Friday, June 18, 2004

Sverige : Um | Azzurri : Um

My continuing coverage of Euro 2004. Took a couple of hours off today again to watch the Swedes (sverige is swedish for sweden) take on Italy (whose team is called the Azzurri, for the blue they wear).

It was all Italiano to start with, some nice chances at goal missed. Italy are usually a very defensive team but they were in 'flow' today and it was treat to watch. The players' ball control skills were on full display and their repeated attacks on goal paid off with Cassano's delectable header in the latter part of the first half. Half-time score was 1-0 with Italy threatening to widen the lead.

Nothing much happenned in the second half for the most part, and it seemed like Italy was going back to doing what it usually does best - defend their lead. The last 10 minutes of the game though were absolutely riveting. Sweden found their stride and it was an all-out attack. But the Italian defense, described by the announcer as bone-crunching, didn't give an inch. Until Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a Bosnian immigrant who plays for Sweden, unleashed his magic in the 85th minute. In a crowded penalty box, he found himself with his back to the goal and the goalie right behind him. Airborne, he chipped a high ball back with the outer edge of his right foot perfectly into the corner of the goal, right over the head of a defender who was on the goal line. Extravagant. I hope SportsCenter has replays of this goal. Definitely worth watching.

And that's how it ended. With me tired after another afternoon spent with friends chugging beer and shouting at every play. We had an Italian in the house today, and a die-hard Swedish fan. Life sure seems good with times like these.

Oh, and apparently Um means 1 in Portuguese. Why portuguese - well, they are playing in Portugal ;-).
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