Spain VS Russia
Very exciting game! This high quality Group D encounter saw 5 goals scored in total and a dazzling display of good supporting moves from Fernando Torres (very cute,’nuff said) and sleek finishes by the godly David Villa. The latter netted a hat trick and the wonderkid Cesc Fabregas completed Spain’s night by slotting in the fourth goal in the 90″. Very strong showing of their attacking prowness on Spain’s part.
Meanwhile, in spite of losing, Russia did not show themselves to be a weak side too. Guus Hiiddink’s men are speedy, and their rapid dashes proved challenging for a rather faulty Spanish back end, as the Russians managed to create many goal scoring oppourtunities for themselves. A shame they didn’t manage to convert those chances until Pavlyuchenko’s consolation goal in the 86″. The shots were either fired into the air, or it went too right or left of the goal mouth. Wasted chances aplenty.
Anyway, Spain’s midfield is really packed with talents, and seeing as most of them are inclined to attack, the match started off with a lot of firing energy. Torres was a joy to watch in his supporting role, as he fed Villa with the ball in most of the situations. Because the Spanish guys are really fast, the strategy of scoring by beating the offside trap really worked for them. Just recall how Torres would pass the ball to Villa at the precise moment of Villa running alongside or slightly behind the defender, and then ‘Wham!’ he would slot the goal nicely into the back of the Russian net, and no offside! Iniesta’s support was very nicely executed as well, the run where he dribbled and side-stepped defenders was just brilliant.
David Villa is worth special mention because he’s just so talented and calm in all the one-on-one situations he was in with defenders. On the second goal, “Within six minutes of Villa’s first goal, he and Torres had created three outstanding opportunities – two of which needed smart blocks by Akinfeev. Russia, for their part, were fighting like terriers to impose themselves, repeatedly catching Iniesta in possession, and Pavlyuchenko even hit the bar with a left-footed shot though referee Konrad Plautz had already called a foul. Villa closed a sparkling 45 minutes with Spain’s second, however, following a brilliant move. Zyryanov attempted an ambitious pass across the Spain box and David Silva ran to retrieve it, sparking a lightning-quick passing movement through Silva, Capdevila and Iniesta which left Villa sprinting into the box where he slipped the ball between Akinfeev’s legs.”
Spain is finally breaking their own curse in major tournaments! For the longest time that I can remember, they were always overrated for their own good. Every punter and every fan would tell me that Spain had it in them that year, but in every instance, they would either bow out of the tournament in the first round or just not perform up to expectations. This time, we’re finally seeing some solid Spanish style, with a lot of substance to boot too.
Greece VS Sweden
I didn’t really catch this match because I was too exhausted and devastated (still) by my beloved Italia’s loss. Score line was 2-0 to Sweden, and the defending champions of Euro 2004 were left grieving and wondering about their future in this campaign. I’m surprised/glad that Larsson is still playing, but I must say that sometimes, age may not be such a big factor if the striker is still valuable and has it in them to transform dire straits situations on the field. Prime example would be Del Piero. And I keep thinking that Pippo (oh yes,my beloved) should have been called up to the nazionale. He might not be young anymore,but he still scores plenty of goals, and that’s all that matters.
Ok, digression over. But this group is pretty predictable. The top two teams should be Spain and Sweden; which means that the next Group D match between these two powerhouses will be so super exciting.
Next up: Group A: Czech Republic VS Portugal; Switzerland VS Turkey