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Saturday, June 14, 2008

World's Best Goalkeeper?

Eurocopa Update

After watching two great games last night in the Eurocopa I thought I would scribble out a few lines about what to expect from the next round of Group C which includes the following match-ups this Tuesday. Both games begin at 20:45:

Holland (6) vs Romania (2)
France (1) vs Italy (1)

(number in parenthesis are points thus far)

Holland has already defeated both Italy and France and they are the decided leader of Group C going into the quarter finals. Not only will they empty their bench in their game against Romania but if Romania still cannot manage a goal against the Dutch scrubs then I would look for an own-goal from Holland. There is no way they are going to allow either France or Italy to advance. I would be shocked if Holland wins or allows the game to end in a draw.

Italy played a fantastic game against Romania, one of the better offensive exhibitions that I've witnessed all year. Unfortunately for Italy, the Romanian goalkeeper, Bogdan Lobont, had one of the finest games I've ever seen a goalkeeper play—unless you are counting the keeper on the other end of the pitch during this same game, Juventus superstar, Gianluigi Buffon, who stopped a penalty kick late in the game to keep Italy in the tournament. Lobont was like a player in the middle of a Space Invaders game gone horribly wrong. Instead of missiles, he was being bombarded with kicks and headers, mostly from Luca Toni (Toni is on my shit list for having dismantled Getafe's chances in the UEFA).

This afternoon at 18:00 we have Spain and Sweden. Everyone in Spain is as high as a kite after their lopsided victory over Russia, but Russia may be the weakest team in Group D. The Spanish television station broadcasting the games has been running absolutely shameless and rather unsportsmanlike advertising spots for the games. During half-time in the Spain-Russia game when Spain was leading 2-0 (I think) Canal Cuatro had a notice saying that “The Russian fillet is half cooked.” Not only rather unsportsmanlike, but it's just bad luck and bad manners to talk shit. For the run-up to the game with Sweden, Cuatro has had spots with a cartoon replica of Abba with their knees shaking with the caption “The fear us.” Once again, bad form and bad luck.

I like Spain's chances in the tournament but if I were a betting man I'd have to take Holland. It's very early still and anything goes. ¡Vaya España!

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