Euro 2008 day 2

1. Austria was terrible. Rough, foul-prone play, no hint of an attack, no decent passing in the midfield. Giving up a penalty shot in the first five minutes was just horrible and there was no question that it was a penalty either.

2. Croatia was competent but they really didn’t show much after being gifted what turned out to be the winning goal right at the start. They’ve got the talent to beat Poland, but they’ll have to be a bit less lacksadaisical. On the other hand, it seemed like the Austrians were dragging them down to their level, so who knows what they’re actually capable of.

2. There was an awful lot of room being created for Polack jokes in the first 25 minutes of the Poland-Germany game. Speaking as a tactically-oriented coach, it’s really not a good idea to play a high offsides trap with a slow and undisciplined back four. They got badly burned three times and if the German strikers had any idea how to pass to one another, they’d have been down 4-0. I have to seriously question any coach who watches the other side running right through his trap but refuses to change anything until he actually gives up a goal.

3. The Germans won 2-0 and they deserved the victory, but their strikers are not impressive. They’re fast and they’ve got solid midfield support, but they attack rather like midfielders who get squirrelly in front of goal. Germany appears to be one of those teams who need three or four good chances to put one in the net, which is fine against the lesser teams but makes life difficult when playing a powerhouse like Italy or a defensive turtle like Greece. On the other hand, they’re a pretty young team, so they may outlast teams at the tail end of close games.

4. Still haven’t seen anyone I expect to beat Italy.