¡Podemos! Maybe this time they’re right.

Posted: June 15, 2008 in Football, soccer, Spain, Sport
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I greeted the arrival of Euro2008 with the mental equivalent of a stretch and a yawn. The absence of England (well done to the alchemist Steve McClaren for his unique talent in being able to turn gold into shite) and Scotland had taken the gloss off the tournament for me, but one week in to the tournament and I’m completely hooked and enjoying every moment.

Holland have been scintillating to watch; by far the best team in the competition. They made the Italians look old and tired (which they are) and the French as easy to cut through as brie (never been ones to put up much of a resistance when under the cosh though, have they). To be fair to the French, they played a lot better than the 4-1 drubbing suggested and may still be a team to be reckoned with a bit of ‘bonne chance’. The Italians usually start slow in tournaments, but this time they haven’t even reached the starting block; arrividerci Switzerland methinks.

Spanish TV’s catchphrase for Euro2008 is “Podemas” (we can) and having watched the Spanish team destroy Russia and show grit and determination (not qualities normally associated with the Spanish national side who usually suffer from perennial stage fright at major tournaments) to beat a decent Swedish team, I reckon it’s a claim that’s not without merit. Spanish commentators are already talking about a Spain – Holland final (although I didn’t think that was actually possible), completely ignoring the other form team, Portugal of course, but that’s a given. During the Holland – Italy game, the Spanish commentators were cooing over Holland’s football when one of them asked the other if they thought the Dutch team’s performance was as good as Portugal’s a few days previous. Roughly translated, the other replied:
“There’s no comparison. Holland are playing the champions of the world, Portugal were only playing Turkey”
God forbid that they’d actually compliment their neighbours and rivals.

I haven’t seen Portugal play yet, so I don’t know if they’re as good as Holland, or Spain, but all of them have that perfect mix of youth and experience in their squads which could bring them glory in a couple of weeks time. Of course, you can’t write off the Germans; you can never write off the Germans.

Quarter Finals Forecast
Portugal v Germany; Croatia v Czech Rep; Holland v Sweden; Spain v France

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