|Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN) – Stadium: Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv (UKR)|
Players we’ll be watching for: besides the established Dutch stars (Sneijder, Robben, Van Persie, Huntelaar, van der Vaart), we’ll be looking for younger guys like Ibrahim Affelay (Barcelona) and Kevin Strootman to play. Actually we’ll be watching Bert van Marwijk to see how he does out playing time to all these ballers. But don’t discount the Danes–watch for Christian Eriksen, a very young rising star who plays, ironically, for Ajax. This is worth reading–includes a section about Eriksen: Why You Should Root for Denmark in Euro 2012 – The Triangle Blog – Grantland.
|Referee: Stéphane Lannoy (FRA) – Stadium: Arena Lviv, Lviv (UKR)|
All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo, but it will be a shock if Portugal get a good result. Germany seems to have edged out Spain as the favorite to win the whole tournament (with the Netherlands behind them in 3rd–hence the Deathly quality of this group). Germany is stacked. Mesut Ozil burst on the scene two summers ago in South Africa, but his game has developed since then–playing for Real Madrid will do that. But again we’ll look for some of the rising stars to get in the game: Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Toni Kroos.
And your daily roundup of random links and observations:
- With a cluck-cluck the European football odyssey begins: Poland and Greece kick off the tournament with an odd choice of anthems and a fussy referee | Football | The Guardian: “If it carries on the way it started, Euro 2012 will be an absolute cracker.”
- Mr Trunchfiddle makes a long-awaited return to these pages with an opening day wrapup. From Russians Steamroll Czechs | CultFootball: “The second game between the Russians and the Czechs started out closer to the Velvet Revolution, but ended more like the Prague Spring. I’ll be damned if I can remember much in the way of who did what, but the Russians pretty much dominated….”
- Russia 4-1 Czech Republic: Russia’s Zenit-style counter-attacking exposes Czech weaknesses | Zonal Marking (“Russia had four players moving into the zone between the Czech defence and midfield – Kerzhakov, who dropped deep and created space for others, Andrei Arshavin and Alan Dzagoev, who both had excellent games drifting inside from the wings, plus Roman Shirokov, who scored a trademark goal with a break into the box.”)
- ESPN3.com is awesome: all matches available for replay, and with a new feature: the playback timeline is annotated with highlights, and not only can you jump ahead to highlight heavy segments of the match, but clicking on a highlight will bring it up PiP. Who needs cable?
- Michael Ballack is awesomely bad with his in-studio commentary–head down and just reading his talking points. Alexi Lalas and Bob Ley must be cringing inside. But maybe previewing today’s Germany match will bring out something unexpected.