Friday, June 08, 2012

Going Dutch

"Extraordinarily gifted but preeningly obnoxious."

"A self-destruct button waiting to happen."

"Hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone, blue-collar ragamuffins from an economically depressed homeland."

"Living exclusively off faded memories of past glory."

Despite the obvious parallels, these are not, in fact, excerpts from last year's G:TB performance reviews. (Except for the first one - that's clearly Igor.) Rather, this purple prose comes from ESPN's preview of Euro 2012, the continental tournament that begins today in Poland. (The quality of journalistic output and accepted snark is yet another reason to follow the beautiful game.)

Sixteen European sides qualified for the quadrennial event that many observers argue is a tougher test of soccer than the World Cup. When you consider the top-to-bottom quality of the field, the notion may not be as far-fetched as it seems. Outside of co-host Ukraine (weak!), every entrant has at least a puncher's chance to make a deep run. Greece won the whole thing as a 100-1 shot in 2004, giving hope to every Mick, Slava, and Per in Europe.

Defending World Cup and Euro 2008 champ Spain are the oddsmakers' favorites to lug the Henri Delauney trophy back to Madrid (where they'll melt it down to save the country's economy from ruin), followed by Germany and the Netherlands. The latter two find themselves in the same brutal opening round group, along with Portugal and Denmark.

We've a longstanding soft spot for the Dutch, despite their bizarrely artless effort in the 2010 World Cup final. Our footie fetishists like the Oranje to find their way to the Final Four (or koŇĄcowy czteryk in the host nation's tongue). They'll be joined by a surprising Portugal squad, Spain, and France. The Dutch will top Les Bleus in one semi, while Spain knock out the Czechs in the other to set up a World Cup final rematch.

This time, we're treated to an example of what the game can be when it's played at its highest level, and Arjen Robben totally redeems himself with a late-game PK to give Holland the title.

And then we'll only have three weeks until the Olympics start.

65 comments:

rob said...

never too early to start planning: tribe football in the dc area twice in september. 9/1 @ maryland, 9/15 @ towson. hark on the gale, lads and lassies.

T.J. said...

happy birthday, tiny dictator

Jerry said...

France is hot darkhorse pick right now. Outside of the big 3, I guess they're the only team people can see winning it.

That Germany-Holland-Portugal-Denmark group is brutal. Ronaldo actually has some pressure on him in this tournament and it's going to be a serious feat just to get out of that group.

I always wish I had some pure blood roots for these tournaments to provide a real rooting interest. The best I've got is 25% Ukraine, but I've dabbled with pretending I'm Croatian.

Jerry said...

The other "smart" thing people are saying is that Poland/Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandawski is going to have a huge tournament. But to sound smart, you have to know that the w is pronounced like a v.

zman said...

I've diddled with Croatians.

Whitney said...

Happy Birthday to our little buddy. I'll have a few for you today.

For your birthday I am giving you capital letters for your comments.

Sisler said...

Ukraine is game to you!?

rob said...

Thanks, Whitney!

Squeaky said...

Happy B-day, Rob.

Mark said...

Fuck off, Rob. And Happy Birthday too.

Between college baseball Super Regionals, the opening of Euro 2012 & Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, this is remarkably good sports weekend for June. Yaaay! I don't have to talk to my family!

Dave said...

happy b-day, o minute oppressive one!

zman said...

Forget not the French Open Finals this weekend. Nadal is now 51-1 at the French. A win by Djokovic would be seismic. Sharapova is fun to watch too.

Dave said...

sharapova, kournikova . . . where do i meet chicks like this?

Danimal said...

Happy bday tiny dancer

rob said...

my czech final 4 pick is looking nice

TR said...

If u want to get excited for the French Open tomorrow, u should watch HBO's documentary on the Borg-McEnroe rivalry. Awesome review of an era in tennis I barely remember.

Marls said...

Happy belated birthday Rob.

I think I need to go back to Spain. Johan pitched much better Whalen I was there.

Marls said...

That should have been "when I was there Whalen". Greenpeace hates me.

Dave said...

one time in my life i would like to harpoon a whale and take a "nantucket sleigh ride." just once. is that so much to ask?

zman said...

I am expanding my horizons and expanding my parameters by watching "NED" play "DEN" in soccer. The guys in orange look quite natty.

zman said...

Someone needs to tell the timekeeper that the clock is running backwards.

zman said...

I bet there would be more action if they shrunk the field by 31% and doubled the size of the goal.

zman said...

The orange guys run the fast break worse than the Nicks.

zman said...

The coaches sit in the stands?

zman said...

The guys in white cant get the ball across midfield. It's like watching the bills circa 2009.

zman said...

I wish the announcers spoke english. I think they're speaking Australian.

zman said...

The guys in white scored on their only possession across midfield provoking 7 nation army and foreigners chanting oh oh-oh-oh oh ooh oooh. That was cool, surprisingly.

zman said...

Despite looking supremely fit the orange guys are remarkably frail. If you touch one of them they fall down writhing in pain.

Mark said...

And now they've lost to Denmark. Not a good start for Rob's prediction.

Mark said...

I like that Zman's comments about this game made it appear as if this were his first ever televised soccer viewing experience. I know it isn't, but it certainly feels that way. Keep it going for the game between "GER" and "POR". Which should be quite good.

Marls said...

The G:TB jinx continues. Rob could you please create a post detailing how the Yankees are now a plucky underdog that G:TB is adopting. Thanks in advance.

Is anybody watching the college baseball super regional from Baton Rouge. The first game was a classic that Stony Brook should have won and the Seawolves are taking it to LSU again.

T.J. said...

Nani!
Pepe!

zman said...

Portland has cool unis.

rob said...

took my daughter on a date and missed the oranje. fucking danes.

Mark said...

Kits. Portland has cool kits, Z.

zman said...

Pepe's last shot was poopoo.

zman said...

Portland has baby beavers?

zman said...

Lots of fauxhawks on euro soccer players. Which is ironic given the geography of the Mohawks.

zman said...

There's a reality show about a tow truck driver? What a shitty protagonist. Who wants to root for the guy who tows your car away?

Marls said...

Repo tow truck driver Zed-Man.

zman said...

Big ups to the DLC for the reminder that it's June 9th. Do something fratty today.

zman said...

I received a number of emails lately looking for tips on cool summertime sneakers. My love of Rod Lavers is well documented in this space and I have two suggestions.

These are lined with terry cloth and thus perfect for sockless summer comfort; I would go with the grey and yellow: http://tinyurl.com/6wkcrsh

These are fly unusual colorways that you can wear without feeling like you're too old for your sneakers; running white/chalk is my fave: http://tinyurl.com/8ycd7zj

TR said...

Stanley Cup, Subway Series and Game 7 of Celts-Heat. I think this is what they call a good sports night. Wife has popped a sleeping pill and the kids are asleep.

The games and the cold beers in my fridge are my two tickets to paradise.

TR said...

Congrats to Whit for the Norfolk Admirals' continued success.

Marls said...

I've got a Holland Michigan bar tab riding on tonight's met yanks games. Bad times on Felch street if the Mets lose.

zman said...

There's never a good time to be on felch street. Unless you're Richard gere.

zman said...

Glad to see that Danny Ainge let himself turn into a drippy mess.

Marls said...

Somebody needs to put a ball in Nick Swisher's earhole. He should suck Cashman's dick every day as a thank you him trading for him from the white sox. If he was in Chicago he would be making 1/3 of what he is making now.

TR said...

Are you really that bitter Swisher was happy last night, Marls? He didn't show up the Mets. You and your fellow loser Mets fans were clogging up WFAN today, whining about Swisher.

zman said...

If spiderman really existed he would play basketball like rondo. Marls, are you bitter about the fake commemorative no hitter tickets? I suffered through 15 minutes of rants on that topic today on wfan. This stuff is exactly why I can't muster the energy to care as much about spOrts as I used to.

zman said...

It would appear that lebron doesn't know what "redemption" means.

Shlara said...

TR--did you see this tweet from JA Adande that features your wisdom?

https://twitter.com/jadande/status/211660866737815553

Marls said...

I'm bitter about many things. Having to head back to work tomorrow is one one of them. Swisher does not really bother me that much, but at the moment I was drunk and had access to the internet. In fact, if he was on the Mets, I would probably love his goofy antics other than the fact that he would likely suck.

I am not aware of fake commemorative no hitter tickets so I am not bitter about them. In fact I have an actual no hitter ticket sitting in my desk at work since that game was part of my six game pack and could not give them away prior to leaving for the honeymoon. I am not bitter that I missed the game either. In fact, I was able to watch part of it in Seville.

I am bitter that I am in for a deep bar tab next time I am in Michigan. However, I restrict my bitter rants to this blog rather than subjecting the whole tristate area to my insane rantings via WFAN.

I will now cede the floor back to the Bitterist In Residence. You have the conch Zman.

zman said...

Sucks to your assmar Marlsy. Uniqlo bitches!

Marls said...

Novak may need to change his togs. The Uniqlo does not seem to be helping.

Whitney said...

No French Open chit-chat from Zman? Sacre bleu!

zman said...

I just got home from playing tennis. Things appear to be unfolding predictably in Paris.

zman said...

Nadals shot to win the second set was stupid good but didn't raise much of a clamor in the booth. It's as if they expect him to hit ungodly stuff on a regular basis.

zman said...

Three break points to start the third is not good for the djoker.

zman said...

Or he an just break back.

Marls said...

Novak suddenly looking strong.

If this thing goes 5 sets, they will be out there until 9 PM.

zman said...

Nadals second serve is very tentative right now. He's rattled. Rightfully.

Marls said...

Question for the soccerheads out there. Alexi Lalas comes off as a bit of douche for somebody that has never won much at the international level. Is this just his persona? Is he the Trent Dilfer of soccer?

Dave said...

lalas learned to be a douche at rutgers.

Glenn said...

Hi Gheorghies!