Monday, June 11, 2012

Local Boy In Photograph

So the first round of the group matches at the European Championships closed with happy smiling faces in Kiev - well at least if you were a home fan, as the co-hosts beat Sweden 2-1. Looking at the crowd shots during the game and the ubiquity of yellow and blue shirts, scarves and face paint you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching one team play. In fact on closer examination I would say that the only apparent difference between Ukraine and Sweden is a better class of dentistry in the latter.

After the teams had made their way onto the pitch we had the national anthems, the Swedish one sounded as depressed as a psycholoigist from Malmo who has just discovered that his wife has run of with her best friend and forgotten to leave details on how to programme the microwave. Then we had the host anthem, a tune that seemed to go on longer than injury time on a Wednesday night at Old Trafford and which may have been extolling the virtues of bulk tractor buying such was the gusto that it was sung with.

After that we saw two teams which seemed determined to confirm there national stereotypes, the Swedes wanted to take their time, passing the ball methodically and with almost mathematical precision, it was the footballing equivalent of reading the user notes for a Nokia phone. The home side were by contrast in a hurry, sweating profusely under the warm Kiev sky they wanted to  play as if filmed by Eisenstein himself, all jerky movements and exasperated looks when things went wrong. Sweden should have been leading at half time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, (one of a long list of Johnny Foreigners whom Alan Hansen remains 'unconvinced' about)  who was playing with touch of Eric Cantona outside the box and the touch of Carlton Palmer inside it, missed a couple of what pundits like to call 'golden opportunities' but which fans call 'open goals'.

The second half however saw the two golden balls on display both score with Ibrahimovic scoring first for Sweden before Andriy Shevchenko, the 35 year old elder statesman of the competition, scored two headers to send the home fans into the sort of frenzy that can normally only be induced by several glasses of the local hooch. It was fitting in a way that the co-hosts should end the first round of group matches with a win and set the group up for some interesting second round of matches next Monday.



If the home fans were delighted by Ukraine's win they would have been impressed by the Artisan performance of England against the artists of France. England huffed and puffed but couldn't blow the opposition maison down in a first half of few opportunities but Joleon Lescott scored a header from a cracking Stevie G free kick and with Danny Wellbeck playing like a seasoned international was given the central defenders a tough time of it. Of course the fragile lead couldn't last and in fact it lasted barely ten minutes before another Man City player beat yet another Man City player to even things up. As the second half wore on a combination of heat and a heavy pitch reduced the players to walking pace at times and in the end a draw was probably the fairest result.

In the other Group matches to take place over the first long weekend Russia and Denmark produced the two outstanding results, in defeating Czech Republic and Holland respectively, whilst the Spain v Italy game was the one that was most pleasing on the eye. Ireland showed that grit, determination and access, via dubious ancestry, to an Irish passport is no substitute for technical ability as they were both embarrassing and embarrassed in their defeat to Croatia. Germany beat Portugal with the minimum of effort and Poland and Greece played the sort of football you thought had long gone out of fashion.

4 comments:

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet, coach outlet, coach outlet store online, nike air max, polo outlet, nike air max, kate spade, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, christian louboutin shoes, kate spade outlet, chanel handbags, tiffany and co, michael kors outlet, tory burch outlet, burberry handbags, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, replica watches, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, longchamp outlet, coach outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin, gucci handbags, coach purses, prada handbags, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet store, polo ralph lauren outlet online, prada outlet, nike free, jordan shoes

oakleyses said...

vlululemon canada, jordan pas cher, nike tn, hollister uk, nike free uk, air max, louboutin pas cher, new balance, longchamp pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike air max uk, north face, hollister pas cher, ray ban uk, converse pas cher, guess pas cher, michael kors outlet, polo lacoste, ralph lauren uk, nike air max uk, hogan outlet, timberland pas cher, mulberry uk, true religion jeans, sac vanessa bruno, oakley pas cher, nike roshe, nike free run, sac hermes, burberry pas cher, michael kors pas cher, nike air max, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, nike blazer pas cher, north face uk, true religion outlet, nike air force, sac longchamp pas cher, polo ralph lauren, vans pas cher

oakleyses said...

giuseppe zanotti outlet, herve leger, soccer jerseys, asics running shoes, ghd hair, lululemon, insanity workout, vans outlet, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, hollister, p90x workout, timberland boots, reebok outlet, hermes belt, north face outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mac cosmetics, iphone 6 cases, valentino shoes, oakley, chi flat iron, nike roshe run uk, nike air max, babyliss, nike roshe run, instyler, mcm handbags, nike trainers uk, nike huaraches, soccer shoes, beats by dre, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, new balance shoes, north face outlet, hollister clothing, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk, celine handbags, wedding dresses, mont blanc pens

oakleyses said...

ugg boots, pandora charms, thomas sabo, ralph lauren, toms shoes, lancel, nike air max, ugg uk, ugg boots, ugg, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, hollister, hollister, karen millen uk, louboutin, uggs on sale, juicy couture outlet, converse outlet, swarovski crystal, uggs outlet, links of london, montre pas cher, ray ban, ugg pas cher, gucci, wedding dresses, supra shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, replica watches, coach outlet, converse, swarovski, vans, marc jacobs, pandora jewelry, pandora uk, juicy couture outlet, uggs outlet