Posts Tagged ‘Balotelli’

Spain vs Italy: Euro 2012 final

Two of these teams met in Group C on June 10th, where they played out a fairly entertaining 1-1 draw. Now though both Italy and Spain will be hungrier, knowing that either of them could be crowned champions of Europe in just a few hours time.

A lot of football fans doubted Italy’s ability to make it out of their group, never mind go all the way to the final. When the Italians met Germany in the semi’s, it looked like it could be the end of the road for the Azzuri but a vintage display by Pirlo and a Balotelli brace proved to be enough with Italy winning 2-1. Cesare Prandelli has got his tactics pretty much perfect for every game so far, including the opening fixture vs Spain in the Group. They have not trailed for a single minute at the tournament so far. Italy are the only team to put the ball in the Spanish goal so far at this Summers finals and will be confident they can do it again.

It doesn’t come as much as a surprise to people that Spain have made it to the final. However, they haven’t done it with the same style and class that they won the previous World Cup and European Championships with and have received criticism from certain parts of the footballing community for not playing with a true striker in some of their games, the first of which was Italy. The Spaniard eased past Group C, topping the group unbeaten. They then bet France with ease and proceeded to the semi’s where they met Portugal, which Spain won on penalties. If they do in fact win the Euro’s then there is no arguing that this Spanish team is one of, if not the greatest international side of all time.

Key Battles 

Andrea Pirlo vs Xavi

Possibly the two best passers of the ball in world football so it’s obvious to see why these men will be influential for both their sides. Andrea Pirlo has carried his Scudetto winning form to Euro 2012 and has been Italy and arguably the tournaments greatest player, picking up three man of the match awards out of Italy’s five games so far. Xavi was one of Spain’s key players in 2008 & 2010 when they lifted silverware. Nothing has changed. He is still pulling the strings in the middle of the park for ‘La Rojas’, completing 465 successful passes so far in this tournament. Xavi can tend to go under the radar during the match which is one of the reasons why he is such a threat. Give either of these players an inch and they will make you pay with a pinpoint pass that could have a huge say on who’s set of supporters will be celebrating come the end of the night.

Gianluigi Buffon vs Iker Casillas 

“[Gianluigi] Buffon and [Iker] Casillas? That face-off will be crucial”, they are the words of legendary Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff. He could prove to be correct. Goalkeepers are one of the key players for most teams out there but there are very few teams in the world that can claim to have goalkeepers as solid and consistent as Buffon and/or Casillas. They both captain their sides and both have made well over 100 caps for their country. I expect this game to be a very tight one so both keepers will have to be at their best if either of them is to lift the trophy at the end of the night.

Now mere moments away from kick-off, who will be come champions of Europe?

Will it be Del Bosque’s Spain or Prandelli’s Italy?

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10 Young Players to watch out for at Euro 2012 (Part 2)

Sotiris Ninis

Country: Greece

Club: Parma

Age: 22

Position: Attacking Midfielder/Winger

The pacey Albanian born winger made 7 appearances for Greece in the qualifiers netting a goal in the process. Ninis was linked with moves to big European clubs such as Man United and Lyon earlier in the year, instead he opted to sign for Serie A side Parma back in March. Having twice won ‘Greece Young Player of The Year’ a lot was expected of Sotiris Ninis but so far he hasn’t lived up to the hype at Euro 2012 having only played 53 minutes of the tournament. However Greece have progressed to the quarter-finals so hopefully we will see him perform like the Greek fans know he can.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Country: England

Club: Arsenal

Age: 18

Position: Winger

“The Ox” caught a lot of peoples attention this season for Arsenal and one of them people was Roy Hodgson who gave the teenager his debut in May against Norway. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a powerful and physically strong winger who can easily knock full-backs off the ball, showing traits from his days playing rugby at school level. He started in the game against France but only came on as a late substitute against Sweden so it’s still not certain whether he will start or be sitting on the bench for England’s clash with co-hosts Ukraine today. At only 18 ‘The Ox’ still has to develop and mature as a footballer but the future looks very bright for the young Gunner.

Yann M’Vila

Country: France

Club: Rennes

Age: 21

Position: Defensive Midfielder

M’Vila has been compared to legendary French midfielder’s Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele. M’Vila was the rock in the Rennes side that finished 6th in Ligue 1 last season.  He has already captained his club Rennes, making him the youngest captain in the clubs history and has now proven to be the heart of the French team. The ball-winning midfielder has incredible vision and is constantly looking to play the ball forward. M’Vila has only played 20 minutes at the Euro’s so far due to an injury he picked up in a friendly against Serbia before the competition began. I wouldn’t expect to see M’Vila playing in Ligue 1 come next season as it looks more and more likely that he could be on his way to the Premiership to join Arsenal.

Mario Balotelli

Country: Italy

Club: Manchester City

Age: 21

Position: Striker

Most people will be familiar with Balotelli at this stage. In just one game he can have moments of madness and/or moments of brilliance. The highly entertaining Italian can be unpredictable both in his play and personality, which makes people think “What’s he going to do next?”. The Palermo native netted 13 goals for City this season as they went on to lift the Premier League for only the third time.  Gifted with pace, technical ability and a powerful shot, Balotelli can be a real handful for defenders. In August 2010 Balotelli earned his first cap for the Azzuri in a friendly match against Ivory Coast. Making him only the third black player to ever play for Italy. Last night he scored his first competitive goal for his country against Ireland, a wonderful bicycle kick inside the area which could quite possibly be goal of the tournament so far.

Holger Badstuber

Country: Germany

Club: Bayern Munich

Age: 23

Position: Defender

The German defence has been rock solid this tournament and one of the main reasons for that is the Badstuber/ Hummels defensive partnership. Badstuber has established himself as a key figure for both country and club. He helped guide Bayern Munich to the Champions League final this season but will be hoping to go one step further with Germany by lifting the European Championship trophy come July. So far he has played every minute for Germany in the Euro’s winning  over 90% of the tackles and headers he has attempted. Former Bayern Munich manager Louis Van Gaal stated that Badstuber is the “best left footed defender in Germany”. If the Germans are to go all the way to win it (which many expect them to) then Holger Badstuber will one of the main reasons for their success.

 

See Part 1 here: https://footballtopic.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/5-young-players-to-watch-out-for-at-euro-2012/

Football Topic end of season awards.

The end of the season has come and it’s time to declare the winners of each category in our opinion for the Premiership, Serie A and La Liga.

Barclays Premier League:

Darren’s picks –

Player of the season: Vincent Kompany
Young player of the season: Sergio Aguero
Manager of the season: Alan Pardew
Signing of the season: Nikica Jelavic
Overachievers: Newcastle/Norwich
Underperformers: Aston Villa
Flop of the season: Stewart Downing
Comeback player of the season: Paul Scholes
Moment of the season: City’s comeback on the last day to clinch the title.
Match of the season: Man United 4-4 Everton
Goal of the season: Haten Ben Arfa vs Bolton. Wonderful solo run.
Hero of the season: Fabrice Muamba. It was amazing to see him back at the Reebok.
Villain of the season: Luis Suarez/Joey Barton
Unsung Hero: Alex Song

 

Our young player of the season.

Craig’s pick –

Player of the season: Robin Van Persie
Young player of the season: Sergio Aguero
Manager of the season: Alan Pardew
Signing of the season: Demba Ba
Overachievers: Newcastle
Underperformers: Aston Villa/Liverpool
Flop of the season: Stewart Downing
Comeback player of the season:Paul Scholes
Moment of the season: Fabrice Muamba returning to Reebok
Match of the season: Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham
Goal of the season: Mata Volley v MUFC
Hero of the season: Mario Balotelli
Villain of the season: Carlos Tevez
Unsung Hero: Grant Holt

Serie A:

Ibra had his best season as an individual but failed to win a major title in the end.

Player of the season: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Young player of the season: Gaston Ramirez
Manager of the season: Antonio Conte
Signing of the season: Andrea Pirlo
Overachievers: Lazio
Underperformers: Inter/Genoa
Flop of the season: Diego Forlan
Comeback player of the season: Andrea Pirlo/Diego Milito
Moment of the season: Del Piero and Pippo Inzaghi scoring on the last day of the season
Match of the season: Inter 4-2 Ac Milan/ Inter 4-4 Palermo
Goal of the season: Juan Cuadrado vs Siena
Hero of the season: Heroes, Udinese offering to take care of the late Piermario Morosini’s disabled sister.
Villain of the season: Delio Rossi for attacking his own player/ Genoa Ultras.
Unsung Hero: Antonio Nocerino

La Liga:

Player of the season: Cristiano Ronaldo
Young player of the season: Javi Martinez
Manager of the season: Jose Mourinho
Signing of the season: Radamel Falcao
Overachievers: Malaga
Underperformers: Villarreal
Flop of the season: Ruud Van Nistelrooy 28Games 4 goals
Comeback player of the season: Abidal playing again after cancer
Moment of the season: Ronaldo silences the Nou Camp
Match of the season: Levente 3-5 Rayo Vallecano
Goal of the season: Ronaldo 1st v Levante
Hero of the season: Eric Abidal
Villain of the season: Pepe
Unsung Hero: Xabi Alonso

Pepe seemed to be constantly in trouble. What’s new?

Who would be your picks?