Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Euros analysis on 442

....and a little more on the Roos

How good where the Russians this morning!

They were brilliant, and you can read more in my latest Euro 2008 Blog over at FourFourTwo.

Reckon the Ruskis are very much a chance of springing an upset against the Dutch on Sunday morning. At the very least, it should be a wonderful open spectacle, in keeping with the beautiful mood of this tournament

Here are my thoughts on the rest of the qf's...

Portugal vs Germany
Portugal, on current evidence, should have just a little bit too much for a German side with far too many question marks (right midfield, attack and the manager’s unconvincing selections and tactics), but you never discount the German resolve, especially with Ballack around.

Croatia vs Turkey
Two of the most united and spirited sides. Turkey are depleted, but have unearthed a gem in Arda, while Altintop, pushed forward in the second half against the Czechs, was brilliant, teeing up all three. And they are playing without the pressure, so watch out. Croatia are rested and have sorted out their left side, with Rakitic a revelation in the past two games and complimenting the drive of Pranjic, who was a mess in the opener. After an excellent game against Poland, Klasnic should also be putting pressure on Olic for a forward birth. Indeed, Bilic might just fancy having a go at the Turkish rearguard and play two up front. Despite the expectation, I fancy the Croats.

Spain vs Italy
What to make of the Spaniards? Brilliant against the Russians, they were far from that against the Swedes, who didn’t afford them the space that Russia did. Suffocated in midfield, Xavi and Iniesta were often out-muscled, and, without the service, Villa was absent…until he popped up in the 93 minute. Certainly Italy will provide their stiffest test to date, and despite the absence of Pirlo and Gattuso, their depth means they will still be able to choose a midfield including De Rossi, Ambrossini, Cameronesi and Aquilani, not bad in anyone’s language. And surely Toni must score eventually. Certainly the Azzurri have looked a bit more solid at the back in recent times and, as much as I’d love to see the likes of Torres and Iniesta advance, I just sense Italy is gathering momentum and timing a run.

....and well done the Socceroos. From the off you could tell they were really up for this and that Verbeek had instilled a far more positive mind-frame and structure than we'd seen of late, with Bresciano, Holman and Emerton buzzing about all over the place, forcing the Qataris to become ragged. Defensively, there were still a few headaches, with Beauchamp especially given the run-around by the dangerous Quintana, who threatened for large periods of the first half. Ultimately the Socceroos had just too much run and physical strength for the Qataris, who were punished for leaving their injured skipper, Kone, hobbling around for 16 minutes. The other noticeable aspect of this game is that the Roos appeared to handle the conditions far better than they have ever handled the heat. Perhaps they'd finally acclimatised? or perhaps the focus on the negativity of the manager in the build-up had taken the attention away from the heat? The mind works in strange ways. In any case, it's job well done for now, and the focus shifts to Sunday in Sydney, a chance to look at a new 11 and have a party. One of the strangest statements in the build-up to the game was the reason given by Verbeek for Nick Carle's non-selection. Apparently, with the Bristol pre-season still a few weeks away, Carle needed to rest and get himself in Bristol first 11 (as if he isn't already). It has created an almighty stir over at Jesse Fink's latest TWG blog, and a little birdie I spoke to earlier today suggested there's more to the story than the need for Carle to shape up for next season, as if we didn't suspect that already.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

enjoyed your latest read at 442.

are the euros always this good? it`ll be a downer when it finishes.

hehe, poor nick carle. he sure does polarise opinion. the only other player who comes close in the love or hate stakes is holman. looks like carle will have to concentrate on his club career, prove he`s too good for the championship and really stand out in a big 4 league to get a chance in the NT.

the doublespeak from pim is disappointing. i thought he always said what he thinks, but this? just say he isn`t your type of player and move on.


Fri Jun 20, 09:34:00 am AEST  
Anonymous hoodooguru said...

I've always suspected that NC has missed out because Pim thinks (rightly or not) that he doesn't fit well in the system Pim wants to play, and that NC isn't very versatile - although a season in the championship seems to have added the 'crunching tackle' to his repertoire.

What are you hinting at the end - that NC's had a spat and gone home, or that he was told he wouldn't get a run against China anyway?

Fri Jun 20, 10:58:00 am AEST  

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