Last week's pre-Euro 2012 friendlies produced plenty of interesting results, notably Germany's 5-3 defeat to Switzerland and Holland's 2-1 defeat to Bulgaria. Watch out for an excellent hat trick from Switzerland's Derdiyok in the video highlights below
International friendly results involving Euro 2012 teams:
Poland 1 Latvia 0
Croatia 3 Estonia 1
Russia 1 Uruguay 1
Norway 0 England 1
Greece 1 Slovenia 1
Czech Republic 2 Israel 1
Netherlands 1 Bulgaria 2
Switzerland 5 Germany 3
Spain 2 Serbia 0
Portugal 0 Macedonia 0
Poland 1 Slovakia 0
Ireland 1 Bosnia 0
Brazil 3 Denmark 1
France 3 Iceland 2
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Winning a Euro tournament is as much about luck and state of mind as it is about having the best squad. Just ask Denmark and Greece. Suddenly, reigning world and European champions Spain are no longer looking like favourites for Euro 2012 after it was confirmed that they will be without both Carlos Puyel and super striker David Villa.
Surely the clever money will now shift to Germany who will be packing one hell of a punch at Euro 2012 with messrs. Ozil, Muller, Klose, Podolski and Schweinsteiger. And no, we haven't forgotten about the not-insignificant power and skill of one of the best Dutch squads we've seen in many a year.
More Than a Game's earlier thoughts that Croatia might spring a surprise seem more unlikely now by the day.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
After all the waiting and expectation the England squad for Euro 2012 has been announced and sadly it doesn't exactly inspire. Hodgson has gone with some mediocre England under performers such as Stewart Downing and Glenn Johnson, as well as the uncapped 18-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool's Carroll, who seemed incapable of hitting a barn door for most of the 2011/12 season.
But, let's be honest, England are short of some really class players at the moment and whatever squad had been named we would have felt a little underwhelmed.
We don't expect this group of players to make it past the first round in Ukraine but, stranger things have happened and perhaps an England team turning up at a major tournament without the usual crazy expectations of them winning a trophy might inspire some of the experienced older players such as Lampard and Gerrard to play out of their skins.
For the record, here is the provisional 23-man squad for Euro 2012:
Green (West Ham), Hart (Man City) Ruddy (Norwich).
Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Johnson (Liverpool), Jones (Man Utd), Lescott (Man City), Terry (Chelsea).
Barry (Man City), Downing (Liverpool), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Man City), Parker (Tottenham), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Walcott (Arsenal), Young (Man Utd).
Carroll (Liverpool), Rooney (Man Utd), Welbeck (Man Utd), Defoe (Tottenham).
More Than a Game enjoys a pint with London Mayor Boris Johnson at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We want Boris, Lineker and Shearer to travel to Ukraine and support the England team.
Friday, May 11, 2012It's bad enough that only around 5,000 England fans are expected to travel to Ukraine instead of the 20,000 that were originally looking like they were going to spend their summer at the 2012 Euros. Now though comes the news that England legends Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer will also not be travelling to Ukraine. The two former England centre-forwards will head the BBC's coverage of the Euro 2012 tournament but, instead of covering the championships live from Kiev and Donetsk, Shearer and Lineker will be based in rainy Salford, Manchester!We can only assume that the BBC's decision to keep their star men in England is because of the ridiculous costs associated with being based in the Ukrainian host cities during the tournament. Or perhaps it is the lack of expectation about the England national team's chances at Euro 2012. Either way, it doesn't inspire any of us travelling to Ukraine to be filled with any great sense that this is England's year.It was so very different in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Even London Mayor - and future British PM - Boris Johnson travelled out to support the national team and was spotted by More Than a Game living it up in Cape Town before England's world cup match with Algeria there.We hope that the BBC will change its plans and send Lineker (check out his Arsene Wenger impression here) and Shearer to Ukraine. We reckon the mere presence of these two England legends will boost moral among the travelling supporters and the national team. And, while we are at it, let's send the charismatic Boris out to Ukraine as well! England need all the support they can get.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
The double standards from politicians are infuriating. Several high-profile European leaders are likely to boycott Ukraine during Euro 2012 and they are also calling on football fans to do the same. The reason? The imprisonment of former PM Yulija Tymoshenko. What a load of manipulating boll###s. If you apply the same thinking then let's boycott Poland as well because their government participated in the rendtion and torture of CIA prisoners on their territory. A far worse violation of human rights in MTAG's opinion.
And while they are taking the moral high ground, perhaps our European leaders should boycott the 2012 London Olympics. The reason? Choose from an endless choice: the British goverment's participation in the illegal war in Iraq that has lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths; the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell underground station; the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests...need we go on?
We are not buying into calls to boycott Euro 2012 because - in our view - if we are going to boycott Ukraine then we should probably boycott every major sports tournament on the planet. That's not to say that issues relating to Tymoshenko's imprisonment and treatment in jail shouldn't be discussed; it is simply that we believe underneath all of this there are far more sinister motivations for the politicans calling on us all to not travel to Ukraine.
Friday, May 4, 2012
According to our More Than a Game poll, the majority of voters believe England will win Euro 2012. Call it collective madness but hundreds of you voted for England as they polled more than 50% of the total vote. Former Euro winners Greece came in second in the poll, suggesting that more than a few people have been going at it hard on the ouzo.
There were some signs of sanity with Germany voted third overall and Spain fourth. Only Portugal failed to attract a single vote in the poll, which attracted a total of 302 votes.
Who will be the top scorer at Euro 2012? Time to vote in our new poll.
Thursday, May 3, 2012It's all so predictable. The new England manager is named and within 24 hours the British tabloid press is already doing the new man down. Enter the Sun newspaper with its sports headline:Bwing on the Euwos
Yes, new England boss Roy Hodgson suffers from a speech impediment which means that his 'r's - more often than not - sound like 'w's. In truth, we suspect, a high percentage of England fans have been emailing each other with their 'hilariously' funny 'Woy' Hodgson 'Ukwaine' jokes. More Than a Game must confess to writing its own 'side-splitting' email entitled: Looking forward to Euwo glory with Woy, Wooney and Wio.Oh, how we chuckled!But, come on! You can't print that stuff on the front page of a national newspaper that sells 2.5 million copies. Can't the English presstitutes keep the 'w' jokes to themselves down the pub?The irony is of course that the new England manager can speak five languages which is, as one person commented yesterday, four and a half languages more than your average Sun reader.
More Than a Game will begin its Euro 2012 adventure in the beautiful Ukrainian city of Lviv
Photo (c) Jan Mehlic
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
In the space of a couple of days, Euro 2012 seems to have changed from a 'concept' we have all been discussing for several months to a real event that is only a few weeks off. It is almost as if we have all finally woken up from the winter, - the English FA included - dusted off our maps of Ukraine and Poland, and started emailing all our friends and contacts to see who is planning to go where...and when.
Sadly, three of the 'stars' from South Africa 2010 - Geordie Robin, Blackburn and Colombian Rich - won't be travelling out to Ukraine but, hopefully, Camper Van Nick might join ten days in to the tournament.
More Than a Game will begin our Euro 2012 in the beautiful Ukrainian city of Lviv, with our first match the eagerly anticipated clash between the two highly talented teams of Germany and Portugal.
In Lviv we are hoping to meet up with two German friends from the Argentina Copa America: Nuremberg Charles and Copa America Andy. They will be among the 20,000 or so Germans travelling to Ukraine for the tournament.
Looks like we have accommodation in the bag for the two nights before the Germany v Portugal game but all of the city's hotels are completely booked out for June 9. The best offer we've had for a hostel bed thus far for June 9 is 50 euro. You must be joking if you think we are going to cash out nearly fifty quid to sleep in a 16-bed dormitory! We are not dorm-mented!