Euro 2004: First Round, Group C, Day 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
June 14th, 2004 • 11:23 pm

We are getting a bit of everything in this first round of the Euro 2004 competition. After the major upset in the opening game on Saturday, and the unbelievable reversal of fortune for France against England on Sunday, the two Group C games on Monday provided a different kind of entertainment.

The 0-0 score line of the Italy vs. Denmark game was probably a fair result, although possibly a bit more flattering to Italy than to Denmark. Italy was unable to create much during most of the game, and the Danish vikings, while occasionally brutal in their tackling, were probably the team more deserving of a goal. On the other hand, Aston Villa keeper Sorensen had a handful of excellent saves that kept his team in the game when Italy did try to take the lead. But on the whole it was a disappointing day for the Italians, and Totti was indeed fortunate to escape with only a booking for his ugly challenge on a Danish player during an Italian counterattack towards the end of the game.

The 5-0 score line for Sweden against Bulgaria is a fair reflection of how the Bulgarian defense just fell apart in the second half of the game. It was a rather even contest in the first half, and Sweden only managed to open the score by beating the offside trap, although the finishing was typical Ljunberg, who showed why he’s still a valuable member of the Arsenal team in spite of a somewhat disappointing season for him personally in the London club. But it was semi-retired Larrson who stole the show with two superb goals in the space of 2 minutes at the beginning of the second half. After that, there was no way back for Bulgaria, and it could have been even worse than 5-0.

With these two results, Group C will be interesting to follow, especially in light of the fact that the next games are Denmark – Bulgaria and… Sweden – Italy. Breaking the Italian defense will of course be another matter for the Swedes, but a win would qualify them and basically eliminate Italy, which would already be another major upset.

Now on to Germany and Holland…

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