Spain Wins Euro 2008

Euro 2008 came to a thrilling end yesterday as Spain walked away with a 1-0 victory over Germany and the Euro 2008 Championship. Spain was no doubt the best team in the tournament, outscoring their opponents 12 to 3. They had not given up a goal since their final group match versus Greece and defeated the surprising Russians twice by scores of 4-1 and 3-0. Even without leading goal scorer David Villa, the Spanish still defeated Germany. Fernando Torres notched the only goal of the game on a nice through-ball from Xavi. For Torres, the goal was only his second of tournament, but could not have come at a better time. Up until Sunday’s final, Torres had struggled throughout the whole Euro tournament, missing huge opportunitiesand blowing golden scoring chances, but he came through when it mattered most. Xavi, on the other hand, had an outstanding tournament and was named best player at Euro 2008 by UEFA technical experts.

For Germany, it was a gut-wrenching loss that makes it 12 years since they last won a major title. After winning a couple of games with well-timed goals and fortunate bounces, the Germans could not squeak out a win versus Spain. It took a massive free kick from captain Michael Ballack for Germany to beat Austria and advance past group play. In the quarterfinals, Portugal had twice as many shots on goal as Germany, had nearly three times as many corner kicks (8-3), and had possession 53% of the time, but could not find the back of the net. Germany escaped with a 3-2 win in that game even though they were thoroughly out played. Then in the semifinals, it took a 90th minute goal from Philip Lahm for Germany to edge Turkey 3-2 and advance to the finals. Unfortunately for Germany, their luck ran out against Spain. German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who had a couple of good free kicks and some nice goals in previous games, could do nothing in the final. He screwed up a couple of German set pieces by blasting the ball out of play and misreading his teammates on Germany’s few scoring chances. Continue reading “Spain Wins Euro 2008”

Euro 2008

Phew. What an incredible couple days of quarterfinal action. There were two overtime games, both of which had two goals scored during the extra time and one game went to a shootout. Let’s begin at the first quarterfinal match of the week, Portugal vs Germany, where Germany survived a furious final 10 minutes from the Portugese to win 3-2. The Germans were lead by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who scored a beautiful first goal and assisted on the next two. Schweinsteiger scored at the 22nd minute and Miroslav Klose scored just 4 minutes later to give the Germans a quick 2-0 advantage. Portugal rebounded right before the end of the first half, at the 41st minute, as captain Nuno Gomes fired a bouncing ball into the back of the net to get Portugal back into the game at halftime. However, Germany took a huge 3-1 advantage in the 62nd minute when star Michael Ballack headed one in. As Portugal’s Euro 2008 time ticked away, desperation set in and the Portugese were able to get one goal back off of a free kick with Helder Postiga heading a ball past German keeper Jens Lehmann to make the score 3-2, but it was not enough. Christiano Ronaldo and Portugal could not find that third goal in the final couple minutes of the game and Germany advanced on to the semifinals. Stats wise, Portugal outplayed Germany as they had twice as many shots on goal as the Germans  (10-5) and collected nearly three times as many corner kicks (8-3), but Lehmann held strong andGermany made good on their opportunities. An extremely entertaining game, the quarterfinals began with a bang, but the best was yet to come. Continue reading “Euro 2008”

Euro 2008 and World Cup Qualifying

If you haven’t been following soccer lately, then you have missed out on some great action:

Euro 2008 is in full swing as the Group Round finishes up tomorrow with two great matches, Russia vs Sweden and Greece vs Spain. Those four teams are in Group D, the fourth of four groups in Euro 2008. Spain has already guaranteed itself a spot in the quarterfinals and Greece has already been eliminated. If Sweden beats or ties Russia tomorrow, they advance, but if Russia wNew York Timesins, then they move on to the quarterfinals. If you don’t find a do-or-die game like that enticing, then you are not a sports fan.

That is just one of four groups in Euro 2008, though the other three have completed all their matches. In Group A, Portugal and Turkey advanced with 6 points each while Switzerland and the Czech Republic were sent home early. In a similar do-or-die game between the Czech Republic and Turkey earlier this week, Turkey scored 3 goals in the last 15 minutes, including two goals by Nihat Kahveci in the final three minutes of the game, to beat the Czech Republic 3-2 and advance to the quarterfinals. Lead by Christiano Ronaldo, Portugal sailed through the Group Round with easy wins over Turkey and the Czech Republic. In their final game against Switzerland, Portugal sat most of their starters as they had already ensured themselves a spot in the next round. Playing a sub-par team, Switzerland defeated Portugal 2-0 in the game and captured their only victory of the tournament. Continue reading “Euro 2008 and World Cup Qualifying”