There was no 2-2 draw between Spain and Croatia as some might have expected *ahem UEFA* but Spain beat the Croats 1-0, while Italy were 2-0 winners over Ireland, which saw them progress with Spain to the quarter-finals.
Spain on course for an historic treble?
No team has ever won three major tournaments on the bounce, but Spain are still on course to create history. They lived dangerously against Croatia and at 0-0, when Croatia had appeals for a penalty, not once but twice, the Spaniards were in serious danger of being knocked out. The striker-less false-9 continues to pay dividends for Spain, as the goal came when there was no recognised striker on the field. Again. Jesus Navas scoring Spain’s only goal of the game, in the 87th minute.
Italy + match-fixing scandal = winners?
We all know the score we Italy, in the face of adversity, they triumph – as they did in 1982 and 2006 in the wake of match-fixing scandals. 5 points – two draws and a win was enough for Italy to progress to the knock-out stages (but wasn’t enough in 2004). Cesare Prandelli certainly knows how to get the best out of his team and can change formation/tact when needed. Dark horses to win Euro 2012?
Bilic off as Croatia bow out
Something that I put across on Twitter, in the wake of Ireland’s defeat to Croatia was that I wasn’t very impressed by Croatia. Slaven Bilic was very confident in his side progress to the quarter-finals and even beyond, but his side paid the price for not holding on against Spain or getting three points against Italy. Bilic now departs Croatia after a largely successful period of six years in charge, for Lokomotiv Moscow.
Ah, Ireland. Euro 2012′s worst team?
Blind optimism clouded many Irish people’s judgment, including my own, in the build-up to Euro 2012. The unbeaten run, the clean sheets are contributed to a false sense of security for Ireland. A group containing Spain, Italy and Croatia was always going to be tough for such a limited side as Ireland, and those limitations were exposed continually. Ireland, having conceded eight goals and accumulated no points, as much as it pains me to say it, are statistically the joint-worst team of a European Championship (tied with Denmark of 2000).