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The Midweek Memoirs of Mr Bodell



The group stages of Euro 2008 are nearly complete, and so far, so good, I've been impressed with the tempo, attacking flair and general mentality of most teams. But I have to say, I'm almost glad England aren't there to reach the quarter finals (would we really have struggled in the group stages as much of the press comment?) and then be totally outplayed by Holland, Portugal, Germany or, heaven forbid, Croatia again [*delete as applicable]. Here is my review of the tournament so far...

Surprise Package
A Holland without in-fighting and early departures of a few star names have proved they possess some of the most potent attacking threats on the continent but are hardly a surprise package! Spain, the mega underachievers, have also shown a bit this time around but outside of Croatia (and at a push the hard fought Romanians) noones come out of the workwork and done a 'greece'!.

Underachievers
Italy/France. You would expect the World Cup finalists of two years ago to squeeze through to the quarters ahead of Holland, not squeeze through behind Holland and one at the expense of the other. Both put in some dismal performances against Romania as well so what did they expect!

Yet to deliver
Mario Gomez was hyped up beyond belief pre-tournament and has barely shown anything to warrant the praise he has received with the exception of a classy miss from 2 yards out against the mighty Austria! It's time he started to repeat his club form for his adopted country - even if it's just to put one over Martin O'Neil who now admits he was probably wrong about the player's ability!

Game of tournament...so far
Turkey 3-2 Czech Republic. Pre-tournament, who'd have thought it? Howlers, offside calls, wonder goals, comebacks, a red card, a cheeky imp called Nihat and an Englishman on the winning side - excellent stuff.

Best referreeing decision
Howard Webb's decision to award Austria a penalty versus Poland for shirt pulling - it's about time someone took a stand again WWE style defending in the penalty area. It makes you proud to be British!

Worst refereeing decision
Whoever decided that Christian Panucci, yards off the pitch, played the 'born offside' Ruud Van Nistelrooy knee onside in Italy's horror show defeat versus Oranje. As if being clattered by Buffon wasn't enough punishment already!

Best Player
Wesley Sneijder has been the heartbeat of everything good for Holland so far and has chipped in with goals to boot.

Best Keeper
Edwin Van Der Sar has been run close by Poland's Boruc and Buffon (the Italian Stallion), but, at the moment, ol' Ed is 'the best' and has been integral to Holland.


Worst Keeper
Petr Cech is superb, but his clanger versus Turkey will live long in the memory as it helped dump the Czech's out. Oh and all the headline of Cech mate and Bouncing Czechs were a joy to behold!

Commentary Quote
'He's not so much over the hill as half way down the other side!' [Clive Tyldesley on the towering, if not slightly awkward, frame of Jan Koller]

Best Individual bit of brilliance
Michael Ballack's 20 yard blast of a free kick to send his side through versus Austria was a just a little bit special. Lucky Lucky Germans.

Best team goal
Take your pick over a pint between Holland's second and third versus Italy. VitalWatford go for Sneijder's neat finish on the volley mind you.

Best team
Croatia - three wins out of three in a group with Germany in it is impressive. And not an umbrella in sight.

Worst Team
France, joyfully, have shown absolutely nothing. Expect retirements by the bucketload and le Cockerill to go through a 'rebuilding' stage that lasts the time it took to build that bloody tower!

Look out for
Huntelaar [Holland]
Affelley [Holland]
Podolski [Pol..., er Germany]

Roll on Italy-France...

Tom Bodell
The Journalist

Writer: wfc123 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday June 18 2008

Time: 11:59AM

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