As the second round takes shape a number of issues have come to
everyones attention. The first and most obvious one, unfortunatey, does not
involve football. The English have managed to find their way to the Low
Countries just to have a riot. Of course everyone knows it is the minority who
are mindless idiots so i dont want to say much about it...after all this website
is for football fans not hooligans.
Of course the tournament was always going to be marred by bad refereeing
and Hugh Dallas of 10p-on-the-head-from-mad-Celtic-fan fame didn't let us
down awarding a penalty to Fillipo Inzaghi of i'm-never-off-the-bloody-ground
fame of all people. "What for?" i hear you cry! The thing is, no one round
here has come up with an answer for that yet. The opening match set the
tone as Mpenza of Belgium scored after clearly handling the ball on his way
to goal. Dallas then managed to lose all control of the next match he took
control of Yugoslavia VS Norway. I could go on and on about referees but just
watch a match, any match and you will see what i mean. And as for assistant
refs....don't even start me!
One thing that has came to prominence in Euro 2000 is the use of subs.
Already we have seen managers making tactical changes before the end of
the first half. The most important of these was when Yugoslavia played
Slovenia and Dejan Stankovic came off after 35 minutes, showing no signs
of any injury. On came the veteran Stojkovic who has played since then in all
of Yugoslavias games. He remains a key figure for them even at 35, much
like Hagi carries Romania. The substituution to make most headlines was
that of Tugay, the Turk who reacted angrily when he was taken off against
Belgium. Turkish coach Denizli promptly sent the player home. Finally look at
England. Keegan withdrew Owen at half time against Portugal, although this
looked a good move it usually pays not to bring on a striker who never
scores- Emile Heskey. Then against Romania the king of perms decided that
Gareth Southgate would be a good midfield man for the last 20 minutes to
keep it tight. The fact that he is a centre back says everything about
Englands wish not to keep the ball from the Romanians but just to defend
with hearts on sleeves.