June 19 – 2008
Like no tournament I can remember, Euro 2008 is rewarding good soccer. Teams who play crisp, technical, forward thinking football are finding the back of the net and taking the spoils.
Holland, Russia, Croatia and Spain( mostly), even Turkey – all have put forth moments of sheer footballing genius, and all have been rewarded with a spot in the quarterfinals.
Today’s match was a certain candidate for cynical football: the massive Germans against a handful of massively skillful Portuguese. I thought for sure Germany would confine the game to the midfield and hope for one set-play to be lauched into the box for one of their giant centerbacks to bungle in. Yet there was Podolski streaking down the flank after some fantastic combination play, delivering a perfectly weighted pass to the onrushing Schweinsteiger. It would have been the goal of the tournament, if Netherlands and Russia weren’t in the tournament.
As for the Portuguese: I am always befuddled by people’s fascination with this team. Is it because they are the closest thing to Brazil that Rob Stone and various other know-nothings grasp at the Portuguese straw? They will never win a final.
We’ll see if the cream goes sour, but you’d be hard pressed to dig up someone crusty enough not to have been entertained by the past week’s goings on. Jim Rome, maybe.