By Nate Jacobson
The three weeks of Euro 2012 produced many memorable events, goals and performances. Here are the five moments that soccer fans will remember for along time.
“Boring” Spain wins again: Going into Euro 2012 the defending European and World champions had doubters because of the pre-tournament injuries to Carlos Puyol and David Villa. Spain still had a staked squad, but they were without their most steady defender and top finisher. When the tournament started Spain rolled out a 4-6-0 formation with Cesc Fabragas leading the attack. There were chances and numerous experiments by coach Vicente Del Bosque throughout the tournament because Spain wasn’t playing up to their high standards. Until the final, the common headline that was seen in soccer articles was “Is Spain boring?”
Spain erased those headlines and brought their “A-game” to the final against Italy. The Spanish were so sharp in their 4-0 victory. This Spain generation will go down as the greatest international soccer team ever.
Pirlo and Buffon: With a match-fixing scandal going on in Italy, veterans Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon turned in outstanding performances and showed a lot of pride towards their country. They ran out of gas in the final, but they carried Italy to that point. Pirlo was the creative man in the midfield. Buffon, the captain, was solid in net. This might be the end for these two legends of Italian soccer and their country will miss them.
No Ronaldo in PKs: The controversy from Portugal’s semifinal loss in penalty kicks to Spain was that Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t take a spot kick. Ronaldo was scheduled to go fifth in Portugal’s order, but two Portugal missed two of their kicks. Spain scored four out of five and Europe’s best player didn’t shot have his chances from 12 yards out.
The Dutch crumbling: The expectations were high for the Netherlands even though they were in the group of death. With players like Wesley Sneijder, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben the Dutch were on of the favorites to with Euro 2012. However, the Netherlands didn’t even get a point. Netherlands played a defensive system in their first two games against Denmark and Germany, and that didn’t work. Talented offensive players like Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart didn’t start until the third game and by then it was too late. It is clear that this group of Dutch players doesn’t always get along and it might be time for the Oranje to start over and try out new players.
The gracious hosts: Poland and Ukraine faced a lot of pressure on putting a great show, but the questions about racism persisted. Luckily, it seemed that there was no major racism or hate acts towards players and fans in the two countries. On the field, Poland and Ukraine didn’t make it out of their group and combined for only one win in six matches.
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