It's been a sucessful first three rounds for the virtual Euro 2008 and as long as the comments and praise keep coming, expect fireworks in many future games. Today Group D takes the spotlight.
Today's fixtures see Spain meet Russia and Sweden against champions Greece. In reality Villa lit up the tournament and Greece...well didn't. However all reality goes out the window when Euro 2008 goes virtual.
Spain v Russia:
The Spanish meet a young energetic Russian side who have pace to burn. However while the Spanish are at full strength, the KCOEF (Kaveh Commitee Of European Football) has decided to ban Arshavin as he was actually serving a suspension at the time. Controversy but it stands.
The Russians however don't seem to miss him and begin to attack with Roman Pavlyuchenko getting the better of Puyol but firing over. Zhrikov goes extremely close with a free kick but then the game quietens down and it remains 0-0 until the break.
Luis Garcia is on for the injured Torres and begins to strike a partnership with Villa. Both begin to get good touches and the latter hits the post. The Russians are not out of this however and Semak draws a good save from Casilas.
Just as the game looks set to be finishing as a stalemate, Spain win a corner. Silva swings it in and Ramos heads it down, the strike from Garcia rebounds to the edge of the box. Cue Fabregas who hammers the ball home first time for a priceless three points on 92 minutes. 1-0
Greece v Sweden:
This is the clash that will tell if virtually the Greeks can hold on to their trophy. The Swedes with Ibrahimovich and Larsson up front will cause panic in the holder's defence.
There is a great atmosphere among the Greek supporters who rally behing their team as Sweden go close on many occasions. Ljunberg and S.Larsson are pulling the strings in midfield. Its very tidy and attractive but they can't break the Greek defence down.
Just as the game goes into a lull before half time, Charisteas hits a sublime volley from 10 yards and instead they take a 1-0 lead on 44 minutes.
After half time Gekas goes close but that will be the last chance for the Greeks for a while as Sweden take control. Ljunberg still can't find holes but it's set plays where Sweden are dangerous. They win a free kick out wide and Svenson curls it onto Elmander's head and it's 1-1.
Elmander is suddenly running riot here causing chance after chance and mistakes galore in the Greek defence. Ljunberg's delightful through ball sends the Toulouse man through and his chip looks certain to be a goal but the post intervenes.
However seconds later the ball is placed in behind the defence by Ibrahimovic and who else but Elmander is there to finish on 78 minutes. 2-1. That is how it finishes but both sides will fancy Russia so it ain't over for Greece (virtually that is)
Here Spain look capable of better while Sweden could go along way with the triumvirate of Elmander, Larsson and Ibrahimovic.
Round 1 is over and Croatia, Portugal, France and Italy have all looked impressive but many teams like Holland and Germany must step it up if they are to qualify for the knockout stages never mind win the cup.
Round 2 begins with Matchday 5 set to be explosive, Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic and Switzerland return to the arena to either qualify or will their virtual Euro dream end in tears? Find out tomorrow.
Who has impressed YOU in Round 1?
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