Vilanova, Zubizarreta and the rest of the Barcelona hierarchy must be hating EURO 2012 right now. Partly because the heart of the team that will be going toe-to-toe with Real Madrid next year will return to pre-season training exhausted by another intense month of football, but mostly because their number one transfer target is currently one of the shining lights in Poland and Ukraine, with his valuation getting nudged up a million or two after each solid shift the fleet-footed full back-cum-winger puts in for La Roja.
Category Archives: Euro 2012
That familiar air of inevitability has been swirling around pubs, bars and living rooms as an era of England supporters once again get that horrible sense of Déjà vu that doesn’t at all seem so surprising anymore. Topping the group and avoiding the reigning European champions Spain should be positive things to gleam from another trophy-less campaign, but in truth as much as we prayed and tried to believe, the realists of us knew deep down that this would probably be the EURO 2012 curtain call for England and may well have saved certain embarrassment against a German side bursting at the seams with attacking talent that would have given Terry and company much worse nightmares than the ones endured in Bloemfontein two years ago.
The very nature of playing out of position usually comes about out of necessity. Whether it’s to cover an injury crisis or an untimely suspension. While in most circumstances it often back-fires, there are those rare performances where the managers who made the decision to take a player out of his comfort zone can be the difference between walking off the pitch with three points, and cowering away in the office lamenting your ambitious tactics.
In a weekend where Hodgson made his England managerial debut with a largely uninspiring 1-0 win against Norway, England’s Group D opponents France continued their own pre-Euro 2012 preparations with an entertaining 3-2 win against Iceland.
While the rest of the British population were tuning into to watch Soccer Aid, Hodgson and his England backroom staff will have no doubt had their eyes on events in Valenciennes. Giving some of his fringe players a chance to impress, Blanc also picked a side that contained players expected to start the Group D opener in Donetsk and there was plenty for Hodgson to think about before that June 11th meeting to ensure England doesn’t suffer defeat like the last time the two met in a European Championships opener. Steven Gerrard back-pass anyone?
Jaap Stam once called them ‘whingers and ‘busy cunts’ and while the former United defender made those comments about his one-time teammates in that infamous book over ten years ago, the Nevilles’ enthusiasm for the beautiful game show no signs of waning more than a decade later.
Belgium coach Georges Leekens said that his young team had ‘the tools to succeed in the future, if not now’ with just two games left in the quest for Euro 2012 finals qualification.
Prompted by an empty bank balance leading to a Saturday night in front of the telly, the notion of Player Cam was first introduced amongst my fellow football-loving colleagues.
Whether it was a new signing, or a player putting in a string of good performances gone largely unnoticed by most, Player Cam involved watching Football First and studying an individual performance.
Applying that to the wider realms of European and international football, the first of many Player Cams on Sparky in Rotterdam ’91 begins with a look at a young midfielder seizing his opportunity in an international side supremely low on confidence.