Hell has frozen over. Fernando Torres has outscored Robin van Persie at Euro 2012. Admittedly, van Persie was leading the line for a totally incoherent Netherlands and Torres is playing for a Spain team who are looking to sweep all challengers aside but is this the revival of the Chelsea striker we’ve been waiting for?
Vicente Del Bosque seemed to agree with all doubters against Italy and decide that instead of playing Torres, he would be better off playing no striker at all. Ouch. When he eventually did join the fray the commentary team decided they would carry on with the Torres-bashing that has been going on for months in the English media. His contribution wasn’t good enough for Jon Champion, who described a decent bit of hold-up play as Torres being “hesitant”. He didn’t have the most inspiring quarter of an hour but it seems he can’t get away from the constant wave of negativity. Although it would be hard not to be negative after sitting next to Craig Burley for over 90 minutes.
Two excellent finishes against a very poor Republic of Ireland outfit won’t go as far as proving those doubters wrong, but it’s nice to see some semblance of the old Fernando Torres return.
Then we have Andy Carroll who, like Torres, has attracted a lot of criticism. The former Newcastle man answered perhaps justifiable questions about his inclusion in the England squad by thumping home Steven Gerrard’s sublime cross for the opener against Sweden. He runs like he’s carrying luggage through custard but was one of England’s standout performers in Kiev. One whip of his majestic ponytail has shaken the monkey off his back, if only temporarily.
Even Nicklas Bendtner got in on the act. His brace against Portugal and generally good performance was almost commendable until he whacked out his Paddy Power pants in a classless publicity stunt. Bendtner has previous in flashing his undies in public places. A few years back his trousers gave in to the laws of gravity outside a London nightclub. He didn’t learn from that little fiasco but I suppose he can take heart from the fact that, this time, it was probably planned. Probably. He can now go home with the rest of the Denmark team and think about what he’s done.
This tournament has already thrown up plenty of surprises and it is shaping up to be an absolute cracker. It’s a shame there’s only just under two weeks left. What on earth are we going to do after that?
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