Euro 2004: First Round, Group A, Day 3

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
June 21st, 2004 • 12:27 am

A decent day in the competition, with Portugal getting the all-important win against Spain (their first in ages) that sees them through to the quarter-finals, and Greece qualifying ahead of Spain in spite of their defeat 1-2 against the Russians, because, all other things with Spain being equal (one win, one draw, one loss each; same goal difference), the Greeks have scored more goals in the tournament.

Of course, if the Greeks had lost 0-2 against the Russians, it wouldn’t have mattered that they scored more goals than the Spanish (they still would have scored 3, against Spain’s 2), because then the goal difference would have no longer been the same, and that takes precedence. So that one goal, even in a 1-2 defeat, turns out to be of the utmost importance.

It’s a bit complicated and strange (teams celebrating a loss, etc.), but I guess it’s the only way to determine the top 2 teams in a group of 4 after so few games, where things are always likely to be tight.

The Russians were surprising, but, as the commentator said, they no longer had anything to lose. (They are already out of the tournament.) That’s a warning to teams like Italy and Germany, who might think that playing against a team whose fate has already been decided (the Czechs are through, the Bulgarians are out) is an advantage…

Portugal managed to overcome an unimpressive Spanish team — once again prematurely out of a major tournament. There was probably a big collective sigh of relief in Portugal last night. Players like Raul, Morientes, etc. are faced with yet another trophy-less season. Morientes can console himself with the wonderful run he had with Monaco (although without any trophies to show for it either), but the Spanish Real Madrid players must be scratching their heads…

The big question today is whether France can finally play as we know that they are capable of. There appears to have been some internal turmoil during the week-end, and hopefully this will lead to some changes against Switzerland later on today. In the other game, England have everything to lose against a potentially dangerous Croatia team.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.