Again, not much to discuss in this Fulham Watch Update. Pogrebnyak again failed to see the field as Russia drew 1-1 with co-host Poland – a result that they’ll probably take against a nation that always play tough against them. Russia struggled to create as easily as in the Czech Republic game, but then again, the Czechs left themselves more open than Blackpool at the back, so that’s to be expected. It’s looking increasingly likely that the draw will be kind to the Russians in the quarterfinals, with the Netherlands continuing to struggle, and one of either Portugal or Denmark waiting if the Dutch fail to win by more than a goal against Portugal. Group B is looking incredibly exciting heading into the last round of matches, which it should, being the group of death.
Ireland’s dream, sadly, has ended. Their support has been fantastic throughout the tournament, and the singing towards the end of the Spain game, while losing 4-0, was simply goosebump-inducing. It’s a shame to see them go, but hopefully they’ll be able to bring their brand of jovial self-effacement to the World Cup in Brazil. It’s hard to even say anything about Duff in this match, because Ireland simply had so little of the ball. I remember him making one good run and pass in the first five minutes, but that’s honestly about before he was subbed in the 75th. The Republic of Ireland was simply overwhelmed by a Spanish side that look like continuing to improve in this tournament. Spain is still the team to beat in my opinion, although Germany look mighty impressive themselves. Final Duff note: that was his 99th cap, meaning Italy will likely be his 100th. What an accomplishment for the man, and hopefully he’ll play well to mark the occasion.
So, that’ll about do it for the Fulhamish Euro stuff. Brief word about the Lassan Diarra rumors I’ve seen on Twitter. This would be an incredible steal for Fulham if it’s actually pulled off, but I’d be shocked to see it happen, unless he just really really wants a starting place almost guaranteed. I haven’t seen much of him in his limited playing time in La Liga, but based on the Clasicos and against Valencia, he has an incredible knack for not getting carded despite near-constant fouling. Given how strict Iberian refereeing is, that’s some accomplishment. I’d love to see him at Fulham, but I’m certainly not getting my hopes up. Also, it would give us the chance to play two Diarras at once, and that would be awesome. Just sayin’.
Lastly, I feel a few words about England-Sweden are appropriate here. It was a fantastic game, with England seeming to abandon the soul-sucking defensiveness of its match with France in favor of aiming for Andy Carroll’s head as much as possible (at least early on). Kidding aside, it was a good performance and it showed great character to claw back from that 2-1 deficit. There was a bit of fortune in the two fight-back goals but sometimes a team needs that. England should take confidence from that game moving into the match against Ukraine, but the co-hosts are going to be motivated and raring to go for that one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see England behind again; we’ll see how they deal with the pressure of facing an inspired side with rabid fans behind it. Then again, Ukraine could put in a meek performance and wilt under pressure; that’s the beauty of this tournament so far – it’s unpredictable!
Thanks for reading and please comment with your opinions about anything Euro, Fulham, or football/soccer related!
Published with permission from Fulham's Finest.