Wednesday, 22 June 2016

First Stage ends tonight Group E, F

There are a number of issues to look at as the final two groups come to an end and brings down the curtain on the first part of the tournament. 
In the early games, we have the to date disappointing, Portugal against Hungary and Iceland who will face Austria.
This will be followed by Belgium against Sweden along with the battle of two of the holiest nations in the competition. Italy verses the Republic of Ireland.

As real football fans know, Christiano Ronaldo is a very skillful footballer who, unless you happen to be a fan of Man United or Real Madrid, nobody likes. Perhaps they are jealous of his undoubted ability, his good looks (both female and male fans), I don't know what it is but he manages to annoy the rest of the world just by breathing. 
During the last game, one of the themes trending on twitter was #RonaldoTears and football fans around the world were united in their amusement at the sight of Ronaldo in a pout.

In his club teams, Ronaldo is usually surrounded by a plethora of other talented players, so if he has an off night, there is someone else who can pick up the slack, but when he plays for Portugal this is not the case. 
I don't use a lot of statistics in this blog, but this one is interesting.  Iceland as a team have only managed twelve shots and Hungary have mustered eighteen, each converting those shots into goals on two occasions.
Ronaldo alone, has had twenty shots on goal including a missed penalty (enjoy the link) without scoring. 
I don't know if the goal disallowed for offside was also included in the stats.

Ronaldo penalty miss

As I wrote yesterday the theme we would be revisiting has a chance to rear its ugly head again. Due to the format, a draw for Portugal will be enough for them to advance. Results last night ensured that Hungary have assured themselves of qualification so there is no pressure on them.

Iceland take on Austria in the other game. As with the Turkey Czech game yesterday, at least we have one team who needs to win. The disappointing Austrians must win to have any chance to go through, remarkably a draw for Iceland would see them continue onwards. In fact if both games are drawn, Iceland could finish above Portugal with both teams carrying on.

On to the last two games of the first round.
The Southern Irish must be hoping that the Northern Irish didn't use all of the fabled Irish luck in their heroic one nil loss to Germany yesterday. 
The Northern Irish goal led a charmed life. It was though there was a line of Faeries who had a weaved a web of magic protection and imbued the goalkeeper with superpower abilities. 
In WWI it was the so called angel of Mons who repelled the German attacks, yesterday it was Micheal McGovern who achieved angelic status. Below is a link to just one of his saves, when Thomas "Panzer" Muller is bearing down on you, the odds on survival are not good.

McGovern repels Muller

The Republic must win to go through, normally they would rely on two things, a blessing from the Pope and the luck of the Irish. Well as I wrote, they have to hope the luck hasn't been used up and as for the pope, we all know where he lives, perhaps a conflict of interest. 
Also as he is the first South American born pontiff, he is directing all his blessings in the direction of his beloved Argentina who have just reached the Copa America final with a four nothing demolition of the United States.
But getting back to the matter in hand, this is Ireland's best opportunity to spring a surprise, the Italians already are through and even know that they will be playing Spain in the next round. They will line up with very much a reserve side, the question is, even given all this, are the Irish good enough? I fear not.

The recent terror attacks that took place in Brussels and Paris, mean that the Belgians have a heightened threat sense in operation. They know they will be under attack from the get go as Sweden like Ireland have to win. 
The Belgians have lists of people of certain ancestry who need to be closely watched and policed. In a similar vein, they know that against Sweden, the main threat will come from one Zlatan Ibrahimovic., the biggest current worry to Belgian security. 
They should, however, have the necessary know how to neutralise this threat in a footballing sense of course and thus stifle Sweden who don't have much else to offer.

Belgium to join Italy in the last 16 and Sweden and Ireland to go home.

Tomorrow, we shall review the tournament so far.

1 comment:

  1. 3-3 was a huge surpise.

    and iceland winning 2-1 was wonderful. sort of reminds you of israel.

    or not