Sunday, June 17, 2012

Do widzenia i dziękuję za stara

So Poland are out of the competition that they co-host. Ultimately the exit was down to not creating enough chances but more importantly it was down to not being able to field a team that could beat Greece in the opening match during the period when the Greeks were down to ten men.

You hope that Poland can build on this, they will need a new manager, and go forward with more confidence towards the qualifcation games for the 2014 World Cup. Unfortunately they have been placed in a qualifcation group that includes England, Montenegro and Ukraine so it may well be France 2016 before we see them at a major competition again.

As for Russia it's hard to explain how a side can win their opening game in such breathtaking fashion and then go out to the only side worse than Ireland in this competition. What happened Russia? Yes they did only seem capable of playing forty five minutes of decent football in each match (second half v Czech Republic and first half v Poland) but against Greece they, apart from Arshavin, seemed to run out of ideas.

Apart from fat Frank lookalike Alan Dzagoev, Roman Shishkin and Aleksandr Kokorin all of the current squad will be thirty or over come Brazil in two years and that may be a tournament too far. You would hope that the Russian Football Union are planning ahead and that there is a group of young players out there who will reach their peak in 2018 when Russia host the World Cup. Unfortunately Russia failed to qualify for this years UEFA European Under-19 finals in Estonia in July, and the fact that they finished bottom of a group containing Bosnia Herzagovina, Bulgaria and the Republic of Ireland does not bode well for the future. That said the Under-21 side are currently second in the qualification group for the 2013 European Under 21 Competition.


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