Euro 2012 Final: Italy vs Spain aka Super Fun Italy vs Super Boring Spain

Remember way back when I told you how I, as an Italy fan, was getting ready for my team’s opening game against Spain in the group stages?

I had my jersey ready.

I had the flag at my disposal.

And for good measure, I had all forms of deities I can get to at hand:

Now that my team has reached the final after an awesome win against Germany (which I was deep-down expecting but went about lowering my expectations and doing some necessary pre-game damage control, just in case. Those Lebanese football fans can sure be a pain when you lose), how will I get ready for the big finale?

Yes, that is pasta! And this is how a friend and I celebrated :D

Well, if anything, this Euro tournament has shown that you cannot dismiss the Italians easily, which many (including some of their supporters *raises hand* have done).

1 – Some hadn’t expected Italy to get past the group stage. They did.

2 – Some didn’t expect Italy to then beat a very mediocre England in the quarter finals. They dominated England and were unlucky not to have won in the game’s original time. Many had even predicted a 3-0 score for England. Those same people are predicting a 3-1 Spain win today.

3 – Once Italy reached the semi-finals against Germany, the only thing you could hear is resounding confidence how this will be the end of the road for the Italians. But it was far from it. The Italians should have won with more than two goals.

So what’s my mentality going in to the final?

Well, I cannot but have a faint tinge of panic (or a lot of panic). But I am proud of what they have done in this tournament. Italy have proven that they are so much fun to watch. They are attacking, creating chances. Not just scoring on a counter-attack and parking their legendary bus, stopping any team from even thinking about scoring.

On the other hand, Spain have been boring this Euro tournament. Their game against Portugal was such a pain to watch that I ended up catching up on my reading and blogging about a festival named Wickerpark before they reached the penalty shoot-out during which I still had no idea which team I wanted to advance. Out of the six goals they scored, four were against the same team (Ireland). Their showing against all the other teams they played (Croatia, Portugal, Italy) was far from impressive.

Am I confident Italy will win today? Hardly. But regardless of what the result of tonight’s game turns out to be, I – as a supporter of the Azzurri – am extremely happy with what they’ve accomplished and hope the cherry on top will be them winning.

Rising from the tournament’s underdogs to stars, this Italy side has proven that one doesn’t simply take them lightly. The game tonight will be great to watch, as was the group stage game between both teams.

I think Pirlo will be as great as he was in all of this tournament’s games. I think Balotelli will shine again. I think Buffon will prove, yet again, why he is the world’s best goalkeeper – bar none.

But regardless of what happens: FORZA EFFIN ITALIA! I can’t wait to see what Prandelli does with Italy in the next World Cup.

 

Watch the Italy vs Germany Euro 2012 Semi-Final Football Game Online

As the Euro 2012 tournament draws close to an end, the second and last semi-final game is here between football rivals Germany and Italy.

Germany haven’t beaten Italy since 1995 and they’ve never beaten them in competitive games. Ever. On the other hand, the Italians should be extremely tired after their 120 minute game against England in the quarter finals. The game is up in the air. As an Italy fan, it saddens me to predict a Germany win.

But a streak has got to end sometime, no?

Either way, here’s a link to watch the game online (here).

And FORZA ITALIA! Always.

The Last Part of UEFA Euro 2012 Round 1 Explained

I was reading the past couple of days sports articles about how a Croatia-Spain 2-2 tie would see Italy out, even if they beat Ireland by 10 goals.

So I asked people about that because it didn’t make sense to me and I was linked to the tie-breaker regulations, which are as follows:

If Spain ties Croatia, they would both have the same number of points as Italy in the case of Italy beating Ireland. In that case, they’ll go down through the above criteria in order. The first two, a & b, do not break the tie. Point c, however, which precedes goal difference, does. Italy tied Croatia 1-1. In the event of Spain tying Croatia 2-2, the number of goals scored by Spain and Croatia in their own game is higher and therefore, they would both advance. Unfair? Well, it’s the way things are.

Either way, sports blog figo29 has taken his time to write out a detailed scenario for all the different possibilities for the next few days playing out. So if you want to know, for example, how Holland can actually still advance despite having lost twice, I invite you to read this very simple analysis here.

Until then, I’ll go back to praying for the sake of Italy advancing. They leave their supporters to the very last round every single time.

Now This Is Football! Italy vs Spain at the UEFA Euro 2012

I’m definitely biased towards Italy when it comes to football but I can appreciate a good game when I watch one, regardless of who’s playing and regardless of my sentiments towards the teams.

For instance, even though I’m indifferent towards both Germany and Portugal and even though I wanted Germany to win yesterday, which they did, I was still bored by the game which everyone would agree was fairly lackluster.

Well, here comes the Italy vs Spain game which ended a few minutes ago to bring some good football to a pretty mundane Euro tournament so far.

Sure, the score is 1-1. No team won. But both teams were great, had many opportunities to score and gave fans a great display of football.

The first half was all Italy. They entered the game as the underdogs. I even thought a good outcome out of this had low outcomes, which is evident by the many Holy forms I had summoned. But suprisingly, Italy were attacking and building opportunities and threatening the Spaniards in ways I’m pretty sure the most optimistic supporters of the Azzurri didn’t think was possible.

They reminded me of the 2006 Italy that was mesmerizing, at least to me, to watch.

The second half held a clear Spanish advantage with Italy returning to their defensive self but it saw both teams scoring within minutes of each other: Di Natale, followed by Fabregas. The second half saw Buffon prove to the world why he is the best goalkeeper in the world today. It saw the Spanish offense & midfield shine and the Italian defense stand firmly in their path. It showcased both teams playing to their strengths.

All in all, the Italy vs Spain game can be summed up this way: Great football. Great teams. There’s no way in hell Italy is a pushover. Buffon is a god. That is all.

PS: I just noticed I actually wrote a sports-related blog post here. Awesome. Oh, and just a piece of trivia. Spain haven’t beaten Italy in a tournament game since 1920.

Watch the UEFA Euro 2012 Italy vs Spain Football Game Online

Since Al-Jazeera (the only source to watch the games in the region) is proving a headache for many, I figured I’d prepare a live streaming link for you all in order to watch tonight’s game, which is one of the most anticipated games of the first round.

Italy meets Spain tonight at 7 pm. You can watch the game here.

Last but not least: FORZA ITALIA :D

UEFA Euro 2012: Italy vs Spain – This Is How To Get Ready

If you don’t know by now, I’m a supporter of the Italian National team in football. They’ll be taking on World and European champions Spain today in what should be the first round’s highlight game.

So, as an Italy fan, this is how I’m preparing myself for tonight’s game. The two-step process is as follows:

1 – Get the kit ready:

There’s the current kit.

The 2006 good luck-charm kit.

And the flag Italian girls gave me last summer while I was, ironically, in Spain.

2 – Call on deities:

Christianity needs to be sufficient for now, for lack of other options around.

The bible with a rosary straight from Lourdes in France.

St. Rafqa.

St. Charbel.

 

And a whole lot of prayers recited.

Forza Italia. #Panic

Watch the Lebanon vs Uzbekistan World Cup Qualifier Football Game Online

I’m late to this but many are asking me for streaming links to watch the game. The score as of now stands at 1-1.

To watch the game, here’s a link for you (here).

If you tweet about the game, make sure you include the hashtag #GoLebanon.

And, well, for lack of better words: Go Lebanon!

Lebanon Loses 1 – 0 To Qatar in Football World Cup Qualifier

I am not here to provide sports commentary. Sadly enough (or perhaps luckily enough for my nerves), I didn’t watch the game. Blame medical school exams scheduling and my very non-existent studying-time managing skills.

Over 50,000 Lebanese gathered at the Camille Chamoun stadium in Beirut to cheer for our team. These are a few pictures of the people gathered there, with all the enthusiasm they mustered, which is actually a whole lot:

We’re used to seeing faces painted with the flags of Italy, Germany, Brazil. But never Lebanon.

Because it wouldn’t be a Lebanese game without some serious trolling

(Picture by Bachir Itani.)

For the technical rundown of the game, here’s a source you can check.

What’s sad about the whole affair is that both teams were nowhere near an equal field when it comes to, well, everything. First, the Lebanese team was full of Lebanese who are underpaid, underfunded and do this more so for “leisure” than for credible prospects in a country where football had taken a backseat to basketball for a long, long time.

In fact, many Lebanese were upset how none of our local TV stations was broadcasting the game. I have to ask those: where was this enthusiasm when Lebanon went through the World Cup qualifiers year after year and didn’t get anywhere? Don’t blame our “poor” TV station. Blame the monopolizing giant Al-Jazeera which doesn’t let anyone else get the rights for a football game. God forbid that happens!

But I digress.

On the other hand, here’s how the Qatari teams breaks down:

“Hi. My name is Sebastian. And I am Qatari.”

Doesn’t make sense to you? It’s not meant to. But here’s another one.

“Hi. My name is Lawrence. And I am Qatari too.”

When more than half of the team on the field is nationalized, what can one expect? It looks like Qatar have so much money on their hands that they simply decided to purchase a national team. Many people on Twitter, most of whom weren’t Lebanese, had this to say: “Qatar team, why you no have Qataris?”

So very true.

Towards the later half of the second half, based on the bits and pieces I watched, the Lebanese team looked totally run out of stamina, which has been the case in their previous games as well. Based on this, what worries me the most is not losing to Qatar, it’s Lebanon having a second game on June 8th against Uzbekistan and then another one on July 12th against South Korea, all the way in Seoul. Will our players be able to handle the severe effort those games will require, let alone the time zone difference and the traveling?

I really hope so. But sometimes realism needs to tone down the sense of nationalism. And I’ll leave it at that for now.

Watch the Lebanon vs Qatar Football Game Online

For the many of you who want to watch the Lebanon vs Qatar World Cup qualifier football game and need an online link for that, I’ve found two for you.

Just click here and you’re set.

If you’re a Twitter user watching the game, make sure you add the hashtag #GoLebanon to your tweets.

Apart from that, good luck and go Lebanon!