category: Euro 2012
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Well what a first day that was. Seven goals, two red cards, a penalty miss. The most goals in an opening day since 1960. Don’t think we could have asked for a better start. Greece did well to come back and get a draw, it would be surprising not to see Salpingidis start the second game. They could have easily won that game after being dominated for the first half. Giorgios Samaras should be nowhere near that team.

Not the worst start for one of the home nations, a point is not a disaster but puts some pressure on them to get something off the Russians.  If they can repeat the first half performance and avoid the second half showing then you never know. Was impressed with Rybus before he came off, thought he looked a good player.

Performance of the day has to go to Alan Dzagoev and his Russian team, they were superb, totally dominated the Czech Republic at times and with Kerzhakov not having an absolute nightmare it could have been 6 or 7 instead of the four goals they did get. Arshavin had a fantastic game, looked really in the mood. Denisov was quality in the midfield too.

For the Czech side, they need to take some positives from the second half. Pilar looks a very dangerous winger, Baros was typically Baros. He surely can’t be their best striker, if so they will finish last in this group.

On to the games:

NETHERLANDS v DENMARK

The Group of Death kicks off with the Dutch against the Danes, the same match that kicked off both sides tournament in South Africa two years ago. The Dutch found it tough then, and should find the same difficult game today. Will it be Huntelaar or van Persie, will it be Sneijder or van der Vaart, big decisions from a team that are one of the favourites.

Expect Denmark to give Holland a good game but in the end falter, and the Dutch to pick up all three points. Of course watch out for Christian Eriksen for the Danes, much talked about star at Ajax.

RESULT: NETHERLANDS 2 DENMARK 1

 

GERMANY v PORTUGAL

Massive game to finish the evening. Two of the competition favourites come together in the opening game and it will be crucial for either side not to lose. The Germans will start slight favourites, favourites for the game and of coruse favourites for the competition. If one team are to stop the German machine then it could just be Portugal. Their success will depend on the form of Cristiano Ronaldo but also how well Moutinho and Meireles play and I think Pepe and Alves could be quite dodgy at the back.

Although Germany have the likes of Gotze and Reus coming through, it looks like the same attacking threat from South Africa will start.   Klose should get the nod ahead of Mario Gomez, but two years older, it might be sooner rather than later that we see if Gomez can perform on the biggest stage. I do fancy both to trouble the Portuguese defence though.

RESULT: GERMANY 2 PORTUGAL 0

 

Throughout the tournament I’ll give myself ONE point for a correct result, and THREE points for a correct score. So from 31 games that’s a possible 93 points. I think the target for a successful tournament will be 40.

Only one point from Day One. Russia with the win

1/6

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category: Euro 2012
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Football tournaments are a great chance to make some money, not just for punters but for betting companies too. Lots of money placed and lots of money lost. I have placed a few pre-tournament bets that I thought I’d share with you.

TOP GOALSCORER

I’ve picked quite a few players and place each-way bets on all of them.

SPAIN – Pedro 50/1

HOLLAND – Klass-Jan Huntelaar 18/1

GERMANY – Mesut Ozil 66/1

GERMANY – Lukas Podolski 28/1

FRANCE – Franck Ribery 50/1

POLAND – Robert Lewandowski 20/1

Mr Lewandowski got us off to a great start with a goal today. I’d hope at least one or two of these could finish in the top three goalscorers at the end of the tournament

Paddy Power were doing a special this morning if you pick four group winners you would still win if one of the team let you down.

I’ve gone with: FRANCE, SPAIN, GERMANY and RUSSIA

It worked out at around 19/1

 

My last bet is one backing FRANCE to win the whole tournament with Karim Benzema to be top scorer at 66/1

Hope everyone gets some money on and picks some winners.

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categories: Euro 2012, Uncategorized
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Welcome back!

After a long long absence I have decided to post on here once again to make some predictions for Euro 2012.

Today the tournament kicks off in Warsaw with Poland v Greece and then later on it’s Russia v Greece in Wroclaw. Group A it seems will be very tight, lots of people are writing off Greece and the Czech Republic before a ball is kicked, but they both did well to qualify for this tournament, don’t count them out.

Onto today’s games:

POLAND v GREECE

I expect the hosts to kick off with a win, I think there will only be one goal in it. The Dortmund trio of Łukasz Piszczek, Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski will be a handful but the one to watch from one is Ludovic Obraniak. The Bordeaux midfielder ended the season really well and I expect him to do well and play a huge part in Poland’s success

RESULT: POLAND 2 GREECE 1

 

RUSSIA v CZECH REPUBLIC

This will be another close game. Russia are the favourites and the Czechs are being labelled the worst team in the tournament, they will however again be tough to beat. Russia’s win over Italy makes them a dangerous threat. Andrei Arshavin, Romain Pavlyuchenko, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Alexandre Kerzhakov will take  some stopping. Watch out for CSKA Moscow’s Alan Dzagoev, he really impressed me against Lille in the Champions League

RESULT: RUSSIA 2 CZECH REPUBLIC 0

I will reveal the bets I have made for the tournament after the first game.

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Andrew Gibney is back to host the gibfootballshow podcast. He is joined by Brent Atema and Charlie Anderson as they discuss the recent qualification games for the European Championships and the African Cup of Nations.

They also discuss the recent friendly between USA and Argentina the rise of new American wonderkid Juan Agudelo. Also on the agenda is NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco’s trial with MLS team Sporting Kansas City and what it means for the player and the team.

There is also a special interview with Garreth Cummins from the Football Supporters Federation. Recently they started a petition to bring safe-standing back to English grounds, Garreth comes on to chat about the petition but also the other good work the FSF does for football fans.

A jam packed show…it’s good to be back.

 

DOWNLOAD NOW!!!

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As just stated by my good friend Chris Mayer on twitter…everyone seems to be jumping on the Belgian bandwagon. After two good results this weekend they have finally caught everyones attention, and rightly so. The squad is brimming with talent: Alderweireld, Kompany, Vanden Borre, Vertonghen, Chadli, Defour, Hazard, Witsel, Dembele, Mirallas, Vossen, Ogunjimi and Lukaku. The list goes on but there are thirteen excellent footballers and not one of them over the age of 24.

read more »

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categories: Euro 2012, Scotland
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Last night in Prague Ivan Bebek put the whistle to his lips and signalled not just the end of Scotland’s match against the Czech Republic but with it could end any chance of the Tartan Army reaching the European Championships in 2012, a quick glance at the table and they look in not too bad a situation, and there are ways to spin it to make it sound much better than it is. If we fast forward to the last week of the qualifying games, taking for granted that Spain will win every game, Liechtenstein lose every game, by some kind of miracle Scotland then record victories against the Czech Republic and Lithuania at home, the last week would see Craig Levein’s men travel to Spain and Lithuania play host to the Czech Republic.

If everything went according to play and it usually doesn’t for Scotland, Spain would sit top of Group I on 21 points, Scotland 2nd on 13, with Lithuania and the Czech Republic level on 10 points each, Everyone would expect Scotland to suffer a defeat in Spain and that would leave the winner in Kaunas level on points with Scotland, so if you live in the optimistic world there is still plenty to play for and it will also probably mean you haven’t watched any of Scotland’s earlier games, the problem with this scenario is it requires Scotland to win 3 matches, and right now that scenario is as far fetched as they come.

The point away from home against Lithuania on paper doesn’t look like the worst result after Lithuania’s victory in Olomouc but anyone that watched the game will know it should have been three points to start the campaign off, Scotland have played against much better Lithuania sides and come away with more than a point, this Scotland team is just not up to the job, the midfield worked very hard the whole game but was devoid of any patience on the ball or the ability to break down a stubborn defence, no creative spark on the field, Kenny Miller isolated upfront, at times there was good width created by the full backs inevitably there was no one in the box able to convert or the quality of cross was just not there, the 0-0 score line did not describe a game full of excellent saves and great tackles it described two sides unable to create any clear cut chances.

Liechtenstein at home is a game most teams in Europe maybe apart from San Marino would expect to win, the archive results in the end will show a 2-1 victory to Scotland, the score line in no way reflects the match and how abysmal the team played that night, with McFadden returning and Kris Boyd added to the line-up the expectant 37,000 that turned up at Hampden Park wanted goals, a good three or four nil win to kick start the campaign and lift the spirits of a nation. This was not to be Boyd went missing, McFadden did not seem match sharp and the defence allow Liechtenstein to look like a decent team. Level at half time it surely couldn’t get any worse, it could. Mario Frick once of Siena in Serie A was allowed time and space to collect the ball outside the Scotland penalty area, and with a quick turn and flick of the right boot he sent the tiny amount of away fans in the crowd into jubilant celebration, not since October 2007 had Liechtenstein won a match Iceland the unlucky opponents that day surely Scotland couldn’t join that elite club.

It was not to be, the country with a smaller population than the attendance that night in Glasgow couldn’t hold on, Kenny Miller’s strike on 62 minutes followed by the 95th minute winning header by Stephen McManus meant Scotland’s blushes were spared and the hopes of a nation to qualify for a major tournament again were still alive, could this be the kick up the backside the team needed and a good performance and result again the Czech Republic in Prague would go a long way in making the country believe again.

Scotland wouldn’t be Scotland without shooting itself in the foot however, the rumours began days before the Czech Republic match that Levein was thinking of leaving out the SPL’s top goal scorer Kenny Miller for uncapped QPR forward Jamie Mackie, Mackie’s 8 goals this season is an impressive tally playing for a very exciting QPR side that lead the English Championship we will be full of confidence, to give him his Scotland debut in Prague in place of the inform Miller was indeed a idea straight out of left field. Reports continued to flood out of the Scotland camp, Mackie would not be the loan front man in Prague…there wouldn’t be one.

Confusion spread throughout the country the 4-6-0 is a brand new idea for the Scottish people, although used around the World and Europe throughout the last few years, to try and adapt a team to this new style the week before a massive qualification game was a bold idea from Levein, if successful he would be a genius, if it went wrong the daggers would be at his back and questions about his managerial ability would be raised.

A few years ago a 1-0 defeat to the Czech Republic would not seem that bad a result, however the days of Nedved, Koller, Galasek and Co. are long gone, Tomas Rosicky and Peter Cech remain in the side but as the 1-0 defeat to Lithuania showed they are a shadow of their former self, missed out on the 2010 World Cup and fighting with Scotland and Lithuania for a play-off place for 2012 is not where we are used to seeing the Czech side doing business. For the majority of the match Scotland’s striker less system worked, all eleven players working hard for the team, and when Scotland tried to get forward the same faults appeared as always, no patience on the ball a lack of creativity, at times there was an outlet pass then other times there was nothing, away from home I always feel you need someone who can hold the ball up for you and let the rest of the team advance forward, this is not a call for Kenny Miller to have started either as at times this is not a strong point of his game, he does however give an option down the channel and that can be very useful to get you out of a defensive situation.

The home side dominated the possession and controlled the game the breakthrough finally came in 69th minute Rosicky’s corner was flicked on by Bednar and Roman Hubnik was there to apply the crucial finish, people can blame the system till their blue in the face but you can lose a goal from a set piece regardless of how many strikers you have on the field, there are good and bad points to how Levein put out his team, at the end of day though Scotland have left Prague with no points and needing to win three games to finish 2nd in the Group.

It would be very surprising to see Levein try this system again, Scotland just nation does not have the players available to make this work. Levein has said this was a system to be used solely against the Czech Republic, so it would look most likely to see the 4-5-1 rolled out on Tuesday for the Spanish, a match were no one really holds out any hope of a Scotland point never mind a victory.

Defeat would still leave Scotland with a slim chance of qualifying, the home ties against Lithuania and the Czech Republic would be must wins, they can’t afford no more slip ups and judging by the previous performances confidence is not high.

Who knows Scotland being the unpredictable nation that it is, it might not be too crazy to have a little punt on a win this Tuesday at Hampden, it’s only the World and European Champions.

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