Just loving the Euro 2008 football Tournament. For those of you not familiar with football (Soccer) here in Europe, it's big. Every 4 years is the World Cup. You know the most watched sporting event in the world. Well the UEFA Euro Cup (Every 4 years, two years before or after World Cup) is the 3rd most watched sporting event in the world. #2 of course is the Summer Olympics. Anyway back to Euro. The 16 best teams (countries) play a tournament. This year the event is split between Austria and Switzerland. The games have been very entertaining and it has simply been a great time watching them (prime time) every night.
Based on the first week of play here are my power rankings:
1. Netherlands - Best Goalie and agressive midfield.
2. Portugal - Best player in the world.
3. Germany - If they can take air out of their big heads they stand a chance to win the entire tourney.
4. Sweden - Read below though!
Tonight the big game was Spain vs Sweden. Win and you win your group. Tie and you Most likely will advance. Lose and you must score a point in the next game. Spain is always a powerhouse team but is known for tanking if they get behind. Sweden plays textbook football and has a top ofensive forward. At the end of the first half it was 1-1. Sweden had held down the powerful Spanish and stood a good chance of winning if they continued to attack. Instead Swedend comes out in the 2nd half with their best scoring player on the bench. It was very clear from the outset of the half they were playing to tie. The ball rarely crossed the midfield into Spanish territory and when it did it was usually done with a long ball from the goalie. At the end of regulation the game was tied 1-1. Sweden had to hold out 3 more minutes of injury time. 1.5 minutes into extra time, a busted play in the Spanish box turned into a long pass from a Spanish defender to a waiting offensive player just outside the Sweden box. The Spanish player split two defenders, tapped the ball between the legs of one of them and then only had the goalie to beat. Easy goal! Spain wins 2-1.
Sweden - Look through the history of the sport. Look through history period. If you play to tie your chances of that tie are slim. 45 minutes of playing to tie. 45 minutes of asking your players to hold back a power offense. When you play to tie you stop being aggresive. When you stop doing that you go flat foot. When you go flat foot the ball goes between your legs and the other team scores. Sweden if you don't advance you may be the biggest flop of the tournament. Only Italy, France and maybe Germany can take that honor away. More than likely two of those super powers will not advance. Simply don't play to tie.
It's a good life....