Day: June 10, 2008

Greece 0-2 Sweden

I don’t, with any conscience, have much time for ITV’s match summariser Jim Beglin. Unlike most other Liverpool players of the 1980s, I have no idea what he looks like (the fact that he has an Irish accent and is called Jim leads me involuntarily towards Jim McDonald out of “Coronation Street”), and I care for him even less than I did before after his pompous performance this evening during tonight’s match between Greece and Sweden. As Greece passed the ball around their defence towards the end of the first half, he unleashed a torrent of outrage at the fact that they weren’t committing many players forward that made my ears prick up. As it turned out, Jim got what he wanted, but surely I wasn’t the only person sitting at home willing the Greeks to a 0-0 draw that would frustrate the hell out of “football purists”, was I? I see no problem with them playing dour, defensive football. They know their limits, and they stick within them. They did this to devastating effect four years ago, when they bruised and battled their way to possibly the most unlikely tournament win in the history of international football, but it was too much to ask for a repeat of the heroics of four years ago his time around. It was somewhat apt that this meeting between the two oldest...

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Spain 4-1 Russia

Slowly but surely, Euro 2008 is coming to life. After last night’s contender for Match Of The Tournament between the Netherlands and Italy, tonight’s match between Russia and Sweden ran it fairly close. Against the wishes of anyone that wishes to steer clear of optimism surrounding the Spanish cause, it was a pretty outstanding start from Spain, whose expectation levels will have risen in the space of just two hours from “let’s get this over with and get on with La Liga” to “hang on, there’s a chance that we can actually win this”. Russia, it has to be said, didn’t play badly. They hit the post in the first half and were unfortunate to be two goals down at half-time. Ultimately, though, they paid for lax defending, in particular from Denis Kolodin, who failed to clear his lines for the first goal and was caught hopelessly out of position for the second. The match started in weather that one could argue theoretically argue favoured the Russians. The two teams kicked off in the middle of a heavy downpour that looked through the television cameras as if it might even develop into a monsoon, and Russia matched Spain pretty well in the opening stages, with Shemshov heading right. Such undermining of the natural order of things, however, couldn’t be allowed to continue, and a couple of minutes later Torres...

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