Saturday, June 9, 2012

Euro 2012 - 1st day

Poland vs Greece 1-1 :
The first game of the Euro 2012 between Poland & Greece, unfolded enough drama, with two red cards, a missed penalty kick, as the game ended in a 1-1  draw. Poland drew the first blood in the first half through their striker Lewandowski, as he headed in the 17th minute, & looked certain to win the opening game of the tournament. Greece, 2004 Champions, looked a jaded lot & to make matters worse, lost Sokratis to a double yellow card removal. At that point in time, hosts Poland were in full control of the game. However, after half time, the tide changed,as the Greek unit started to find their equaliser in the 51st minute by substitute Salpingidis brought the game back alive. Both team pressed for a lead, & the game was confined to midfield. Playing with 10 men, Greece stepped hard & would have won the game, as they earned a well deserved penalty, Polish goalkeeper Szczesny got marching orders for bringing down Salpingidis inside the box, in an attempt to block the striker. However, Greece missed the penalty to the replacement Polish goalie Tyton, & the game gradually drifted to a draw. Surely a result that would disappoint the home crowd, who were their boisterous best in the 1st half.
Greece doesn't look the team they were in 2004 when they surprised the whole football community by becoming the Euro Champions......their game is reflective of the current economic downturns the country is going through....they may claim moments of glory, but I don't see them clearing beyond the group levels. Poland on the other hand, enjoys home support & should make it to the elimination round, but they will have to put up better performances ahead to survive.

Russia vs Czech Republic 4-1 : 
Alan Dzagoev found the net twice, as Russia swept to a convincing victory over Czech Republic in their opening game of the tournament. The game started in earnest fashion, as Czech in whites were all over the Russian outfit who turned up in their customary red. For the first 10-12 odd minutes, Russians barely got to the possession, as they desperately defended the marauding Czech forward line. However, as the match progressed, the famed Russian forward line started to take control. In the 15th minute, against the run of the play, Dzagoev plucked up a beautiful one -two - one pass & drilled past Petr Cech, to get the 1st goal of the match. With Czech defence in complete disarray, the Russians stuck again, almost a carbon copy, as Shirokov this time, calmly netted for a 2-0 could have been one more had Kerzhakov not missed a near sitter, as the Russians kept mounting attack after attack. Czech pulled back one with a good counter attack, but it was Russia all the way, as Dzagoev got his second & Pavlyuchenko, substituting for Kerzhakov, made it 4-1. Arshavin, lead the Russian outfit well with brilliant pressing possession game & are looking good in the tournament. They need to bring in consistency to make  a mark against their more famed opponents ahead. If this forward line can hold their goods together & play fearlessly as they did today, who knows, they may just bulldoze into the semis.....a prediction that I am tempted to make....... Regarding the Czechs, I would like to watch their next game to predict. they looked threatening in the early stages of the game today & once again towards the middle of the 2nd half.....their defence has looked ragged & unplanned & they need to plug that in a hurry, if they aspire to reach the next round.