Euro 2008

The German Gareth SouthgateAdmittedly Football Pub hasn’t been the same since England buggered up their qualification so completely 7 months ago. Still there have been some interesting moments and some not so successful innovations. I remain to be convinced that the combination of Live Football and Thursday evening Pub Quiz is going to be a winner and there’s something really weird about watching TV football with no commentary.

Euro 2008 has generally been OK. It’s better than Euro 2004 simply because the sides that attack and really press the midfield tend to win. But the fact that Portugal, Croatia, Holland, Italy AND Spain all failed to show up for the quarter finals (even if Spain did sneak past a defensively tedious Italy) has meant that Russia aside, none of the successful teams have actually done anything of merit yet.

So far the best match has been Holland’s destruction of Italy, closely followed by Russia’s demolition of Holland, but by and large there’s been no great shock and no one, Arshavin aside, who’s really impressed. The first semi, Germany vs Turkey might have been exciting, but it never lapsed into greatness like the World Cup semi between Germany and Italy. Sure there were goals, some of them even good ones, and sure, the Turks did their usual thing of attacking like nutters and getting a goal in the last few minutes (only to be outdone by the Germans who got the winner a few seconds later), but like the Croatians they just can’t hold onto a win. All the defences here seem to be utterly, utterly shit. Football Pub enjoyed itself when the live feed from the stadium went down (that’s the reputation of Austro-Swiss reliability down the toilet for the next century or so) and we had to make do with the radio commentary like they did in the olden days. A few old dufferes started going on about the Blitz and attempted to pay for rounds using old money they dug out of their trousers.

It’s hard to believe that this German team is the one that absolutely killed off the Portuguese, snuffing out their creativity and dominating the midfield. They were battered for 85 minutes, and only came out of their shell 3 times. Admittedly they scored 3 times, which was one more than the Turks did in 85 minutes of goal bombardment. On this form you’ve got to hope the Russians kick their arses in the final.

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