Cup Finals Blog

The World United Through Football

Euro 2012 – It’s a Knockout

Wayne Rooney Returns for England

The Return of Rooney (Photo: Wikipedia)

With all teams having played two games each, Euro 2012 now moves into the knockout phase.

The group games are reaching their climax, so slip up now and it’s all over. For Ireland and Sweden, it already is.

As both matches in each group will be played at the same time, which games would you prefer to watch?

Group A

Czech Republic vs Poland – in Wroclaw.
Greece vs Russia – in Warsaw.

At the beginning of the tournament, I wanted Russia and Poland to qualify from this group and I still feel the same.

A draw is enough for Russia against Greece; which would mean Greece being knocked out.

Poland need to beat Czech Republic, who should have plenty of support in Wroclaw.

There’s more at stake in the Poland game, for the hosts, so this is the game I’ll be watching.

Group B

Denmark vs Germany – in Lviv.
Portugal vs Holland – in Kharkiv.

Germany and Holland were most people’s prediction for this group and that’s the view I held too.

Map of Europe, with coloured flags

Europe, with all countries coloured in their flag colours. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Sadly, Holland have been something of a disappointment and even a victory against Portugal wouldn’t be enough; if Denmark earn at least a point against Germany.

For Germany not to stay in the tournament, Denmark and Portugal would need to win.

I’ll be watching the Portugal game to see if Holland can finally set the tournament alight; or if Ronaldo and Nani can really turn the screw and knock them out with style, flair and flamboyance.

Group C

Croatia vs Spain – in Gdansk.
Italy vs Republic of Ireland – in Poznan.

The Republic of Ireland were never really fancied to make it out of this group but they could decide Italy’s fate.

Croatia and Spain would both stay in the tournament if Italy fail to win.

If Italy win and these two draw, three teams would be on equal points; Spain and Croatia would eliminate Italy with a 2-2 draw.

Although I’d like to see an Irish win over the Italians, it’s a pretty meaningless game so I’ll be watching Spain and Croatia; unless it’s terribly boring.

Group D

England vs Ukraine in Donetsk.
Sweden vs France in Kiev.

Could this be the year for England?

It’s not always the best teams that win, so with large helpings of luck and a side portion of rain stops play, anything is possible.

With Sweden no longer a threat, France might feel a little more comfortable in this group; but it’s not over yet.

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Draws would ensure a safe passage for both France and England but Ukraine will be looking to win in front of their home fans.

Of course I’ll be watching the England game; very nervously, I should add.

Wayne Rooney is back for England, but what’s the odds of him doing a ‘high-on-emotion’ Paul Gascoigne and earning another red card?


June 16, 2012 Posted by | Euro 2012, World Football | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine 0 – France 2

Karim Benzema en équipe de France

Karim Benzema played a part in both France’s goals (Photo: Wikipedia)

Group D
Ukraine vs France (0:2)
Donbass Arena, Donetsk.

The heavens opened and the match was halted no sooner than it started.

Thunder, lightning and torrential rain washed the game out in the fifth minute. Fans from the front seats ran to the back.

After the game started fifty-five minutes later, Karim Benzema was the first to see if Andriy Pyatov was alert after the lengthy break.

Let’s just say that the biggest excitement was the weather and the restart was a damp squib.

Let’s hope the second-half gets back to normal.

Half-time: Ukraine 0 – France 0

Ukraine didn’t get off to the start they might have wanted but France were skimming across the water with the wind in their sails.

The World United Through Football Ukraine 0 – France 1 (53 mins)
Jérémy Menez started the game ahead of Florent Malouda and justified his selection when he finished off a move from Ribery and Benzema.

The World United Through Football Ukraine 0 – France 2 (56 mins)
Cabaye made it two just three minutes later, getting on the end of a lucky bounce from Benzema.

Two goals in thirty minutes was a big ask for Ukraine, even with the home crowd behind them.

Final Score: Ukraine 0 – France 2


Travel to Ukraine
12-Andriy Pyatov; 3-Yevhen Khacheridi, 17-Taras Mikhalik, 2-Yevgen Selin, 9-Oleg Gusev; 18-Serhiy Nazarenko, 4-Anatoliy Tymoschuk, 19-Yevhen Konoplyanka, 11-Andriy Yarmolenko; 7-Andriy Shevchenko, 10-Andriy Voronin.

Travel to France
1-Hugo Lloris; 5-Philippe Mexes, 4-Adil Rami, 22-Gaël Clichy, 2-Mathieu Debuchy; 18-Alou Diarra, 11-Samir Nasri, 6-Yohan Cabaye; 7-Franck Ribéry, 10-Karim Benzema, 14-Jérémy Menez.

June 15, 2012 Posted by | Euro 2012, France, Match Reports, Ukraine | , , , , | 3 Comments

Shev at the Double

English: Andriy Shevchenko

Andriy Shevchenko, scorer of two goals against Sweden (Photo: Wikipedia)

Group D:
Ukraine vs Sweden (2:1)
Olympiyskiy Stadium, Kiev.

The Ukrainian announcer made the arrival of the Sweden football team sound something like an Eurovision Song Contest introduction.

The first-half was about as exciting as the second-half of the Bore Draw in Donetsk.

Half-time: Ukraine 0 – Sweden 0

The game really sprang to life in the second half.

You might not like his hair and he might not sound very Swedish but he does what he’s paid to do; get in position and score.

The World United Through Football Ukraine 0 – Sweden 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic made Ukraine pay for some poor defending in the 53rd minute when a failed clearance allowed Kim Kallstrom to lay on a simple tap-in.

The World United Through Football Ukraine 1 – Sweden 1
The hosts didn’t take long to reply; Andriy Shevchenko diving in to head the equaliser, just three minutes later.

The World United Through Football Ukraine 2 – Sweden 1
Then with little more than an hour gone, Andriy Shevchenko was at the front post to head in a corner and send the Ukrainian supporters wild.

Sweden tried to rescue a point in the final minutes of the game but it was Shevchenko who received the ovation as Ukraine finished the day on top of the group.

Final Score: Ukraine 2 – Sweden 1


Travel to Ukraine
12-Andriy Pyatov; 3-Yevhen Khacheridi, 17-Taras Mikhalik, 2-Yevgen Selin, 9-Oleg Gusev; 18-Serhiy Nazarenko, 4-Anatoliy Tymoschuk, 19-Evgeni Konoplyanka, 11-Andriy Yarmolenko; 7-Andriy Shevchenko, 10-Andriy Voronin.

Travel to Sweden
1-Andreas Isaksson; 4-Andreas Granqvist, 3-Olof Mellberg, 5-Martin Olsson, 2-Mikael Lustig; 9-Kim Kallstrom, 6-Rasmus Elm, 20-Ola Toivonen, 7-Sebastian Larsson; 22-Markus Rosenberg, 10-Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Euro 2012, Match Reports, Sweden, Ukraine | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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