10 Things We Sincerely Enjoyed About Euro 2012

 By Chris Wright

And with the expulsion of several hundred kilos of confetti (UEFA bought a job-lot of silver tokens off Richard O’Brien when the Crystal Maze folded) into the night sky in Kiev – after 25 days, 31 games and 76 goals, the carnival is over. Here’s a tensome of the things we’ve enjoyed the most about this summer’s Euro shindig…

1. The refereeing: Especially during the group stages. As close to ‘no nonsense’ as it’s been in years on the international stage.

2. The general standard: With a healthy average of 2.45 goals a game, the Euros have proved, once again, to be the antithesis to the prolonged drudgery of the World Cup. Too many sub-standard sides clogging up the system while trying desperately not to lose against everyone does not a good spectacle make.

The Euros’ short, sharp format resulted in an altogether better quality of game, though UEFA have put paid to that quicksmart by upping the number of teams from 16 to an awkward 24 for 2016. It’s obviously to *make more money* open up the tournament and *make more money* give more countries a chance to compete, but isn’t that what the two preceding years of qualification is for anyway? Ah well, if there’s money to be made…

3. The many, many faces of Greece coach Fernando Santos

That’s what two years of having to call up Georgios Samaras will do to a man.

4. Gianluca Vialli on the BBC: “Cool as a cue-cam-bah.” Listening to Luca purr is like drifting off to sleep in a big velvet hammock.

5. Andy Carroll’s header against Sweden: Proving once again that he’s a header-er not a footer-er, Carroll’s monolothic effort against Sverige was just about as good as headed goals get…

As we’ve said before, it is Pies’ opinion that no other player in any squad at Euro 2012 could have scored that goal. That’s right, no-one. Would you just look at that leap? Like some kind of unholy gazelle/pony/salmon cross-breed.

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure: We were rather impressed by Ibra’s brief showing at Euro 2012, not least for that scissor goal against France and because he appears to have forged his own gravitational field – pulling balls out of the ether and heartily smiting any defender who had the temerity to try and take them off him. However, his performances were nothing compared to his sign-off line.

With Sweden going out in the group stages, a plucky journalist summoned up the courage to ask Zlatan who he thought would go on to win Euro 2012, to which the Swedish Samurai replied: “I couldn’t give a shit who wins it, I’m going on holiday.” Frankly, we’d expect nothing less.

7. The goals: Easy on the eye, every last one of them…

Lovely stuff.

8. The obligatory Dutch implosion: It’s some feat in a tournament with a French contingent, but it was the Dutch that stole the show in the ‘utter lack of espirit de corps’ stakes. Wasn’t it amusing to watch a contubernium of prissy, self-entitled madams throw wobblies all game, hug jubilantly after goals, then revert to throwing bitchy side-eyes at one another immediately afterwards? No wonder Bert van Marwijk got the hell out of dodge.

9. The pre-Final Italian national anthem: We believe the word is ‘gusto’.

10. Spain: Granted, the sparkle of yesteryear wasn’t quite there and Del Bosque’s all-conquering minions were incredibly tiresome at times, contented to whittle away minute after minute treading water – but the salient point to keep in mind is that they’re not actually out there playing for our benefit, hence the three consecutive silver trinkets now adorning their collective sideboard.

It’s easy to be a bit spoiled when it comes to football in the modern age such is the current saturation level, but we’d urge you to think about the incredible magnitude of what this Spain side have just accomplished. Astonishing.

Any more for any more Pies’ fans? What has buttered your parsnips this tournament?

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured, Opinion, Top 10s & lists

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  1. FeintZebra says:

    WHAT! No Balotelli pose?


    Have to agree though, the refereeing was above par as far as referees go.

  2. kct says:

    Horonable mention for Gaby? A women that can make even the most hated football players (Cashley) seem likeable in interviews…

  3. plops says:

    It looks like Carroll’s standing on the hips of the Swedish players in that photo.

  4. Chris says:

    Watching Shevcheko play vs. Sweden was an absolute delight. Like a Valentine’s Day card to his country that got sent right back with flowers.

  5. Toz says:

    It’s SVERIGE not Svergie.

  6. Bill says:

    I thought that the quality of the refereeing was woeful for most of the tournament.

  7. Coco says:

    I thought all the kids on the pitch after the final was a nice touch. Also the pre-final show was immense. The Irish support after dismal displays.

  8. enriffio says:

    the word is “giusto” if you want to say “right”…

  9. sleeba says:

    1.The pre-hype of a violent, racist countr(ies) being entirely without warrant, showed up the general media to be ‘blithering buffoons.(no pun)

    2. No JT press conferences.

    3. More women at football matches, good for the armchair fan.

    4. Roy ‘stick it up yer bollox’ Keane

    5. The end of Hansen, Lawro, Shearer et al.

    6. Walcott/Welbeck combo.

    7. Good will shown to Torres

    8. A likable German Squad.

    9. Ronaldo penalty debacle

    10. Balotelli acceptance as an Italian by more than 50% of Italians by kissing his Mama

  10. usrick says:

    Don’t get Beeb here, so can’t comment on Vialli or Gaby, but rest of the list are good choices. Except I thought these things were supposed to come in lists of XI. I agree with Chris – my number 11 would be Shevchenko’s Last Hurrah.

    Bill, I’m curious why you found the refereeing “woeful for most of the tournament.” As a referee,I thought the referees did well generally. The only exceptions were the first game (Greece/Poland) and the missed goal by Ukraine (and even that was a very tough call for the AR at full speed from 30 yards). As much as it makes me uncomfortable to agree with Sepp Blatter about anything, it is clearly time for goal line technology.

  11. hug me says:

    The inclusion of Mick McCarthy to commentating. I would pay large sums of money to hear him and Mark Lawrenson do a whole season of commentating in the premier league.

  12. JuanosDios says:

    Llorente could score that goal. Neuer too.

  13. Eckpfosten says:

    Hey…you forgot the Irish Fans!

  14. Professor Erno Breastpinchd says:

    Love the pic of De Rossi singing the national anthem.
    What a guy: http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01532/DeRossi_1532699a.jpg

  15. Herman says:

    The worst list about anything anytime? Yes most likely. All 10 things are wrong.

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