Euro Update… Finally

Alright, so for the past week or so, Grant and I have been far too consumed by watching soccer to actually leave the bar at Scallywags and write about soccer, and for this we offer a pathetically half-hearted apology. Not to fear, though, because we’re back, and not only are we going to continue to fiddle with the design of the site, we actually plan to post a tad more regularily (he said, tempting fate). For now, let’s take a look at what’s gone on in Euro since we last pestered you with our smartass opinions.

In short, a lot has happened.

The story of the first round was Group C (a.k.a. The Group of Death), namely that both World Cup finalists came disastrously close to being eliminated. Both fell spectacularily to the Dutch, and neither managed to dispatch Adrian Mutu and those other guys dressed like him. Naturally, the French and Italian national presses were baying for blood, taking a much deserved break from baying for social reform and baying for garbage disposal, respectively.

In the end, the Dutch spoiled the drama by crushing Romania, allowing Italy to squeak through, and leaving France one marriage proposal short of the elimination round. Whether or not Group of Death losers actually die has yet to be seen, although Ribery is at least hurt, and given that he looks pretty hard to kill, you never know.

Croatia decided to ruin everyone’s Euro pool by beating Germany and claiming top of Group B (a.k.a. The Group of Lingering Intestinal Complaint). The Germans were left having to beat a powerfully deluded Austrian side – who tried to entertain the idea that their northern neighbours were remotely anxious before the match – in order to move on. Ballack struck a wonderful goal from just across the Alps, and Germany marched over Austria, as they do. As for Poland, they flopped out after conceding off a last-second penalty kick by the Austrians, prompting the Polish president to (seriously) grumble out some wildly innapropriate death-related remarks concerning the referee

Group A (a.k.a. the Group of General Malaise) The afforded some ridiculous drama, as the Turks bounced the Czechs (happy to be able to use that phrase, I can tell you) by scoring seventeen goals in the last ten seconds of the game to secure an awkward first date with Croatia in the quarters. The Swiss frustrated their fans by falling to Turkey and the Czechs, before remembering how to play soccer and beating the Portuguese in a match that was more useless than my impressive stockpile of condoms.

Finally, Group D (a.k.a. the Group of Moderate Bacterial Infection) saw Sweden lose a heartbreaker to Spain in injury time. Subsequently failing to fell Russia sent the Swedes them home earlier than expected. Well, I suppose they didn’t actually have to go home, they’re probably allowed to stay and watch the rest of the tournament, they just aren’t playing anymore. For their part, Spain proved unbeatable and Russia made former England manager Steve McLaren feel slightly better about how horrible his life is, by moving on the the quarters. Apparently Greece was also at the tournament, but I don’t remember seeing them.

And so, the shape of the quarters became visible through the sweaty pall of this Eurotrash soccer orgy:

Germany v. Portugal

Turkey v. Croatia

Russia v. Netherlands

Italy v. Spain

Germany v. Portugal was one of those matches that only big tournaments can provide: intense, fast-paced, exciting and actually fufilling of its pre-game promise. Germany, led by a heroically blonde Bastian Schweinsteiger, powered ahead, but never seemed to rattle the Portuguese, who twice came back from two goals down, before time ran out and everyone had a good sob, confusing the Germans, who are incapable of emotion.

Turkey v. Croatia was perhaps the most boring match ever played by two teams who still weren’t quite sure what the hell they were doing in the quarter finals. For 118 minutes that is. Then Ivan Klasnic (him of the double kidney-swap) scored, seeming to send Croatia through. But no – Turkey remained true to their form of scoring thirty minutes after the match had ended, and sent the whole thing to penalty kicks. Croatia proved worse suited to penalty kicks then Grant is to the priesthood, and were shown the door by and Turkish side elated by the honour of being allowed to lose to Germany on Wednesday.

Russia v. Netherlands was a true surprise. The seemingly unbeatable Dutch were trounced by the total football of the Russians, re-energized by the return of Arshavin. The Russians just couldn’t score on countless chances (thanks in large part to the long-limbed Van Der Saar), and only managed one tally from someone who’s name starts with P and ends with every other letter in the alphabet. The Dutch managed to storm back, finding Van Nistelrooy in the dying minutes to force extra time. But the Arshavin show was too much to Holland, as he set up the move that saw Russia go up 2-1, before finishing the Dutch off himself in the 116th minute. Dutch-born Russian coach Guus Hiddink is, by the way, never allowed back in the Netherlands, and is forbidden from aknowledging the colour orange for the rest of his life.

Italy v. Spain kicks off today at 2:45 eastern to complete the quarter-final round. I, for one, will be fully decked out in my anti-Italy hat, and my Cesc Fabregas pyjamas.

So that’s where we stand, three-quarters of the way through the quater-final round. I know we’re all anxious to see what happens next: Will Spain shit the bed? (Likely.) Will Italy cry? (Yes, no matter what happens.) Will Turkey to continue to surprise? (Come game time Wednesday, I’ll still be surprised that they’re there. So yes.) Will Russia continue it’s glorious rise to European domination? (Wait, are will still talking about soccer?) Will Raymond Domenech’s smoking-hot girlfriend say yes, and marry the man who will soon be the man who used to coach the French national team? (I doubt it, as there can’t possibly be enough room in a marriage for him, her and his eyebrows.)

Stayed tuned. (To your TV. Then, after the game, come here and read our ridiculous comments.)

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2 Responses to “Euro Update… Finally”

  1. Does the picture of the girl with the plunging cleavage really contribute to the analysis of the games?

  2. Yes.

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