Sunday, 10 June 2012
Holy Sunday Group C Begins
A quick review of what has gone by so far, my group of boredom provided two goals, two red cards a missed penalty and a disallowed goal in the first game and five goals in the second game. The Czechs must have felt the Red Army rolling over them again in a comprehensive defeat. Group B, well that is why it is labeled the Group of Death, who gave the Danes a chance, granted the Dutch were profligate, but well done Denmark. As to the last game, it can be summed up thus, another example of Germany efficiency on the Eastern Front. Two out of four so far, in the prediction game. So to today’s games, Group C, which as I said stands for Catholic, also could be considered a group of death, has given us a modern version of the trinity. Italy, home of the Pope, being “the father” (or maybe godfather, as we shall see). Spain, the home of the inquisition, being “the son”. Ireland, too much Guinness, making them “the Holy Ghost”. What I hear you say about the 4th team in the group Croatia. They should be thought of as the pre-pubescent altar boy, they will probably spend most of their time coming from behind the bog boys in the group. The first game today serves up the reigning World and European champions Spain against Italy, a team that like Germany who usually performs well in big tournaments. This time however, both teams are under some pressure. Italian football has been racked by match fixing scandals over the past few years. Juventus, Italian domestic giants were relegated 2 divisions for alleged match fixing, although it only took them 3 years to come back to being Italian champions. A new scandal erupted a few weeks ago, which prompted the Italian Prime Minister to suggest perhaps suspending Italian football for say 3 years to sweep clean. Some of the players in the squad are under investigation and we should hope that this won’t affect their performance. The thought of the concrete boots awaiting them if they break Omerta (the mafia code of silence) must and pardon the pun weigh heavy on their minds. All is not rosy in the Spanish Garden either, the fact that they are champions does not paper over the large fissures in the squad between the players from Barcelona and Real Madrid, to say that they do not get on would be an understatement in the extreme. It is a testimony to the skills of the manager, Vincent Del Bosque, that he was been able to produce such a good side. Spain have been hit by injuries to two of their most influential players, Shaggy from Scooby Doo better known as Carlos Puyol, the rock of the Spanish defence and David Villa the focal point of the Spanish attack. Mr. Del Bosque who with his droopy moustache and hang dog look never looks happy is turning to another one of the fiercely independent Spanish Regions, the Basques. Watch out for Llorente the Spanish striker, he scored some amazing goals this year for his club team Bilbao. Have to go with the Spanish here. This leaves us with Ireland against Croatia. This is a very difficult game to predict, the Irish under their Italian manager have a very stingy defence and Croatia was very lucky to qualify for the tournament in the first place. I think the Irish exuberance will send their fans home happy in this one. Tomorrow we look at Group D which will bring us England against France and Sweden verses Ukraine.