Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Spurs Euro Campaign

Ding Ding. There's the bell and it's the end of the first round of games for Euro 2012 with all teams now having given an indication as to what we can expect from them for the rest of the tournament. So I thought it was worth looking into the performances of our players over the last few days.

First in action representing the Spurs was Rafael Van Der Vaart as The Netherlands took on Denmark. Bert Van Marwijk decided that two defensive midfield players was the way to go so Rafa was sacrificed to include City's Nigel De Jong. With The Netherlands falling behind and struggling to get through Denmark's defence Van Der Vaart was brought on but to little avail as the main shock of the tournament gave Denmark the three points.

Where does this leave Van Der Vaart for the next game against Germany? With Germany likely to also play five in the midfield, I would expect Van Marwijk to stick with the two combative midfielders in De Jong and Van Bommel. However after proving to be fairly disappointing against the Danes, there is a chance that Ibrahim Afellay could make way leaving a place up for grabs that Rafa will surely be desperate for.

Next up on Sunday night were Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka (He's still one of ours) as they lined up opposite ex-spur Robbie Keane with Croatia taking on The Republic of Ireland. Croatia picked up all 3 points in a routine win and much of the credit had to go to Modric, who controlled the tempo of the game, moving the ball around quicker than the likes of Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews could handle. Corluka however seemed to be struggling against the physicality of Doyle and then Walters after his introduction, making a couple of basic errors. In saying that he was out of position at Centre Back and alongside a partner he'd played with only once beforehand.

Next up for Croatia are Italy and they are going to need to expect a lot tougher a test, especially for Luka who will be going toe to toe with Pirlo and Marchisio, players who will not be as easily shaken off as Andrews and Whelan. Croatia have little options defensively so it would be a huge shock if Corluka wasn't selected, but he'll have to be on his game to give Croatia the opportunity to pick up a result.

And so we come to England. With Walker watching the tournament from home we were left with just one representative in the starting line up in the form of the battling Scott Parker. Scott's task was simply to do as he normally does and anchor the midfield. This meant nullifying the fluidity of Cabaye and skill of Malouda in the central midfield. Slowly growing into the game Parker began to gain the advantage in the battle making some stunning blocks and interceptions before being taken off after running himself into the ground. A good game on the whole though maybe could have done more to block Nasri's shot for France's goal. It was great to see Jermain Defoe back out on the pitch after the recent sad news of his fathers passing, but ultimately he had little time to really have any effect on the game as he saw out the 1-1.

Parker's combatitive display surely guarantees him his place for the next game where he will have to stop the creative talents of Seb Larsson, Rasmus Elm and Anders Svensson. Parker has to be fancied to come out on top here as they are not of the standards of Cabaye. Jermain will hope to get some game time again but after Welbeck's display it's fairly unlikely, bar possibly a late substitute appearance.

Finally I have to just sit back and despair at the decision to rid of Pavlyuchenko back in January. Whilst his time at Tottenham was inconsistent and disappointing it looks like he could have another decent European Championship. So often a decent appearance at a major international tournament has sent a players value rocketing. Will we regret selling Pav so soon?
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