Daily Archives: June 20, 2012
In a somewhat frantic pace, the European Championships has shifted into second gear.
The group stages reached its climax when Wily Ol’ Woy Hodgson’s England took on co-hosts, Ukraine, while Laurent Blanc’s France hoped to continue their impressive international unbeaten record against the group’s whooping boys, Sweden.
France fielded a very strong side and I decided to go on a scouting mission to watch the highly-rated and sought-after Yann M’Vila. From an Arsenal persepective, Laurent Koscielny watched from the dugout yet again, but the stench of Arsenal remained on the pitch with the likes of Gael Clichy, $amir Na$ri and Seb Larsson strutting their stuff.
France had the lion’s share of possession but the Swedes had the better goalscoring chances. Early on, Zlatan Ibrahimovic lofted a through ball over the top that made Phillippe Mexes fall on his back side. Ola Toivonen did well to go round Hugo Lloris but the post came to France’s rescue.
Chances were far-fetched in the first half but Sweden’s skipper and chief conjurer, Zlatan Ibracadabra, sent his homeland and the rest of the football world into raptures with a goal that proved why he needs to be used as the S.I. unit for measuring technique in football.
France pushed on for an equalizer and Arsenal’s newbie, Olivier Giroud, came on in Yann M’Vila’s stead. He almost made an instant impact as he glanced his header wide with his first touch of the game.
It was no different from Nicklas Bendtner’s effort against Tottenham a few years ago, but the only difference was that the world’s best striker scored with his effort while Giroud didn’t.
France’s willingness to push on to level the contest left gaping holes at the back, which allowed Sweden to hit them on the break. A cross from Christian Wilhelmsson was fired goalwards by some bloke that has the same amount of hair with Howard Webb. His effort cannoned off the cross bar but Sebastian Larsson was on hand to slam home the rebound to put the game beyond Les Bleus.
Elsewhere, Steven Gerrard showed off some amazing skill to waltz past his marker before drilling a trademark cross into the heart of Ukraine’s danger area. The goalie, Andriy Pyatov, made a mess of what seemed like a routing save, allowing the ball across the goalmouth, leaving Shrek no choice but to convert the ball from less than a yard out.
There was some much hype surrounding Shrek’s return to the England starting line-up and it was nice to see the lad mark the occasion with a goal, as well as showing off his hair of course.
Out of the eight European nations that have been sent packing, four Gunners have also been present in those squads.
It’s fair to say that Wojciech Szczesny had a premature tournament, Robin van Persie endured a disappointing campaign, Andrey Arshavin was one of the bright sparks in the Russian team that was stunned by the cruel head to head rule while Nicklas Bendtner and his fellow Vikings went down fighting.
Judging from Bendtner’s performances in Euro 2012, he had a great tournament by his standards and he must have attracted a few predators out there, as SL Benfica have reignited their interest in the rangy forward.
Apart from his two well-taken headed goals against Portugal, Bendtner grabbed a place in the back pages for his Paddy Power publicity stunt that earned him a €100,000 fine, as well as a one-match ban, much to the dismay of the bewildered forward.
The folks at UEFA charged him with improper conduct, as he was found guilty of breaking the European governing body’s strict rules against unapproved sponsor advertising on kits.
“We pride ourselves on listening to our customers and what we heard loud and clear yesterday was that Nicklas Bendtner should not suffer as a result of UEFA’s double standards.
We don’t believe that Nicklas should be penalised for nothing more serious than wearing his lucky underpants which, in fairness, was only a bit of fun.”
The company also sent out a warning to other footballers wearing their “lucky pants” to keep them concealed in order not to incur the wrath of the UEFA Pants Police. It’s really unfortunate to know that UEFA has given cheaper sanctions to teams involved in real offenses like racism.
Arseblog News in conjunction with Paddy Power of course, launched a competition with five pairs of Bendtner underpants up for grabs. All you have to do is to answer the question below:
Nicklas Bendtner is: a) The Greatest Astronaut That Ever Lived b) The Greatest Horsewhisperer That Ever Lived c) The Greatest Striker That Ever Lived or d) All of the above (which are to the side rather than above but you get what we mean).
Visit the site to answer the question and you could stand a chance of winning a pair of Bendtner underpants.
Moving on to more relevant news, Andrey Arshavin’s stint as the captain of Russia might be under jeopardy after openly stating that the elimination from Euro 2012 is not the players’ concern:
“The fact that we have not met your expectations is not our problem, It’s your problem. When I’m sitting in (Federal House) State Duma, I’ll be held accountable before you.
We lost because we did not score and the Greeks did. These conversations will not change the result of the game.”
This certainly hasn’t gone down well in Russia, and former Russia Football Union Leader, who’s now FIFA’s Vice President, Vyacheslav Koloskov, has been the most vocal, declaring that Arshavin is “unfit” to be Russia’s captain after such comments.
Koloskov stated that Arshavin has never been in the same shoes as those who, at their own expense, travel long distances to support the team.
From a neutral perspective, those comments weren’t necessary from Russian football’s No. 1 citizen and we might probably expect an apology from him in the near future.
Enjoy the day’s break from Euro 2012.
The quarterfinals begin in earnest tomorrow.
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