Euros 2012 Matchday 2 Comments Post

Today, first games of the Group of Death:

Denmark vs. Netherlands @ 12:00 pm EST

Will our Afellay be the man of the match again?

Portugal vs. Germany @ 2:45 pm EST

Is this German team strong enough to put a Ronaldo-led Portugal in it’s place? (Yes!)


By blitzen

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. Damn, Blitzen hectored me. Here is what I wrote in response to the last post.

    Sorry Kxevin, but this article seems to have lot’s of “truthiness” to it. Truthiness, according to Steven Colbert, are facts derived from the “gut”, regardless of what the real facts,evidence, logic or stats are. It seems as if this piece is about that, because the numbers don’t add up.

    The numbers do suggest Messi covers more ground than most other forwards with almost half his production levels, assists more, completes almost twice as many passes and assists more than even the best midfielders in the world who happen to be his teammates! This last one is particularly astounding, given that he scored 73 goals, which means someone has to be getting lots of assist credits in his team.

    I don’t get your premise that because Messi got 73 goals, that means someone else had to get less. WHAT? I didnt know there is a quota of how many goals the team could score in a game. Because thats the only way that concept makes sense. Thats Truthiness. Because if you look at the evidence, Messi was playing with forwards called Cuenca, Tello, Alexis, an off form Pedro, and an injured (and unsuited for the system) Villa. The former 3 can never be considered great strikers. They are good ball handlers who also happen to score goals. Eto’o and Henry were good strikers who also happened to pass the ball. It is not Messi’s fault if he passes to people who can’t complete the move.

    Again, if you look at the numbers, Ronaldo took almost 100 more shots at goal than Messi, to score 15 less goals(minus spot/free kicks). Great set ups by his teammates for what were essentially tap-ins really helped his stats(not deminishing his production, but it’s true most of his long distance shots were useless). Yet, all this did not stop Benzema and Higuain from getting their goals.

    Insinuating that we lost because of Messi’s great numbers is such a stretch, I almost invested in indiana plastics because of how much elastic you must have purchased from them to write that! Ok, I’ll give you the two missed penalties which were crucial, but that was more because of his penchance for going to the goalies left plus his determination to score pretty and slow penalties than because he scored soo many goals.

    I agree with the idea that Messi not resting as a problem. But that’s not Messi’s problem. It was Guardiola’s. As a coach, YOU WANT ALL PLAYERS TO WANT TO PLAY ALL THE TIME. Because a player that is content to sit on the bench or even offers not to play is the bigger concern. So players wanting to play is a great thing, it is then up to the coach to channel that energy and frustration of not playing in the right direction.

    If you werent a Barcelona fan, I would have considered this article a hatchet job of fox news magnitude, but because you are a fan, I think it’s a piece from someone trying to grasp the magnitude of what Messi is doing. It’s like the people who say “Messi scores alot, but he is not a complete player because he doesn’t use his right foot and head”, or that “he doesn’t win with Argentina.”

    My advice is to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Messi is doing things beyond comprehension. Beyond our wildest imaginations (In 2007, I predicted Messi would have to average 30 goals a season in his prime to become great!) If Barcelona ever fall back to earth, it won’t be because Messi is a problem.

    BTW, Messi shows frustrations because teammates didn’t make the right play and opted for a really bad option,and not because he wants them to only pass to him, which is completely ok. Messi usually makes two or three selfish runs a game, and if someone should try those, then it should be Messi. He is capable. If you think thats bad, watch Ronaldo, Sturridge, Robben, and a few others with half his talent.

    One more thing, Pippen and Wade were/are stars. What both have in common is that they tailored their games to suit their superstar teammates strengths in order for the team to function. Ironically, this is what you want Messi to do, yet you chastise these two for doing exactly that. To borrow from the vast vocabulary of many teenagers around here…WTF?!?!

    1. The idea was that people could still comment on Kxevin’s article while chatting about the Euros games in this thread.

    2. Read it again. The question is balance. Simple as that. Did we lose because Messi scored too much? No. It was a question of balance. That is the point.

      The Pippen/Wade comment comes from left field. So I’ll leave it. The article was ALL speculation. You bet. The intention was to inspire debate. I actually expected more people to misread it and consider it a hatchet job. But the intention was clear, and clearly stated.

      They are, simply put, my speculations and observations. No facts other than the club having its greatest success when the scoring was most balanced. It isn’t totals. It’s balance.

  2. Yay!!!

    Anyone supporting Oranje today?

    Dutch starting lineup: Stekelenburg – VanderWiel Heitinga Vlaar Willems – VanBommel DeJong – Robben Sneijder Afellay – Van Persie

    Line-up Denmark (vs Netherlands): Andersen – Jacobsen Kjaer Agger Poulsen – Rommedahl Kvist Eriksen Zimling Krohn-Dehli – Bendtner
    (via @barcastuff)

    I’ll keep an eye on Eriksen and rooting for Afellay 😀

    Hup Holland Hup!

    1. I guess I’m supporting the Dutch, although I’m still pissed that DeJong is playing. I hope Afellay is the star of the game.

  3. Thanks for this Blitz, any streams (haven’t upgraded my Jazeera subscription yet)
    Flyboy is starting, wearing no. 20 Jersey lets see how ready is he.

  4. Watching Argentina playing last game, warmed my heart. I think that team has turned the corner. They now accept that Messi is the star, and the focal point. They seek him out now, and when he passes the ball to them, he gets it back. Prior to that, Tevez, Higuain and Dimaria were particularly selfish. If Messi passed to them, he never got it back. They just took impossible shots 35 yards out, when Messi’s whole game is based on getting closer to goal. Even their celebrations, where they would go to hug messi first even though he wasn’t the one who assisted was encouraging. They accept and admire him now.

  5. Dang it! I hate my commentator for bashing possession game. Holland better win this freaking game.

    Dutch defense looks so shaky! They kinda remind me of Barca a little bit.

    1. Holland’s possesion game was much better before MvB became their coach, actually.
      It’s not comparabale to Spain’s or Barca’s nowadays.

      Anyway, the main problem of NL is their defence. Mathijsen available or not, it will be nearly impossible to reach the final with such a defense. Even against Denmark, they all pushed back and did not put any pressure on the opponent with the ball. I suppose Germany could once again have it easy against them (as they did in the recently friendly between the two).
      But even if NL turns this around, I don’t see them winning the Euro.

      For many pundits, they are still 3rd in the list of favourites.

      I think France has overtaken the Netherlands (don’t make me eat my words, les Bleus, by losing the first group match against ‘we’ll play like Chelsea’ England).

    1. C’mon, give the Danes some credit.

      This is not anti-football at all, if you compare it to Chelsea.

      They had 4 attempts on target in the first half, and faaar more possession then Chelsea’s < 20% !
      They've had 4 or 5 players right at the box of NL several times. How much did Chelsea do that against us or Bayern???

    2. Ya I know, its just that I have lots of dutch players on my euro fantasy team! haha

  6. First half rant:

    Dutch defense gives me too many near attack moments. And what’s the point of having two holding midfielders in van Bommel and de Jong if they can’t do a decent job protecting the backline? Their full-backs are very weak defensively.

    So many chances, but no luck. I think Robben jinxes that team.

    1. Robben was extremely selfish. NED would have had a goal if he had passed that ball instead of taking the shot himself. And Sneijder has been very quiet.

    2. Sneijder is the only creator in the middle b/c van Bommel and de Jong can’t offer much in attack. If the scoreline remains the same in the second half, I’d sub in van der vaart for de Jong about 10 mins in. And maybe Huntelaar will save the day 🙂

    3. I thought they should have kept Affelay in, he has looked better than Van Persie and Robben imo. But Huntelaar and Van der Vaart in now.

  7. Wow Huntelaar should have scored there. They’ve got no one to blame if they lose this, had some great chances so far.

  8. Denmark doesn’t park the bus. It’s just that Holland is so unlucky in front of goal. Their attack is very individualistic.

  9. Hmm, not many comments here. Everyone seems to be on twitter, I guess.

    Dunno if Kxevin is watching, but Van der Wiel isn’t exactly playing well.

    1. Yup VdW didn’t have a great match. I wouldn’t be lining up to sign him with Montoya waiting in the wings.

    2. Compare VdW w/Max Hummels 1st Euro’s game. He was MOTM for me. He decdied, “You Shall Not Pass!”

  10. That was disappointing. Hopefully, Germany will cheer me up a little.
    Just feel bad for Robben. He’s been on an unlucky streak for too long. This was a must-win game for them and they blew it. Overall, the whole team just didn’t play cohesively. Watching this game makes me appreciate the way Barca play. We rarely lose our composure.

    p.s. Michael Ballack sucks at commentating.

    1. Robben looks like he plays with blinders on. I thought the team panicked due to the pressure of the group after going down, which was the reason they lost cohesion in their play.

  11. @barcastuff
    Barcelona are keeping an eye on Lazio forward Miroslav Klose (34) and have expressed their interest in the Poland-born player. [bild]

    Yes please.

    1. Really? In my mind, Klose doesn’t age. First time I saw him play was S.Korea/Japan world cup. I’m getting older and he’s still playing!

      Gomez starts for this game. Let’s see how many chances, GER will miss.

  12. Germany v. Portugal:

    Portugal: 12-Rui Patricio; 21-Joao Pereira, 2-Bruno Alves, 3-Pepe, 5-Fabio Coentrao; 16-Raul Meireles, 4-Miguel Veloso, 8-Joao Moutinho; 17-Nani, 23-Helder Postiga, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Germany: 1-Manuel Neuer; 20-Jerome Boateng, 14-Holger Badstuber, 5-Mats Hummels, 16-Philipp Lahm; 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 6-Sami Khedira, 13-Thomas Mueller, 8-Mesut Ozil; 10-Lukas Podolski, 23-Mario Gomez. (source: Guardian)

    This is a lonely space; come on people, show some CR-hate 😀

    1. Don’t worry, at the bar I was at everyone booed whenever TB showed up on the TV 🙂

  13. Denmark didn’t park the bus.

    Spain won the world cup after losing the first match.

    Yes to Klose. 4 years ago it was Luca Toni.

    1. Count me as happy the Dutch lost. Still haven’t forgiven them for that first half in the WC final. Just trying to figure out who I want to lose more in this next one. . . . .Ok, made up my mind. I want CR7 to go down so i can see that face crumpled again.

  14. Messi with two goals in 2 minutes for argentina!!!
    They’r beating brazil 2-1

  15. Arg. v. Brazil:

    Highlight: King Leo scored a hattrick!
    Lowlight: Lavezzi grabbed Marcelo’s hair

    Ger. v. Portugal:

    Not really a good game. I thought a draw would have been more fair.
    Portugal had some decent chances toward the end, and for a moment I felt bad for them, then they showed a shot of Mou and Mendes(?) 🙁

    Argentina v. Brazil was so much more entertaining to watch than Germany v. Portugal.

    TIL: Argentina defense + Netherlands defense = solid defense?

  16. Argentina won a nice friendly. It had everything. Messi took his goals beautifully and the last was really superb. Argie defense is crap though. Not being able to defend freekicks, incoherent midfield. They do have fantastic attack. If nothing changes, they reach nowhere in 2014.

    Sad about Holland. It was just first match though. The group is really shaping up nicely.

  17. i guess CR thought at Euro he will escape any more Messi comparisons … and just so it happens that Messi has a hat-trick against Brazil :))

    1. Also, Germany fans taunted him with ‘Messi, Messi, Messi’ chants in front of the hotel, and reportedly also during the match.
      The whistles against CR were much louder than Messi chants, so I couldn’t hear them. Anyway, it seems to be independent of the place, the kind of match or team CR is playing for, he always gets jeered. Admittedly that must be some tough feeling in the long term.

    2. CR is a bad leader. Soon after the final whistle, he walked of the pitch without a hand shake to the opposing team or even acknowledging any of his team mates for a good job despite losing, even Pepe stayed on.
      Also, why the hell did he play with one leg of his pant shorter than the other? Was he wanting to show some leg, lol?:).

  18. I can’t believe we weren’t linked with Hummels for the CB position. He makes me go weak in the knees performed brilliantly out there against Portugal.

    Oh nevermind. On further stalking research, it appears that he has signed a 5 year extension with Dortmund.

    Hmmph. Now where be those Hector Pills?

    1. Not only his defense, also the way he orchestrates attack from the back is superb. He’s showing that in Dortmund every playday.
      Him and Pique could have developed to a legendary CB pair, but Hummels has prolonged his contract to 2017. Plus even now, Barca does not seem to be interested, although Hummels is way younger, from my point of view already equally good, and still cheaper than Thiago Silva -.-

    2. Hummels cheaper than Thiago Silva? No way. Not only would it have taken 40M to convince Dortmund to sell before, and a huge contract to lure a very committed Hummels, it is not virtually impossible after his contract extension. Hummels isn’t a secret – the whole of Europe realizes he is a fantastic CB. But nobody is interested because they know it’s pointless. He isn’t moving. He is at Dortmund for the long term.

    1. Fail on fail. Some mod please put me out of my misery and please please delete a couple of my posts..

    1. I attended the match. In short, Argentina’s midfield and defense was poor. Lack of synchronization, mistiming, failed dribbles by di maria… you get the picture. All of Brazil’s goal came from major defensive errors. Any world class team would score 3-4 goals against this defense. Messi was not getting the ball for quite some time in the beginning. Then he scored two goals within 4-5 minutes. Brazil’s defense was playing a bit high, Messi received the ball and beat the defenders with pace and scored. Typical goal for a number 9 I guess. But imagine watching it sitting right behind the goal post. Watching him running with the ball and beating the keeper was f*ing amazing :D. Somehow I knew what Messi was going to do when he received the ball for the third goal. He has either done it or tried it many times for barca. But that didn’t make the third goal any less spectacular. The whole stadium went crazy 🙂

      Oh there was another kid named Neymar. People gasped when he received the ball or tried to dribble. A blind-folded messi would play better than him :P.

    2. Yeah, I know what you mean for the 3rd goal. He made that run in the game a few times w/little results. However, I think he set them up b/c if you watch the earlier runs he prolonged them and kept the ball a little longer. During his run for the 3rd goal he unleashed his FURY early and the defense was hopeless(as was the keeper) to just watch! 🙂 I loved the 2nd goal as well. A neat 1-2 twice with Higuain. I didn’t think Di Maria looked all that bad from some comments I’ve seen above. He needs to be a little quicker with his decision making, but that will come. Both defenses were poor. Arg should have won 4-2 or even 4-1. Arg keeper entirely responsible for at least 3rd Brazil goal.

  19. I’m so happy to wake up and read that Messi scored a hattrick, against Brazil!

  20. Afellay looked good. For whatever reason, people will insist that Cuenca and/or Tello are keepers more than Afellay. I disagree. If Afellay were from La Masia, people would be sliding off their chairs in ecstasy.

    Van der Wiel has fallen to Earth. It happens. Denmark played a hell of a match, but Robben and Van Persie were also festering crap. And Portugal lost. Joy.

    Good tournament so far. If Spain is remotely on form, though, they will walk this tournament.

    1. I agree, I think Afellay has all the best attributes of Cuenca and Tello + versatility. I am very excited to see him next season. I think the way he has been playing for his NT will persuade us to hold onto and play him ahead of either of those two.

      I was surprised to see Van Persie play so terribly, though not so surprised about Robben. Van Persie was such a clinical finisher for Arsenal. Huntelaar also missed a golden opportunity as well.

      I think every team in that group is feeling tremendous pressure except perhaps Denmark, which to me does a lot to explain the form of the teams that played today.

    2. For me Afellay looked a bit lacking in confidence/sharpness, a lot of the time he’d look to give the ball straight back to Sneijder (though that wasn’t helped by the lack of options, 2 midfield destroyers seemed a bit unnecessary), ironically enough reminded me of Cuenca in that sense – albeit 5 years older despite the babyface…

  21. And that third Messi goal had every manager alive saying “See? That’s why you foul him.” The GolTV announcing reached an absolute nadir with Juan Arango’s “thank you God” blubbering.

    The thing about Ray Ray is his hysterics are balanced with normal announcing. Arango is all hysterics, all the time, and he would probably give my name an accent. “Keh-veen!”

    1. “… he would probably give my name an accent. “Keh-veen!”

      LOL. Funny because it’s true.

    2. Well, there was a situation when Messi was fouled, right before the penalty box, otherwise he’d have scored two such goals. I guess it was Danilo with a very late challenge, I was already about to scream ‘goooooooooooooooool’ ^^
      [didn’t watch it live, I downloaded it and watched it after Germany-Portugal]

    1. Me too! If Spain win this tourney, they’ll be tied with Germany for most Euros championships!

  22. I was at the Argentina v Brazil match as well. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the unpredictable game. Messi’s third goal was breathtaking and seeing it live was something I won’t soon forget. After leaving Marcelo in the dust it seemed like 2 seconds before the ball was in the back of the net. Unbelievable speed and acceleration. I posted some photos here:

  23. Re GER vs POR – I agree, it would be mentally distracted for CR7 to be booed and fans chanted “Messi, messi, messi” everytime he touched the ball. It’s EURO and Messi is not even particapated in this tourney. Hypotetically, majority or big chunk of neutral fans hate CR7. The damage of his public image is pretty significant. Poor Ronaldo, sometimes I think those people are too harsh to him. 🙂

    1. But sometimes I think he deserves it.

      He didn’t even stay on after the final whistle to shake hands or wave tp the Portuguese crowd.

  24. Nzm, add this to your list of record/achievements of Messi.
    First player in 30 years to score a hattrick vs. Brazil.

    That said, if I were an Argie fan, I wouldn’t be so happy. That was an under 23 team going to the Olympics and the average age is less than 22.

    1. First player from any team to score a hattrick against Brazil or just from Argentina? 🙂

    2. From any team 🙂

      ‏From twitter, @barcastuff: Messi is first player since Italy’s Paolo Rossi in 1982 to score a hat-trick against Brazil #fcblive 9th in history [via @2010misterchip]

  25. That kid with ∞-10 potential is now the 4th highest scorer for his country. 9 behind Crespo, which means he is most probably going to 14’WC being the 2nd highest ever scorer for ARG.

    And some golazo to wrap up the season in style- Best moment of this Eurocup so far 😛

    And some way to overshadow (+ feed some trolls) Euro12, group of death (more like you get bored to death from watching the spectacle), GER-manymilestogobeforetheybeatSpain, PORQUEgal, BrazILL, Neymar, Pele, EE {to be precise CR, pepe, Marcelo (had to put these special guys in braces cause they asked for it…and of course with JM-special-who too for his lifelong quest to seek attention-seeker’s-stone)}, Roland Garros(?) and etc- All in a day playing a friendly (?) match.

    Before there was just solar and lunar eclipses. Then came Messicplise 🙂 Heck the dude would go on to even eclipse his own “selves”. Say, 3-4 years from now we’d argue about which Messi was better/greatest of all time. Was it the 08/09 sextuple one? or the record breaking 11/12? or was it the WC+sextuple winning one of the 13/14 season?
    Pele (whose words never fails to speak louder than his thousand goals!) would obviously pick the latest Messi based on the goal tally schemes.

    1. I’m waiting for Pele to come out and say that the Argentina of today is like HIS Brazil of yesteryear.

      Just like he did when comparing the Barca of today with HIS Santos.


    2. HIStory is for fools!

      Having said that, the Santos comparison was a gem from HIS highness. Comparison with ARG? – good one nzm.

      On another narrative, even if ARG wins 14’WC, Pele would have the necessary audacity to say HIS 58’WC team was way better than any ARG team (even an all-star team) that ever won anything. HIS argument would be that HIS ’58 team won it in Europe, unlike ARG. Some journalist may remind him that he never played competitive club football in Europe + Spain did it in Africa, but then HE would show them a holy paper, written by HIS highness HIMself, and point to a highlighted segment with HIS middle finger! which says:

      * Criteria to be the greatest player -> Score 1000 odd goals/ 1 more than Pele to be precise. When that happens recount HIS own goals hoping for an increment. If no increment, then look if the nominated player has won three WCs. If yes, then …… (under construction)

      * Criteria to be the greatest NT team ->
      Win outside your continent (not just any continent).
      If South American, then must win in Europe.
      If European, then must do it in South America (preferably Brazil)

      * Criteria to be the greatest club side -> Based on whatever Barca have not yet accomplished!

  26. Spain lineup via @barcastuff:

    Line-up ESP (official, vs ITA): Casillas – Arbeloa Ramos Pique Alba – X.Alonso Busquets – Silva Xavi Iniesta – Cesc

    False 9 and no width?

    1. I think del Bosque’s thinking is that Italy under Prandelli will not park the bus. So having Xabi and Busquets will protect that back line while having vertical pass options to the forwards (except Spain has midgets playing up front).

      If they are behind, Alonso will come off, a real striker will be subbed in. Pedro or most likely Navas will be introduced if width is a problem.

      Someone said something the other day about del Bosque using RM model 4-2-3-1 but playing mostly with Barca players, which tends to reduce both the effectiveness of the system and the players.

    2. Italy lineup via @barcastuff:

      Buffon – Bonucci DeRossi Chiellini – Maggio Motta Pirlo Marchisio Giaccherini – Cassano Balotelli

      I guess we’ll see Barca tiki-taka v. Juventus 3-5-2? de Rossi plays at the back a la J. Martinez style. Xavi v. Pirlo 🙂

      I’m happy that Cesc starts. Hopefully, he’ll have his scoring boots on this time around.

    3. So quiet! Come on people, stop lurking 🙂 I know you all hate double pivot 😀

      One last thing, so many midfielders.
      Spain has 6 midfielders (or if you count Pique and Alba as passers, that is 8). Italy has 4 (But I’m assuming that Maggio and Giaccherini can pass, so that is 6).

    4. Wow, he isn’t using Torres! Looks like Iniesta is back to his LW position though…yay…

  27. In Spain-Italy, Iniesta is incredible. He’s going to score or assist – or both – before the game’s over.

    1. You’d be right if Torres had finished off his chances! So nice to see Iniesta in good form. He just bosses the field.

  28. First half:

    Cesc and Iniesta were the sparks for Spain. Del Bosque has to put in Navas(Pedro) and Llorente. I would take out Silva for Pedro. Alonso for Llorente.

    I actually like the double pivot in this game. Cesc had a good half, Silva was kinda disappointing.

  29. Sigh…it was a really good game, but I felt that Spain underachieved with the amount of talent they had. There were some lovely passes and great defending.

    I don’t understand del Bosque sometimes. He knew that his team didn’t have width or vertical penetration and still insisted on playing a lot of passers.

    Cesc and Iniesta played really well. Busi and Xavi were their usual self. Although, it was a bit odd to see so many misplaced passes.

    Next game, just add width from the beginning with Pedro or Navas and a focal point in Torres or Llorente.

  30. Bad finishing from Torres. Should have scored two goals (or one goal plus given an assist).

    I hope Llorente starts next match!

  31. June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    Bad finishing from Torres. Should have scored two goals (or one goal plus given an assist).

    I hope Llorente starts next match

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