By Nate Jacobson
The mood is calm and normal during the group stage in Madrid, Spain.
From the country that has won the last two major tournaments, it is expected that Spain easily make it out of the group stage to the quarterfinals. This year is no different and even a 4-0 thumping of Ireland won’t get the Spaniards hopes up.
They show support by wearing red Spanish jerseys throughout the day, filling up local bars and restaurants, and proudly waving flags after the match. However, there is nothing too crazy happening in Madrid yet.
This statement is not taking away anything from Spanish soccer fans. We must remember that Spain was a tortured fan base just like the Dutch and English. Spain won their first major championship in 44 years when they won Euro 2008, and lifted their first World Cup in 2010. Spanish fans that have suffered are an optimistic group now, but cautious and won’t get too excited with the win over Ireland. In fact, the Spanish look like they have traveled well to Gdansk, Poland. Not as many numbers as the Irish and “Trapattoni’s Army”, but the excitement for this talented Spain squad is better than ever.
The biggest thing to take out from Spain’s victory was Fernando Torres scoring two goals. Torres got a start, which was a surprise for Spanish fans. Cesc Fabregas started at center forward for the Italy match, and Torres came off the bench. The struggling Chelsea striker had his chances, but couldn’t deliver a winner.
Manager Vicente del Bosque picked Torres anyway to start against Ireland. Torres rewarded his coach with a goal four minutes in to give Ireland another nightmare start. Torres scored Spain’s third goal to prove his first wasn’t a fluke.
Torres was a big money transfer in January 2011 because he has the skill. He has lacked the confidence with his club, but has gained momentum with his country. Even though he didn’t score against Italy, Spain played better with a true striker like Torres on the pitch.
David Silva and Fabregas added the other goals for Spain and they were on a much higher than Ireland.
Croatia earned a draw against Italy in the earlier match of the evening. This will cause a wild last day of group play in Group C. Ireland are out, but could knock Italy out of Euro 2012 with a draw or win. Italy is two points behind Croatia and Spain, who play each other on Monday at the same time as the Italy match against Ireland.
The scenarios are complex for Italy and Croatia, but Spain needs at least one point to go to the quarterfinals. An in-form scoring striker will help Spain and excite Spanish fans for the rest of the tournament.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.
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adidas has added some color to the Predator line with this new colorway. Released on May 17. Be the first to own a pair.
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The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The Juventus jersey for the 2013/14 was released earlier this week. Be the first to wear the colors of the Old Lady.
The new PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 FG. A great new soccer cleat with classic look and first time for PUMA to be on the cleat.
Bayern Munich are kings of Germany and hope to be crowned kings of Europe at Wembley later this month!