June 20th, 2011
Weekend Results: Tales Of The Unexpected
England NT kits. Now specially designed with an absorbant patch to soak up tears. Image: Reuters/Daylife
Having stretched our resources to the absolute minimum to bring you the kind of in-depth coverage of the Euro U21 tournament you might expect from Kickette, we are pleased to advise that after this weekend’s fixtures, there are only four teams left in the competition. This isn’t necessarily good news for you as, chances are, your team has been knocked out. For us though, it’s great, as it means less time trying to decipher tables, and more time trying to fight off the notion that we really should be doing something more constructive with our lives than staring at photos of young boys.
It’s a constant struggle, y’know?
European U21 Championships
Enthusiastic dancing in front of inanimate objects is an activity we frequently enjoy in the Kickette office, but not usually while we’re sober. We admire Frank Feltscher of Switzerland’s style nonetheless. Image: Getty Images/Daylife
Having throughly digested our Midweek Results post, you will be fully conversant with the team standings going into the final group games. You will know that Switzerland went into their fixture against Belarus on Saturday having already won Group A. They still crushed Belarus 3-0, though.
No disrepect to Belarus fans or the team, but of the back of a result like that (coupled with the fact that the Belarus U21 side isn’t a footballing powerhouse, as far as we’re aware), you wouldn’t expect to be criticised for thinking that they would be off home. Except that Iceland beat Denmark 3-1 in the day’s other fixture. Which meant that everyone else in the group finished on the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded. In these circumstances, the old ‘head-to-head’ record is dragged out of the broom cupboard, dusted off and applied. Iceland’s result against Denmark was insufficient to see the hosts through, hence Belarus qualify.
Imagine the scenes in Minsk!
On Sunday, the ‘Group of Death’ (seriously, would we enjoy a tournament any less if the media didn’t feel obliged to saddle one of the draws with this tired cliche? We feel the ‘Group of Pretty’ would offer much more to the average football fan), came to a shocking conclusion as the Czech Republic snatched a victory from under the noses of the England bubbas.
Having taken the lead in the 76th minute via a Danny Welbeck header, Stuart Pearce’s side paid the price for two draws in their other group games. Two late goals from Jan Chramosta and Tomas Pekhart crushed England’s hopes of a trophy, or even a more traditional semi-final exit, and sent an ecstatic Czech side through.
The only surprise that occurred in Spain’s qualification is that they actually dropped points. Their 1-1 draw against England, plus the 3-0 win over Ukraine yesterday meant the Spanish puppies finished on seven points, and not the full quotient of nine. No open topped bus parade if you win, lads.
Actually, reflecting on recent events, that might be a good thing.
CONCACAF Gold Cup
Presented without comment. Mghghhhgggh. Image: Reuters/Daylife
Washington DC was the venue for the USMNT’s 2-0 victory over Jamaica; a win that puts Bob Bradley’s side in the semis. Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones did the damage, setting up a Wednesday fixture against Panama. Meanwhile, Mexico beat Guatemala 2-1 to take a place in the other semi vs. Honduras.
Just imagine how much hot there will be on the pitch if the USMNT face Mexico in the final. We totally are. And it’s interfering with our sleep patterns.