs to work on building up to get a good feel on touching the ball and get into the rhythm again, something they haven’t done since the 28′ minute after Ronaldo’s goal. Also, they have decided to go with a very aggresively-based 4-2-3-1, so looking for counter-attacks is essential and might decide the match.

Portugal- After a shaky first part of the first half, Portugal looked great coming off the feel at the half. Ronaldo’s goal has given him great confidence, and hopefully he can take that on to the next half to score that second goal he is dying for. I usually refrain from saying such things, but Nani is playing out of his mind. Beautiful touches, experienced-based movement, and destroying defense is a small amount of things that he has done in this half. Using him will be key to gaining another goal. Portugal needs to feed the corners more balls and let Ronaldo and Nani work the magic that they have been using so far. Other than that, making sure that the defense don’t get lazy and the defensive wingers help the offense like they did on Ronaldo’s goal will help the pressure of Portugal, making Holland subside into their half for at least a great amount of time.

Final Score- Netherlands:1/Portugal:2

11′-van der Vaart, 28′-Ronaldo, 74′-Ronaldo

What an exciting game. If you asked me exactly nine days ago who would move on in Group B, I would of referred to the FIFA ranked 4th place team and predicted them to take the group. But after this crazy three games, Netherlands, for the first time in history, lost multiple games in a row and exited a tournament without any points. Although I’m disappointed to see one of the pre-tournament favorites to go, everything that happened in this game was not out of the ordinary. Holland came out guns roaring and ready to put themselves in a contending position for second place in the group, with a remarkable goal by Rafael van der Vaart in the 11′ minutes. My first impressions were to think that the Dutch could make the comeback of the year, but sadly fell short and a few moments later, Portugal up’ed the tempo and put Ronaldo in the pilot seat, leading the Portuguese offense.

After that, the Netherlands offense was not to be seen again, giving up a goal in the 28′ minute to a beautiful combination of Joao Pereira and Cristiano Ronaldo, who silenced all doubters for sure with that beautiful +40 yarder at Stekelenburg. I bring up this shot because I believe that this was a major turning point in the mental minds of Holland. That shot showed that Ronaldo’s goal was not a fluke, that he was truly there to put points up and take his team to the next stage of the tournament. That shot shut up everyone who said Messi’s name in the Denmark game, and further more, let his team know that this was not going to be easy for Holland. The lethality of that man is unparalleled in this tournament, and this is something that they will have to breed on in the upcoming games.

Holland were not there for the rest of the match, as I predicted. As history showed in the games before, the goal against Holland usually spelled their demise for the rest of the game. The second goal, which was expertly created by the old Manchester United teammates, killed the Oranjes off, and everyone on the pitch knew that this was the end for Holland. Holland’s tournament showing should not stop at the lack of wins, as maybe the chemistry is something that also needs to be improved on. The counter-argument is that this is basically the team that took runner up back in 2010, but my rebuttal to that would be that this is not the same team, obviously.

My words of advice to the Portugal team is to use this momentum against the Czech. They are a strong team who showed that the Russia game was just a misstep, and with the monster Petr Cech behind them, goals will not come easy. Headers near the goal will be tough because of Cech’s height and the tight defense that the Czech play will make it hard for the Portuguese to puncture the line like they did against Holland. With the beaming confidence that Portugal acquired in this game, I suspect to see them in the semi-finals in this tournament.

 

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Euro 2012 – England vs Sweden

HALF TIME! Time for some notes. To be honest there isn’t going to be much said.

England- Great goal from the Liverpool pair. I couldn’t have saw that coming even if I was on the pitch. Regardless, the goal has put them in a favorable spot to win the crucial three points to level themselves with France. Scott Parker needs to keep shooting from far and that Liverpool connection needs to happen more often. On the defensive end, the Ibrahimovic situation needs to be sorted out because if he is shrugging off defenders, he will surely break someone in the wrong area for England. Keeping the defense solid and making sure that Parker and Gerrard have their looks, along with a little something  from the young guns like Welbeck and Young will surely secure the win.

Sweden- Surprisingly playing better defense then they usually do, Sweden needs to take advantage of this and push at the beginning of the half. Ibrahimovic is still the key to the Swedish offense, and it seems like every touch he has on the ball is dangerous. He is playing too far back in order to create for his team as well as attack with numbers. Finding a way to let him push out even further will be key to tying or winning this game for the yellow shirts. Only one goal down, they are definitely not out of it yet.

Final Score- England:3/Sweden:2

23′-Carroll, 49′-G.Johnson(OG), 59′-Mellberg, 64′-Walcott, 78′-Welbeck

After a heart-stopping game, the Swedes will take their exit. This game was unbelievable, with attacks back and forth and with every attack being deadlier than the last. In the end, England was out on top, finishing the yellows off with a beautiful redirection of the ball by Danny Welbeck. Assisted by none other than Theo Walcott, he made an amazing impact the second he got on the field, taking Milner’s place and immediately making results. Questions have gone up in the England manager’s direction as whether Walcott should be starting over Milner, but I guess that is for a different time as the next game, England will have their main striker back, Wayne Rooney, to help them in the last game of the group stages and beyond.

Sweden- Taking a dagger to the heart, the expertise of the masterful Theo Walcott ended Sweden’s rally, which seemed like it was going to upset this England side. Ibrahimovic had some amazing looks at the net, just none that ended where he wanted them. In the end, there was only a few things that could of been done to have helped rally this team through, but the counter attacks were the main problem. Two attacked with a weakened defense, Walcott knew what to do on both occasions to help his team rise to the top. Although the main problem being the defense, it wasn’t the only problem, as both goals came off set pieces. While this might say more for England than it will for Sweden, we bid the Swedes farewell, as they gave the world such an entertaining game. Being a massive fan of Ibrahimovic, it is sad to see him go, but this tournament is about great teams, not players.

England- Some heart from a team that has been criticized day after day, England really showed the amount of superstars that are present on this team. Although both goals came off preventable fouls, England found a way to push through conceding two goals in a row and score two of their own. Theo Walcott was the man of the match, in my opinion, coming on and scoring and assisting within fifteen minutes of his entrance. Carroll today had an amazing goal, but was a part of the goal against his side, creating the free kick that paved the way for one of Sweden’s goals. The other foul, conceded by Milner, makes me question his start. After an under average game today and missing the goal that would of put England on top in the France match, Milner may have become more of a liability than a help. Obviously, not all the blame goes to the fouls, as England’s terrible defense today almost spelled the demise for them. Even against a side like Ukraine, England will need to step up the defense, starting with John Terry, who must learn how to control his defense like he does with Chelsea. With the addition of Rooney to the line-up, England can have a bright future ahead.

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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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