Sunday, 24 June 2012

Spanish step forward

Disappointingly easy game for Spain last night as they walked through to the semi-finals without really breaking sweat. They swarmed all over the French in the opening twenty minutes before scoring the first goal of the game courtesy of  good break down the left, a deep back-post cross to the advancing Alonso who headed home. 

After that, Ribery-apart, the homesick French could only manage two efforts on target that I can remember. Laurent Blanc stood impassively on the touchline fingering that ridiculous little bottom lip beard, presumably wondering what excuses he would be making to the national press. He was let down by a team that really didn't look interested. Perhaps that only reflected interest in France about the fixture? There were pitifully few French fans present at the game - the Beeb quoted 800 officially - and there were plenty of empty seats, so presumably the tickets were available at next to face value?

The Spanish pretty much killed the game after that but continued to break and should have had a second goal long before the final minutes when Alonso smashed home from the spot following a tame penalty decision.

Six thousand England fans will be present this evening in Kiev and I expect at least double that for the semi-final in Warsaw if England can make it past Italy.With Wimbledon starting on Monday and the Olympics looming, all we are missing is some sunshine. It poured again all night in SE7 and I again wake to leaden skies and a garden full of bloody snails. I have launched another twenty into orbit this morning but, like the Red Army, I know they will be replaced tomorrow.

Finally, it was depressing to learn yesterday of the premature death of Alan McDonald, a man born in the same year as me (1963). The former QPR and Northern Ireland captain collapsed and died playing a round of golf at home in Belfast. McDonald made his league debut for the Addicks whilst waiting to break into the QPR side and, for nine games at least, we saw the promise of a formidable centre-half who duly fulfilled that in course due. 

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