OT: Euro 2012: Group C, game 3: Spain v. Croatia, Italy v. Ireland

Submitted by gopoohgo on June 18th, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Looking to see if Spain starts Torres up front by himself.

Looking to see if Croatia can attack the soft underbelly of the Spanish defense (if they can get the ball away from the Spanish midfield).

Italy will probably sweep the Irish off the pitch.

Winner/runner up of this group probably looking at playing France & England; daunting tasks, especially with England getting Rooney back.


South Bend Wolverine

June 18th, 2012 at 11:58 AM ^

It's too bad that Italy will most likely get the W against Ireland.  It would be great if the Irish could manage a draw - Italian soccer is the most hatable thing in sports outside of Ohio.  Seeing them go down in the group stage of a second straight major tournament would be so wonderful.


June 18th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

Hmmm.  I think you might be right, except that Mexican soccer might give the Italians a run for their money.  One side has "Osama" chants reserved for the US, the other has rampant match-fixing and fires foreign players that score against the national side.  Tough call.

So yeah, the Irish need to do what they can to keep Italy out of the next round.


June 18th, 2012 at 9:58 PM ^

The weird thing about the Dutch is that this is a recent development.  Typically, they are all about creativity and possession, which is really fun to watch (I miss Edgar Davids).  I'm still embarrassed about their thug tactics in the WC final.  It's a shame.  As an aside, I was watching the Germany/Holland game the other day and was stunned to hear the crowd singing Seven Nation Army.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that song at UofM games, but if it's good enough for European football fans (who are the undisputed singing/chanting champions, in my view), that may say something. (#notacommunist).


June 18th, 2012 at 11:27 PM ^

...is that this has been going on for the better part of a decade but somehow each time it happens it's treated as something new (although maybe the final against Spain has finally stuck in the memory banks). Is this farce already forgotten?

Battle of Nuremberg

Deco, Bouhlarouz and von Bronckhorst sitting in the corner watching the game together after they'd all been sent off is one of my favorite soccer memories.


June 18th, 2012 at 12:05 PM ^

Things'll get really interesting if Croatia can defeat the Spanish and Italy can defeat the Irish, Spain will be out of the tournament. An unlikely prospect, but incredible if it happens. 

Spain should win and the thing to watch for is if they play Fabregas or Torres (or play both and take out a holding midfielder like Alonso or Busquets). They started a 4-6 against Italy and struggled to create chances, but Fabregas scored the goal. Against Ireland, which might not be the best game to judge a formation, Torres stretched the field (he stretched the field against Italy too in a substitute's role) and scored two goals. Fabregas scored off of the bench. They're the joint goal leaders for Spain right now. It'll be interesting to see which one starts. Fabregas is one of my favorite players, but I'd anticipate Torres starting, so that Iniesta, Xavi, and, most of all, David Silva have space to operate. 

As you said, Italy should roll. However, they're changing formations from the 3-5-2 apparently back to a 4-4-2. I know that they've struggled, but it's Ireland. They've shown zilch thus far. Unless this change is for the rest of the tournament, I don't think this is the way to go. Should be interesting. 

Spain will be favorites against both France or England, but I'd like to see Spain-England more because I think the likes of Walcott (if fully fit, Hodgson declared him fit for the final group stage game) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (if he plays) can pose some interesting challenges with their pace.

Also, Olivier Giroud signed with Arsenal. Woot woot.


June 18th, 2012 at 12:11 PM ^

There is no way Torres doesn't get the start. He has done a great job opening up the field in both games so far and now that he bagged a couple goals hopefully his confidence will come back. With him on form it would be pretty tough for anyone to beat Spain.


June 18th, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

Yeah I see Spain playing a modified 1-5-4 like last game.  Torres up front, Silva and Iniesta on the wings, Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Burosquet in the midfield.

Spain can't afford taking out Xabi and Burosquet due to Croatia having a pretty good attacking game as well, with Modric quarterbacking them on the break.

Italy really has underwhelmed the last couple major tournaments. Serie A has lost a lot of luster as well, has really taken a back seat to La Liga  and the EPL, and that doesn't include the latest match fixing scandal, Juve being relegated a few years ago due to performance enhancing drugs.



June 18th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

That article is about the mid-90s. The 2006 Calciopoli scandal was a match fixing scandal via referee assignment. The chief investigator originally recommended that Juve be sent to Serie C and start the season at negative 30 points. Milan, fiorentina, lazio and reggina were supposed to drop to serie B. on appeal, only Juve was dropped, and that to Serie B with a 9 point penalty. They were back up the following year.


June 18th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

if they win 3-1 and the other game is a 1-1 tie?  Spain/Italy/Croatia would have all tied each other 1-1 in their games, and Italy would have the same score against Ireland that Croatia had.  Italy and Croatia would be even on everything; GD and goal scored against tied teams, and GD and goals scored against the whole group.  What's the tiebreaker beyond that?


June 18th, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

Gli Azzurri , Forza Italia !!!

the last 3 times Italy has played Ireland , we have drawn 2-2, 1-1, and lost 0-2..


I am very worried

Italy blew a golden chance against Croatia !!!

I see Croatia and Spain tying, forcing italy to score 3 goals, which I cannot see happening.

Gonna need a win  ( miracle ) from Spain or Croatia to advance

I just do not see it happening...as much as I want to see it happening...Pirlo has to be able to dictate today, like he did in the first half against Croatia . Italy hav to watch crosses, and Balotelli and Cassano need to finally put some balls in the back of the net....

The player that scares me the most on the pitch is De Rossi , as i blame him for choking against Slovakia and i question his judgement in tight pass situations..

Buffon been playing great.

Forza Azzurri


June 18th, 2012 at 3:45 PM ^

0:0 -- Italy wins group, Spain is seond

1:1 -- Italy wins group and Spain is second if Italy wins by four goals or more, Spain wins group, Italy is second if they win by 3:1 or by three goals, Spain wins group and Croatia is second if Italy wins by only one or fails to score three goals.

2:2 or more -- Spain wins group, Croatia is second.


June 18th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

Forza Azzurri!!!!!

Italy just needs to pour it on. But I would also feel bad for the Irish. I was there last summer and they are the most pessimistic people I have ever met.


June 18th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

without flashing back to this:

Anthem gaffe 'lifted Croatia'


Tony Henry belted out a version of the Croat anthem before the 80,000 crowd, but made a blunder at the end.

He should have sung 'Mila kuda si planina' (which roughly means 'You know my dear how we love your mountains').

But he instead sang 'Mila kura si planina' which can be interpreted as 'My dear, my penis is a mountain'.

..."The Croatians think it's great, and they've invited him to come over and sing at Euro 2008, and asked if he will be their mascot."



June 18th, 2012 at 4:15 PM ^

Spain needs to be careful here or they're going to tika taka their way right out if this tournament. Croatia look more dangerous right now.


June 18th, 2012 at 4:22 PM ^

and I am jealous. Ireland, who is clearly inferior to Italy, is still much better than the US if you go by the FIFA rankings..  I hope one day we can field a team that can seriously contend for the WC.  There is reason we cannot. Not with our large diverse population and love of competition.

snarling wolverine

June 18th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

Doesn't Ireland benefit in the FIFA rankings from the fact that it plays so many highly-ranked teams?  Losses to the big boys don't hurt them that much, and if they pull the occasional upset, it gives them a big ranking boost.  

The U.S. team is nothing special but it probably is at least as good as Ireland.  We just have a weaker "strength of schedule."


June 18th, 2012 at 4:35 PM ^

I hope that I can see that in my lifetime, but the status quo in American soccer has to change.

I'm very supportive of the players the are chosen and have played for the US, but I'm not very supportive of the US soccer federation and general player selection in the US.  That goes even for the guys who are in charge on the MLS draft.