Euro 2012: Matchday Three (Group C)



Spain, the defending European champions and World Cup Champions, will take their first step toward trying to win an unprecedented third straight major title with their Euro 2012 opener against Italy.

For Italy, the match is a stiff test for a team facing plenty of adversity amid the latest match-fixing scandal and a rash of pre-tournament injuries. The 'Azzurri' could trot out a 3-5-2 formation to try and cope with Spain's dynamic possession game. For Spain, the big question is which forward will be called upon to lead the line, be it Fernando Torres or Fernando Llorente.

The day's second match features Ireland taking on Croatia in a match-up of teams with realistic aspirations of reaching the knockout rounds if Italy can't get it together. The Croatians boast a skillful midfield led by Luka Modric, while the Irish are led by the aging trio of Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Shay Given.

Here is the viewing schedule for the day's matches:

12 p.m. - ESPN/ - Spain vs. Italy

2:45 p.m. - ESPN/ - Croatia vs. Ireland

If you will be watching today's Euro 2012 action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action.


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113 Responses to Euro 2012: Matchday Three (Group C)

  1. drew11 says:

    Rossi???? LOL.

  2. Mikebsiu says:

    rossi hhahahahaha

  3. Scott says:

    I wonder of Spain will suffer from the same issue Barca did playing without an actual striker

  4. ben in el cajon says:

    Rossi as commentator! Cue the hate! Oh, and Lalas predicted Spain will wither! Ha! I look forward to your comments.

  5. Asdf says:

    Erin go braugh!!!

  6. AltiCooper says:

    Are you kidding me with Rossi espn? I don’t care that he chose Italy over the US but for him to now come back and get a job with an American sports station is ridiculous. Go to Italy and commentate for them you little Bi#%@, if you are going to spurn the US and turn your back on us then that should be that…

  7. ben in el cajon says:

    Damn, I don’t have anything like the tactical background to understand Itally’s 3-5-2 vs Spain’s apparent 4-6-0. Help!

  8. drew11 says:

    Is that Rossi singing in the studio on my stream right now?

  9. ben in el cajon says:

    How are the midfield players finding all that space?

  10. jones says:

    Lol. Not looking good so far. It’s like Klinsmann putting all of the CMs on at once.

    They look super slow.

  11. jones says:

    Also dislike Ramos in the middle rather than providing pace up the wing.

  12. Mig22 says:

    It is so painful to listen these idiots just say the same thing, over and over. And over.

    del Bosque will be questioned over this selection

    Italy need to pass it faster

    Balotelli needs to keep in control


    Blah blah


  13. JrLaing23 says:

    This game needs a goal. Would certainly open it up.

  14. jones says:

    I’d rather listen to them than Kasey Keller any day (see Germany vs Portugal). I missed the beginning, didn’t recognize him and thought “this guy is one of the worst commentators I’ve heard.”

    I give him credit for improving during the broadcast, though.

  15. RK says:

    Spain needs to bring in Llorente.

  16. Mig22 says:

    I can’t even stomach to watch the halftime show. Rossi and Ballack? Thanks ESPN. When Lalas is the least offensive of a three member panel, you’ve achieved something remarkable.

  17. Scott says:

    that seems…dramatic

  18. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    For someone who doesn’t care, you sure seem to have a lot of hostility.

  19. OmarVizquel says:

    I find Spain increasingly dull. Intelligent and patient, but dull. Give me a good, fast, counter-attacking team any day. And I can’t stand Fabregas.

    Btw, Klinsmann is doing commentary for the BBC (not live commentary, but taped bits). He’s wearing his US warm-up jacket. Good man…does his part for US soccer PR.

  20. Kevin_amold says:

    This should be the last time he is in studio. Nothing interesting to say, really.

  21. ben in el cajon says:

    Where are you seeing that? On BBC America?

  22. jones says:

    In my opinion, Ballack has been fine, Rossi a waste of space and Lalas as terrible as ever. Why don’t you just skip the halftime show? We should know by now that it won’t be insightful.

  23. bryan says:

    the great American export, the wave??? Does he not realize the Mexicans started that?! come on Bob Ley…

  24. mikebsiu says:

    Worst analysts ever. Does espn screen these guys?

  25. OmarVizquel says:

    No, I’m in the UK. Klinsi’s keeping himself in the public eye over here…

  26. jones says:

    yeah, he looks like he’s on Valium or something too.

  27. Dirk a Dirk says:

    I may be wrong, but it seems like he is putting on an accent a bit. What a bore as an announcer. Oh well, maybe one day he’ll get to play in a major tournament.

  28. Dirk a Dirk says:


  29. ben in el cajon says:

    Actually, no. Wikipedea reports several possible origins, but it seems the wave happened in the early 1980s, before the 1986 Mexico WC that introduced the silliness to the world.

  30. AltiCooper says:

    I understand his choice to play for Italy, but regardless of how you look at it, it’s a slap in the face to the US. So for him to come back like nothing happened and commentate on an American broadcast is just absurd. Whoever invited him on the show should be fired and he sounds like a complete moron who snorted one to many pain killers on top of it all

  31. Mig22 says:

    Rossi causes an unhealthy pressure to develop in my skull. I fear an aneurysm. Now THAT would be (briefly) dramatic.

  32. Dirk a Dirk says:

    He’s new to commentating still. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. thought his honesty was pretty nice. Like when commentators call out divers.

  33. SilverRey says:

    Ballack was the only one with some true critical thinking up there in yesterday’s broadcast.

  34. Mig22 says:

    Do none of these jerks realize that both Italy and Spain would be perfectly happy with a draw in this game? Why should either side expose themselves much?

  35. jones says:

    Right, I guess he offers something different. I still think he should have had more preparation beforehand – he sounded awkward. I shouldn’t expect much from espn though.

  36. bryan says:

    good look. just saw that as well, but not on wiki. either way, it seems incorrect to label it like he did. the reason it is popular is because everyone saw it at the ’86 WC in Mexico, like you said.

  37. Dirk a Dirk says:

    I’m not a huge fan but jerks? Really? Seems a bit much.

  38. OmarVizquel says:

    Be glad you’re not watching in England, where each and every one of the announcers is intent on sucking every bit of joy out of the game. Smugness, sarcasm, and negativity for 90+ minutes.

  39. Camjam says:

    I think it’s just a difference in terminology…..even if it were Mexico who invented it (history is 50/50) then it is still American. Because Mexico IS in North America. Hell, if it were invented in Canada, it could still be called “American” by people who use the term.

  40. jones says:

    wtf was Balotelli doing on that one? I’d take him out too if I were the coach.

  41. jones says:

    I think Mig22 might be hungover. Take it easy, man!

  42. Mig22 says:

    I feel for you. Nothing spoils a game like a couple of bloodless English announcers droning on about how disappointing a given effort was.

    Then again, that’s exactly what I’m listening to now. :)

  43. Mig22 says:

    Well, ‘jerk’ may not be accurate. “Simpletons” might fit better.


  44. Mig22 says:

    Rossi and Ballack just got me all cranky today. I’ll grab a drink and mellow out.


  45. jones says:

    yeah, like you said earlier, they keep repeating the same stuff over and over. Annoying!

  46. Scott says:

    Hopefully that will liven up that game!

  47. jones says:

    now there we go – you said it

  48. jones says:

    I’m not a Torres fan, but I think they should put him on sooner rather than later.

  49. jones says:

    I hear ya. Lalas always drives me to drink.

  50. Scott says:

    agreed. not to beat a dead horse but a focal point would help them

  51. Mig22 says:

    Well, that’s a nice turn of events. Some attractive stuff on both goals to complement the interesting tactical battle.

    Tough foul by Marchesi on Iniesta. Ouch.

  52. ManicMessiah says:

    The most frustrating thing about it is it seems like it could be good commentary if they just elaborated on what they were talking about.

    If they say del Bosque will be questioned, for instance explain what’s so odd about the formation–both in terms of the way Spain play and how it might play against the opposition.

    I feel like most commentators just give answers without showing their work, which isn’t informative or entertaining.

  53. Mig22 says:

    Agreed about showing their work. But also, they are so very married to the ‘conventional’ wisdom that they simply can’t accept an unusual formation or substitution.

  54. SilverRey says:

    I wonder if this game will impact the French Open. You can bet Nadal is watching this right now during the rain out.

  55. Mig22 says:

    Italy better slow this down or they are going to concede very soon.

  56. This Guy says:

    Ian Darke seriously needs to learn how to pronounce Giovinco. It’s driving me mad. Jo-Veen-Kho not Jo-Veen-Cho

  57. jones says:

    Italy trying too many long balls over the top. Not everyone can be Pirlo.

  58. Dirk a Dirk says:

    Ha! I’ll take that!

  59. Mig22 says:

    Seeing deRossi get elbowed in the throat makes me happy.

  60. Mig22 says:

    Wow, Torres. Jeez. It hurts to watch.

  61. Kevin_amold says:

    Cliches and platitudes. That’s all he brought to the studio, in my view.

  62. RK says:

    He looks uncomfortable, but English hasn’t been his primary language for years.

  63. RK says:

    You called that.

  64. RK says:

    Can’t believe he’s in. He didn’t do much in the WC, either. Mata or Llorente are better choices.

  65. bryan says:

    that’s true, but i took it as he was referring to the USA as opposed to the Americas.

  66. SilverRey says:

    Torres pulls a Balotelli, not once but twice!

  67. jones says:

    yeah, Rossi’s accent sounds robotic

  68. Kevin_amold says:

    Tighten your tie and button your collar Giuseppe. Geez…

  69. PD says:

    yep.. Rossi a laugh, but we’re all talking about, it, right? Score one for teh rating/buzz chasing producers…

  70. Mig22 says:

    Well, that was a pretty interesting contest. There was enough skill, excitement, and flair in the second half to complement the careful nature of the first half. I thought it was good times.

    At the end, Spain’s goal came before any substitutions or formation changes and Torres’ horror show makes del Bosque’s selection seem okay.

    Now do we see Torres again or will it be one of the others?

  71. Jamie Z. says:

    I came here specifically to comment about how awful Rossi’s presence and analysis was and it looks like everyone has beaten me to it. Not only is he inarticulate, he has nothing to say.

  72. Brent McD says:


  73. Generic Fan says:

    He’s a pretty poor commentator, and I find him kind of annoying, but i really appreciated his comments on diving too.

  74. Brent McD says:

    Screw you Rossi. You suck as a commentator. Whoever hired him at ESPN should be fired immediately.

  75. jones says:

    I think this overcrowded midfield experiment will be sufficient against weaker teams where they can more easily pick apart the defense. But Italy’s quality defensive play exposed the problem with Spain’s system. Spain will need someone up top after they leave the group stage.

  76. Quarter Irish says:

    I’d love to see Ireland do well. I feel like good football-karma should be coming their way after the Henry handball incident a few years ago.

  77. TomL says:

    Spain really misses David Villa…they need a pure finisher to capitalize on the chances they create. Torres was that finisher a few years ago, and I can’t help but think that he can be that he can be that guy again…

  78. adam says:

    The wave started at husky stadium, in Seattle. Go dawgs. Rossi with the most toothless analysis I’ve ever heard. I understand you play with Mario and that may make being critical troublesome. That being said.. don’t take the gig. Come on espn.. Really? though I like ballack thus far.

  79. NE Matt says:

    Egypt just went ahead of Guinea from the PK spot. 2-1 to Egypt with 70 minutes gone.

  80. ManicMessiah says:

    Bob Ley should take some criticism for the lack of insight in the studio show. A guy like Rossi, with little media experience, needs pointed questions involving what’s going on in the game so he can just talk about the game.

    I’ve watched the NHL network studio show during the playoffs, and seen current players they bring in give a lot of interesting analysis of the game.

    You had a defender, midfielder, and striker in there, they should have been able to cover the Italy Spain game from any number of different angles.

  81. Shaggy says:

    Alti, let the hate go my friend. You’ll be better for it.

  82. Ted in MN says:

    Oh boy Given needed to have that. 1-0 off a weak header.

  83. Jason B says:

    3-2 Egypt FT

  84. UKSubs says:

    wah wah wah…

  85. ATLChris says:


  86. jjraines says:

    Um, no. When the term “American” is used it is almost always to describe a citizen of the United States of America, not someone from North America (three sovereign countries with unique people, culture, and government).

    And yes, the wave was invented in the USA.

  87. jjraines says:

    US coverage of an international soccer tournament wouldn’t be complete without Europeans insulted the hand that feeds while an American Eurosnob nods in agreement.

    Sure, Italy is traditionally better than the US, but Ballack is a prick for belittling Lalas and the audience.

    More than that, I’m fed up with Bob Ley and his incessant, unnatural injection of “side” and “pitch” and “football” to show his faux Euro sophistication of the beautiful game.

  88. jjraines says:

    insulting* the hand that feeds

  89. Mig22 says:

    I agree with you on the detestable Ballack.

    But I’m okay with the use of side, pitch, and football. To accomplished watchers of soccer, American or otherwise, these words are common enough. When you watch broadcasts of EPL or whatever league on Fox Soccer, you become comfy with these terms and I personally use them all the time. I like that ESPN is not dumbing it down TOO much and expecting the fans to be somewhat conversant with the game.


  90. ben in el cajon says:

    It looks really bad for Ireland now. I’m not sure they’ll get a point in the opening round.

  91. BrianK says:

    This is the group of death,….for Ireland. They were hard done by a terrible first goal (Given?) and should have had a PK in 62nd minute but otherwise were totally outclassed.

  92. This Guy says:


  93. CroCajun1003 says:

    I actually enjoyed Casey Keller.

    Reminds me of the commentary pairing from the movie ‘Dodgeball’. ESPN the Ocho.

    Keller has a lot of enthusiasm and his unconventional delivery is a welcome break from the typical cliches thrown out by most color comentators.

    Just my thoughts, but I can understand where some might not agree.

  94. crocajun1003 says:

    It was a shockingly mesmerising chemistry.

    I couldn’t look away.

  95. al17 says:

    ..and the Robbie Keane Handball against Georgia that all of Ireland and a large number of my fellow Americans seem to forget? Gimme a break. I’m more impressed that Ireland scored a goal since I didn’t think they would and said so. Hopefully things work out better for them but puhlease don’t pull this good football karma crap. Play Good Football for good Football Karma.

  96. crocajun1003 says:

    Good point. Bob Ley’s lack of soccer knowledge is painfully evident, and he really didn’t put the team in position to shine.

    Bob Ley was the point man. The #10. The trequartista, and his inability to get the best out of the guys around him made for some awkward, yet laughably entertaining moments.

  97. CroCajun1003 says:

    I’m loving Ballack as the big scary German that doesn’t smile.

    He’s given some good insight, he’s honest, and his personality is hillarious in contrast with Lallas.

    When he made that, “Italy is a better side” comment, Lallas almost jumped out of his skin.

  98. Old School says:

    Spain wasn’t that impressive at all.

    I look forward to you acknowledging Lalas’ commentary.

  99. Chupacabra says:

    Oh right, Seattle – the place where soccer was also invented.

  100. Charles says:

    Actually I prefer the moniker “Group of Debt”. That was my favorite piece of commentary from the play by play man. Just look at the Euro Financial Crisis and three central countries are Italy, Spain and Ireland! Hilarious and sad at the same time. If only Greece could swap places with Croatia could we have the full-on “Group of Debt”

  101. GW says:

    The idea of guests on a show like that is to 1. Have something interesting to say and/or
    2. Cause a buzz and draw attention.

    It worked on both counts. We don’t often get to hear anything from a current Azzuri player so on that point alone it was interesting.

    And of course his many American fans were sure to notice and comment.

  102. GW says:

    Just out of curiousity, who would you rather have doing the bulk of the attacking and forward play for you, Iniesta and Fabregas or any two USMNT players of your choice?

  103. GW says:


    You don’t know Ley personally do you?

    If you did then maybe you can talk about unnatural and faux.

    If everyone around you at work kept using those terms you might too. I worked in the deep south for many years and found my accent “adapting”.

    Don’t always assume someone is being uppity if they adapt to the local accent.

  104. Dennis says:

    True dat!

  105. Good Jeremy says:

    Yes, that’s completely relevant when the Spanish teams. Maybe a better question: Would you rather have Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Edu, Torres,and Jones as the front six or would you want a striker playing?

  106. Good Jeremy says:

    If Lalas had just cut his hair or not played guitar we wouldn’t be stuck with this issue. Sigh…

  107. GW says:

    Hey are you hitting above .200 yet?

    Still great defense though.

  108. GW says:

    “I’ll grab a drink and mellow out. ”

    Best cure for a hang over

  109. Brad says:

    Did you guys hear when Ballack said that Rossi had a better chance to get silverware with Italy than the USA? Alexi should have said that he would have a better chance at making the team and getting playing time with the USA. I hope Alexi gave him the cold-shoulder all day.

  110. Gene says:

    I love Ireland’s work rate and they are good in the air. But they are way too direct going forward and, really, a class below the rest of the group.

  111. GW says:

    Regarding your “better” question, Bradley did that in last year’s Gold Cup final, except he had Adu for Edu and Bedoya for Torres. Not one recognized specialist striker in the bunch.

    My question was hypothetical, Jeremy.

    Therefore it is perfectly reasonable to offer up two Spanish midfielders as alternatives to any US strikers. If Fabregas and Iniesta want to play striker on any team I have anything to do with that is just fine by me. They can play that position as well or better than about 90% of the strikers out there.

    If you are lucky enough to have two great soccer players like Iniesta and Fabregas playing up front for you, the rather artificial distinction of labels such as “striker” or “midfielder” are sort of irrelevant.

  112. GW says:

    I can see how Italy’s quality defense exposed Fabregas, Silva and Iniesta.

  113. GW says:

    Ireland made some uncharacterisic blunders on the goals, though the third one was great.

    Croatia have some nice attacking pieces but can’t defend. Spain and Italy might just rip them apart.

    Absent the defensive bonehead plays, had Ireland been a little more precise they could have tied this game. They certainly had enough chances.