European Championship 2012 Overall Review 1
So at the end of another tournament it was Spain who were once again smiling as they lifted their second consecutive European Championship major trophy and3rd major trophy in 4 years including the 2010 World cup.
But what of the other countries who took part and of the tournament as a whole. Did it have a lot to offer. Were there enough quality sides?
There were certainly a lot of good games with most sides prepared to have a go and not just defend constantly. There were therefore very few terrible games but probably no truly outstanding matches either.
But there were some really good teams and some great players in the finals. Some who have been around a while. Others new to this level.
There were 8 teams knocked out after the group stages. For some this stage was probably a great achievement, while for others it would be a major letdown to go out now.
POLAND kicked off the tournament against Greece and in front of their own fans looked a really good attacking team. They took an early lead and had chances to score more in the first half but couldn’t take them. In the second half Greece dominated and the game finished 1-1. This was the way Polands games went. They attacked constantly but didn’t have the finesse to take their chances. Seemed to only have the energy for 45 minutes playing this energetic way before really tiring. Went out after 2 draws and a defeat. With their attacking style it would have been good to have seen them in the knock out stages.
RUSSIA really threw away what should have been certain qualification. They beat CzechRepublic 4-1 in the first game and a victory in the 2nd game, against Poland would have seen them become the first side through. But after leading at halftime Poland came back in the 2nd half and the game finished 1-1. They would still have qualified from their group by drawing with Greece but despite having most of the possession and plenty of chances it was Greece who scored with one of their few attacks and won 1-0. Russia were out with a real feeling of what might have been.
DENMARK were always up against it as they were drawn in a very difficult group but they can regard themselves as very unfortunate. They tried to defend in numbers but break with real purpose. They beat Holland 1-0 in the first game and then went down 3-2 to Portugal and 2-1 to Germany and both winning goals were scored in the last few minutes of these games. They had played well and there remains a thought that they could well have qualified if they had an easier group.
HOLLAND were one of the big favourites for the tournament but badly misfired. A few of their players just didn’t seem to offer anything at all to the team. They created loads of chances against Denmark but still lost 1-0. It was the same story against Germany. Missed a lot of chances. Made mistakes in defence and lost 2-1. Despite losing their first 2 games they could still qualify by beating Portugal. They took the lead but Portugal came back to win 2-1. A lot of people questioned the desire and teamwork coming from the Dutch as they should have certainly done a lot better.
CROATIA, like the Danes are another team to count themselves as unfortunate. In another group they may well have qualified comfortably as they certainly played well against quality sides. They beat Ireland 3-1 before drawing with Italy. In the last game a victory over Spain would have seen them go through and they had chances against an under performing Spanish team but it was Spain who were to score the only goal in the last few minutes.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND came into their first Euros since 1988 with hopes of doing well. They were on a long unbeaten run and hadn’t been conceding many goals but that all changed right away. Against Croatia they were a goal down in the first few minutes and although they equalised Croatia scored just before and just after half time from bad defensive errors and Croatia won easily. They then conceded early again against Spain and went on to lose 4-0 before losing 2-0 to Italy. This was one of the worst records of a team competing at the European Championships and they certainly played very poorly throughout.
UKRAINE got great backing from their fans and won their first game 2-1 against Sweden despite going behind. In the second game they played poorly to lose 2-0 to France and then in their last game they had to beat England to qualify. They gave a really good effort and created chances but were unable to take them. England scored the only goal just after half time but even then Ukraine could still have got back into the match as a shot had crossed the line but no goal was given.
SWEDEN were a disappointment. They went down in their first 2 games 2-1 to Ukraine and 3-2 to England and even though they were leading in both they never seemed really comfortable. Ibrahimovic seemed to want to take on 3 or 4 defenders so many times in these games even when there were players unmarked and in good positions.
He and the team came good in the last game against France but only after it was too late. Sweden were already out but played really well and won 2-0 and Ibrahimovic’s goal was possibly goal of the tournament.
- European Championship 2012 Overall Review 2
For the second part of this review just click on this link.