Good morning everyone.
Before I get started, I just found out that I have been invited to speak at a Refugee conference in Poland. That’s pretty super! I can’t wait to go over there and stuff myself with all those beefy Polish sausages. They look so delicious, I won’t be able to contain myself and will likely deep throat three or four of them (depending on girth) at a time. I’m going to have one hell of a sausage party while I’m in Poland. OK, that’s enough sausage in your endo.
On a related note, my wife gave me her blessing, which is amazing because when I head to Poland, she’s going to have a one month old to look after. Alas, she knows I need to speak at this conference so I can add it to my CV. Instead of buying her a nice gift, I think I might pay for my MIL and/or one of my BILs to come visit while I’m away. If that doesn’t work out, I’m guessing I’ll have to pony up for an expensive gift, eh?
Here are today’s fixtures.
Early Morning games: Group C at 9AM PST
|Northern Ireland –||3||2||1||0||1||2||1||1||3|
Match 1: The Pounding in Paris
Northern Ireland is playing with house money. Not only did they qualify for a major soccer tournament for the first time in 30 years, but they also got an unexpected win against Ukraine last week. They are still in the hunt for one of the third place spots available to qualify for the round of 16, meaning they will give maximum effort against the Krauts. Unfortunately for them, they are over-matched by the Germans in every way. They will need to have the game of their lives just to keep this game close.
Germany is still pissed off about tying Poland last week. Their head coach, Joachim Löw, stated his disappointment about tying Poland numerous times at various press conferences. Yesterday, he openly said the Germans were going to beat Northern Ireland. While the Germans have looked unimpressive so far, the fact they are coming into this game pissed off and with something to prove makes me think the Germans have the Reich mentality and are going to win this one in a route. Don’t be surprised if it’s 2-0 by halftime.
Keep an eye out for Germany’s Thomas Muller. While he has done nothing this tournament, this seems like the kind of game that could result in him scoring a goal or two. Northern Ireland’s Jonny Evans is going to have his hands full against Muller.
Match 2: Eastern Galicia on a Pole match
Ukraine have had a miserable tournament and are eliminated from advancing to the round of 16. However, Ukraine and Poland are YUGE rivals, so don’t expect Ukraine to lay an egg against Poland. With Poland’s first string goalie not likely to play because of a thigh injury, expect Ukraine’s very skilled–and under performing– players to try and take as many shots on net as possible. They should be able to do such a thing as Poland’s defense is suspect.
Poland’s Robert Lewandowski was a goal scoring machine for Bayern Munich this year (30 in the domestic league) and for Poland during the Euro qualifiers (13). Unfortunately for him and Poland, he has been shooting blanks so far in the Euros. Poland is likely going to advance into the round of 16, but I’m sure they and Lewandowski would feel good about their odds if Lewandowski can score one against the Ukrainians.
Either way, Poland is a fun team to watch, so, if you want to watch a fun, presumably competitive match, watch Poland/Ukraine.
Group D: Noon, PST
|Czech Republic –||3||2||0||1||1||2||3||-1||1|
Match 1: The Battle for first Place or Watching Paint Dry?
If you have a friend who is about to watch a soccer match for the first time, do not show them this game. Both teams will advance with a tie. Croatia’s star player, Luka Modric, will not be playing. Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic will play, but are pretty banged up.
Meanwhile, Spain is debating on sitting Iniestia and a few other older players so they’re fresh for the round of 16. Essentially, this game will be “halfback passes to the center. Back to the wing. Back to the center. Holds it. Holds it. . ” for 90 minutes.
Match 2: Crusade of Varna II: Payback
These two teams are evenly matched. Both teams have a shot at making the round of 16, meaning, this should be a good game. Watch this one over the Spain/Croatia match.
Czech Republic’s coach, Pavel Vrba, stated in an interview that the Czechs will play a more offensive style against Turkey because they need the three points. Czech captain Tomas Rosicky will be out for this game–and the tournament– with a thigh injury. The name of Czech Republic’s starting goalie is Petr Cech. I’ve known this for many years and I still find that to be funny. He’s also really good.
Turkey has played some horrendous soccer the first two matches. They could still advance to the round of 16, so I expect them to finally have a good game. If the Turks actually show up and play well, I think they’re slightly a better side than the Czechs and they’ll win. I’ll say Yilmaz and Erkin will score and the Turks will beat the Czechs 2-1.