Euro 2004: Round 1, Group A, Day 2

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
June 17th, 2004 • 1:14 am

The Greeks pulled out yet another surprise by holding Spain to a 1-1 draw, even though they were largely dominated by the Spaniards. They were less creative than they were against Portugal, but still managed to draw level in the second half after Morientes had shown the way forward for Spain with a nicely taken goal.

So once again Greece is proving that it didn’t qualify for this tournament by accident. Portugal beat Russia without impressing much, especially in light of the fact that the Russian goalkeeper was cruelly sent off early in the second half for a hand ball outside his box that never happened. Portugal should have been all over the Russians after that, but only managed to score another goal in the dying seconds of the game. And the Russians definitely didn’t look like they deserved a place in this tournament, with lots of late, cynical tackles that bring shame to the whole team. I’ve always thought that Smertin guy (who used to play for French team Bordeaux and played for Portsmouth last year, on loan from Chelsea) was far too physical, and the fact that he’s the captain of this team is probably no coincidence. Good riddance, then, I say.

The end result is that the outcome of this particular group is still anyone’s guess — and the Spain vs. Portugal summit in 3 days will indeed be absolutely crucial. Exciting stuff ahead.

Unfortunately, the Euro 2004 headlines are also full of less palatable content, such as the 3-game ban for Totti and the ugly behaviour of English hooligans. I am not following the news very closely and haven’t seen the pictures in either case, but it sounds pretty bad indeed. Whether either issue will have any impact on the competition itself remains to be seen. The next games for England (this afternoon) and Italy (tomorrow) will be crucial in that respect.

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