Thursday, June 19, 2008

Andrea Pirlo for Italy (v France), 17 June 2008

I can't make any particular excuses for the lack of biting analysis and stunning insight into Euro 2008 on this site of late. Such as that was likely, obviously.

The simple fact is that it is, as I predicted before the tournament began, the first World Cup/European Championships I haven't watched avidly in two decades. I simply can't get that excited about it. Some of the football has been good, and there have been one or two intriguing/exciting games but I somehow feel that I have seen it all before.

The one pleasing element has been the success so far of the maligned Dutch side. In England's absence, the Dutch (thanks to my love of their league game) were always going to be the side I would follow, but I (like many others) never gave them a chance. However, van Basten's change of formation (from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1) has allowed their talented attack-minded midfielders to shine and the two defensive midfielders (de Jong and Engelaar) have played brilliantly, providingthe platform on which the rest have played.

I predicted a Germany v Italy final and not much has swayed me from that view. Indeed, I backed the Italians at 20/1 after their draw with Romania and that looks like awfully good value all of a sudden. As I said a while back, I strongly believe that Spain won't prevail and despite them performing better than I anticipated, I still don't think they will be strong enough.

Perhaps it is football fatigue, England's absence (saying that, wouldn't we have been humbled and out already bearing in mind the quality we'd have faced?) or (as I said before the tournament) the prevalence of familiar faces but I can't really get terribly excited.

(Oh, and Gary Lineker becomes more smarmy and irritating every time I turn my television on. It is now at the point where I can barely watch him.)


swisslet said...

I'm enjoying the tournament actually. I quite like the absence of England leading to a bit more thought about the games and some pieces on the venues instead of cutting live to Gabriel in the England camp. ITV are as poor as ever, with Sam Allardyce with his open shirts and nasty Elizabeth Duke chain... but christ alive the BBC aren't far behind with that idiot Lineker and the increasingly silly panel. There's been some good football though, and although it looks like a Germany v Spain final at the moment, I'm not sure that it will be.

Isn't it funny to see Russia and Croatia playing so well when, if you believed the English press, we were robbed to not qualify.

Well, alright, we probably should have qualified, but they're both pretty handy sides, eh?

swisslet said...

and lack of incisive commentary? We're not alone in that!

(I haven't even rounded up my pre-season premier league predictions yet. Maybe before the new season kicks off, eh?)