Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Euro 2012 opening round of fixtures

On first viewing the Euro 2012 opening fixtures hardly whetted the appetite of most football fans, with the Group of deaths early exchanges leaving most fans hoping the second day would come around quickly; however roles were reversed as Group A kicked off the tournament in spectacular style whilst the likes of Portugal and Germany left us wanting to flick off to see Brazil Argentina on the other side.

Co-hosts Poland came out of the trap quickly against Greece, roared on brilliant by their home fans, however despite being up against 10 men they allowed their opponents back into the game and will see it as two points dropped rather then on gained. In the second game of the evening Russia were superb going forward and would've had more if it wasn't for the wastefulness of Alexander Kerzhakov. The Czech Republic were poor, and will have to improve dramatically, all be it against weaker sides, if they are to stand any chance of progression.

The Euro 1992 Champions Denmark stunned many peoples outside bets for the title Holland, in Group B's opening match. A combination of poor finishing and brilliant defending meant Michael Krohn-Dehli's first half strike was enough. Germany were the better side against Portugal; however without reaching their brilliant best had just about enough about them to see of their opponents. In a more clinical then fantastic display, Mario Gomez highlighted his threat in the box with a predatory header, whilst Portugal can only dream of a out and out goalscorer like Gomez, with Paul Bento's side ruing their lack of a real world class centre forward.

The Brondby play maker scoring what proved to be the winner

Sunday brought about Group C which saw the holders and World Cup champions Spain take on Italy. Italy used the three at back formation, a popular one in Serie A all season, with Roma holding midfielder Daniele De Rossi playing the libero role, which worked as Spain, without a reconsigned striker, struggled to get in behind a resolute Italian side. Cesare Prandelli's side threatened heavily on the counter attacked and deserved their lead, which was given to them by substitute Antonio Di Natale; however they didn't hold on for the victory as Cesc Fabregas finished off a brilliant team move.

The groups second match saw Croatia have too much quality for Group C's underdogs Ireland. Two goals from Mario Mandukic and a vital Nikica Jelavic finish on the strike of half-time meant Sean St.Ledger's headed equaliser at 1-1 was irrelevant as Slaven Bilic's side got off the to the ideal start.

Yesterday England kicked off their campaign and gained a solid point against group favourites France. Roy Hodgson's England were strong defensively, restricting a technically brilliant French side to long range efforts. Joleon Lescott had given England the lead as he headed home a superb Steven Gerrard free-kick; however his side couldn't reach half-time on level terms as Samir Nasri beat Joe Hart at his near post from 20 yards. Neither side really threatened a winner and the point was a fair result.

The co-hosts Ukraine came from behind to beat Sweden thanks to two goals from the iconic Andriy Shevchenko. Ukraine showed character as it looked like Zlatan Ibrahimovic had spoiled their party; however two headers from the former Chelsea man turned the game on its head, in doing so giving the Swede's a very small chance of progression with the two strongest sides left to face.

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