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What I Learned From Watching Day 14 of The Euros 2012, Quarterfinal No. 2

June 23, 2012

Friday’s Quarterfinal in the Euros sent a message to the remaining five teams that Germany is playing for keeps.  The highlights and lowlights:

  • Talk about a blitzkrieg.  Greece had just gone all “Death of Soccer” on their match with Germany, tying the game at 1 in the 55th minute with a splendid counterattack in their finest Euro 2004 Champion tradition, and Germany looked set to pay the price for numerous failed chances.  The tension was thick with ideas of “extra-time” and “penalty shootout” as Greece looked every bit the part of David casting stones.  That lasted all of six minutes, as Die Mannschaft in what may be sport’s ultimate example of “flipping the switch”, found their “F You!!” gear and scored three barnstorming goals in the next 13 minutes, each one more impressive than the last, Germany dictating terms to Greece in an “art imitating life” passion play.  A late penalty kick goal for Greece was nothing more than face saving as they exited the Euros, hearts broken.
  • Entering the tournament, I would have had no real problem with the idea that France could beat Spain were they to meet in the knockout stage.  France entered the Euros the hottest team in Europe on the backs of a 21-game unbeaten streak, deep with creative attacking talent and one of the best netminders in Europe, Hugo Lloris. It was Spain that entered the tournament full of questions, from their lineup to their fitness and desire. As things stand now, I would be really surprised if France found a way through Spain to the Semifinals. It is France that raised questions with their play, not just from their 2-0 shock loss to Sweden, but in a 1-1 tie to England, results that have led to rancor then glossing over by players and coaches that all has been settled and this will not be a repeat of South Africa.  While Spain hasn’t fully answered their questions either – Who should they start up top? Will their legs hold up to get to the Finals? – La Roja won their group in cold, clinical fashion and provide all teams the ultimate test of patience with their ruthless possession game.  We’ll know after 90 minutes today if France is more together or apart.

Up Next: Saturday June 23 (today), the third Euro Quarterfinal Spain faces France in Donetsk, first kick at 11:45AM PST.

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From → Soccer, Sports

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