Euro 2012 Day 4

England 1 France 1

While France was clearly the better team, England played hard and actually created the better chances despite being outnumbered 5-1 in shots on goal. They also arguably cheated by starting an obvious Klingon, who scored their only goal by heading in a free kick. I’d like to see some DNA testing of the so-called “Joleon Lescott”, as I would be very surprised if he was shown to be of Terran origin. Milner missed a wonderful opportunity when he was put through to goal and beat the goalie before shooting wide, while on the other end, John Terry demonstrated why his teammates are willing to put up with having such an untrustworthy wanker for a teammate. He repeatedly cleaned up potentially dangerous messes. For the French, Riberry was easily the best player and was constantly putting pressure on the English defense with his runs. There was a near goal on a French corner kick, but the English keeper, Hart, produced a nice instinct save to keep the ball out of his net. After seeing this, I expect France to win the group, while England will have a tough time of it unless they can enlist some Romulans or something.

Ukraine 2 Sweden 1

I can’t say much about this game since I only watched the first half, which was scoreless. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Ukraine won, however, as they were clearly the more aggressive team, but I was surprised to see that Shevchenko returned to form and scored both goals. The erstwhile great was relatively ineffective in the first half, failing to even put either of his best opportunities on goal. Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, hit the post in the first half and scored in the second, but I find the half-Swedish striker to be somewhat overrated. While he’s powerful in the air and moves surprisingly well for such a big man, I see him as a complimentary striker, not a number one option, and any team relying on him to be the primary provider of their goals is likely to be disappointed. Neither team looked like it had France’s quality, as both relied very heavily on the long ball, but both looked better than England. I’d be surprised if France and Ukraine didn’t take the top two spots in the group.