Euro 2012 Keeping It Real

I wish I could have watched today’s Euro 2012 games live (curse you having to work! *shakes fist*) but alas I could not. So I resorted to reading about them after they have happened and watching highlight video clips to get the gist of the games.

Pretty much the Euro 2012 has so far delivered some wonderful twists and turns that are keeping things real in the tournament. I like that, for the most part, the heavy weight teams that were expected to steamroll everyone haven’t done so. I have a tendency to root for the underdog teams unless a personal favorite is playing.

Out of Group D’s games today we now have Ukraine at the head of the pack with a 2-1 over Sweden, and a draw from England vs. France 1-1. I would have honestly expected a clean win in the England vs. France match-up and the tie surprises me a little bit. However I did not get a chance to actually watch the game *shakes fist again* so perhaps both teams were playing at the pinnacle of their capabilities. Lol, probably not. But maybe.

After France’s nuclear meltdown in the 2010 World Cup I had no idea how they would do at the Euro. We shall see if they can make a comeback and have a decent showing in the tournament. England, of course, needs to put their cleats where their ahem balls are and prove that they can live up to the hype.

Yes, I really wanted Spain to win in yesterday’s game but Italy put up a tremendous fight so the game ended in a 1-1 tie. The game was tense and tough to watch with many a close-call in the goal department. I do believe that the lack of a Spanish striker from the beginning hurt them in their abilities to mount a satisfactory attack on the Italian defense.

There was one super weird moment where Mario Balotelli just stopped and didn’t shoot even though it was just him and the goalie Iker Casillas one-on-one. Like wtf? Why did he stop running? What in the world could he possibly have been thinking about to cause him to basically zone out and forget to take the shot? Super strange. I have honestly never seen this before ever. I didn’t want Italy to win but Balotelli should have scored in this instance. If he had scored here I’m pretty sure Italy would have won the game. What I want to know is what Casillas was thinking as Balotelli approached…..and approached…..and approached….but never took the shot and was subsequently taken out by Sergio Ramos.

My favorite picture from the Spain vs. Italy game.

One small Spanish man vs. half of the Italian team, lol. 

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Where’s Waldo Gaining Traction

The US Men’s National Soccer Team took on Antigua & Barbuda today in their first qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup. The final result was US 3, Antigua & Barbuda 1. This is actually the first time I got to see a US Men’s game live under the guidance of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and I was eager to see how they would perform on the field. While I enjoyed watching the game quite a bit I was surprised at how much trouble Antigua & Barbuda gave the US. To be honest I was not expecting A&B to be much of an obstacle but they managed to make things interesting.

The weather was absolutely terrible in Tampa, FL where the match was held. Heavy rain was falling for almost the entire game drenching the players and the exuberant crowd. The rain, however, did absolutely nothing to dampen the spirits of the spectators who kept up the chorus of boos, chants and overall u-rah-rah-USA atmosphere going the entire 90 minutes.

Hopefully this game will be a learning experience for the US team and a spring board to tighten up their gameplay. Overall I was quite pleased with their performance despite the terrible pitch conditions. I also found the choice of starting Herculez Gomez to be a positive one. Gomez scored the third goal of the evening – which I believe was his first on the international stage. We will see if he continues to start or if Jozy Altidore starts instead. Klinsmann seems to be playing with his line-ups a bit so players could be moved around as he finds the most optimal starting 11.

I think I am leaning towards Gomez starting after seeing his performance today. They may need to make some changes in the defense lineup as well. Onyewu had some shaky moments that left holes in the defense that A&B exploited. Holes in the defense aren’t something the US can afford moving forward in the qualifyers as they come up against tougher teams. This world cup I am expecting them to make it out of the group stage referees’ calls or not *stares.*

USA Line-up: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 16-Jose Torres (5-Oguchi Onyewu, 57); 7-Maurice Edu , 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (18-Terrence Boyd, 81); 10-Landon Donovan, 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (17-Jozy Altidore, 80)

P.S. My sister kindly informed me that no, this was not Gomez’ first international goal. Learn something every day. 😛

So Not the Outcome I Wanted

Well, Chelsea won their first UEFA Champions League today, beating Bayern Munich in penalties. I do not like when a game goes to penalties. I would rather have things decided before it comes to penalties. Needless to say I did not want Chelsea to win. I am not a hardcore Bayern Munich but I am very much not a fan of Chelsea, so it was an easy choice to make as to which team I was going to root for. The result was so not what I was hoping to have happen which was a major bummer. Still, the game was a fun watch so there is that.

Oh, and wtf was up with Salomon Kalou’s hair? I kept thinking a facehugger from the Aliens movies was attacking the back of his head. Drogba seemed absolutely fascinated by it, lol.