Euro Polkraine preview: the final act
In the final part to this less than comprehensive preview of Euro Polkraine, we examine the potential highlights, lowlights and downlights of the greatest sporting tournament in the world…at least until the evil Galactic forces of UEFA kill it in four years time.
Major tournaments always throw out some tantalising match-ups, and Euro Polkraine is no different.
Games such as Italy versus Spain, England versus France, Portugal versus Germany, Greece versus Polan – sorry I got carried away – offer the prospect of exhilarating football. But the most mouth watering opening round encounter is definitely Germany versus Holland.
It’s a juicy game on so many different levels, but what excites me most is the MMA style kicking Bastian Schweinsteiger is going to hand out to Arjen Robben for that penalty miss in the Champions League final.
The look on Schweinsteiger’s face when he realised Robben bottled it was simply priceless. Like Luke Skywalker when he realises Vadar is his father, a contorted mixture of pain and hatred.
Good luck Arjen. Payback’s a real bitch.
It’s a Euro tradition that one Eastern European midfielder will scintillate with a handful of sexy goals, leading his team to upset wins on route to a surprise semi final appearance. Inevitably this leads to a high profile club, always from the Premier League, buying the player with an offer so high they could wipe out Sierra Leone’s foreign debt.
As confident as the captain of the Titanic on his maiden (only) voyage, he sets sail for his new club and enjoys a brief honeymoon period. The honeymoon is over, however, when a Lee Cattermole special sends him crashing back to Earth, quicker than Charlie Sheen after a Tuesday night bender.
Invariably the player is then shipped quickly back behind the Iron Curtain, only to be spoken of in hushed tones like an urban legend.
With Ukraine, Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic represented, candidates for the inaugural Karel Poborsky Award for Overhyped English Transfer are plenty. My tip is Oleksandr Aliyev (Ukraine), who’ll crack in a couple of free kicks from 35 yards.
For a number of countries the hopes and dreams of a nation rest on the shoulders of one talented individual. The Portuguese pray at the altar of Ronaldo, while Lewandowski leads the line for Poland. And England’s (limited) hopes rest with Andy Carroll (all the UK readers just threw up in unison). That is at least until Wayne Rooney is released from maximum security suspension.
Picture the following scene: After drawing their opening games against France and Sweden, England enter their final game needing victory against host nation Ukraine. Andy Carroll has been lumbering his way around the penalty box like a Biggest Loser contestant on route to the next weigh in leaving Woy Hodgson no option other than to call on Rooney, who has been sitting on the sidelines for 180 minutes, steaming with pent up aggression.
Rooney takes the field pumping with adrenaline, like Ben Johnson in Seoul. He’s snarling at his teammates and salivates so much the referee is forced to wear gumboots lest foot rot set in. The whistle blows and Rooney races around the field like a Tasmania Devil, limbs flying akimbo in a rabid and rancid fury.
He takes pots shots at goal like the British naval bombardment of the Falklands. But the keeper and woodwork keep his best efforts at bay. Time is ticking away, and under pressure to create something magical, Rooney starts tackling in a wild frenzy, winning the ball on every occasion. First he slides into the inept Stewart Downing, bundling him into advertising boards. He leaps over Jermaine Defoe to win back possession, and intercepts another wayward pass from Scott Parker. Rooney is committed to keep the ball away from those standing in the way of English success.
In a final act of desperation Rooney barges into Steven Gerrard, earning himself a red card. England is eliminated, and Rooney returns to his homeland disgraced. The Shakespearean tragedy is complete.
Some safety advice before the Euro journey commences, avoid watching Greece at all costs. They’re not the only team capable of parking the bus, but their bus is the size of J-Lo’s arse. You might be able to sit through a half without contemplating self mutilation to end the pain, but anything more than that will have you reaching for the spoons to dig out your own eyes.
Finally, let’s hope Euro Polkraine can deliver some inspiration like its predecessors.
Enjoy, or as they say in Polkraine, baw się dobrze!