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Holland thrash France 4 – 1

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If any team deserves to win the Euro 2008, it should be Holland. In another scintillating performance, they outclassed France 4 – 1. So in two group matches, they have beaten the Word cup finalists in comprehensive fashion. There one touch passing, counter attack are the best. Here are my thoughts from the match

  • If you want to see the power of counter-attack, just watch the Dutch play. They move the ball from one side to another so quickly
  • Robben was just top class. Created the second goal and his superb effort might well be the best goal of the tournament
  • What was Malouda doing when Kuyt scored the goal. Instead of heading the incoming cross, he was holding Kuyt
  • Van Der Sar is an inspiring captain. He made some good saves
  • Van Nistelrooy is shocked by the Dutch display. Apparently he is not the only one. Almost everyone is shocked by there amazing performances. Before the tournament, I thought they will not go to round two and they are the first team to reach the QF. Amazing
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Croatia beat Germany 2 – 1

Croatia showed that they are the teams that have to be considered seriously. Beating Germany 2 – 1 is a great achievement. Here are my thoughts

  • Croatia showed that they deserve to be here. They beat England twice in qualifying and by beating Germany, they have proved that they have to be considered among the best
  • Croatia looked more organized than Germany. They passed the ball well and defended well
  • Once Germany were behind, they weren’t playing with enough concentration. You can see the frustration on there faces
  • Lehmann should be blamed for the second goal. He should atleast have a got a hand on the ball.
  • I still expect Germany to qualify by beating Austria.
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Portugal becomes first team to qualify

Portugal 3 – 1 Czech Republic

(Deco 8, Ronaldo 63, Quaresma 90)  (Sionko 17)

 

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Here are my thoughts from the match

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is in top form. Scoring one and creating another. If he plays like this, Portugal can surely win the tournament
  • The Czechs should be happy with there display. The nearly matched the Portuguese but were let down due to there poor finishing
  • The score line is harsh on the Czechs.
  • Portugal do have some defensive weakness which was exploited by the Czechs. They need to work on that or they might lose in the latter stages
  • Portuguese manager Scolari was named as the Chelsea boss during the Switzerland Turkey match. Can it effect the morale of the squad ?
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Dutch Thrash Italy

Holland 3 – 0 Italy

(Nistelrooy 26, Sneijder 31, Van Bronckhorst 79)

 

_44731933_rvn_getty The World Cup Runner’s up suffered a draw, but the World Cup Winners suffered a more humiliating fate. Before the match, i didn’t think the Dutch had enough quality to win the Euro 2008 but the win and there style of play has definitely changed my mind. So good was there attacking and counter attacking play, that the Italians were brushed aside. And with a reliable goal keeper such as Van Der Sar, I am pretty sure that they have won there so called “Group of Death”. And this match might have been the best match so far of the Euro 2008 with Italy, despite there defeat, producing an attacking display. It was Italy who created the first chances with Di Natale’s cross failing to find Luca Toni and a few minutes later, Toni headed wide from a good position. For the Dutch, Van Nistelrooy had a good chance in 17th minute when he collected Kuyt’s pass and tried to round off Buffon. There was a contact but Nistelrooy choose to stand on his feet and missed the chance.

_44731939_wesley_getty Van Nistelrooy had much better luck in the 26th minute when he gave the Dutch a lead in controversial circumstances from an offside position. But according to the chairman of Austria’s refereeing commission, Gerhard Kapl, that Van Nistelrooy had been played onside by Italy defender Christian Panucci, who had been injured seconds earlier and was lying off the pitch. And the Dutch scored after 5 minutes, what could be “one of the best goal “ of Euro 2008. Italy won the corner and from the corner, Van Bronckhorst made a great clearance on the line, then he raced to attack , got the pass, and crossed it for Kuyt who headed it into the path of Sneijder who produced a neat finish past Buffon to score on his 24th birthday. It was a classic Counter Attacking goal from the Dutch. Nistelrooy had a great opportunity to kill the game three minutes before the interval when he was raced through by Sneijder but Buffon made a wonderful save.

Italy upped the Tempo after the break to try to get back into the game. Del Piero who was brought in place of Di Natale forced Van Der Sar into a smart save. He had another good chance few minutes later but he was off target. Luca Toni wasted one of the best chances for Italy when he lofted the ball over van Der Sar as well as over the bar. Van Der Sar was the hero again as he saved well from a Pirlo free kick and from the resulting play, Dutch got there third goal. The rebound on the save landed to Van Bronckhorst, who raced forward and set up Kuyt. Kuyt’s original effort was blocked by Buffon, but Kuyt got the ball again and crossed for Bronckhorst to head the third goal. It might have been worse for Italy had substitutes Affelay and Van Persie spectacular shots would have found the net. And the Dutch side help don to record a famous victory against Italy since 30 years. A wonderful performance by the Dutch which clearly sends the message that they are a force to be reckoned with.

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France held to a 0 – 0 draw by Romania

Domenech World Cup runners up France produced a boring display against Romania which makes qualifying tough for them in the group of death. They created very few clear cut chances and lacked there attacking rhythm. In the absence of Viera and Henry, the job was left on the youngsters but they failed to shine. With Henry absent, Anelka and Benzema started the forward line but they failed to provide any decent chance and Anelka could have done better with the few scoring opportunities that he got.

Romania also didn’t threaten much but they would be very happy considering that they prevented France from scoring and took a point of them. The only positive that France can take from the game is the link up play between Ribery and Benzema. Anelka was again out of form and i will be surprised if he is included when Henry is fit. But it is going to put doubts over whether France have enough quality to win the Euro 2008 or not. With there remaining matches against Italy and Netherlands, it is going to be a tough ride if they wish to qualify. Although for the underdogs Romania, it is a great result.

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Podolski Double sinks Poland , Croatia narrowly beat Austria 1 – 0

Germany 2 – 0 Poland

(Podolski 20,72)

Podolski opened the scoring Germany, one of the favourites for the Euro cup made a winning start thanks to two goal hero Lukas Podolski. Germany started well and should have gone ahead after just four minutes but Mario Gomez shot wide with just the goal at his mercy after an unselfish pass from Klose. It was Klose again that was responsible for the first goal. He broke through the defence and passed the ball to Podolski who slid the ball easily into the open net. Poland were nervy at the back and Germany were beginning to take full advantage with Ballack providing the main damage. Poland had a great chance too but Zurawski shot wide from a good position. It was one of the rare chances that Poland got and Germany should have made it 2- 0 eight minutes before the interval but Gomez’s finishing was again poor from a good position.

Poland started the game in an energetic fashion but still the opportunities were limited and the German defence was superb. In the other end Germany were creating there own chances and an inspired save from Boruc prevented Ballack from scoring in the 70th minute. But minutes later, Podolski got his second of the night to almost seal the victory. Klose’s misshit shot fell to Podolski who volleyed past Boruc to seal the victory for Germany. Poland’s Guerro had a great chance later on, when his good cross found Saganowski but his shot was blocked by Lehmann and Germany held firm to make a winning start to Euro 2008.

 

Austria 0 – 1 Croatia

                     (Modric pen 4)

Modric with the penalty In the other match, the day was also bad for the other hosts Austria as they were narrowly beaten by Croatia 0 – 1. Judging beforehand, the game looked like a one sided affair but credit must be given to the Austrians. The performed well and should have all the reasons to be happy with there performance. It was the same case that happened with the Swiss the previous day.

Austria got to a bad start as they conceded a penalty in the 4th minute which Luca Modric converted. Austria created a lot of chances but were finding it hard to break the Croatians down. They were doing well at set pieces but somehow, they missed to find the back of the net. Even Croatia didn’t create any decent chance after there goal but they maintained possession and performed well in defence to claim the victory.

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