No time for losers, cause we are the champions… of the WORLD (well, all of Europe, at least). I imagine that song is going through everybody’s head who rooted for the Spanish yesterday. And thanks to a brilliant Fernando Torres finish, some great defense and a less-than-stellar attack from Germany, Spain are the champions of the Euro 2008 tournament.
And rightfully so. Once the knock-out rounds began, it was pretty easy to see the Spaniards were playing the best football.
By now, you’ve reviewed all the live blogs and wrap-ups available so I won’t belabor the point with needless recap text. However, I will say Torres’ go-ahead goal was a great example of simply outworking your opponent. There were no flashy step-overs or nifty slight-of-foot dribbling. All it took was sheer determination combined with a deft touch of the soccer boot to finish Germany off.
For Spain, it was there first major championship in 44 years.
5-8-6. That’s Spain’s record against Germany in their last, oh, 19 or so meetings. Now the Spaniards will get a chance to improve their overall standing against the Germans on Sunday after beating Russia, 3-0. This is the same Russian squad the Spanish beat during group-play portion of Euro 2008, 4-1. I guess when you beat a team twice by the combined score of 7-1 in soccer, it’s safe to say you dominated them.
After a scoreless first half, the levee broke open for the Russians as Spain scored three unanswered goals in the second stanza. The deadlock was broken by Xavi Hernandez in the 50th minute. Once Xavi scored, the play continued to go back and forth as Russia tried in vain to equalize the game. However, once Daniel Güiza scored the second goal in the 73rd minute, the game was over.
The backbreaking third goal was punched in by David Silva in the 82nd minute courtesy of some brilliant passing from the Spanish midfield to spring the counter-attack.
What can we expect on Sunday when Spain and Germany meet for Euro 2008 Cup? Both sides love to attack the opponent’s defense so this shouldn’t be a repeat of the France/Italy World Cup Final. One hopes, anyway. Although, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to enjoy some Zidane-style of excitement when these two teams square off.
Kick-off is scheduled for Sunday at 2:45/1:45 Central.
So who wants the other spot in the Euro 2008 final game? Who wants to play Germany on Sunday? Spain, I see you raised your hand. Is there anybody else? Russia, you hinted you’d like to try, does that mean you are game for an opportunity?
And with that, we have our particulars for today’s other Euro 2008 semi-final game. Will the Russians continue their skilled, balanced attack they displayed against the Dutch or will they wilt under the sheer creativity and talent the Spaniards bring? Because these two teams were in the same group, they’ve already played once this tournament and Spain was clearly the superior team, winning 4-1.
Since that defeat, however, Russia has dispatched the aforementioned Netherlands, Sweden and Greece, giving up only one goal in the process. So which team will step on the pitch against Spain this evening? The team that got outclassed or the team that outclassed the Dutch?
As for Spain, they can’t be hungover with joy from finally beating Italy. Instead, they must play with the same hunger they showed against the mighty Italians and rely on their stunning ability to attack the opponent. In other words, Spain must take the game to the Russians and make them defend. If they play with an overconfident chip against the Russians, their 4-1 opening win will feel as hollow as a paper towel tube.
Lets all welcome Germany as the first qualifier for the Euro 2008 Final after surviving the refuse-to-die Turkey, 3-2. I didn’t get to watch a whole lot of the stream but what I did see easily qualifies as great soccer/football/futbol. When Turkey opened the game by scoring first, it was easy to see they were not even entertaining the thought of backing down from the Germans, roster shortcomings be damned.
Germany quickly equalized after Turkey pulled ahead off of a cheeky deflection/shot courtesy of a brilliant cross from Lukas Podolski. The first half finished with both teams tied and stayed that way until the 79th minute when Miroslav Klose tucked away the ball with a well-placed header. When Germany took the 2-1 lead, many had to think that was the deflating blow that will end Turkey’s run.
Not so fast, my friends.
The you-are-going-to-have-remove-us-from-the-field Turkish tied the game again with deft finish from Semih Senturk. But the fireworks didn’t end there. With everyone looking forward to 30 more minutes of extra soccer, the Germans struck again on an incredible give-and-go that left one Turkish defender writhing on the ground. From there, Philip Lahm did the rest and buried the ball in the left upper 90, giving the Germans the much-needed golden goal and a trip the Euro 2008 Finals.
Their opponent will either be Spain or Russia, who play in tomorrow’s afternoon game. The Euro 2008 Final will be Sunday at 2:45/1:45 Central.
I saw the inspiration for this post over at Digg and it’s freaking awesome. Lion in Oil gets on the goal-scoring fun as well. What we have is one of the sneakiest goals ever scored. No description, just watch:
The goal scorer must be given a great deal of props for his ninja-like skills. The great thing about this video being on YouTube are the related selections because it allows me to see some crazy goals I may not have seen otherwise. It’s not like Sports Center is in the habit of bringing us soccer highlights, unless it’s from one of the bigger venues they happen to be broadcasting.
The Turkish have been playing some inspiring soccer in the last week or so. Their stunning comeback against the Czech Republic remains one of the gems of Euro 2008. The question surrounding them today is do they have enough players to reproduce a similar performance against a team many consider the top in the tournament (with apologies to Spain)? Turkey will be without six players — four to suspension and two to injury — when they kick-off against Michael Ballack and company and because of that, you have to wonder about their chances.
Not only that, Turkey also has injury questions about three other players who may try and perform despite their maladies. However, if they can’t, Turkey may only be playing with 13 total players. Full squads have 23. Again, this can’t be great news when you are getting ready to play the Germans, a team with no noticeable injury issues and a team that’s been playing brilliant offensive football.
The German defense hasn’t been too bad either, giving up only four goals to their seven. While that may average out to giving up a goal-a-game, Jens Lehmann has posted two shutouts in four games. When not discussing the abilities of their goalie, the main focus of the German squad is the aforementioned Michael Ballack. The great midfielder has netted two goals in four games and spurring a German attack that’s scored in every Euro 2008 game they’ve played.
While this game could be analyzed to death, you get the feeling it comes down to this — Germany’s full-strength squad versus Turkey’s depleted side. It’s hard to believe a team with some many questions about their players availability would be able to ultimately withstand the German onslaught.
Of course, don’t tell the Turkish side that because I don’t think they’d hear you. Furthermore, if Germany is as smart as they play, they wouldn’t believe the depleted side hype either.
Kick-off is at 2:30/1:30 Central on ESPN. Thank goodness for their 360 offering.
Although he’s probably much more familiar with the surroundings than you or I will ever be, soccer God Pele was reminded why the movie City of God was an accurate portrayal of ghetto life in Brazil. In what sounds like a scene in the aforementioned movie, Pele was robbed at by a number of armed youths in Sao Paulo, Brazil while traveling to his coastal home.
Both Pele and his driver were unhurt.
By the way, if you haven’t seen City of God, get thee to Netflix or other video store. Immediately. If not sooner. In light of Pele’s misfortune, here’s a nifty little four-minute montage of his forgotten greatness, including an awesome bicycle-kick goal at the 30-second mark.
Bonus: a shot from the movie Victory is also in that clip. I’m not sure if movie footage should count.
While I’ve been a little lacking in our Euro 2008 coverage, I have been keeping an eye on it. Now we are down the final four remaining teams. Germany versus Turkey and Spain versus Russia. Who advances? As of now, the probable favorites are Spain and Germany, however, just ask the Dutch and the Croatia about being picked to beat either Turkey or Russia. It doesn’t always turn out the way you want.
So how did we get here? For Germany, they pushed past the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portuguese squad, 3-2 and are looking really strong. They also want to silence the voices still chirping over their 2006 World Cup appearance. If Germany want to advance the Euro 2008 Finals, they’ll need knock-off media darling Turkey. Will Michael Ballack continue to control the midfield for the Germans, feeding their deadly attack or can Turkey withstand the German firepower?
In the other match, we have Spain and Russia. Spain is obviously feeling the weight of an 88-year old monkey being lifted from their backs after they dispatched Italy yesterday, winning a penalty shoot-out to do so. Will Spain come back to Earth in time to face a skilled Russian squad? If not, they will face the same fate as the Dutch did — unceremoniously shown the door by an upstart team with a boatload of ability.
Of course, Spain also has mountains of ability and an impressive offensive attack. If Russia is simply happy to be in the Final Four, they Euro trip will probably end at the hands of the Spanish Armada.
Germany/Turkey is on Wednesday and Spain/Russia will be played on Thursday. The Euro 2008 Final will be, of course, after these two games and will take place this coming Sunday. It should be a blast.