Watto's Euro 2004 Diary


Paul Watson looks at the groups after all have now played


 Day 7: Wednesday 16 June 2004

Last night's games:

Latvia v Czech Rep.  Instead of painting the seats different colours, why not let the local school kids in for free?  These games should not be played in front of half-empty stadiums.  What is Luz going to look like when France play Greece?  I say let the neutrals queue up outside and pay on the door. 

The Latvians sat back and played on the break; Is this a Baltic tactic, Sven?  You are only going to get so far doing this.  This game was like an FA Cup Round 3, Minnows v Premiership side.  The Czechs were troubled, but were able to change their game and win it.  That is the sign of a good team.  This was an example of a good substitution. 

There are some very good Czech players.  I liked the way Poborsky went to the bye-line for the first goal.  If you cut the ball back, then the receiver is never ever offside, you turn the defence round, it is easier to pick out your man or aim for space.  I wish someone would do this at Goodison.  I don't like to see wingers cutting inside all the time.  Cross early if you can do it as well as Edman or Frings, but if you can't, get your head down and run to that bye-line.

Germany v Holland.  Great to see a local derby like this.  The ref was OK, he stood back and let them get on with it.  Hansen and his mates were talking rubbish.  Have they ever been to a match before?  The cross from Frings for the first goal was sensational.  He whips the ball in, then it just drops like a bomb right into the mixer.  You can't defend against that, you can only try and cut out the crosses.  Another of Frings's crosses just dropped like a brick into the crowded area.  It actually led to a shot rather than a header.  Van Nistelrooy scored a great goal.  Young Bastian played well, I am surprised there weren't more younger players on show.  These games are Germany's last competitive fixtures before they host the World Cup.  I can't see either of these side getting past Sweden Italy or even Denmark in the quarters.

So now everyone has had a game.   The first set of matches is complete. 

Group A: Spain look strong, Portugal nervous, the Greeks tidy and Russia in disarray.  I see Spain winning the group.  The Greeks are there just to make up the numbers for the quarter finals.  Russia are in self destruct mode and short of players in defence.  I know Portugal have only lost one match, but I don't see Figo and Rui Costa doing enough.  Ronaldo should start on the right, Deco should be the play maker — Big Phil will bottle it, the Golden Generation will play but win nothing.

Group B: France are a class act, with a poor defence.  They will now win the group.  They could drop some points.  England managed to reach France's level, showed a lot of quality, could beat anybody, I think they will win their last two matches.  Croats and Swiss, don't look strong, but they have one or two good players. 

Group C: Silly tactics could deny Italy a place in the quarters.  Do you remember in 2002?  They were losing to South Korea - von Trap unbelievably took Christian Vieri off.  Maybe they could play without a striker.  Sweden will win the group, Denmark may shock Italy.  Bulgaria might get a point.  Italy — what is the point, go out and play like Spain. 

Group D: Czechia and one of Holland or Germany.  Its like trying to predict what Man City or Spurs might do.  We, Everton had our worst game against City, but our first half against Spurs (on the telly) was the best we have played for a while.  Hold your head high Latvians.

And as for England — just go out there and do the business.  Keep King in the team, give Terry another few days to recover.  Same with Scholes; rest him and give Joe Cole a game.  Butt has gone home, a shame, but we do have adequate cover in Phil Neville or Owen Hargreaves.  Perhaps rest Ashley Cole and give Wayne Bridge a game, he should be able to link up with his team mate Joe.  Moysey watched the England game; I wonder who he supported?

Tonight:  A win each for Spain and Portugal.  Don't feel sorry for Mostovoi, he doesn't live in Russia, just down the road in Vigo.

Last night, the wife went out with her Polish mates.  One has been to Faro on a teletext holiday with accommodation allocated on arrival.  She says, they don't put you more than an hour from the airport.  She said all of the complexes are very nice.  That is a relief.  Every time I look at the map, Portugal just seems to get bigger.  The Algarve seems enormous.

Today, nothing much happening.  Just packing.  Doesn't look as though there will be a contract for me when I return on Friday week.  The contract in Edinburgh has been advertised on Jobserve (West Ham's sponsors) at 0.00 per hour.  Human Resources in action again (see day 3)... did you know Sheffield is in the North East?  If there had been a contract, I could stay until Sunday.  Maybe catch a quarter final or two.  Could always go to 'la Bamba' bar... get a free night's bed and breakfast and a free flight home.

Paul Watson


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