Friday, July 13, 2012

Euro 2012 - The Wrap Up

Another tournament in the books, another trophy for Spain.  Not that I had any doubts [OK, maybe a little one or two...]

This [post] is a little late, but between the beaches and jungles of the Dominican republic, then the urban jungle of New York, didn't have much time over the last two weeks... And really, there isn't much to say at this point, anyway.

Spain was my pick from the beginning (see previous posts on these Euros: ) and only a bit of lack of concentration from the Germans killed my hopes of "picking" the right final [I said Holland or Germany, but we all saw how the Dutch imploded].

So what's there to say since the last post?

As I predicted, the Portuguese killed the Czechs (although the 1-0 scoreline does not tell the whole story) and Germany pulverized the Greeks (even with a makeshift starting 11).  England - Italy was a major bore, with the Brits playing for penalties in a self-professed "Chelsea-like" approach.  Really??  And you hope to win tournament (or fans) with that approach?  They should look deep and serious into the major issues affecting the British game.  Really.  In the end, Italy were deserved winners, and should have easily done so in regulation.  Spain also made light work of a French team that is clearly not together.  Blanc [their coach] quit already.  He doesn't want to put up with inflated egos and the so-called "Frenchmen" that couldn't give a rat's ass about national pride.  And although I'm going to stay waaay far from politics, you know exactly what the next few paragraphs could be about.  But I'm not gonna go there.  I'll just point to the fact that they've been dismal in the last 2 major tournaments.  The talent is clearly there, but so are the egos.  Maybe someone with a bit more backbone and a less socialist approach to things ;-) should be in charge!

Done with that topic.  Sorry... just a bit carried away... It's just that when these so-called "superstars" (that when all put together barely amount to an IQ in double-digits) behave like premadonnas, irks me to no avail...

So then, on to semifinals: Italy over Germany was a big surprise.  I think the Germans took the game lightly.  Overconfident after an easy victory over an easy Greek team.  And Pirlo was brilliant.  Balotelli [another one of those with great potential but a pea-sized... you know what] "caught" a good day, and the rest is history.  Hard to break any Italian team when they're up 2-0.  The other semi saw two teams that were overcautious, and although Spain didn't "run on all cylinders" got a little lucky on penalties.  They were marginally better over their Iberian neighbors.

A few days later, however, Spain did hit all the right notes and silenced their critics with an emphatic 4-0 demolition of Italy.  It was such a total victory that I couldn't really enjoy it to the fullest (that's how bad I felt for the Italians).  In the future, any team playing against Spain should be given their own ball, just to make it a fair contest...

In the end, "my" Spain topped the charts one more time.  They are now being compared to super-teams of the past - Pele's Brasil, the Dutch of Gullit, Rijkaard and Van Basten, etc.  Personally, I think on a good day they're the best thing you'll ever see on a football pitch.  Mesmerizing to watch, humble, and always going forward (even when leading Italy 2-0 they were still the ones pushing forward; whoever doesn't appreciate that, knows nothing about "the beautiful game").

For me, this marks the second tournament final in a "far-away" land.  Two years ago we celebrated the victory over the Dutch in a sidewalk cafe in Istanbul.  This one, on the beaches of Punta Cana [more the swim-up bar, actually].  For the next one, I'm hoping to be "reporting" from Copacabana or Ipanema.  Brazil World Cup is only 2 years away after all... Better start saving!

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