Euro 2008: Round One Wrap-Up
Things are far from being determined in each of the groups in the Euro 2008 tournament.
Rankings will change, and it is no time for leading teams to get arrogant. But if the group stage was to end today, here's how the quarter and semi-finals would look:
The winner of Portugal/Croatia would play the winner of Germany/Czech Republic in the Group A & B match-ups.
The winner of Netherlands/Sweden would play the winner of Spain/France or Romania in the Group C & D match-ups.
Here are some highlights and lowlights from the first matches:
Who had the best individual performance?
David Villa, Spain—The striker lined up next to Fernando Torres and netted three in Spain's victory over Russia.
Who had the most impressive team performance?
The Netherlands—They had a few strokes of luck, but Ruud Van Nistleroy and his Dutch teammates scored three and kept a clean sheet against the world champion Italians.
Who had the best goal?
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden—Verse reigning European champs, Greece, Ibrahimović had a fantastic strike in the 67th minute. There have been prettier goals, but this one was the best because Ibrahimović had just missed a beautiful header earlier in the match, had taken a kick to the groin, and put his team ahead and ended a two and a half year international goal drought with this strike.
Which team gave the most disappointing performance?
The Italians. They couldn't catch a break, and I think lots of folks thought the Dutch would give a good performance. But a three to nil loss left us wondering if the world champions are headed towards an early exit from the tournament.
Who were the most missed men?
Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro (injury) and Russian strikers Andrei Arshavin (suspension) and Pavel Pogrebnyak (injury).
What was the most controversial call?
Ruud Van Nistelroy's goal verses the Italians.
With an Italian defender apparently injured after being knocked out of bounds by his own goalie, Ruud poached near the goal and chipped one in. But did the defender being out of bounds make Ruud on-side or off-side?
ESPN's analysts spent an afternoon debating the call. UEFA has publicly said that they support referee Peter Fröjdfeldt's call. The goal was the first for the Netherlands and added to the momentum of their three to nil win.
Which host team, Austria or Switzerland, has a better chance of making it to the quarterfinals?
What is the must see match up of Matchday two?
Stick with the group of death… Netherlands and France on Friday. The Dutch are in form and France will need to get at least a draw to stay towards the top of Group C.
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