Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Euro 2012 Semifinal 1

Spain 1 Portugal 0 (4-2)

Spain was again pretty poor on the night and missed their first penalty, but then made four straight to go through to the finals. I don't understand why Torres is on the bench when the Spanish can't score, but then, Spain's tactics are meant to be confusing.



Anonymous weak June 27, 2012 5:54 PM  

It's as if Spain became bored with all of their recent success and decided to create a degree of difficulty for themselves. I suppose they have to if they have enough talent that Fabregas comes off the bench and Torres & Mata remain nailed there.

As a US soccer fan how I would love to have even one creative passer as good as some of the Spaniards who don't even play.

Blogger Syllabus June 27, 2012 6:02 PM  

The way the Spaniards were playing today, Germany will crush them in the final. Assuming Germany does beat Italy tomorrow, that is. Which is something of a foregone conclusion, but I don't trust those kind of predictions after the Netherlands tanked so very badly.

Anonymous Anonymous June 27, 2012 6:03 PM  

Yes, I think they would do well to place Torres up top with Silva on one wing and Pedro on the other as the latter has looked dangerous. Torres' movement would create chances for both the incisive pass and the opportunity for a shot from the midfield. Clearly, what they have going on right now is not working.

Anonymous Anonymous June 27, 2012 6:04 PM  

People are overrating Germany. They struggled to get past Portugal and have not looked like world-beaters. I do think they will beat Italy, but the notion of German dominance is a mirage. They could barely handle Greece for 75 minutes, for pete's sake!

Anonymous artie June 27, 2012 6:09 PM  

it was a downright boring match to watch.

wing attacke is extinct in modern football. it's all about ball control now.

torres makes the defense comfortable, he's their reference point for the whole spanish attack. fabregas should have started.

Blogger Nate June 27, 2012 8:32 PM  

Several of the kids in my youth group suckered me into watching some of this crap today. (I lost a bet.)

I was amazed to see that my criticisms of soccer are not only accurate... apparently they don't go nearly far enough.

I've never seen a more pathetic display of flopping... and not just flopping... but actually screaming like little girls over literally nothing.

The kids were so embarrassed they turned it off and let me off the hook.

and yes... I still feel dirty.

Anonymous castricv June 27, 2012 8:52 PM  

As I said before with this disgrace of Spanish play, it is setting AMerican soccer back 10 years. I love soccer more than anything, but this was absolutely tedious and unsporting. Spain needs a damm shot clock or backcourt rule as it seems like they saw a video from a 1938 basketball ghame and said "hey let's just dribble all game and never shoot". Even the two or three shots they actually had all game were so weak that they looked pathetic. Torres covered over a lot of this.

The Spanish will not play in balls for headers, their defense when threatened is nervous, and even their goal j=keeper is like 5' 9". If Germany get an early goal, it will be a shellacking. Klose up front, play with abandon on attack (since the Spanish really have no attack of their own) and you will easily see a repeat of US 2 Spain 0 from 3 years ago. I am putting 1000 dillwags on the Germans on some Euro site.

Anonymous castricv June 27, 2012 8:57 PM  

And yes I am assuming the German beat the Italians. I am getting 2 to 1 on a German team of high quality in fricking Poland to win a title against rugrats scared of shooting and headers. If I had more to bet I surely would.

I hate the Spanish team more than anything. So much so that I would gladly root for the Italians if that was the final. Now I need a shower.

Anonymous beerme June 27, 2012 9:19 PM  

Torres is useless when there is little space behind the defense and near useless when there is space with his form over the past two years.

I'm surprised that Llorente hasn't been spotted yet. He is solid in the air and on the ground and can actually hold the ball.

It wasn't a surprise that Spain finally looked dangerous when they played with two wide players that actually wanted to go forward instead of sideways.

Anonymous jerry June 27, 2012 9:54 PM  

Van Marwijk quit in disgrace as coach for Netherlands.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick June 27, 2012 10:55 PM  

OT: So I tried some Zonin Lambrusco dell'emilia. It's sort of girly but I like it. For those with refined palates, is it any good?

Blogger Nate June 27, 2012 11:56 PM  

If you kinda like it... why do you care if someone else thinks its good?

Blogger Nate June 27, 2012 11:56 PM  

If you kinda like it... why do you care if someone else thinks its good?

Anonymous tviper June 28, 2012 12:16 AM  

I watched (NBA over, NFL not started). Ronoldo is an amazing talent. Too bad for Portugal, seemed like they dominated regulation. Guess Ronoldo for all his talent couldn't finish when it counted (with the free kicks). Overall, I liked having it on in the background because you don't have to pay close attention and can still see the important moments.

Blogger Nate June 28, 2012 12:49 AM

Please bear with me people.

Follow this link and tell me... is that not a picture of a soccer player wearing a skort (skirt with shorts underneath)?????

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick June 28, 2012 2:02 AM  

Trying to figure out if I got a refined palate or not. Sometimes I swear I can tell the country the pepper on my steak was grown in but when it comes to booze it all tastes the same.

Anonymous Anonymous June 28, 2012 4:27 AM  

Spain will have a rough time against Germany(if), but I think they will hold the fort. Germany needs to do two things: Surprise Spain with real quick attacks (which they are actually capable) and foul whenever they think the Spanish midfield is in control.

Anonymous Conrad The Crazed June 28, 2012 7:02 AM  

Spain played the game they planned on, although they seemed to be expecting some massive Portugese counterattack most of the game. Once the overtime started, they went all out and forced Portugal to sit back in play defense and pray they could hold out for a penalty kick shootout.

Incidentally, I'm totally against PK decisions. It seems a tragedy to play 120 minutes and then decide it all that way. I say keep playing 15 minute OT periods, with golden goal enacted with the 3rd OT period. Soccer is a game of endurance, so by the Almighty, let endurance become a factor when it needs to be.

Everyone is freaking over Ronaldo going 5th in the PK lineup. I don't think that was a big deal so much as the Portugese yanking that one poor dude's chain by sending him out for his PK kick and then pulling him back, then sending him out again. When that happened I said 'game over'.

BTW, is it just me or are the soccer balls in this tournament all exhibiting the same trait of sailing high whenever they are kicked with any degree of power? Never seen so many otherwise good kicks miss way high.

I'm rooting for Germany now, although I too believe they are a bit overrated and could easily lose outright to Italy. The key for the Germans is to attack mercilessly and not quit doing so. One thing pro-soccer has unfortunately evolved is a sense that going up 1-0 is good enough, and that retreating into a defensive shell is all that's needed afterwards. Blasphemy I say.

And yes, as much as I love the game, I utterly loathe the art of drawing fouls via the Nancy-Pants Drama School method. If the refs would simply ignore the soap opera antics and let play continue, the players would get back up and keep playing instead of howling like spanked princesses each time they get legitimately beat for the ball or something.

Blogger robwbright June 28, 2012 9:26 AM  

"One thing pro-soccer has unfortunately evolved is a sense that going up 1-0 is good enough, and that retreating into a defensive shell is all that's needed afterwards. Blasphemy I say."

Spain had more corners, more than double the shots on target, and more offsides calls against them. And which team is the one not attacking?

If Portugal (and other teams) can't win and keep the ball, is that Spain's fault?

I agree it's not particularly exciting, but... Forward David Villa would resolve all of your complaints, but he's out injured. He's Spain's all time leading scorer and in his prime. Spain would likely be winning 2-0 or 3-1 if he was available.

(NOTE: The following does not apply to Spain/Portugal, as no one scored)

After the game, Michael Ballack (former German soccer great) pointed out that when Spain scores to make a game 1-0, the OTHER team often drops into a defensive shell, hoping to counter-attack and get a lucky goal - because the other teams simply cannot attack and hope to stop Spain's midfield on the counter. In fact, the other teams usually start with a defensive, counter-attacking mindset. As such, Spain responds by holding possession. Ballack stated that he thought Spain's approach was brilliant soccer because they are doing what is necessary to WIN ("You play to win the game!" - Herman Edwards).

Note that Spain haven't allowed a goal in 9 straight EURO knockout games. You can't lose in regular time if you never allow a goal. The other team can't score if they don't have the ball.

Note also that no country has ever won three straight major tournaments, as Spain is trying to do. They are in the final with one game remaining to make history. Spain haven't lost in 19 competitive games. Yet people complain that they're not doing it the "right" way.

If you favorite NFL team won 10 straight games 10-3 by keeping possession and running the ball, would you be complaining?

From what I am seeing of Spain and Barcelona, Ballack is correct about other teams' tactics. In the case of Barcelona - which is basically the club version of Spain's national team - Chelsea has been quite effective against them by going into a defensive shell and countering. Barca had 72% of possession in the Champions League this season against Chelsea, but Chelsea went thru and eventually won the whole thing. That was not a lack of attempting to score on Barca's part.

Barca also had 22 attempts on goal to Chelsea's 7 - yet they lost.

Other teams noticed and started doing the same thing. The few exception are when a team of similar talent (say, Real Madrid vs. Barca) tries to play Barca/Spain straight up. The winner of those games often scores 3, 4, 5 goals.

I will admit that Barca is significantly different than Spain in that Barca has the little Argentine to finish - but the fact remains that Chelsea negated even Messi by dropping into a shell.

Blogger Astrosmith June 28, 2012 11:37 AM  

Apologies, Vox, but one more test of the comment system, since it seems you may be blocking me for some unknown reason.

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