Thursday, June 12, 2008

Euro 2008: Daily ramblings - match day 5

This is going to be hard.

First of all, I’m a City fan. That alone makes it difficult to appreciate anything tainted by the other team in Manchester and its fake, glory chasing large, passionate fan base. So, that’s strike one.

Second, I’m North American. I prefer my soccer players to stand on their own two feet and not to flail around on the pitch like pathetic little pansy boys. Harsh? Yeah, well, what are you going to do?

Lastly, I’m an adult. And, adults are prone to be annoyed by those that consistently throw temper tantrums. Throw a pity party and I’m apt to dismiss you.

That’s a lot reasons to make what I’m about to say really, really difficult.

But, here it goes. Cristiano Ronaldo is damn good. Crazy good--maybe good enough to win this whole tournament by himself.

Pele or Maradona good? Well, not yet, but ask me again in three weeks.

Yesterday, the Czechs looked an awfully lot like Greece circa 2004. Sure they were being outplayed—possession stats showed Portugal with about two-thirds of the ball—but there was something dangerous about their play. A rope-a-dope sort of thing was going on and it seemed inevitable that the Czechs would nip one off the counter, or off a corner.

Then the Portuguese man-boy decided that enough was enough. Ronaldo took over. He made it clear that, style aside, he is the best footballer in the world right now. You can find the way he sometimes plays the game distasteful—and many in the world do—but you can not argue with the brilliance he shows when he puts the theater aside. You don’t have to like Ronaldo to appreciate him.

With the win, Portugal moves straight to the quarterfinals. They do have to play a glorified friendly against the host Swiss, who were tragically eliminated by a goal by Turkey in extra time. The Turks will play the Czech Republic in a match to decide the second team to advance from group A.

Today, the dullest group of the party, Group B goes. Disappointing in their first game, Croatia takes on efficient Germany in what should be a battle for first-place in the group and the co-hosts Austria has its best chance to take some points against Poland.


sager said...

1-0 Croatia! Twenty-third minute.

Dullest group of Euro, and the Swedes aren't in it for once. Crazy.

Now, bring on the inevitable "Cristiano Ronaldo is Portuguese for..." (a) Kobe Bryant (b) Alex Rodriguez (c) Sidney Crosby jokes in 3-2-1...

Andrew Bucholtz said...

We know the man's bloody good if a City fan admits it...

krister said...

Quiet start for Germany but, as they say, 'Frings can only get better' (groan)

krister said...

If they don't take out the left-back Marcell Jansen in half-time Germany is in deep trouble. Croatia is using him as a rounding marker towards the goal.

However, Croatia only managed to play 25 minutes against Austria so there is plenty of time for Germany to come back for the expected 3 points.

sager said...

This is for anyone to take on ... what happens if Croatia and Germany tie, and each wins its final group game to finish 2-1-0 (or 2-0-1 as we'd write it in Canada)? How would they decide top spot, especially if they end up tied in goals-for/goals-against?

krister said...

sager - first rule is head to head, then it is penalty kicks if I read the website correctly. (notice the total ignoring of the Sweden comment above:)

It sucks to be Austria and having to face a Germany with a do-or-die game to play next.

sager said...

to Krister: Thanks! (And the comment above was more of a comment about how everyone else maligns the mighty Swedes.)

I believe I will be at a pub drinking beer at noon on Saturday for Spain-Sweden ... then it's straight to work afterward!

Are there any Swedish beers you can get in Canada?

krister said...

sager - the game on Saturday will be a classic if both sides plays to their potential. Usually Sweden only loses to Belarus (oh, that's hockey) or the Finns (which gets the coach automatically fired) but seem to rise to the occasion for the better team. Let's hope so.

Can't help you with the beers. Have been in AA the last 26 years so I don't remember what the beers in Sweden were like - but I did my fair share of drinking them:) (are you old enough to remember filling in a slip to get booze from the LCBO - that's what we did the last time I went there to buy for myself.)

sager said...


Man, do I ever have foot-in-mouth disease... sorry for opening up that old wound.

I'm thankfully young enough that I came of age after the Ontario goverment had decided people could actually handle the bottle before they purchased it ... they also pushed last call back from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. about six months before I came of legal age. No word of a lie.

(That being said, the 18-year-old age of majority in other provinces is weird and scary, especially when you go to a bar on Friday night and see kids who played in the high school basketball game you covered the night before.

krister said...

Sager - no problem. Not an old would, just glad I got to realize that I had problems.

btw - remembered that the Swedish beer I used to drink, and perhaps it is available here, was Pripps. They made one brand in a blue can that was rocket fuel:)

In Canada (I arrived as a 20 year old in 1974) I got to experience the 'mens room' and the short stubbies, but none of the fancy bottles they have now.

I agree with you about the age of majority at 18. My kid is 17 and I can't see him in the bars hanging with the crowd.

Great blog - keep up the good work.