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Euro 2020


Stromboli1
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Job done. Group stage football in a nutshell really: occasional glimpses of skill and verve but largely a tepid affair lacking ambition. That said, only wild horses could drag me away from a weekday afternoon date with Scotland-Czech Republic. 

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The three players with perhaps the biggest question marks against them proved their worth today, Sterling (obviously) plus Phillips and Mount.

 

Foden is a major talent, early days of course but he has a lot of shots that "nearly" go in. Against PSG he was gifted chances in both legs and didn't take them.

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Clive Tyldesley was definitely ready to roar "TIMBERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" with appropriate effervescence in the event the young defender bagged himself a goal last night (Jonathan Pearce would've likewise done the moment justice). Meanwhile overpromoted Sam Matterface and his gravelly mouth full of sandpaper would've, of course, undersold the occasion while Guy Mowbray has time and again shown he lacks sufficient lung capacity for the big moments. Is it too late to bring in Kevin Keegan as a co-comm or does Euro 96 nostalgia only extend so far with the powers-that-be?  

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Fun game, I thought. Holland deserved winners, Ukraine a bit unlucky but I imagine they'll have enough to get out of the group. Best of all was seeing two teams trying to attack and win. Let's hope for more like it.

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2 hours ago, Frederick said:

Clive Tyldesley was definitely ready to roar "TIMBERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" with appropriate effervescence in the event the young defender bagged himself a goal last night (Jonathan Pearce would've likewise done the moment justice). Meanwhile overpromoted Sam Matterface and his gravelly mouth full of sandpaper would've, of course, undersold the occasion while Guy Mowbray has time and again shown he lacks sufficient lung capacity for the big moments. Is it too late to bring in Kevin Keegan as a co-comm or does Euro 96 nostalgia only extend so far with the powers-that-be?  

 

To give 'Coisty his due, although he does tend to use stock phrases ("let me tell you") a bit too often, his passion, analysis and insight seems to far exceed the likes of Hoddle, Jenas and McManaman.

 

In Canada, I hear they're stuck with Andy Townsend as co-commentator and Kevin "Zinedine" Kilbane in the studio. Surely, no one needs that.

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3 hours ago, Michael* said:

 

To give 'Coisty his due, although he does tend to use stock phrases ("let me tell you") a bit too often, his passion, analysis and insight seems to far exceed the likes of Hoddle, Jenas and McManaman.

 

In Canada, I hear they're stuck with Andy Townsend as co-commentator and Kevin "Zinedine" Kilbane in the studio. Surely, no one needs that.

The A Shot at Glory thespian brings an everyman's amiable curiosity to the job; not only that, he's every bit as good in a panel setting as he is in the co-comm thunderdome. His chemistry with Jon Champion, in particular, is very winning and didn't half make some of those dour Christmas Amazon games zip along.

 

As for Andy's posting in the wilds of the Great White North, I'm afraid chalk it up to John Oates syndrome (note: I reject the premise that John Oates isn't fantastic on his own, personally, but I'm using a known cultural shorthand. Also, I recognise comparing Clive Tyldesley to Daryl Hall may strike some as overzealous). 

 

I also wish to mention Hal Robson-Kanu, whose utterances though bland were at least spoken with utmost velvety softness. You can tell he can sing. May be one to look out for. 

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5 hours ago, Frederick said:

I also wish to mention Hal Robson-Kanu, whose utterances though bland were at least spoken with utmost velvety softness. You can tell he can sing. May be one to look out for.

 

The players' rendition of the national anthem before the Switzerland game was certainly at odds with the stereotype that all Welsh people possess heavenly singing voices. If I were Robert Page, I'd send an SOS out to Hal before Wednesday!

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Schick looks a real player, fantastic header for the first and the second was a thing of opportunistic beauty.

 

Lots of endeavour from the Scots, they'll need to sort out their shooting boots to have any hope of progression but obviously, today's result puts them on a much harder road.

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Imagining the reaction if England's first game had been a goalless draw with Sweden at Wembley, I'd surmise that this may not go down too well in Spain, although Cesc Fabregas seemed pretty philosophical about it afterwards.

 

In fairness this looks like a somewhat callow Spanish side, Sweden on the other hand were exactly what you'd expect. Tough, organised and determined with a very handy-looking striker in Isak.

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12 hours ago, Michael* said:

Imagining the reaction if England's first game had been a goalless draw with Sweden at Wembley, I'd surmise that this may not go down too well in Spain, although Cesc Fabregas seemed pretty philosophical about it afterwards.

 

In fairness this looks like a somewhat callow Spanish side, Sweden on the other hand were exactly what you'd expect. Tough, organised and determined with a very handy-looking striker in Isak.

"Yippee, Alvaro Morata." - no one ever.

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11 hours ago, Frederick said:

"Yippee, Alvaro Morata." - no one ever.

 

Always strange how some players can get passed around Europe's top clubs, seemingly without being particularly good for many of them. It's like once they get there nobody bothers to question their continued presence despite not offering very much.

 

That being said, I always get the feeling that it must be awkward to drop Morata, possessing as he does that curious habit of grabbing the occasional important goal, even in games where he appears to disrupt the play. The alternative would of course be Moreno, the form striker, but he too managed to miss a pretty straightforward one towards the end.

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Credit to El Chimpface (woeful pen aside), Rambo (bad misses aside) and the rest of the bechgyn for a job well done, Turkey barely looked arsed going forward even with the crowd baying them on. I shall be making other plans for when they play the Swiss, that's for sure.    

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Good game for the neutrals and hats off to the BBC for the "non-Robbie Savage" red button audio option. Worth the licence fee on its own, that.

 

Looks like there's life in the old guard after all. I thought Wales were fortunate to get a point from the Switzerland game, but they were excellent tonight and thoroughly deserved the win. Turkey don't seem to have turned up to the tournament, a side fancied by many are surely now about to fall at the first hurdle.

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Really like the look of this Italian side, a good mix of technical ball players and the kind of defensive grit one tends to associate with them. There's always at least one team that peaks far too soon, but I get the impression from the overall strength of their squad that they could go quite far.

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Ukraine were pretty decent against Holland and again in the first half today. A draw with Austria in the next game should see both teams qualify from the group, so it may be best not to expect any fireworks from that one.

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Belgium are shaky at the back but superb going forward, the build-up for the winner against Denmark was sensational. Lukaku looks twice the player with De Bruyne for company.

 

Can't really see this Dutch side surviving for long against the big boys. Watching Depay urgently asking for the ball, then either miscontrolling and losing it or making a hopeful pass to no-one, one can't help wondering if Messi is happy about him joining the ranks at Barca. I'm not sure I would be.

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