My worst day of predictions was yesterday, when Spain embarrassed itself by flaming out of the tournament altogether and Greece, suddenly realizing that they might go through, had a panic attack and gave up a goal only 68 seconds into the match. Portugal played all right – except for Gomez and Ronaldo they were pretty average – but Spain was downright horrid. They played defensively throughout, and in my opinion, deserved to lose. Every major tournament, they “flatter to deceive” as the English soccer press likes to say. Why Morientes wasn’t playing, I’ll never understand. You’d think the Spaniards would have learned from Real Madrid’s experience earlier this year, as Torres and Raul did nothing.
So, Portugal and Greece stumble through the Group of Self-Asphyxiation, primarily because someone had to. I don’t expect much from either team in the quarterfinals, although Portugal could make it to the semis depending on who they draw.
Tonight, in the Group of Sudden and Unexpected Death At The Last Minute, France will have no trouble with the overmatched Swiss, and England should put away Croatia, though not without difficulty. It will be interesting to see if Michael Owen can get himself untracked or if Sven will bring Vasell on early. I don’t expect we’ll see Heskey again this tournament, barring injuries to the other strikers.