June 10, 2008

Viva Villa

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

I’m sure we all expected Spain to beat up on lowly Russia, but 4-1 was a true showing of the power the Spaniards possess. David Villa’s hat trick has him as a front runner for the man of the tournament in some peoples eyes — I, personally think that Netherlands ‘keeper Edwin Van Der Sar is the top candidate, followed by Villa and Lukas Podolski. But watching Spain play as an electric game as it comes in the Beautiful Game is as good as it gets. Then, on the other hand, there was the second match up of Group D.

Watching Greece play soccer is a reason to be turned off from the game entirely. towards the end of the first half, their play resembled that Simpsons clip where the Mexican soccer players simply passed the ball back and forth without barely moving. It serves the defending champs right to take a lose to the surprising Swedes. If your team’s strategy is defend and then counter-attack, you had damn well better defend well enough to create counters and stop your opponents. I will be happy to never watch a Greek soccer game again after witnessing the bore that was Sweden 2, Greece 0.

Spain has to be considered a top contender for the title after that whupping, but who is else should be considered? Ze Germans looked mighty impressive in beating an under-rated Polish side and Michael Ballack thinks can still improve — that would be scary. The Portuguese defeated Turkey, but how much faith can you put into a 2-0 result over an inferior opponent? The Czechs and Croats barely beat the two hosts and France hasn’t impressed anyone yet. Well, it looks like after the first set of games, the Dutch are the best squad at Euro. But that can all change in the next two games.

And finally, the Italians can no longer complain about Ruud van Nistelrooy’s “offside” goal. According to FIFA’s rule book, rule No. 11.11 states that “a player must ask the referee for permission to leave the field or he’s deemed eligible.” Therefore, Christian Pannucci, who was out of bounds behind the net, was eligible and therefore the Dutch striker was not offside. So the Azzurri can eat that with their pasta.

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