Game Day 4 progressed without many surprises as Spain & Holland moved into the semi-finals with just their opponents and placing to be determined by Wednesday night. So let’s get on with The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!
Holland was magnificent. Period. They spread the pitch beautifully, they played a team game, they finished their chances and the moved on to the next round with a date before that with Spain coming up later this week. Marco van Ginkel’s play voted him Man of the Match and stalwart Luuk de Jong added a goal for the Oranje. Super sub Leroy Fer picked up another strike and Holland dominated Russia early after Nikita Chicherin picked up a questionable red card that changed the flow of the match. Alan Dzagoev who missed the first match because of senior national team duty against Portugal came up with a few nice chances and made this Russia match a bit more exciting than their game versus Spain.
The Refs yet again! How many games will be determined by poor referring in this tournament? Antony Gautier the French ref was again calling a poor match. A more than questionable red card to Russia as mentioned earlier cost the Russians a chance in the match as Holland was able to pick them apart piece by piece. Plus a hand ball in the box by Holland should have seen Russia take a penalty, but another no call was in order for the referee who had previously been in charge of the Italy vs. England match to open the tourney.
The attendance at the match a paltry 4+ thousand fans surfaced for the match. At least the police didn’t block off every main artery in the city like last game. But really? Holland vs. Russia can only draw 4+? What an embarrassment for the city of Jerusalem yet again. How is it possible that there was no one in the stands! I spoke to Mayor Nir Barkat before the game and thanked him for having games here, but folks will we get more games of this nature in the future when there are fans dressed up as empty seats. He must have been pretty shocked by the lack of warm bodies and must been thinking what will be when the Formula One Peace Road Show hits Jerusalem on Thursday & Friday!
Alvaro Morata. The super Spanish Sub does it again and gives Spain another 1-0 victory over Germany and advance to the semi final round just as he did against Russia last week. Though the game did not meet expectations the sold out crowd in Netanya did get to see some of the future stars of European football.
Germany has yet to pick up a point in the tournament and will go home empty handed. Their coach Rainer Adrion complained that the squad was not playing at 100% as many of their eligible players went with the senior club to play in meaningless friendlies. And we have seen that complaint now from England as well. However, Norway did not have 4 of their players for their first game against Israel but they have all but advanced to the next round.
That the last games in this group are for position and perhaps the top players for Spain & Holland will be rested. It’s unfortunate that the matches Wednesday night won’t mean anything. But as they say, That’s Football!