Arsenal At Euro2012: Heroes & Zeroes As Theo Buries The Past & Szczesny Pays The Price

Group D

Ukraine 0 – 2 France
Sweden 2 – 3 England

Lady Luck is a fickle mistress, something well-known to footballers. As quickly as you become the apple of her eye, she can toss you aside, sending you cartwheeling through the air with nonchalance before you rattle around the rim of the wastebasket and crash to the bottom.

As Theo Walcott savours being the nation’s saviour, Wojciech Szczesny‘s career trajectory has plateaued following his dismissal against Greece. That foul might well have saved his country from falling a goal behind, his replacement left no doubt saving a penalty with his first touch. Were Lukasz Fabianski so minded, he might smile with schadenfreude at how the footballing circle has turned; the replacement replaced.

Theo Walcott meanwhile finds himself at the crossroads of the manager’s mind. England had descended beyond the paucity of performance which beset Sweden in the first half, Sweden had improved to merely distinctly average. Enter Walcott, no England goals since that night in Zagreb; the burden is now lifted, the expectation of nation in its place.

Prior to his arrival, the ball required a cold compress and paracetamol such was the time it spent in the air and being aimlessly lumped. Roy Hodgson though is proving to be an astute tactician. His plan worked in the first half and despite the ridicule that comes his way, no-one can deny that Andy Carroll scored with a phenomenal header to give England the lead.

Despite his gymkhana looks, Carroll also knows how to use wide players and when Walcott arrived, he showed his colleagues how to pass the ball wide, to unleash Walcott. That was after the Arsenal winger had restored parity following the usual England defensive catastrophes. John Terry has a career path that is heading tumultuously downwards; Chelsea win the Champions League without him, England struggle with him.

Theo’s equaliser was a poor goal to concede; I understand that goalkeeper’s shift weight onto the side of the body where they expect the ball’s path to take it but even so. His part in the equaliser was no less important; a vital cog in the early part of the build-up and the burst of vitality to pull back to Wellbeck, whose finish was as good as you will see in the tournament. A second assist was on the cards, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain followed through with his volley despite the selfish intervention of Gerrard; even the England players don’t want Arsenal to be saviours of the English game.

It was pleasing to see Walcott play a decisive cameo. Too often his teammates have not known how best to use his pace and left him isolated and on the periphery of the game. He was central to England’s attacking; it will disappointing if he does not play against Ukraine with Milner moved to the left in place of the continually ineffectual Young. Ideally, Oxlade-Chamberlain would fill that role but Hodgson is as inexplicably infatuated with the Manchester City midfielder as his predecessors.

That performance will do the world of good for Walcott’s confidence. His contract position is still not stirring emotions in the same way that Robin van Persie’s. It is not surprising in many respects, it is fashionable to denigrate Theo’s contribution to the team. The expectations built from his youthful promise have not been met, derision follows. That attitude fails to acknowledge the progress made, that improvements are continually being seen. Over the course of his next contract – assuming it is five years – the consistency which is do desired will manifest. If he were to leave, I think he would be the English player who got away.

Maybe this forms part of Ivan’s good news. We shall see as the summer unfolds.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on June 16, 2012, in Arsenal, Euro2012, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 168 Comments.

  1. Notoverthehill

    Morning to you, Yogi, what on earth has happened? Have the clocks stopped?

    A very good write up, well done, Sir! You have one follower still here!

  2. pedantic george

    I think Ivan should stop teasing us .When will we be given this good news?
    Good read again by the way.Thanks Yogi.

  3. Gunner From Nigeria

    Was not happy when Gerard prevented Oxlade from scoring. Hope Walcott signs a new deal.

  4. Thanks Yogi. We can all get back to what we should be doing now. Roy is a bit of an enigma. Can’t argue he has turned Cappello’s sows ear into a silk purse – at least as far as results go. He has his team organised and gets the best he can from journeymen such as Glen Johnson. However he then chooses Young and Millstone ahead of two of the most talented Englishmen playing at the moment. He persists in ‘give it away’-Parker and the piece of furniture that is John Terry.
    Enigmatic. Maybe he has a plan. Let’s be honest AOC-Rooney-Theo-Garrard-Give it away- behind Wellbeck wouldn’t be too shabby

  5. From sow’s ear to leather wallet. Pigskin.

  6. OK Finn. You out analogised me . I accept defeat.

  7. Nice post YW

    It was lovely to have the feeling, for the first time in ages, of having watched Arsenal play – almost – due to the decisive contribution of TW. If only Stevie Me had left that ball for its intended recipient, my joy would have been complete. As to team selection, I guess that’s just Wodgson going with his instincts. He’s not a risk-taker and perhaps he sees Theo as a bit of a risk.

  8. Add Wilshire and Gibbs. Get rid of mediocrity and worst sub-humans. Then we can start talking about silk.

  9. FinnGunn – barring nasty injuries, Theo, JW and AOC will be the core of the England team in the next World Cup.

  10. Always admired hodgson both as a man and a manager so am definately glad to see good guys don’t always finish last.

    On to more gritty stuff, i mentioned here that hodgson was going to give England an identity, didn’t i? Didn’t i! – shiiit, i don’t even know what humble pie tastes like.
    On the other hand, PG must have it for breakfast on a daily basis.

  11. Fungunner, looking forward to it. Then I can start supporting the English again. Unless the Finnish national team undergoes a miracle transformation 🙂

  12. Finn – I did qualify the ‘silk’ with the words “at least as far as results go”.
    Don’t forget Gibbs for that odious Mr Cole too.

  13. You eating humble pie khalifa? Or just trying to get a reaction out of your betters.
    thought so.

  14. steww, IMO Hodgson has done a very good job. Results not exactly stellar, yet. But I freely admit that it’s the – ahem – moral fibre of some of the England players that sticks in my craw.

  15. So far, france has been the most entertaining team in the Euros, but( theres always a butt, a soft curvy, beautiful, jeez louis! I think i may have digressed.

    Err, as i was saying the only but’ in the french team is the centre back pairing of mexes and adil rami, and you know what happens when there is a butt, there is always shit involved, that centre back pairing is the real defination of shit.

    Now somewhere in this post/rambling there is a point, what that point is i don’t know, and am pretty sure you don’t either. So if you have read this comment up to here bravo! And accept my sincere apologie.

  16. Stew, i won’t indulge you so go sit quietly by a corner, betters? Don’t flatter yaself man.

  17. good morning. good post again..

    its a good job we’ve got the euros this year..or there would be nothing to talk about but transfer rumours and rvp contract..good stuff YW

    re; team selection. to be honest i dont think roy has much choice..we dont really have the midfield to play with lots of pure attackers so i can see why milners in..

    having jack out has really fucked things up..gerrard and parker are good players, good at what they do but they are aging players and they cant keep the ball also, so we find ourselves on the back foot alot..theres no point playing theo or le ox when your asking them to defend for 75mins..
    milners in to add the workrate, useless going forward but he makes up for it by shuttle running up and down the whitewash at top speed for 90mins as well as covering the middle twos arse..

    for the same reason though i have no clue why youngs in..
    personelly, id go with rooney instead of young and keep carrol and wellbeck up front..carrols a carthorse but hes like ade when he runs about hes just a fucking nuisance whos really good in the air..id keep him in..
    milner on the right..ask them both to run their bollox off and just dont get beat against ukraine

    if we get thru the group though id expect us to play more attacking..id play carrol uptop, with rooney in the hole and theo and le ox as the wide forwards..id drop milner back to partner gerrard and id play anyone instead of treacle legs..

    hes another embarrasing fall over waiting to happen..his legs have gone and hes never been a technical player, hes shit..we should have taken rio..we have no chance trying to defend all competition with that idiot in the central defence so i would like to think roys gonna get passed the groups and then we’ll try and play a little against the big teams..

  18. The formation used by hodgson is the only tactic i think is flawed.

    If you’re playing a 4-4-2 in modern football then your 2 midfielders have to be world class or tick the following boxes
    * Good in attack
    * Good in possesion
    * Good in defence.
    Gerrard and Parker don’t fill me with confidence, they’re very good players but not suited for a 4-4-2.

    The England midfield has been getting overun in 20 minute periods during every match in hodgson’s reign. Henderson has a high pass completion rate and is very tidy on the ball, i feel he will help keep possesion better.

    But(don’t worry there is a point to this but) , there are certain advantages when it comes to playing 2 strikers, there is always an attacking threat when England are threatning in attack. Having two striker up top reduces the ability to control a match but increases the potential of scoring a stunning right footed ‘ronaldo-dip’ kinda shot with a slight burst of pace leading to back heeled goal from an on rushing striker.
    Now ladies, am i making any sense.

  19. khalifha

    If you want to provoke a row – and it seems you do – you won’t be coming back. OK?

  20. khalifha
    it cant be that flawed..england havent lost yet

  21. The Arse in the Gamb

    Fickle fate indeed.

    Poor old Sciezny, he heads off to this cup commandeering his position with total confidence and gets a load of rotten fish dumped all over him by fate in the first 20 minutes, he is not a quitter though. Thoughtful Theo on the other hand, vulnerable to both praise and detractors, gets 20 minutes to shine and makes his competitors look as ordinary as they actually are.

    Both The Ox and ‘The Heart’ have shown their worth and Hodgson would be wise to recognize that his defense needs an attack with skill, imagination and blistering pace.

  22. Yogi – 1st rate write up. Thanks.

    Agree with Jon Jon points:

    “re; team selection. to be honest i dont think roy has much choice..we dont really have the midfield to play with lots of pure attackers so i can see why milners in”

    “theres no point playing theo or le ox when your asking them to defend for 75mins..
    milners in to add the workrate, useless going forward but he makes up for it by shuttle running up and down the whitewash at top speed for 90mins as well as covering the middle twos arse..”

  23. The idea that Milner is in the team to add defensive cover is a pathetic cop out. Theo’s defensive work is 1st rate and improved immensely, something the scapegoaters and lazy oh so fucking lazy hacks will never admit to. Even for his goal Townsend tried to claim it was a massive deflection, even when the replay proved otherwise!

    Theo deserved to start for England before that performance last night.

    And wasnt it typical of that selfish scouser?

    I agree Terry and Johnson are liabilities and should be replaced by Jones and Jagielka. Hopefully JT willget a convenient freak injury in training.

    Its also telling how Ash;ey Young is absolved of any criticism, just as Downing is, but Theo gets it all, all the time, even by Gooners.

    If carroll can replicate his form for Newcastle, then he will be a decent front man for England. His header was awesome. But there’s no way Welbeck will be dropped for Rooney, is there?

  24. Yogi, lol. Okay you got me, i am trying to ‘provoke a row’. Comeon, making banter with PG(as usual) is not provoking anything, nathing.

    ‘You eating humble pie khalifa?Or just trying to get a reaction out of your betters.
    thought so.
    By steww on June 16, 2012 at 11:33 am’

    Now, am going to assume you missed this comment or you’re just looking for a reason to get rid of me boss, if its the latter then you have disappointed me yogi.
    Jon jon,
    Hodgson has been superb with his tactics so far, there is no doubt about that. I just feel there is a flaw in playing 2 CM and teams can exploit that.
    I also think hodgson has decided to sacrifice possesion for a more attacking threat thus the 2 strikers, right?

  25. Yogi

    I am going to back Khali up here. I know, I am a saint. He and george and me too have thrown a few barbed comments each others’ way, I don’t think PG would have any issue with it. Just think steww didnt realise that TBH.

    Just listening to SSN and Ian Dowie was very complimentary of Theo, no, not his contribution last night, but his performances from last season; goals and assists for RvP.

    Well done that man, for not following the herd.

  26. khalifha

    I don’t care if I disappoint you. Now stick to football or don’t come back. Final word on the matter.

  27. Terry has to be dropped, however, Roy will cop a load of flak for not taking Rio if he does. Is he strong enough to do that? Probably.

    I would also drop, I mean, rest Parker and play Milner there with Stevie Me; Theo on the right, Welbeck left with Rooney behind Carroll;

    Hart
    Jones – Jagielka – Lescott – Cole
    Gerrard – Milner
    Theo – Rooney – Welbeck
    Carroll

  28. That to me anyway, is a more solid looking, yet mobile and pacey, with loads more movement and guile to boot. Jones gets forward well and is also very sound defensively, he could also play parker’s role with his eyes closed.

  29. the only pple eating humble pie are the spuds and everyone else who said Arsenal wouldnt qualify for CL football.

  30. maybe roy’s plan is to keep his cards close and unleash rooney, theo and the ox together only when rooney returns..

  31. I’m pleasantly surprised by England so far. I think we will progress but struggle with any real competition. Had we played France in the last game i think it could have been a bit much for us too.

    That said Roy is doing pretty good with a poor crop. Although I don’t see any excuse for not playing theo from the start. What does the lad have to do to prove his detractors fools? Last seasons contributions would see.him walk into practically any other European team.

    The team seem to be able to defend quite well. But the only real outlet being the hoof technique. Why not change to 4321 three men in the middle including milner who can run around like a headless chicken possibly more effectively thete. Then have walcott and ox on each flank. Speedy wing play to supply carol Andrews and her pretty locks.

  32. Yogi
    My sincere apology for goading/responding to our errant poster earlier.

  33. i think if england plays spain in the quarter finals, they will win. maybe a 1-0. how sweet that would be if theo gets the winner there.

  34. @ Dexter | June 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm
    Well said, agree with virtually all of that.

    “Theo’s defensive work is 1st rate and improved immensely,”
    Absolutely. It’s a very football thing – perception always lags a couple of years behind reality, explaining John Terry’s continuing presence in the team.

  35. dex
    i think the idea with the defensive cover thing is that when gerrard moves wide to get those crosses in for lescott and carrol, milner tucks in..

    they are both interchangable..a little more complementory when trying to keep a defensive shape..
    gerrard goes out wide milner swaps places and the shape stays the same..

    to be fair, theos not a central midfielder, hes effective at protecting a RB as he has shown under wenger, but i dont think hes ever played inside protecting a back four… so theo as a winger in a 442 in a team with gerrard in it aint really happening…milner can play inside though, so thats why roys picking him whilever he uses this formation and allowing gerrard to move wide and whip those crosses in..

    i agree with your team as well..thats what we’d have to do to be more attacking and thats the one i’d use barring a toss up between le ox and welbeck..but apart from that, great minds…

  36. theo is suited for a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1. not a 4-4-2 for the reasons JJ has pointed out. i think milner has done a decent job. i don’t think there will be many changes though. just rooney coming in. for who, i have no idea.

  37. This was a huge win for the guys. This keeps England alive and well. Thea Walcott’s goal was the key. This got the guys even. Danny Welbeck’s goal was cheeky. A great no look back heel that found the mark. This described in hoops terms Welbeck drove the baseline reverse layup no look under the basket dunk. The next one against the Ukraine is a must win. A tie will do us no good. Yes, I pulling for Engkland since I don’t have a horse in the race. I like the dogs. Americans love the dogs. Dogs is slang for underdogs.

  38. The dogs, in England, is slang for the dogs bollocks.

    The English love the dogs bollocks but never literally.

    A balls up is an error of some description but a knees up is a celebration.

    A celebration done well is definitely the dogs bollocks.

    Theo’s performance last night was absolutely the dogs.

  39. Nice post as always YW. I too would like to see Theo sign on for another 5 years as I think they will be his best years at the club. As for the England display, it did at times seem a bit too reliant on Carrol but for all of that he was worth his goal. And he took his chance very well I must say. I do think midfield needs a more creative player then they have at the moment, with Milner being the one to drop out. He does have a great work rate but so does Theo and I think he offers more of a threat too. He played great when he came on and his goal, which the keeper should have done better with, was brilliantly taken. I really think England are missing JW in the midfield role, his passing and forward runs would really add depth.

  40. I agree with JonJon @ 3:52.

  41. The Arse in the Gamb

    It must be nice to play for an England squad and not be expected to win the competition.

  42. pedantic george

    Andrew ,you do post some bollocks,Really you do.

  43. bleeming el yogi, you an arrf getting strict in your old age!

  44. seems i must have missed something then, i know wiz woz winding up george..

  45. Dex

    He’s got previous.

  46. You pissed already duke?

  47. You’re right, George – I should get the sac.

  48. pedantic george

    I’ll get me coat Andrew

  49. Forgot to say earlier: heard the one about the Arsenal player who forged his passport and got a two year ban from Uefa? No? http://afchistory.wordpress.com has more…

  50. If anyone should be getting their coat it’s probably me.

    Just tuned in hoping to watch the first game of the day having forgotten the last games of the group stage kick off at the same time.

    Bollocks.

    Do we know if Chesney or Rosicky are playing tonight?

  51. Notoverthehill

    Facts or Opinions?

    After 2 games each Spain lead the number of attacks at: 98.

    Second is Russia with 44 attacks against the Czechs and 46 against Poland.

    Ireland of course are bottom of the class with 36.

    Possession – Spain with 63.5% and then Russia with 53%. Russia did not play Ireland!

    AA23 anyone?

  52. no bob. not yet anyway.

    bob i was down your manner the other week…well not as far west but down to beer and taunton. bloody love it down them parts…its like stepping back in time isnt it.

  53. pedantic george

    Duke ,why do you call him Wiz?

  54. george,

    i thought he named himself after a rapper called wiz khalifha.

  55. Unless he is actually Wiz Khalifha?

  56. pedantic george

    never heard of him,or any other rapper ,as it goes

  57. I’ll take AA for #23 over here notoverthehill!

  58. Excellent, Yogi!

    People forget that Theo was the most dangerous player in the last qualifying match when he came on as a sub. That was the only time England looked aggressive. And the same happened last night. However the idea that he is a good impact player belies his performance over the last season, which was much more consistent than before.

  59. Didn’t you read the post Andrew. At least one of the answers was in there…

  60. why we need aa23 we got the new aa 23 in podolski!

  61. pedantic george

    Duke,you doing a Wiz?

  62. Good post there YW. Good afternoon all.

    Saw Dick Advocaat’s (still love that name) comments on AA – it does make me wonder why AA still has stamina issues? They have been evident throughout his career at Arsenal – I could understand if he was young but he should be conditioned by now.

    Meanwhile in the cricket The West Indies are capitulating with a bit of a whimper. Ian Bell’s innings this morning was an immaculate one-day innings in his new role as opener. KP can get stuffed.

    Finally here are some stats on the England team –

    http://www.eplindex.com/15598/england-player-passing-stats-euro-2012-passing.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=england-player-passing-stats-euro-2012-passing

  63. I see that we allegedly want £8M for ‘The Little Tsar’. That would represent excellent business – and go some way to bank-rolling RVP’s salary.

    Question for you George – if Shava’s sale was necessary for raising funds to hold on to RVP would you agree it would be right to sell?

  64. pedantic george

    No.
    Fuck RVP if it costs me my little fellow

  65. ..(my 23rd name is george)…..ehm,…NO, Jonny.
    I’d sell everyone we don’t need
    loan out as many as are not ready
    and lease out the blue ring on the new jersey to the highest bidder!

  66. Q for you Jonny:
    what do u get if u switch Avatar’s Na’vi
    for the Hobbits of the Lord of The Rings?

  67. …taking too long, i’ll answer: 2 crap movies!
    we love our little hobbit
    AA till HE says it ain’t so!

  68. Yogi, you’re tying my hands. So no more petty squabbles, no one line putdowns, no handbags? ( Jeez yogi, not the handbags :-/ ).
    Hmmm, your blog, your rules.

    I will try to perform a jabba/usg, i havn’t been exposed to gamma rays, but the side effects may include: pretence and the occasional malfunction.
    Still beats life without aclf 😉

  69. Which will, in all likelihood, be sometime over the summer! 😉

  70. pedantic george

    I it walks like a Duck and quacks like a Duke.
    It is usually a Duck

  71. pedantic george

    Jonny,talking about Ducks.You know what to do ,eh?

  72. Woah, dexter got my back today? Thats a first.
    I knew karma would come in handy one day. Wishing that john terry trips and breaks his jaw while trying to escape with abramovich’s money would had to bring good luck you know.

  73. Johnny
    I think the jabba/usg malfunction is caused by two words .. Summer transfer.

  74. YW – I did indeed read (and re-read) the post (assume you meant the main post?) and reread some of the subsequent ramblings by all and sundry and I can find no clue.

    Probably because my knowledge of Rap is even less impressive than George’s.

    ***

    No Tomas or Ches tonight 😦

  75. No sirszescney or rosicky playing? The only thing that i can think of being more boring is czech republic playing poland …. Oh wait

  76. Switched over to watch Andrei!

    And he nearly scores!!

  77. As Theo Walcott savours being the nation’s saviour, Wojciech Szczesny‘s career trajectory has plateaued following his dismissal against Greece. That foul might well have saved his country from falling a goal behind, his replacement left no doubt saving a penalty with his first touch. Were Lukasz Fabianski so minded, he might smile with schadenfreude at how the footballing circle has turned; the replacement replaced.

    Not directly saying it but the link on Szczesny’s name did indeed tell you that Zmuda had bottled it and left it to the goalkeeping coach to choose between the two.

    And how are the Poles not in front yet?

  78. Leafing through a 2008 match program,I hadn’t realised that Chewie started that young at Arsenal. 4 years ago he was in the youth and reserves.

  79. Along with the names now familiar. Frimps. Jack. Coquelin. Gibbs.

  80. I think Poland have been taking shooting tips from The Arsenal!

  81. Soz, got my slow head on tonight (or, even slower head); at least Arshavin’s looking livelier in the opening 15 mins …

  82. Eastland. Bartley. Migs. Lansbury.

  83. Whatever happened to Gilles Sunu, Luke Ayling and Rhys Murphy?

  84. Watching the russian match, i saw a stat here stating that them along with spain are the most attacking teams.
    Greece also need a victory so am guessing greece/russia has the makings for an entertaining match.

  85. Greece just can’t get their attacking game going at all; just a matter of time before Russia wins 3-0.

  86. I think that that was the youth double-winning team. I saw them at Emirates. Eastmond I think has been moved on but the others are still with us for now.

  87. Zimpaul, unfortunately they couldn’t make the grade at arsenal.
    Bartley may be in with a shout but its getting tougher to break into the first team

    Joel campbell has scored 4 goals in his last 6 matches for costa rica yet he may not be able to get into our carling cup team.

  88. Ayling was moved on a couple of years ago, Murphy has just been released/transferred and Sunu moved to L’Orient last year.

  89. I hope Poland win, don’t want Tomas playing with an injury. Sorry to any Czech supporters.

  90. Arsenalandrew, greece winning euro 2004 is one of football’s greatest tragedy, along side tony pulis, chelsea and sam allardyce.

    Still, hands up if you enjoyed seeing ronaldo in tears at the final.

  91. Fungunner, i saw sunu playing for l’orient(while scouting campbell), he didn’t look bad but not arsenal quality.
    Has wenger/arsenal ever regretted selling a youngster in our history?

  92. Yes, agree, Khalifha, the Greek win was a horror.

    They are doing precious little tonight altho Russia have little by way of end result, so far …

    Always happy to see Ronni grizzling.

  93. Dunno, khalifa. I can’t think of one who has become a world-beater.

    But my hand shot up for your previous post.

  94. Arsenalandrew, i hear people saying this tournament has been good to watch but is it just me or is chelsea-taka having much influence in the euros this year? No pressing high up the pitch, no overlapping fullbacks or centre backs, chelsea have left a legacy of shit behind them.

    Now talking about regretable transfers, the biggest has to be bayern selling Germany’s best defender’ mat hummels as a youngster because he was deemed not good enough.
    Not only did they sell a potential world class defender, they sold him to their current rivals borussia dortmund for peanuts. I think i would call the coach incharge during the sale to hire and fire him daily. Cesc was a good one also.

  95. Fungunner, that reminds me, i was going to use that pic as my new screen saver.
    The joys of football.

  96. Ah shit, the greek captain scores, what a travesty.
    AA there goes your prediction man.

  97. Greece have gone ahead.

  98. Well I’ve enjoyed it so far – most tournaments seem to suffer from sides being too tentative and giving the opposition way too much respect. Fear of defeat has made previous competitions pretty heavy going, by and large. I think we are still awaiting our first 0-0 and teams have generally been going for it. But it’s all subjective, isn’t it? And it helps that almost all games have at least one current or one former Arsenal player featuring.

    Tremendous opening goal by Greece just now; Russia have had the air of a side that think they’ve already qualified. Could all end in tears for them …

  99. Thanks for the info Fun and Khalifa.

  100. Cheers ZP.
    How nice to see Moyes stating unequivocally that he is happy in his current job.

  101. Come on Poland!

  102. The russians are a tad too languid. Like drunkrn-style kung-fu fighters. I could just see Greece sscoring & sure enough Zhirkov just gave it to them cheap & easy!
    Advocaat will go crazy……makes for a great 2nd half, we hope

  103. Russia need to get their shooting boots on. AA looks good, plenty of intelligent balls in from the Russian captain but the rest of them need to go for a game-upgrade, pronto.

  104. playing for a draw sucks..they might find it hard to score now. Dem Greeks’ll give their all…

  105. Russia playing with fire here; a single goal from the other game ….

  106. Greece still ahead? Blimey.

  107. “parasite football” says Mick McCarthy. I’ll adopt that phrase.

  108. The ref is being an absolute cunt towards Greece, must be said; they (the Russians) are getting away with every single assault and foul …

    Just as I write that he finally books one of the Russians …

    And Czechs go up in their game – the Russians really are in trouble here …

  109. Russia still qualifies if the scores remain like this

  110. I thought de czechs were the worst team in the comp?? amazing that they might finish top now.

    lets hope za russians go out so aa can be fresh for the new season! no wait he isn’t coming back is he.

    what a great tournament this is and we are not even in the knockout stages yet. the euro’s is better then the world cup for sure.

  111. No they don’t MJ, Russia will be OUT!

  112. Agree Duke – really enjoying everything I’ve seen so far and I think I’ve seen all the games bar the other one being played tonight (Poland/Czech).

  113. Exactly how? They have a better GD than Greece!

  114. Because Greece will have beaten Russia!

  115. or is it head to head! WTF

  116. Four minutes extra time – Russia only need to draw, just the one goal is all they need.

    Khalifha – how is this not exciting football?!!

  117. well greece as a country deserve some good news what with their polititians fucking up their country.

  118. Well done Czech Republic.

  119. Poland out….the streets of england will be quiet tonight then!!

  120. And so are Russia!

    Incredible.

  121. Extraordinary – Russia out and Greece go through!

  122. Greece would be the most undeserving side ever to go through to knock outs. Especially with their diving cunt of a captain.

  123. stonewall pen mj if your referring to today.

  124. Incredible results. Czech Republic continues while Russia and Poland go home. I wouldn’t worry too much about Greece, since they will most likely have to play Germany, which is like the “Go to jail” card in Monopoly. A bit sad that Russia didn’t manage to score that one goal they needed because I would’ve much preferred to see them in the next round.

  125. oh yes ze german luck again eh, getting an easy tie. while we if we do go through will get spain in the arse.

  126. Interesting atmosphere coming up for the German/Greek game.

    If you thought Poland v Russia was ‘tense’ …

  127. pedantic george

    I hope Ze Germans put 10 past the Greeks

  128. Russia out. Sweet!

    The Russians organising a march in the Polish capital is breathtakingly outrageous.

    The thought of their chauvinistic fans going home and their arrogant journos lickig their wounds has made my day.

  129. pedantic george

    The whole world is against me.Fuck off world.

  130. I really cannot understand head-to-head results instead of goal difference in this tournament. Surely head-to-head only works for home & away games.

    Or am I missing something?

  131. Russia score 5 & concede 3. Greece score 3 & concede 3. Both win 1 game and draw 1 game. So where does it work?

  132. Pendantic, I was a fan of yours but not anymore!!!! Don’t forget there is an emotional side to football. However, much Greece reminds me of an Allardyce team…you can’t suppress the urge to support your parent’s homeland.

  133. … and both lost one game but against each other, Greece won.

  134. A Stoke supporter at work loves their style and hates the Arsenal tippy tappy football…does he really? I grew up going to Highbury in the seventies and was part of a tribe…but the football bored the hell out of me…I didn’t deny it…I enjoyed Liverpool and West Ham and couldn’t wait for the world cups to see Brasil…but I remained Arsenal….

  135. I have seen all their matches duke & I can say he’s the most dramatic diver I have ever seen, A real pain to watch

  136. A Stoke supporter of what? Surely not football, Georgaki?

    (Congratulations, btw!).

  137. pedantic george

    Georgaki.here is a tweet of mine
    “Only a Greek could celebrate that result.It was everything that is bad about football.Absolute rubbish .”
    Of course you support your own team.
    I however feel the same about England.Rubbish is rubbish is rubbish.Which ever way you look at it.I hate the way some people go from supporting fluent expansive football to accepting absolute dross ,just because people of the same nationality as them ,churn it out.
    The Greeks played scavenger football and I detest it.If Arsenal played that way I would give up on football altogether.

  138. MJ – is this the guy who got booked for the fall in the Russia penalty area?

    Interesting he had reputation that preceded him; suspect the likes of Rooney and Young deserve to have their cards marked in a similar way (not to mention Bale, in the EPL).

    What goes around …

  139. PG

    Agree with your last post.

  140. Pedantic. I agree. Greece are not a good football team. But at times irrationality takes over. If Arsenal return to the Terry Neil style I won’t enjoy watching them….It’s football after all not war

  141. Surely if you pay fortunes to go to watch any form of entertainment you want to be entertained. Boring games make you fall asleep.

  142. I agree with Dups

  143. Georgaki

    I also have mates who like the ‘kick it high & chase it’ style of football. They say it is exciting. Each to their own I suppose.

  144. Very pleased with this England outing. There did not appear to be any parking of the bus. There was lots of attacking football with lots of flair from the forwards. Theo is such a fine player and he is beginning to understand his strengths. Most of all Theo’s team mates and coach are beginning to understand what an incredible gem he is up front. I think you could read Rooney’s lips “what a goal”.

  145. Dups we have to accept their word….The Stoke fan work colleague also hates Wenger and Aaron Ramsey…how dare Wenger get upset at seeing the third of his players suffering a career threatening injury….

  146. pedantic george

    I know people who like to go out ,get drunk ,and then kick the shit out of someone.They think its entertaining and makes for a good night out.
    But any right thinking person things they are detestable cunts and hope for the day they get battered to a pulp by one of their supposed victims.

  147. Georgaki

    I can understand the Stoke fan. Fancy that dirty Ramsey getting poor Ryan into trouble by breaking his own leg.

  148. Yes AA, I have even noticed his antics while playing for Panathanaicos.

  149. Well well, that didn’t look too fair to be honest. Just the way the competition is set up I guess. The classiest team in group A go home even if they had the better goal differential. A Poland. Arguable the second favored team in that group. Funny that. Football, the beautiful game won in most unusual way. Hay, still enjoyable.
    Say, can they do without the national anthems before every game. A bit tiresome. Cannot. Wait for tomorrow’s surprises. Lol.

  150. Theo haters. Beat it up your bangle!!!!

  151. a bit rodney marsh on ce greeks there george,

    the greeks were hardly camped in their own half were they, infact it was the greeks that looked more dangerous they should have had a pen, hit the post they had were lively . i know your disapointed for andrie but think about how smug abramovich and putin are not now.

  152. I really hope Theo tries and adds the distance shooting to his Arsenal, it will give him yet another dimension as a player. So far, Theo is very good at getting past his man to the byline to drill it low for the striker and obviously he can finish very well from inside the box, especially when he is cutting in from the right and has got the far corner to aim at. Adding the odd distane goal to that would probably make Theo the best winger/inside forward/whateveryouwanttocall it playing in the league.

  153. Duke

    The Greeks were camped in their own half. Did you watch a different game?

  154. pedantic george

    Duke .they got super lucky and scored against a tidal wave of possession .Then player on the counter ,dived and play acted and cheated.
    Crap.they were

  155. A tidal wave of possession that only ended up with two shots on goal all game.

  156. Two shots on goal, not blocked or wide. Facts please

    Attempts on goal: 31
    Shots on target: 2
    Shots off target: 17
    Blocked shots: 12

  157. Seems like a tidal wave to me.

  158. Or you could look at like it was good defending combined with bad shot selection.

  159. Like an over eager teenager lad, the Russians blow their load in the first game against the Czech Republic.

  160. Agree with the view that the Greek did not deserve to qualify.

  161. Glad to see the Russians go home. Smug, chauvanistic, crooked and very dangerous as a country. Forget the football.

    As for Greece, give them something to cheer. If ever a country’s people have been shagged senseless by a combination of ambitious Eurpean power building, yes, I’m looking at France and Germany, bent politicians and gangsters, it’s Greece.

    Wait and see how they tear into the Germans. I look forward to that one.

  162. Was so tired yesterday that i slept off while watching the Russia/Greece match.
    So, i wake up this morning and what do i see, Greece and czech republic qualify from Group A. This isnt April ist, right?

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