Monday, June 9, 2008

Game 5: Group of Smyth

Up until now all results have gone as expected, the favored teams have taken care of the underdogs (even if the results didn't reflect the effort), but today the French looked absolutely anemic and disinterested in playing Romania. It was clear they came in overconfident and under-prepared, and this is going to make it near impossible for les bleus to make it out of Group C. Though France did have their fair amount of chances, they lacked any guile and aggression to run at the back line of Romania who seemed to constantly have 6 defenders waiting to stifle any attack. The French desperately missed Henry and Vieria, but the likes of Anelka, Ribery, Benzema, and Malouda seemed as though they forgot how to strike a ball on frame. When Gomis and Nasri were substituted on they fared no better, and as a result the French should be very nervous about taking on Holland and Italy later in the tournament. Anything short of two victories will leave the French finishing in 3rd by my prediction, and beating both Holland and Italy on based on their performance today, is too tall a task even if Henry and Vieira are fit. Romania on the other hand, has to be encouraged with their effort and the point that they stole from France. Thanks to a solid defense and possession the Romanians were able to keep at least the slightest of chances alive of moving on to the quarterfinals. France should be disappointed over all, and I'm looking forward to a much better match from Italy and Holland.

Its also apparent that the longer this tournament goes on, the crazier Tommy Smyth gets. Between his analysis of hip checks, Paul Pierce, Inverness, and the constant reminders of the NBA Finals he made it clear that the only players capable of scoring for France were Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery. If those two didn't see the ball immediatley than the rest he'd start screaming about Anelka being out of position, or Malouda not getting the ball to the two golden boys quickly enough. Its also clear that he has a not-so-secret man crush on Claude Makalele and will never forgive Real Madrid for selling him. I feel sorry for Derek Rae as the days go by, not only does he have around 20 matches in a row, but he also has to constantly cover for Smyth's blown analysis and remind him that they are covering the Euro's and not the Lakers-Celtics series....... and in case you didn't hear about the "breaking news", Michael Strahan is retiring.

Update: if this isn't bad enough, coverage in between games saw Rece Davis and Tommy Smyth actually breaking down the game 2 of the NBA finals, and Julie Foudy just referred to the Lakers as "her boys"..... If this keeps up I'm turning it to ESPN Deportes and I don't understand a word of Spanish.

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