European Football News Includng Euro 2012
1: Daily Euro 2012 Reports 2: Euro 29123 Group Previews
Details of every Euro 2012 match venue and date are given here
This Page: Europe Football News / National News / Europa League including news information and comment about Europe’s leading and most prominent football clubs, their management and players. Reports include transfer news national league news + group & match fixtures information in the UEFA Europa League Competition.
1: Euro 2012 Daily Reports
Euro 2012 Final July 1st Spain beat Italy 4-0 to win to retain their Euro crown. Spain shook off the boring tag and went 2-0 up in an explosive first half with David Silva header and a fantastic goal from the rather impressive Barcelona bound Jordi Alba. The injury to Italy substitute Thiago Motta meant that the Azzuri had to play the remaining half an hour with just ten men and made an unenviable task near on impossible. The Rout was completed by Chelsea pair Fernando Torres and Juan Mata late on who came off the subs bench.
Spain have broken a record by becoming the first team to win three consecutive Major tournaments. The Italians did tremendously well just to reach the final and deserve a lot of credit but just couldn’t live with the phenomenal talent of the best team in International history. Spain saved their best performance for the final and proved once again no team in the world even comes close to them in terms of skill, technique and sheer desire to be the best.
Euro 2012 Semi Final 2 June 28th Italy beat Germany 2-1 in Poland to reach Sunday’s final. The Germans began on the front foot but were soon caught out for naive defending and punished on the 20th minute with a Mario Balotelli header and on the 36th minute when Balotelli went clean through and smashed home the second for the Azzuri. The Germans were shell shocked as were most people watching across the the world I imagine.
The Germans weren’t that much better in the second half and left it too late to lay siege to the Italian goal. The Azzuri had opportunities to make it 3-0 and put the contest beyond Germany but Antonio Di Natale was one of the culprits guilty of a lack of composure in front of goal. Germany eventually got on the score sheet in the 92 nd minute when Mesut Ozil struck an excellent penalty kick but it was too little too late and the tournament favourites head home having under achieved yet again. The Italians have a phenomenal record over the Germans in competitive matches which they retain and as for Sunday’s opponents, The Spanish underestimate this Italian side with Balotelli, Pirlo and De Rossi at your own peril.
Euro 2012 Semi Final 1 June 27th Spain beat Portugal 4-2 on penalties to reach their third Tournament final in a row. The Portuguese deserve a lot of credit for making the game a lot more competitive than the French did against Spain in the quarter finals. Spain were very average throughout normal time but came to life in extra time and had it not been for Portuguese goal keeper Rui Patricio they’d have won the match without penalties.
Bruno Alves had been a stalwart defender for Portugal throughout the match and the tournament but seemed very uneasy about taking a spot kick. Alves missed the crucial penalty with a wild effort which struck the cross bar. Cesc Fabregas scored the decisive penalty which sent the Spaniards through to Sunday’s final after his effort rebounded off the post and found the right hand corner of the net.
Portuguese Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t even get to take a penalty which in hindsight he and his coach must reflect upon as a grave mistake. If Ronaldo had taken a penalty before centre half Alves did than it may have been Portugal in the final rather than Iberian neighbours Spain who will face the winner of Germany vs Italy who fight out tonight’s second semi-final.
Euro 2012 Quarter Final 4 June 24th England lost the dreaded penalty shoot out yet again after a 2 hour 0-0 draw with Italy. The Italians showed superior technique and dominated possession throughout with veteran Andrea Pirlo particularly outstanding in the middle of the park. The Three Lions defended well but showed barely anything in an attacking sense thanks to a lacklustre Manchester United trio of Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck and the supposedly patriotic Wayne Rooney. Pirlo’s penalty in the shootout was shockingly confident as he chipped it over the helpless Joe Hart.
Italy scored all their spot kicks whilst Ashely Cole’s tame effort was stopped by Gianluigi Buffon and Ashley Young’s strike was smashed against the Italian cross bar. West Ham reject Alessandro Diamanti converted the winning penalty for The Azzuri who face the hotly favoured Germans in what promises to be a classic semi-final between two of the most successful sides in International football history.
Euro 2012 Quarter Final 3 June 23rd Spain beat France 2-0 in an incredibly dull and one sided affair. The Holders retained possession for most of the game and scored after half an hour when the lightning fast Jordi Alba crossed for Real Madrid’s midfield maestro Xabi Alonso to score a rare headed goal. The French pushed a little more in the second half but the likes of Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda failed to turn up to the party and looked lacklustre on the big stage yet again.
Alonso put the game beyond any doubt with a late penalty and the favourites now meet Portugal in the semi’s. Let’s hope the Portuguese are fitter and more adventurous otherwise we have another boring contest in prospect for next week.
Euro 2012 Quarter Final 2 June 22nd Germany beat 2004 champions Greece 4-2 to book their place in the semi-finals. Germany took the lead through their captain marvel Phillip Lahm on the brink of half time with a wonderful strike. Greece needed to be more attacking in the second half and there change in tactics paid off when Salpingidis crossed for Georgios Samaras to give the Greek a surprising equaliser. The Germans responded emphatically though as they regained their lead within a few minutes when Madrid’s Sami Khedira struck home a fierce first time volley. Young star Reus made it 3-1 and the Germans had more than one foot in the last four. Miroslav Kolse made it 4-1 with a trademark header and his 64th goal of an incredible international career.
The Greeks salvaged some pride with a fortuitous penalty late on converted by the excellent Salpingidis. Germany now await the winners of England vs Italy and on this evidence I make the 3 times Euro Winners the Favourites to to regain this illustrious trophy after 16 years without it.
Euro 2012 Quarter Final June 21st portugal vs Czech Republic: Portugal dominated most of the game. Cristiano Ronaldo was lively throughout but unable to convert chances. The Czechs picked up in the second half and created some dangerous opportunities of their own. Petr Cech made a couple of crucial stops for his country but even the Chelsea goalkeeper couldn’t save them in the end. Ronaldo eventually won the game for the Portuguese with an expertly struck close range effort on 79 minutes. The Portuguese will face the winners of the Spain vs France quarter final.
Euro 2012 Day 11 June 18th Champions Spain beat Croatia 1-0 in a tight affair.The Croatians were disappointed not to be awarded two penalties for fouls by Sergio Ramos and Busquets but that keeps in line with the biased referring we’ve seen towards the big teams so far this tournament. It was far from a vintage performance by the Spaniards but a late goal from substitute Jesus Navas gave them the win that ensured they finished as group winners knocking out the talented Croatians in the process.
Italy beat Ireland 2-0 to qualify as runners up. Antonio Cassano headed in from Andrea Pirlo’s corner on the stroke of halftime. Ireland showed their fighting spirit but this below average team just didn’t have the class to trouble a solid Italian side and the three points were assured with a fantastic volley from the enigmatic Mario Balotelli with just a few minutes left on the clock. The Irish return home with not a single point to their name and with some serious rebuilding to do.
Euro 2012 Day 9 Sat June 16th Greece shocked Russia with a famous 1-0 victory. Everyone had backed the Russians to qualify but as per usual they flattered to deceive and the 2004 winners Greece proved everyone wrong. Skipper Girogios Karagounis got the winner on the brink of half time. Slack defending from the Russians allowed the veteran in who emphatically gave the Greek’s a priceless lead. Russia pushed and probed for an equaliser but just seemed to run out of steam and enthusiasm towards the end of the game. Greece qualify for the last 8 and are they on the verge of stunning the footballing world with another triumphant and unexpected tournament win?
Czech Republic beat Poland 1-0 eliminating the co-hosts from the competition in the process. Midfielder Peter Jiracek scored the 72nd minute winner as The Czech’s showed reziliency bouncing back from the humbling defeat at the hands of Russia in their opening match to finish as group winners. Czech Republic progress to the last 8 along with the Greeks and I’m sure that most nations wouldn’t mind meeting one of these underdogs in the quarter finals.
Euro 2012 Day 8 Fri June 15th England beat Sweden 3-2 in a classic encounter. The Three Lions took an early lead when Steven Gerrard’s pinpoint cross was met by the head of his Liverpool teammate Andy Carroll who headed England 1-0 in front. Sweden responded well in the second half capitalising on lacklustre England defending with two strikes from defender Olaf Mellberg. The English were shell shocked and were beginning to get the familiar sinking feeling. Theo Walcott replaced the unadventurous James Milner on the wing, an inspired substitution which would change Engalnd’s fortunes. Walcott struck a 30 yard shot which fooled the Swedish defence and goal keeper to luckily nestle in the net and the contest was level once again. Walcott then went on to make a point by skipping past the tired Swedish defence and cross for Man United striker Danny Welbeck to score the winner with an innovative close range finish.
France beat Co hosts Ukraine 2-0. Despite Ukraine’s impressive opening win over Sweden this dynamic Les Bleus side made the Ukrainians look very ordinary. Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and Roma’s Jeremie Menez were on target in a comfortable French victory which takes them top of the group replacing the Ukraine. England are second on goal difference and it’s all to play for in the final group games, but Sadly Sweden become only the second team to be eliminated after the Irish last night.
Euro 2012 Day 7 Thurs June 14th Spain thrashed Republic Of Ireland 4-0 knocking them out of the tournament in the process. Fernando Torres fired a double for the Spaniards which should do wonders for the strikers confidence. The superb orchestrator David Silva got on the score sheet with a close range shot as did the substitute Cesc Fabregas who completed the rout which means Spain go top and the woeful Irish are the first team to be eliminated from the competition.
Croatia drew 1-1 with Italy. Classy veteran Andrea Pirlo gave the Italians a priceless lead on the stroke of halftime with an expertly hit free kick from 30 yards out. The goal seemed to galvanise the Croatians though and they scored a deserved equaliser with a close range volley from imposing Wolfsburg marksman Mario Mandzukic. If anyone looked like they were going to go and secure maximum points it was the Croats but the game finished at 1 a piece.
Italy are on two points, Croatia are second on four points and the defending champions Spain top the group on goal difference with four points. On a crucial Match day 3 the Spanish meet the Croats and Italy meet a beleaguered Ireland side knowing that only a victory will suffice.
Euro 2012 Day 6 Wed June 13th portugal beat Denmark 3-2. The Portuguese controlled much of the first half and went 2-0 ahead with goals from Real Madrid defender Pepe and Helder Postiga. Nicklas bendtner grabbed a goal back to restore Danish hopes on the brink of half time. Denmark made it 2-2 late on when Bentdner rose highest in the box and his powerful header defeated the Portuguese goal keeper. The Danes jubilation didn’t last long however as the Portuguese snatched a dramatic winner through inspired substitute Varela.
Germany beat Holland 2-1. The Dutch made a quick start and created chances which Robin Van Persie was unable to convert. The Germans typically took advantage of The Dutch’s misfortunes in front of goal and Giant Striker Mario Gomez showed them how to finish. The Dutch defence looked incredibly vulnerable and Gomez notched his second of the game and third of the tournament with a fine chip over the head of Marten Steklenburg.
Holland came out for the second half looking more dangerous and Robin Van Persie atoned for his first half misses when he fired in a right footed shot from 25 yards and the power of his strike evaded Oliver Neuer in the German goal. The Goal revitalised the Dutch but it was too late and Germany sensibly ran down the clock and held on for maximum points in this heated rivalry.
Germany top the group with six points whilst Denmark and Portugal are tied in second place with three points each and Holland are bottom with 0 points. No team is of yet sure of their fate and all teams including Holland can still qualify for the quarter finals.
Euro 2012 Day 5 Tues June 12th Russia drew 1-1 with the Czech Republic. The Russians were expected to win this after the 4-1 demolition of the Czech Republic in their opening game and took control of this match when Alan Dzagoev scored his third goal of the competition already. The Poles displayed great spirit to rescue a point when skipper Jakob Blaszkowski levelled for the co hosts on 57 minutes. The Russians had the better chances to win the game but the Poles held out for a valuable point but one which means they remain in third spot and are now behind the Czech Republic.
The Czech’s rebounded from their humbling defeat at the hands of Russia to beat Greece 2-1. The Czech’s flew out the traps and were 2-0 up within 6 minutes stunning their Greek opponents. Petr Jiracek got the first in the third minute and Pilar notched the second in the sixth minute to give them the cushion of a 2-0 lead.
The Greeks rallied late on after grabbing a goal back through the prolific Theofanis Gekas. This fortuitous goal which was gifted by a Petr Cech error lifted the Greeks, but they just couldn’t produce the quality to score that elusive equaliser and have dropped to bottom of the table.
The Russians are in poll position to qualify as they sit top with 4 points. The Czech’s climb to second knowing that a win against the Poles in the final game will guarantee them qualification for the last 8. Poland also know that a victory over the Czech’s will ensure they make the quarter finals, so all is to play for on Match day 3 for both sides. 2004 winners Greece have to beat Russia to have any chance at all of progressing but on the evidence of their first two encounters it does seem rather unlikely.
Euro 2012: Day 4 Mon June 11th England drew 1-1 with France in their opening game. England surprised a few people with a solid start and went ahead when Steven Gerrard’s pin point free kick was met by the head of Joleon Lescott who gave the Three Lions a vital lead. Unfortunately England were unable to hold on to that advantage for longer than a few minutes and conceded to a long range Samir Nasri drive on the brink of half time. Both side s pushed for a winner in the second half but also seemed relatively satisfied with a point.
Hosts Ukraine pulled off a surprise 2-1 victory over Sweden. Swedish skipper and talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave his country the lead with a composed close range finish. Sweden looked as if they could go on to secure a comprehensive victory but Ukraine valiantly fought back. Ukrainian Icon and Captain Andriy Shevchenko’s powerful header levelled the score. The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker proved he still has what it takes at the top level when he scored another terrific header from a corner and gave his beloved country a famous win that will be remembered for many years to come.
Underdogs Ukraine top the group after the first round of games whilst Sweden’s devastating defeat means their chances of reaching the last 8 have been placed in serious jeapordy. England and France have 1 point each and are in with a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Euro 2012: Day 3 Sun June 10th Holders Spain played out a 1-1 draw with Italy in their opening game. Spain made the strange decision to start 6 midfielders and no strikers. This bizarre selection process hindered them throughout most of the game. It was 0-0 at half time with the Spaniards predictably enjoying most of the possession.
The Italians began to look more threatening in the early stages of the second half and took the lead when Andrea’s Pirlo precise through ball found another veteran striker Antonio Di Natale who put the Italians in control of the contest with a expert finish past Ilker Casillas. The goal shook the Spanish in to life and they took just a few minutes to respond when David Silva’s sublime pass set the stage for Cesc Fabregas to hit a clinical equaliser. The game was fairly even after that with substitute Fernando Torres squandering a golden chance as did Di Natale for the Italians. In the end a decent result for both sides but I feel the Italians were the underdogs and so will walk away the happiest of the two teams.
Croatian beat Republic of Ireland 3-1. the Croats strormed in to an early lead Mandzukic’s long range header wrong footed Shay Given in the Irish goal. The Irish showed their spirit and drew level with a close range header from centre half Sean St. Ledger. The game was level at half time despite the Croats dominance in posession and superior attacking play
Croatia flew out the traps in the second half and Mario Mandzukic’s second goal, another header which unfortunately rebounded in off Given’s head restored the Croats advantage. Luka Modric was pulling the midfield strings and the Irish juts couldn’t handle the pace and technical ability of Slaven Bilic’s team. Everton striker Nikica Jelavic scored the third in his debut tournament and the points were deservedly sealed for the Eastern Europeans. Croatia top the group at this early stage and the Irish have an unenviable mountain to climb if they wish to progress to the quarter finals now.
Euro 2012 Day Two Sat June 9th: Denmark upset tournament favourites Holland 1-0. A first half strike from Kronhe-Deli was enough to give the Danes all three points. Holland had a lot of possession but there was a lack of a cutting edge to their play and their defence looked very ordinary.
Germany snatched a 1-0 win over Portugal in a largely drab affair. Mario Gomez scored the only goal of the game late on with a trademark header. Defender Pepe hit the post for the Portuguese which is the closest they came to getting on the score sheet. Denmark and Germany top the group after the first round of games and are now in poll position to qualify for the last 8.
Euro 2012 Day One Fri June 8th 2012: co Hosts Poland drew 1-1 in Warsaw in an eventful match with Greece. The Poles dominated the first half and went in to the interval with a well deserved lead after Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski headed them in front. Things got even worse for the Greeks on the stroke of halftime when they had Pastathpodolous unfairly sent off for two yellow cards
The Greeks showed tremendous courage and fight in the second half when they levelled through their inspired substitute Salpingidis. Salpingindis was then put clean through on goal and fouled by Poland’s giant stopper Woijech Szceny. The Gunners goalkeeper was dismissed and Greek captain Giorgos Karagounis had the opportunity to give his country a lead which looked impossible at half time. The Greek skipper missed his spot kick as it was well saved by Poland’s sub goal keeper. Both sides pushed for a winner, but in the end a draw was a fair result in this opening encounter.
Russia thrashed the Czech Republic 4-1. The Russians were the better attacking side from the outset. They secured an early lead when Alan Dzagoev gave netted. Captain Andriy Arshavin pulled the creative strings for the Russians in this comprehensive victory. Russia went 2-0 ahead through Roman Shirikov. The Czech’s got a goal back, but the Russians finsihed strongly with another goal from Dzagoev and a clean strike from former Tottenham marksman Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Russia top the group after the first round of games with three points, whilst Czech Republic are bottom and already at a major disadvantage in terms of qualification. The Greeks and Poles are level in second place with 1 point each.
2: C Howe Looks At The Likely Outcome Of The Group Rounds
In Group A it’s very hard to judge who will progress as there isn’t much between the sides. I think a lot of critics will make Russia the favourites but I am not convinced that they will win this group. Greece will be underdogs but they won their qualifying group and won the 2004 tournament in Portugal. The Czech Republic are not as strong as they once were but still have enough quality to reach the quarter finals. Poland may prove to be a bit of a dark horse as they have some promising up and coming players. The Russians should be strong enough to win the group if they play to their potential and I’m going to surprise a few people by predicting the consistent Greeks to qualify with them as group runners up.
In Group B we have a much stronger looking group which presents us with a few mouthwatering games. The fight to finish top should be between tow of the top three in the world, Germany and Holland. Germany have won this tournament three times, the last time coming in 1996 and the Dutch have pedigree to as they took the title in 1988. Portugal have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks but their unconvincing route to the finals has made them an underdog. With the greatest amount of respect I don’t see the Denmark causing too many problems for the top teams. I have to go with the efficiency of Germany to finish top and their bitterest rivals the Dutch to finish just below them as group runners up.
In Group C We have the world and European champions Spain and despite a couple of disappointing results in recent friendlies they will still be favourites to retain their crown Italy had an impressive qualifying campaign but have disappointed in recent major tournaments. Republic Of Ireland are overjoyed just to be in the competition but will find life very tough against top International teams. Croatia disposed of Turkey pretty easily in the play-offs and will fancy their chances against the Irish and Italians. Realistically I cannot see another winner in this group than the Spanish but who finishes second is very hard to call. Italy should just pip the Croatians to second spot but all three teams will believe they can qualify with Spain to the quarter finals.
In Group D England finished as group winners in qualifying but had a couple of dubious results along the way. France look like a better unit under the management of Laurent Blanc and are still blesses with plenty of individual talent. The Ukraine have the advantage of being one of the hosts but I’m not convinced they’ll have the quality in their squad to progress from this tricky group. Sweden will believe they can be successful in Group D and star player Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be keen to finally make his mark on a major tournament. I’m predicting France win this group as I believe if they’re top players are fit and available, they have the best team. Second spot is up for debate as England will be without animalistic Wayne Rooney in the group games, but I think their superior quality will tell and they’ll make the last 8.
England’s group games (All in The Ukraine)
Monday 11 June v France (5pm) Donetsk
Friday 15 June v Sweden (5pm) Kiev
Tuesday 19 June v Ukraine (7.45pm )Donetsk
Republic of Ireland’s group games (All in Poland)
Sunday 10 June v Croatia (7.45pm) Poznan
Thursday 14 June v Spain (7.45pm) Gdansk
Monday 18 June v Italy (7.45pm) Poznan
Details of everty match venue and date are given here
International Friendly results
June 3rd 2012: England beat Belgium 1-0 at Wembley. It was their second consecutive 1-0 victory under new boss Roy Hodgson. The Belgians were a little unlucky not to get a draw, as they had the majority of the attacking possession in the match.
Holland thrashed Northern Ireland 6-0 in Amsterdam. Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie struck a double as did Barcelona’s Ibrahim Affelay. Portugal suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat in Turkey courtesy of a brace from Umut Bulut.
Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland warmed up perfectly for the tournament with a 4-0 demolition of Andorra. Borussia Dortmund’s prolific marksman Robert Lewandowski was on target for the Poles. Denmark beat Australia 2-0, centre backs Daniel Agger and Andreas Bjelland were both on the score sheet for the Danes.
Croatia drew 1-1 in Norway. Former Arsenal striker Eduardo gave the Croats the lead but they conceded an injury time equaliser. On Friday Russia enjoyed a comprehensive win over four time World Cup winners Italy. The Russians were 3-0 victors with goals from Alexander Kerzhakov and a brace from Roman Shirikov.
Co-hosts Ukraine’s confidence would not have been helped after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of lowly Austria. Czech Republic finished their Euro 2012 preparations with a shock 2-1 loss to Hungary in Prague.
May 26th 2012: Pep Guardiola signed off as Barcelona manager with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Atletico Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey final. The under utilized Pedro Rodriguez scored a brace and Leo Messi grabbing his record breaking 73rd goal of the season in the process. It was the perfect send off for Guardiola who wracked up a phenomenal 14 trophies in just 4 years as manager of the Catalan giants. What looked like a promising season for Bilbao has ended miserably with a mid table La Liga finish, and thrashings in both the Europa League and Copa Del Rey final.
Atletico win all Spanish European Final
May 10th 2012: Atletico Madrid beat Spanish counterparts 3-0 in the Romanian capital. It was Atletico’s second Europa League triumph after they defeated Londoners Fulham in the 2010 final. Diego Simone’s side are establishing their dominance of a European competition which is still very much in its infancy. Predatory Colombian Radamel Falcao stole the show for Los Rojiblancos scoring a double and Diego Ribas ensured the victory with just 5 minutes left on the clock. Bucharest was expecting to witness a much closer contest but despite Bilbao’s impressive run to the final including a demolition of English champions Manchester United, they fell short in the final as their shaky defence let them down.
European giants regain titles
May 3rd 2012: Real Madrid and Ajax were crowned champions last night in their respective leagues. Real’s 3-0 win over Atletico Bilbao at fortress San Mames confirmed their first La Liga crown in 4 years. Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentine Gonzalo Higuain and midfield dynamo Mesut Ozil were all on target int he victory which captured Los Blancos 32nd League title. Overcoming World Champions Barcelona is arguably decorated manager Jose Mourinho’s greatest achievement yet.
Ajax’s 2-0 triumph against the Limburgers gave the four time European Cup winners their 31st Eredivise title. Coach Frank De Boer and his assistant, the incomparable Dennis Bergkamp have performed wonders at the Amsterdam Arena to restore Ajax’s reputation as the kings of Dutch football.