Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Rooney is ungrateful. Capello made himself understood and ensured he was respected. Besides, football has only one language and he cannot teach us anything. England are physically strong and good on the counter-attack, but Italy will win1-0.” – Fabio Capello’s former England assistant, Italo Galbiati.
Runner-up: “The game against Italy won’t hold any fears for him. In fact, nobody should be afraid of them. We are good enough to beat Italy and should go into it with confidence. But we have to beware of Andrea Pirlo spraying those passes about. If he gets that chance, he can be very dangerous. And you never know just what you’re going to get with Mario Balotelli. There are times when he doesn’t seem to be in the game at all. Then he just explodes and does something extraordinary.” – Rio Ferdinand.
Boosting Belief In England
Now they are free in Krakow, England spirit is shining through (Martin Samuel, Mail) This has been a landmark for English football. The end of the culture of trying too hard. The desire to protect the players, to remove all distractions, had created a different raft of problems.
England’s secret weapon revealed…. Players are fed peanut balls twice a day (Mirror) Doctor Death has a secret weapon to see England to victory against the Italians tomorrow – and it’s totally NUTS. Team chef Tim De’Ath – nicknamed Dr Death by the players – is fuelling the squad with a tiny, 49-gram “peanut protein blast” which gives the Three Lions stars an instant energy boost.
England should stick two fingers up at purist snobs (Sam Wallace, Independent) Roy Hodgson’s team have won few admirers with their style but they are right to play to their strengths.
Lions’ £20m jackpot (Sun) The Fa will bank a £20million jackpot if they win Euro 2012.
Three Lions Versus The Azzurri
It’s Rooney time… England can’t keep relying on Gerrard (Jamie Redknapp, Mail) I didn’t expect much from Wayne Rooney against Ukraine, but I’m expecting more here. He should be fitter, sharper and with a better touch. Rooney needs to make his mark, England can’t keep relying on Steven Gerrard.
England will be singing into the semis… with the right Carroll service (Brian Reade, Mirror) The way to play in Kiev is to realise that this is the worst defence Italy has sent to a tournament in living memory and attack them from the off. Which means playing Andy Carroll and doing what this side has looked competent at thus far – delivering quality crosses from wide.
James Milner, England’s king of continual peripheral motion (Barney Ronay, Guardian) The midfielder doesn’t seem to do much but run around a lot, yet his tactical intelligence makes him an integral cog in Roy Hodgson’s machine.
England’s defensive discipline could settle tight affair (Sol Campbell, Guardian) The biggest fear I have is if Italy score first. That will force England’s players to come out of their allotted slots and play with a more cavalier spirit in order to expose the opposition’s defence and get back into the game. This will give the excellent Andrea Pirlo the space to dictate the tempo of the match and thread passes into the path of the lurking Cassano and Balotelli. Hopefully that will not happen.
Swordsman Pirlo has class to cut a swathe through England (James Lawton, Independent) Everything about Pirlo is coherent. His long, unfettered locks suggest someone who is extremely easy, even maybe languid, in his own skin, but when he goes about his work his weapon of choice is the rapier. His dead-ball kicking is one of the wonders of the modern game and sometimes it seems no one is better able to split open a defence with a barely perceptible change of pace and direction and the most surgical of passes.
Italy are playing for pride… and it is everything they have (Ruud Gullit, Mail) The most important thing you need to know about Italians is that they are very proud. So when the Italians play football, they are playing for pride and they will defend that with everything they have. They will defend their goal at any cost.
Italy face Mario Balotelli quandary – is he worth the risk? (Daniel Taylor, Guardian)
The Pun-Filled Greece-Germany Headlines
German efficiency rules the Euro zone as Greece are axed (Paul Wilson, Guardian) Angela Merkel was in the stands and had plenty to celebrate as her countrymen predictably booked their semi-final place.
Löw’s creditable youngsters refuse any Greek bail-out (Independent) The Debt Derby ended with Greece in deficit and out of the Euros.
Greeks exit Euro… Bailout? No, boot out as Germans win 4- 2 (Sun) Germany booted Greece out of Europe last night — and for once there wasn’t a financial crisis in sight.
Germany chancellor Angela Merkel makes merry as Greek deficit grows (Jim White, Telegraph)
Elsewhere From Euro 2012
Is Ronaldo making this his Euros? (Jack Pitt-Brooke, Independent) For eight years, European football had been waiting for this moment. Cristiano Ronaldo is starting to impose himself on a tournament, starting to replicate his remarkable club form for Portugal, and threatening to do what even Lionel Messi has not, and win a trophy for his country.
Magnificent Bilic shows it is still a macho man’s game (Chris McGrath, Independent)
It’s getting Vic-ious (Sun) Victor Moses was at the centre of a bitter war of words last night as he moved closer to a move to Chelsea.
Merseysiders ready to Cast their net (Sun) Liverpool and Everton are both eyeing Dutch youngster Luc Castaignos. The striker, 19, is valued at £4.5million by his club Inter Milan.
Laudrup targets Krohn-Dehli (Sun) Swansea boss Michael Laudrup wants his first buy to be Denmark’s Euro 2012 star Michael Krohn-Dehli.
Arsenal braced for Manchester City bid for unsettled Van Persie (Mail) Despite Arsenal’s reluctance to lose yet another player to City, it is understood that coach Roberto Mancini is still determined to land the Dutch international.
Time for me to move, midfielder Modric will tell Tottenham (Mail) Real Madrid are prepared to pay Tottenham £30million for Luka Modric after coach Jose Mourinho has told the club to press ahead with an offer.