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Euro 2008 Review


Danke, Wiederschauen. That’s Austrian for “Thank you, goodbye.” And now that we bid farewell to Euro 2008, I think we ought to be grateful to Austria and Switzerland for hosting such a well coordinated and elegant tournament. Filled with the usual flavorsome ingredients for a major footballing event, (charismatic fans; beautifully constructed stadiums; memorable games; and the discovery of new talented players and managers) Euro 2008 had a different spice in its recipe- a nation finally realising its true potential.

Ah yes, over the past few decades the Spanish national team made the word underachiever seem as though it was their national emblem. Blessed with more talent than the X-men, Espanyol have every right to boast a cabinet full of trophies. Yet their only major honor came way back in 1964, when they hoisted the Euro trophy for the first time and last time. That is, until Austria & Switzerland came calling. Controversial coach Luis Aragones seemed to be up against it- he left Madrid legend Raul out of his squad; winger Joaquin called the national set-up a “joke”; and a columnist claimed “the build-up to Spain’s matches is more exciting than the games themselves these days.”

Yet, by successfully combining the experience of players such as Carlos Puyol and Marcos Senna, with the vibrant youth of members such as Sergio Ramos and Cesc Fabregas, he finally managed to do what no Spanish coach had done for over 40 years- create a winning formula that worked on the big stage. The astute mixture of youth and experience, coupled with the heroics of captain Iker Casillas; the deadly partnership of Fernando Torres and David Villa; and player of the tournament, midfield maestro Xavi, meant that Spain went on to hoist the Euro trophy once more. And what’s more, they did it in style, scoring the most goals (12 in total) and playing attractive football.

The beautiful game doesn’t return to us until 2 August. Before then we have much to look forward to, especially the transfer window. Ronaldinho has already gone to AC Milan (who will surely avenge last season’s dismal campaign, having also strengthened with the arrival of Mathieu Flamini) and Robbie Keane and Dimitiav Berbatov both look certain to leave Tottenham for Liverpool and Manchester United respectively. The transfer on everyone’s mind, however, is none other than that of one Cristiano Ronaldo. The great Portugese winger (if you can call him a winger, seeing that he scores from just about anywhere) seems to be caught up in a transfer saga which appears to have more twists and turns than an episode of CSI.

Wherever he lands up though, expect agent Ronaldo to be asking questions of opposing defenders once more next season.
Published: 2008-08-12
Author: Javishkar Reddy

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