Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Euro 2012 - Day 4

France vs England 1-1 :

I had mentioned in my match preview that this England team would have to depend on Gerrard for innovation, in Rooney's absence & thats exactly what happened in the match. While France seemed the better team on the ground & dominated the proceedings in the 1st half, it was England who opened the scoring. Gerrard  angled a perfect free kick deep inside the French half & Lescot jumped up to head in  the 30th minute, giving England a surprise lead. For a while, the French team looked deflated, as England tried to gain advantage, but it was only a while. French attack came in waves as the English grimly defended....but only just....in the 34th minute Diaara almost scored from a Benzema free kick, but English keeper came up with fantastic reflexes to fist out...in rebound Diarra tried again, but the ball rolled out of play....English camp breathed a sigh of relief....the French however, were buoyed by this chance & they rained in attack after attack.....in the 42nd minute, Nasri received the ball on the edge of the box & his fiery right footer beat a couple of defenders & Hart under the bar....French had equalised....it was a super goal.....the ball kept zooming within the English half, as French put more pressure, but at half time the score read 1-1.
2nd half somehow was quite boring football.....with England grimly defending & French concentrating on dominating the midfield.....however, the game did not have the zing. While French enjoyed more possession of the ball, they could not penetrate the tight English defence....it would be fair to say that English fans would be happy  with a draw, while French will rue their missed chances.
France need to convert their chances, as in the next two games, they would be against strong defensive opponents....while England at this stage look ragged as a team.....& unless they combine well, their Euro Cup dreams might be snuffed out early....hopefully Rooney comes in before it is too late.....

Ukraine vs Sweden 2-1 :
As reflected earlier, the match was quite dull & boring....Sweden, with more stars on their ranks were expected to sweep their opponents easily, but the results were just the opposite. From the beginning, Ukraine looked the team to score, as their forwards were more purposeful & eager...Shevchenko, even at this age, was a strength to reckon with & he combined well with Nazarenko & Veronin to upset the Swedish defense....after Ibrahimovic got the opening goal to give Sweden the lead, the Ukrainians responded soon, with Shevchenko heading in twice to get them the much deserved victory. I have never rated Ibrahimovic as a great striker....he is tall, well built & runs hard....but he is less imaginative, & lacks skills to win a match on his own....
Shevchenko on the other hand is more imaginative,  & still capable of springing surprises....as he did tonight. The win will help Ukraine settle into the tournament & if they can get an upset win of England....they can look at the next round......