The 2010 World Cup in South Africa became infamous as one of the poorest spectacles in the history of televised football thanks to a shocking standard of football on display. “International football’s just not good enough anymore,” they said. “The Champions League is where it’s at,” they added. Well, so far, Euro 2012 is doing a pretty good job of demonstrating that international football is not dead, with a series of skilful, exciting games and a total absence of Vuvuzelas.
The fun continued early this week when England took the lead against France and gave the nation hope that they may actually win an opening game for once. Unfortunately that didn’t last long as England remembered they’re England and conceded a Samir Nasri equaliser. Ah well. In true Hodgson fashion, England lived down to expectations, and sit below Ukraine in the group table after the co-hosts 2-1 over a Zlatan Ibrahimovic non-inspired Sweden. It was only the first game but the lack of adventure suggests England won’t put up much of a challenge any time soon. We’ll see.
The Czech Republic recovered from their mauling at the hands of Russia to put Greece in their place, beating them 2-1; but the game that got us going was the 1-1 draw between Russia and Poland as both teams played their part in a thrilling spectacle. The Russians once again showed they may just have the skill and ability to mount a serious challenge; and the performances of Andrei Ashavin so far must be causing a lot of confusion amongst the Arsenal fan base who became accustomed to the sight of the little Russian lackadaisically wondering about the pitch with all the purpose and drive of John Carew.
Sadly the tournament isn’t all happiness, sunshine and wonderful passing as, once again, video of violent encounters involving Russian fans make the rounds. The shame of seeing football fans taking part in rioting and violence is only counterbalanced by the relief that they’re not English. *Phew*
Our favourite moment today was the incredible insight offered by former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr who, appearing as a pundit on RTE discussing a preference for a 2 goal lead, said: "If you're 1 up and you concede a goal, you're drawing." Marvellous.
England 1 - 1 France
Ukraine 2 - 1 Sweden
Greece 1 - 2 Czech Rep.
Russia 1 - 1 Poland
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