Sunday, June 10, 2012

Euro 2012 : Sneak Preview - 3rd Day's matches

Tonight Italy meets Spain from Group C, in what could be a blockbuster match of the tournament. For Spain, the reigning World Champions & the Euro Cup holders, this is their first big step to retaining the coveted title. They come into the tournament having won nine of the ten qualifying matches. On the other hand Italy come to the party with a huge reputaio behind them....they are one of the heavyweights of the world football & have been the bogey team for Spain.....always a very difficult team to dislodge.
The current form of Spain is enviable. They are bunching up as a fearsome unit, the nucleus of the team has been intact over the past 4-5 years, & most people believe that they should retain the title. The midfield has an array of stars like Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Silva, while, defence is manned by Xavi Alonso, Ramos, Busquets, Pique with Casillas under the bar. The worry could be the absence of David Villa upfront & Fernando Torres's lack of form & also the experience of Puyol as the centre back. However, the team has enough firepower & belief in their abilities to surge ahead. Spain is expected to play in 4-2-3-1 combination, which suits them the best.
Italy has been under a cloud in recent times....recent .domestic match fixing scandal has led to suspension of Cristico & the teams combination has gone awry. The warm up games have been losses which effects the morale of the team. However, playesr like Thiago Motta in the midfield, Balotelli upfront & game maker Pirlo should be able to lift the game enough to give opponents reasons to worry. Somehow this team fires, whenever controversy mires them....we all saw in the World Cup of 1982 & 2006, when they went on to become champions. I expect Italy to play 4-3-1-2 combination, with Pirlo playing the game maker's role.
Records say that in matches between these two giants, Spain has won 8 times while Italy has won 10 times, & 11 times it has ended in draws......the last match was 2-1 in Italy's favour. Both the team have world class keepers under the bar, Casillas for Spain & Bufon for Italy...both as captains, which should be inspirational for the respective teams. Such high octane matches normally end in a draw, but in current form & attitude, I would expect Spain to pip Italy, though it should be an absorbing match.

The second match is between Ireland & Croatia is more a game of power & endurance than sheer skills. Most people are touting Ireland to adopt Chelsea like approach that won them the Champions Cup this year, defeating much better opponents like Barcalono & Bayern Munich. Play destructive football midfield & go hard on counter attacks to score. Croatia on the other hand play well well when they attack.....they are  not very good at defending & get into reckless tackles at times, which is their undoing. Luca Madrich & Nico Craensar could be their trump card in the match, as they combine very well. Both team will look for a win, as the other two matches would be tougher, but would be happy with a draw as well. It would be a tactical battle of the two coaches, Ireland managed by Italian Giovanni Trapattoni who has a good record behind him while Croatia has a young Slaven Bilic who believes in flowing attack.
I would believe, Croatia has the edge, if they stick to the way they play their game....