A ballboy effectively acted as the 12th player of the home team by assisting a Haifa goal!
On top of the previous post, another football game. This one is in the animal department.
What a wonderful game it is, even without mishaps.
Question from Belarus: what shall we do with the drunken sailor referee?
I want to congratulate Spain for becoming the European Champs. And say that I am sorry for Germany.
But football is a game of friendship so that is what counts. Let us be friends, alllover Europe!
What do you know! I was pretty sure that Holland would have made it to half finals. I sort of expected the orange revolution of 1988 to repeat itself which is obviously not going to happen. Then again, there would be no point in following a tournament if no major surprises took place.
It was not a great game but a quite enjoyable one to watch. Guus Hiddink seems to have brought a Dutch sort of tactical approach to the game which combined with the traditional hard physical training of the Russian team eventually made the difference. I would not have believed this before the tournament but I have to admit that Russia deserved to get to the half final.
Another thriller to be expected tomorrow when Spain and Italy decide the other part of that half final. It may not be that enjoyable to watch, especially if Italy scores the first goal. No way am I going to miss the game, though.
I am not placing bets for real money this time but if you ask me hypotethically, I would say that the champ is going to be either Turkey or Germany, which ever wins that half final. But I must apologize to German and Turkish supporters for saying so because I have mistaken so many times during Euro 2008. It is a tournament full of surprises.
Ballack just scored and a fine goal it was. I would obviously be happy if no more goals were scored.
The first half offered little to be seen. Gomez was unfortunate with the ball just bouncing high as he had an open goal at sight. The ball is round as they say.
I am going to have a long TV night since, unlike yesterday, I am unable to watch both games in parallel. I did that by watching one game through the Estonian TV and the other from live streaming of the Finnish TV. Can’t do that today.
I suffered another significant computer mishap this morning apart from my laptop being unaccessible for a week. As I was trying to fix a driver bug with my wireless USB adapter, the system crashed and since I urgently needed web access, I decided to make a clean install to my desktop. Unfortunately I just had an Ubuntu 6.06 install CD at hand so it is going to be a long way until I have upgraded back to 8.04 and re-installed all softwear, including everything to make video watchable. No data was lost, though, since I have all of it backed up in the web. Which would make it a good idea to buy a disk tomorrow and make another clean install direct to Ubuntu 8.04 rather than upgrading through all the versions in between.
Meanwhile I am going to watch Poland vs. Croatia on tape through the Estonian TV so please do not tell me the result during a couple of hours after Germany vs. Austria.
A splendid come-back by Turkey and loads of dramatics. What we saw was the best of football. It is not over until it is over. What a game and what a match hero in Nihat Kahveci.
Sending out Volkan Demirel was a harsh call by the referee although justifiable by the rules. The Turks were ever so lucky that the ball was out of the pitch at the moment. Turkey is going to have a very hard day in the quarter final against Croatia with so many players excluded, including their number one goalie. But they have already survived a hopeless situation twice in this tournament so I would not be surprised if they pulled it through for a third time, against all odds.
In the other group A game, Portugal seemed to have a day off in an unimportant match, thus allowing the Swizz hosts to celebrate in front of their home audience. And they played well, too.
I am sure we are going to see a far more effective Portugal in the quarter final, presumably against Germany.
The Euro 2008 tournament is about to proceed into the interesting phase where you have a hunch who is going to be promoted to quarter finals from each of the groups. While the greatest surprises may still remain to be seen, some of the groups look like pretty settled by now.
In group A Portugal is certain to proceed while there is no way for Switzerland to be promoted. Ergo, the game between Switzerland and Portugal has no importance and Turkey and the Czech Republic settle the second place in their mutual game. Both need to win and I have a hunch it is going to be Turkey although this might be one of those surprises to be seen.
Croatia does not necessarily need to win Poland in group B but Germany loosing to Austria would be a long shot. So it is Croatia against Turkey or the Czech Republic in one quarter final and Portugal against Germany in the other.
The Netherlands are already certain to win group C but judging from their hitherto performance they are not very likely to help out Romania. This tournament already smells a bit like the orange revolution of 1988. It could go either way between France and Italy, I would give a slight advantage to Italy.
In group D Spain do not need to win but they would be very unlikely to loose, baring in mind that they certainly do not want to face the Netherlands in the quarter final. This would leave it for Russia and Sweden to make up the second place. A draw would be sufficient for Sweden which would give them a slight advantage, baring in mind their defensive approach to the game and the fact that Russia need to win and would eventually have to take chances if the game is still tied in the second half.
This would make the second half of quarter finals as follows: the Netherlands vs. Sweden (or Russia) and Spain vs Italy (or France). Remains to be seen if this could lead to a final between Portugal and the Netherlands which would at the moment look like the two teams who deserve to be there.
Schweinsteiger looks like a Schwein.
Croatia is leading Germany by 2-1. Neither have shown a splendid game and the Croatian goals looked quite accidental. It is certainly a surpise if Croatia wins but they will have deserved it: the German team is still not putting their heart onto the game.
I do not remember ever having seen Italy so profoundly beaten. They need to make changes to get their act together. The good part for Italy is that their game can only change to the better.
I did not believe that the inexperienced Dutch team could offer such a tremendous performance. Remains to be seen if they can keep it up.
When I wrote in the previous post that I hope one of the teams would score at least once, this was not quite what I had in mind. The first Dutch goal was offside but it was allowed and counts. The new offside rule is weird but I see it as offside.
The second one was clear as a bell and a beautiful goal it was.
Remains to be seen if Italy can pull back. An extraordinary game and I can not wait to see the second half.
Having written about 9 to 5 football yesterday I do not know how to call the game between Romania and France. A goalless draw does not necessarily have to be boring but there was very little to be seen in this one. Teams are known to have been promoted in tournaments just by playing draws but I wonder if that is what France (or Romania for that matter) are really counting on.
A single goal in the Netherlands vs. Italy may become of outstanding value. I certainly hope that one of the teams is going to score at least one.
Football games between Germany and Poland have all preconditions to become something similar to ice-hockey games between Finland and Sweden (apart from the fact that score record throughout the years in those hockey games is much more even). I was therefore surprised to note how little passion each of the two teams invested in the game. It looks like everybody expected Germany to win, including the Polish team and it was just a question of playing off the 90 minutes to the inevitable result.
The Germans played well, no question about that, but they did not put their heart in the game. It looked very much like 9 to 5 football. It was very odd to observe that player of the game Lukas Podolski did almost not at all celebrate his two goals: just as if scoring a goal at each half was something of a routine performance of a bureaucrat working in the office from 9 to 5.
Poland was somewhat in the game until the second goal. A consolation goal would have made my pool record look better but I have no objection to the outcome. The next game against Austria is crucial for Poland but they have to try harder than today to pull it off.