his week's Euro round up...
The Milan Connection
Following a solid defensive performance against Spain and some hit or miss football against Croatia and Ireland, Italy came out with a bang against the Brits to advance to the semifinals. It wasn't really so much Italy's willingness to attack yesterday as much as it was England's willingness to defend. An admirable game plan, but a criminal one considering Italy didn't win a ball in the midfield and the defenders seemed to scared to tackle in the open minutes but for every minute that passed England went deeper into their shell leaving it all for PKs. Sorry Roy, Italy broke their duck in 2006, yours still has a way to go. Impressive though were the performance of not one, but four player's for Prandelli's setup. Abate was strong on the right coping with the pace of Young and lack thereof of Milner. Montolivo was simple and elegant, and Nocerino was a beast, but it was Cassano who yet again was Italy's craftiest player in the attacking third. The man who impressed me most was Diamanti, and while I have been singing his praises for ages now, his match yesterday was a fine coming out party. I sort of hoped Fester was watching, a player to be bought for cheap!? Then again unless he gains thirty pounds, dates the Owner's daughter, or changes his name to Diamantinho, Fester ain't lookin.
Let's be honest here, this match is going to tough. Forty-eight hours less rest, younger squad and almost tireless in the midfield, you have to wonder if Prandelli will go back to 3-5-2, clog up the center of the park and hope to keep Germany's fullbacks pinned back. Germany showed some disarray at the back, but this team can get forward with good players, going to be a tactical chess match. We know what happened last time these two met in a semi-final, only the most exciting game of my lifetime!
Who would have thought Spain would get to the quarters in such lack luster only to make the French look ridiculous! Love it, but now want them to get smashed by CRON. Speaking of CRON, his performance has been electric this tournament and while he often polarizes fans, especially for those who prefer Messi the midget, there are few players as exciting and dynamic as Cristiano. Here's hoping he shines yet again and then gets to meet his old friend Abate in the final.