Saturday, June 12, 2021

EM 2020--Day Two Recap

Your Syndicate Daily is proudly presented by "Bündnis 90" and the European Greens.

With warm preemptive congratulations to Kanzlerin Baerbock :)

Your friendly bookie wholeheartedly endorses a German velvet revolution. Let's go Europe!

Day 2: Recap



Bookie’s Stats—

Spread: 1-3

Straight up: 1-2-1

Damn. Two days into what was meant to be a celebration of a return to frivolity and we're all suddenly shellshocked again. It seems there can be no escape from humanity's harsh confrontation with mortality. As your friendly bookie was musing less than 48 hours ago, football is never more important than life. 

Everyone got a stark reminder of that today. 


The tears streaming down Thomas Delaney's angst-ridden face proved to much for this football lover. The TV had to be shut off. Like hundreds of millions of others around the globe, I felt the need for a long and deeply reflective walk. The phone stood no chance of coming along. Just nature on this trek. 

Truly horrible scenes left us all in a somber mood. Even the most ardent football enthusiasts remain angry, with good cause, that this match was permitted to be completed. There would have literally been no harm calling it a day and sending everyone home to be with their families. It's only a game. 

Bookie doesn't really have much of anything else to add. Never been much for the concept of thoughts and prayers as I know mine don't really count for anything. The efforts of the medical team who likely saved Christian Eriksen's life count for everything. They're the heroes of a day that could have been much worse.    

S.S.S. Tactical Breakdown


We'll check in on three countries this eve. Your friendly bookie failed to hit a single line properly. No apologies or excuses necessary, but we'll talk a bit about why some things didn't turn out as expected. Plenty of good scouting info today.

Swiss trainer Vladimir Petkovic gets the dubious distinction of the day's major tactical mishap. The Danes remain in good shape despite everything and the Belgians are, to put it candidly, not as sharp as they appear. 

First, the early kickoff.

In addition to misspelling Haris Seferovic's name, the bookie envisioned things differently. The Bundesliga bias was at play. I though we'd see straight wingers instead of couched wingbacks. What Petkovic put forward wasn't terrible.  

 Lineup—Switzerland—Match One (3-4-3) (6/12/2021) 

This worked well enough. The dominant Nati could have been up 2-0 at the break. They crushed the Welsh in terms of possession and chances, though it has to be said that Seferovic's piss-poor finishing calls into question whether he should feature in the next lineup. 

I think we'll see a very different attack next time. After Breel Embolo, who had his own finishing difficulties despite the lovely goal, secured the lead, Petkovic introduced Denis Zakaria for Shaqiri and reverted to this protective set-up:

 Lineup—Switzerland—67th minute (5-3-2) 

The Nati nation will be sorely disappointed that their coach opted to play it so conservatively with a slender lead. This constellation functioned as intended in bolting down the dragons in open play. Naturally, all the Welsh needed was one well-executed set play to draw level. "Big man with the bandage" Kieffer Moore supplied it. 

Plaudits are in order for Cyd Keeper Danny Ward. He kept the scoreline low with some fine acrobatics. The Swiss still have no one to blame but themselves for not regaining the lead. Substitute attacker Mario Gavranovic couldn't stay onside to save his life. He won't feature in the rebuilt attack. Perhaps Ruben Vargas and Christian Fassnacht will. 

Onwards to the poor, shell-shocked co-hosts of Group B.

 Lineup—Denmark—PROJECTED (4-3-3) (5/31/2019) 

Thanks to a little bit of help from some valued -Ms, the bookie got the personnel situation right. He got Joakim Maehle's side wrong. Something difficult to forsee involved Eriksen getting a partner in midfield. Dortmund's Thomas Delaney is generally thought to be more defensive-minded to play up this high.

 Lineup—Denmark—Match One (4-3-3) (6/12/2021) 

So it held until the incident in the 43rd. Very little I can say about the shape in the second half. The US broadcaster shifted it to a different channel after the delay and I didn't have the benefit of an overhead tactical cam. 

Mathias Jensen replaced Eriksen and it sort of resembled a flatter 4-3-3. One assumes that the players themselves weren't in much condition to play their assignments as they were very rattled. Delaney in particular wasn't totally there. 

In any event, this remains a long tournament and a powerful lineup. The Danes outshot the Finns 22 to one, maintained 70 percent possession, and were crisp in their passing. They'll recover. 

As upset as many of us are that the match was allowed to continue, there's something to be said for trainer Kasper Hjulmand's contention that it might have been more manageable to get it over with quickly. 

An early loss doesn't truly hurt this nation's chances of advancing deep into the competition.

Moving onto the number one ranked footballing nation in the world:

 Lineup—Belgium—PROJECTED (3-4-2-1) (5/23/2021) 

The basic shape was correct. Kevin de Bruyne's injury obviously necessitated a shake up. Understandably, Roberto Martinez felt it prudent to audition a different midfield candidate in light of Eden Hazard's suspect form. He also built his back-three better than I.

 Lineup—Belgium—Match One (3-4-2-1) (6/12/2021) 

Timothy Castagne succumbed to injury early following a head collision and Thorgan Hazard's BVB colleague took over on the right wing. The two Dortmund actors played very well together. The second Belgium goal was a nice co-production of the two teammates. They should both start again. 

The scoreline notwithstanding, this constellation proved (as feared) a bit too static and predictable. Martinez's men ran roughshod over a deplorably weak opponent. Stanislav Cherchesov's loathsome tactics  constitute a whole different rant unto themselves. 

We'll get to them eventually, but this day has simply been depressing enough.

“Riffs of the Day”—Day Two

Related image


Reader: Where are the "hot girl standings"? 


Vicey: In my heart, 56-M. This seemed like the right year to retire that feature. I'm just grateful that there are any spectators in the seats at all. Every last fan caught on camera is a beautiful sight to me. 

I'm naturally still aware that the fact that I like pretty girls makes me some sort of horrible monster, irrespective of all my years of advocating women's football. I guess thousands of pages of glowing enthusiasm just isn't sufficient when one possesses a y chromosome. 


Reader: Yann Sommer gains extra sexy points!


Vicey: Thank you, 5-F! It's okay when women find male footballers attractive. That's still acceptable. Now, if you'll excuse us, my gender will be heading back into the ocean to de-evolve. 

Reader: The Swiss kits look exactly like the Italian ones.


Vicey: That's because they're made by Puma 45-M. You know full well my feelings on Rudolf Dassler.  The Swiss have been in league with the shiftier of the Dassler brothers since the late 1990s. Adi Dassler (Adidas) remains the official outfitter of the benevolent post-War "Bundesrepublik"., I'm not letting this go. I don't care how long it's been. Adi was by no means a saint, but Rudi was the more enthusiastic member of the darkest political party to grace this earth. Fuck Puma.


Reader: Get up, man! Get Up!


Vicey: An amalgam of some dozen syndicate members who, like the bookie, absolutely could not process what we were seeing.  

For those of us who merely wished to lose ourselves in the beautiful game, It's been a back fucking day.

Reader: Cut away and cancel this match!


Vicey: More amalgams. Have I mentioned it's been a bad fucking day?



Reader: First time we get a colorful half capacity crowd and we get this?


Vicey: Syndicate member 15-M put it better than I ever could.

After the stressful year we've all just had, it's really just been a bad fucking day.

Please let tomorrow be better.



England vs. Croatia


Line rolled, rolled back, and then ultimately closed. Good luck, my Limey friends. 



North Macedonia vs. Austria


Should be plenty of goals in this one. We need it, too. Betting still open for those wishing to take a chance on a blowout.


THE LINE: Austria +3 Goals (holding)

Netherlands vs. Ukraine


Yes, I know about my previous insistence on using the definite article in the case of both these countries. For the record, I still feel more comfortable referring to "the Netherlands" and "the Ukraine". Somehow, using them both in conjunction doesn't feel right...and I don't know which style guide to consult.


THE LINE: Netherlands +1 Goal (rolling up soft from Pick)