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Monday, July 05, 2004

The End is the Beginning is the End

frankie valli was right....Greece IS the word. how ironic that the same teams we saw in the opening game 3 weeks ago are the same teams that featured in the Final. it's happened before, though...so i guess these things do happen. the Euro 2004 final will not go down in the history books as among the greatest Final ever. it was okay, but no more than the ups and downs we experienced throughout the competition. yessss...it was suprising. i really never would have thought that Greece would make it all the way. it's crazy. i didn't know how to react when they scored from the corner. but i know that something extraordinary was in the making.
i guess the big question on everyone's mind is...did the Greeks deserve it? well, for me, they won it fair and square. like it or not, they're the current European champions. they did what they had to do...and they were rewarded. sure..i bet this will be a one off thing where we'll likely not to see Greece in a major final for a while after this. what will happen is...Greece will be the team that will be there probably in a quarterfinal or a semifinal of some competition. they will be among the dark horses now...one step higher than being an underdog. everyone will be wary of them, and probably they'll produce the next generation of footballers who was inspired by this victory. i take the Danes as an example here. after winning Euro 92, they never won anything. but the great Danish side of Laudrup, Schmeichel and gang was the team that inspired the generation of jon dahl tomasson, gronkjaer (betul ke ni) and gravesen just to name a few. they're playing at major clubs in Europe and this was partly due to the exposure and spotlight given to them by their predecessors who paved the way for the world to notice that the Danes can produce good footballers other than tasty tin biscuits.
even though the football wasn't pretty...it worked, and that's what matters. actually, when u think about it...most teams from the past especially the German team of the 90's played this type of football. the italians too sometimes are guilty of doing the same. sit back on defence, soak up the pressure and hit on the counter-attack. set pieces are timed to perfection. in this modern age of Nike footballers and Pepsi megastars, individual brilliance is what people take notice of. little do they know that football is played by 11 people on the pitch, and not some dude who's wearing the new blue-lightweight-air-zoom-with-sole-cushioning thing on his feet. people have forgotten that set pieces is the best chance u've got to score a goal. ye laaaa..how many times can u rely on that 40 yard strike from outside the box?? every game? get real.
greece showed us the basics of football. practiced set pieces, great ball control (u gotta have this if u're hitting on the break) and TEAMWORK. yess..it still exists in modern football. of course, i love watching free flowing football and neat passes, but when u've got no stars on ur team and little to work on, what would u do? a sane person would do a Greece. hello...watched any FA cup matches recently. ever see Scarborough play attacking football against Man U? so give the greeks a break.
as usual, here's my take on the final.

Man of the match
even though he didn't play the full 90, my vote goes for stelios giannokopolous (what the hell..) for being everywhere on the pitch and creating the chances. i dunno, but he got my attention the most...

Quote of the match
"15 minutes to go. these 15 minutes will be the longest for all Greek fans, which also means all Greek people." by the evergreen Martin Tyler

Moment of the match
a Barca fan invading the pitch, throwing a barcelona scarf to Figo as he passed him. my my...old habits die hard, huh?

Unsportsmanship award
TV3. okayy..so u sponsored the match so we could watch it for zip. but c'mon laaa...at least don't cut the post-match happenings on the pitch. the emotions and celebrations are part and parcel of the game. at least replay la after the commercial break. ini habis je iklan, the Greeks are already collecting their medals. gimme a break...

Reation of the match
president or prime minister of greece jumping up and down like a budak kecik after the final whistle. cute...

i'd like to say congratulations to Greece and their mercurial coach who defied everyone including me to win Euro 2004. it was a great tournament, won by a team that wanted it most and was a bit lucky as well. the matches was great and i certainly enjoyed most of it. this is definitely Greece's year, with the Olympics just around the corner. vive o 2004! forca Greece!

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