(Will anyone ever top this feat?)
Spain's 4-0 drumming of Italy meant they immortalized themselves in footballing lore and will be on the short list of best teams ever in any semi-educated conversation for years to come. It also glossed over what was a relatively underwhelming tournament in terms of high-quality, high-scoring, memorable games that European Championships usually produce. Perhaps that's symptomatic of the tactical state of the game that Jose Mourinho has inflicted upon us. None the less, it was gratifying to see Spain return to the previous heights they had set themselves and not limp into history but march into it.
- Jordi Alba plays like this for Barca. Chills are running down Madridistas' spines.
- Alan Dzagoev made enough of a splash to escape from Moscow and land on the continent somewhere. Russia getting out of their group might have helped his cause.
- The USA changes its anthem to America the Beautiful. Will this happen in my lifetime? Probably not, but it really needs to. And I realize I'm risking offending 4 of my 7 readers here, but whatever. Seeing Tim Howard hum the silly, dated, star spangled banner just does not have the same emotional effect as Gigi Buffon belting out his canto italiano with his eyes closed. (granted poor Timmy probably wouldn't be the one to keep his eyes closed, but none the less)
- Pirlo gets the praise he deserves. Incredible he was under the radar for so long. Anyone who watched those great Milan teams of the mid 00s knew about him.
- Ibra moves to the premiership and tosses around John Terry weekly
- Germany didn't make the final. Everyone was looking forward to the two best teams in the world meeting in the final, but credit Italy, they deserved it.
- Neither the hosts progressed. Would have added more atmosphere.
- Ashleys were allowed to take penalties. They are a slight improvement over Darius Vassell though, who had no business even being included in the squad in Euro 2004.
- We don't have commonly known nicknames like our Spanish speaking counterparts. Apart from Kobe, I can't think of any players off the top of my head that any announcers even refer to by their first name (though I'm sure they're are a few). Granted I'm not talking about the Hawk Harrelsons home town radio announcer. I'm talking about the ESPN guys. After reaching my breaking point with Darke and Macca answering their own questions, "That wasn't a very good ball Macca, was it." I flipped over to ESPN Deportes and my enjoyment level went up 5x. My favorite nickname is David Silva's, "el chino" because he's "short." Maybe I would get tired of my Mexican hosts as well, but there was a candidness, and nice back and forth banter that they had going which is basically the opposite of anything Darke and Macca put us through. Mustoe was the pick of a bad bunch.