Jun 17, 2012, 5:59 PM EDT
Man of the Match
Given all the space he had at easy disposal, is there any wonder Cristiano Ronaldo went hog wild in this one. (Sure, Holland, we see no reason to defend the midfield. None at all. What could possibly go wrong?) Ronaldo more or less toyed with the Dutch, scoring twice and arranging wonderfully for others, even if they failed to seal the deal. He came so tantalizingly close to a hat trick, whacking the post in the 90th. If Ronaldo finally wakes up from his historical slumber in major tournaments, and goes on to crush it in this tournament, blame the Dutch.
Packaged for take-away
- For as bad as the Dutch defense is – and however poor you believe it to, it’s really a little worse – the Dutch attack stunk it up pretty good, too. The Dutch, coming into Euro 2012 as the more-or-less third favorites, will go slinking home having scored twice in three games. Oh, and zero points in the standings. Nice job, Oranje. There might just be more disappointing displays from a European Championship – I just can’t think of any at the moment.
- With any better shooting from the Portuguese, it could have been a two- or three-goal win, easily.
- And … things also could have been worse for the Dutch, who were lucky to keep things at 11 men on the field after Jetro Willems crunching challenge on Joao Moutinho. Willems was booked. If it was possible to be “super-booked” without actually being thrown out, that’s what it would have been.
- Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk removed Johnny Heitinga from central defense. I mean, fair enough, but that’s like replacing one flat tire and still driving around with three deflated ones.
- Portugal presumably came to play for a draw, or perhaps the one-goal loss that might have been sufficient. Or, maybe the Dutch were just that good out of the gate. (Hah! I make a funny.) Either way, Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. seemed to have very little interest in playing until Holland scored. So things started off promising enough for the Dutch, who would have gone through with a two-goal win. Arjen Robben actually passed the ball on several of his first two opportunities on the right. Seriously! I know, right?
- One of those passes went to Rafael Van der Vaart, who bent a beauty to provide brief hope to the legions in orange and funny orange hats.
- I mean, the Dutch defense is bad enough without Gregory van der Wiel actually handing opportunities. It would have been a brilliant through ball from the Dutch right back – if only the through ball in question would have been
- You knew Portugal’s goal was coming. Holland was mostly defending with five, having tweaked the lineup, removing Mark van Bommel in favor of Rafael Van der Vaart. The net out was better offense but even less defending, if that’s possible. So, it wasn’t only that the Dutch defending was poor (as it has been), Sunday it was poor in insufficient numbers. Van der Vaart tried to give Nigel de Jong some second man defensive support in front of the Dutch back line, but he wasn’t much good at it. So Portugal went to slicing and dicing the Dutch defense like a Japanese Hibachi chef.
- For the final 20 minutes before the break, it’s all Portugal. Come to think of it, they more or less did this to Germany once they decided to come out to play. Germany was trying to protect a lead, so perhaps that’s a bit of apples and oranges. The point is, the Portuguese can be a threat when they want.
- Portugal’s opening goal started on a needless giveaway from left back Willems.
- In a lot of ways, the difference was the Portuguese midfielder’s ability and desire to retreat immediately into good defensive spots once Holland won the. Guys like 16. Even Ronaldo took up good spots, perhaps not hastening to tackle, but at least shutting off a passing lane.
- Just before Ronaldo sealed the deal, he had beautifully arranged things for Nani in the 72nd. Truly, he just needed to steer the ball home, but more good work from Maarten Stekelenburg.
May 19, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT
Sporting K.C. manager Peter Vermes and defender Ike Opera didn’t appreciate the pivotal offsides call that disallowed a possible winning goal against D.C. United, and they made that very obvious.
May 19, 2013, 8:58 PM EDT
Paolo Di Canio and Andre Villas-Boas took to the media following their teams’ Premier League finale to voice displeasure with how their final fixture played out.
May 19, 2013, 7:51 PM EDT
A dull, scoreless first half picked up in the second term as D.C. United grabbed a point against the league’s second-best team and ended their club-record losing streak at 7 matches.
May 19, 2013, 5:50 PM EDT
With his eye on the imminent vacancy at Real Madrid left by Jose Mourinho’s almost certain departure, Paris Saint-Germain’s mastermind Carlo Ancelotti may now have a large hurdle to get past if he is to land his ideal job in Spain’s capital.
May 19, 2013, 5:34 PM EDT
Fernando Torres broke his Premier League scoring drought by banging home the game-winner to secure Chelsea a third place finish.
May 19, 2013, 5:22 PM EDT
Heartbreak in Serie A this year belongs to Fiorentina. Mario Balotelli converted a penalty in the 84th minute to draw level and two minutes later Philippe Mexes slotted home a cross to secure Europe’s top competition for AC Milan.
May 19, 2013, 5:01 PM EDT
Rare as they are, we’ve seen more than our share of “Olimpico” goals in MLS over the last pair of seasons, including one last night:
May 19, 2013, 4:47 PM EDT
With Arsenal and Tottenham the only teams battling for any meaningful positioning in the Premier League table, the final day still had implications for many teams in the form of placement prize money.
May 19, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT
Sir Alex Ferguson managed the final match of his career away from Old Trafford, and it looked set to complete on a high note, until the opposition had other ideas late.
May 19, 2013, 4:25 PM EDT
Another game-winning strike from Gareth Bale wasn’t enough to save Tottenham from more Champions League heartache.
May 19, 2013, 3:50 PM EDT
New York took all the points from the L.A. Galaxy on Tim Cahill’s late goal. So let’s talk about that goal.
May 19, 2013, 3:17 PM EDT
This Landon Donovan debate regarding his place on the national team is not going anywhere. So, did Sunday’s performance move the needle either way?
May 19, 2013, 2:42 PM EDT
Arsenal secured its 16th consecutive spot on the Champions League with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
May 19, 2013, 1:43 PM EDT
Sensational news for fans around BMO Field:
May 19, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT
With David Beckham-esque tears streaming down my cheeks, we’re finally here: The final day of the 2012-13 Barclay’s Premier League.
May 19, 2013, 10:19 AM EDT
Newcastle have nothing to play for and have been a disaster at home of late, losing their last two matches at St. James’ Park by a combined 9-0.
May 19, 2013, 10:13 AM EDT
The timing on this thing in two words: pretty bad:
May 19, 2013, 9:32 AM EDT
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves on the 20-year-old goal-scoring sensation … :
May 19, 2013, 12:48 AM EDT
The Sounders exploit Dallas’ young back line in a meeting of two Western Conference teams in top form. Final score: 4-2 for the Sounders:
May 18, 2013, 11:41 PM EDT
Juan Agudelo makes his New England debut as Jay Heaps posts one of the best wins of his young coaching career:
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