Monday, June 9, 2008

Euro 2008: First Six Games

Three of the four groups have played now, and there has only been one surprise in the final scoreline: Holland's 3-0 demolition of Italy yesterday. (Alas, work prevented me from seeing either that game or Romania/France, which ended 0-0.)

But if there haven't been scoreline surprises, I do have to say that both of the host nations have played with much more verve than expected. The Swiss nearly snuck a point away from the Czechs (my pick to win it all) -- including a heartstopping smash against the woodwork. Austria looked very good against the Croats, especially in a tension-packed second half where the Kakania Krew poured the pressure on bedraggled Hrvatska. (The Guardian's David Pleat has an excellent tactical breakdown of how Austria almost stole the game here.) And Portugal left it late to finally put away Turkey, which didn't quite look like it belonged in the tourney. (Raise your hand if you find Pepe annoying!)

In the ho-hum category? Germany dismantles Poland. (As usual.) And even more ho-hum, German and Polish fans clash in the street -- triggering hundreds of arrests. Why can't they play as nice as the Euro mascots Trix and Flix (above), kicking it around in an idyllic and thoroughly psychedelic Alpine landscape?

More disturbing than that photo? The Trix and Flix Euro 2008 theme song video, featuring the vocal stylings of Shaggy.

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