Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
When I go to the theatre, I wouldn’t expect to see a soccer match break out on stage.
And so when I’m watching a soccer match I don’t want to see theatrics.
But watching the diving, feigned injuries and other nefarious attempts to fool the referee when Spain played against Italy in the quarter-finals made me wish both teams could somehow be eliminated.
It’s a beautiful game, but it was bad theatre and worse soccer. It was the first match of the tournament that I stopped watching after a while because the acting was putting me off.
Italy’s Luca Toni might be tall and intimidating when he runs towards the goal — and a likeable player at Bayern Munich — but several times it looked like it only took a gentle breeze to topple him in Vienna.
Spain’s David Villa later got a yellow card for diving in the penalty area but he was by no means the only player to hit the ground hard after the slightest contact.
German referee Herbert Fandel deserves credit for seeing through it all. Sure, he might have failed to award a penalty in the first half for Spain but really it’s like the little boy who cried wolf. After a while you assume everything is an act.
Three drama-filled quarter-finals and three group winners are gone. Spain should be worried.
Three of the four sides that qualified for the knockout stages after two games are out of the championship. Spain, the fourth, face world champions Italy on Sunday hoping to avoid completing the quartet.
THE OPTIMIST (Elena Moya)
Spain’s chances of beating Italy and reaching the Euro 2008 semi-finals are better than ever.
‘This time is different’ is the line that is repeated tournament after tournament, just before the team inevitably falls in the quarter-finals. But on this occasion it really is different, and here’s why.
1) Spain’s inferiority complex - based on four centuries of Inquisition, a fallen empire and a dictatorship that only finished thirty years ago - is evaporating. A winning mentality has been fostered by players like Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas.
On Sept. 8 2007, Turkey slumped to a 2-2 draw with minnows Malta in Euro qualifying.
The Turkish fans who made the journey to Ta’Qali would never have believed their Euro 2008 journey would take them to a first European Championship semi-final against Germany.
As someone once famously said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
They were not talking about the finals of the European Championship at the time, but the phrase certianly applies. UEFA, under pressure it must be said from some of their 53 member associations, are weighing up the pros and cons of expanding the Euros to either a 20 or 24-team tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo told Real Madrid what they wanted to hear when he reacted to Portugal’s Euro 2008 exit with a clear indication of what he has in mind for his future.
Ronaldo was careful never to mention the words Real or Madrid when he spoke to reporters in Spanish at the end of the match in Basel but his words still did not leave much to the imagination.
UEFA’s decision to banish mild-mannered coach Joachim Loew from the touchline for Thursday’s quarter-final against Portugal is being put down to anti-German feeling by a lot of people here, a suspicion fanned by the angry response from German FA bosses.
It’s not the first time Germany have been hit with what neutral observers (I’d like to consider myself one of those) might view as a rather harsh penalty just before a critical match.
Germany’s general election may still be a year away, but the challengers are already battling it out for the big political prize on unlikely territory — at Euro 2008.
When Spain’s coach Luis Aragones decided to leave Real Madrid striker Raul out of his squad for Euro 2008 some thought he would live to regret his decision.
However, Valencia striker David Villa has stolen the headlines at the tournament after a cooly taken hat-trick in Spain’s opening 4-1 victory over Group D rivals Russia and an excellent stoppage-time goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sweden.
Wow, Donald Sutherland seems very upset by that penalty decision!
A lot of people in football look like a lot of other people but more people in Euro 2008 seem to have doubles than in any other tournament.
It’s well known by now of course that Portugal and soon to be Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari is the spitting image of Hollywood actor Gene Hackman.