On Engerlund

Yesterday’s games went according to what appears to be the usual form – one team won as expected, the other surprisingly drew. I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see England put Switzerland down without any trouble – Wayne Rooney is incredibly solid for a kid who’s only eighteen – but Croatia really deserved to beat France instead of settling for only a point. Trezeguet definitely handled the ball on France’s second goal and I don’t know how the Croatian striker managed to put it wide from four feet out in the final seconds. France doesn’t deserve to go through but they almost surely will, along with England, which will easily shut down Croatia. The English defense is much better than their French counterparts, as I’ve always thought Silvestre was suspect and Desailly, as much as it pains me to say it, is looking as if his long and distinguished international career should have ended before this tournament.

For today, I like Sweden to upset an Italy that lacks Francesco Totti, as the selfless passing and aggressive runs of Ljungberg and Larrson will be difficult for the Azzurri to stop if they can’t dominate the ball-control time. In the other game, Denmark should provide a second Scandinavian spanking to Bulgaria, which looks entirely overmatched. If Italy can’t get a draw today, they could be in real danger of failing to go through. I can’t even imagine the hysterical conspiracy theories that will be flying around if Sweden beats Italy, Denmark beats Bulgaria, followed by a Swedish loss to Denmark. Good times, good times.