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With warm preemptive congratulations to Kanzlerin Baerbock :)
Your friendly bookie wholeheartedly endorses a German velvet revolution. Let's go Europe!
Day 19: Recap
Straight up: 22-17-9
Ho hum. Yawn. Clearly not a "long live football" day this time, brothers. Everything unfolded as expected on the second day of the quarterfinals. Always a shame when the bookie's independent oddsmaker stats get a boost, yet the football disappoints. What can one say? They can't all be winners.
The primary reason this year's quarterfinal round didn't turn out to be the best global advertisement for the beautiful game relates to the high number of upsets in the previous round. A few too many minnows snuck in. That's the bad news. The good news is that we are all set for two epic clashes in the semis.
Which team in white should we award the day to?
We can go with the guys from the country with the red flag and white cross, or perhaps the mates from the white flag with the red cross. Have your pick.
Sigh. As I was remarking last night, the color seems to have gone out of this tournament. All four advancing countries from this round wore white kits. This almost defeats the purpose of international football. It's supposed to be a multi-hued festival!
Your friendly bookie hasn't been keeping track of the latest race relations terminology white people have been using to make themselves feel superior to other white people on social media, but maybe the time has come to invoke that here.
Colored kits next time!
S.S.S. Tactical Breakdown
Very little of tactical interest today as two teams who outclassed their opponents simply took care of business. Kasper Hjulmand kept his Danes in the exact same roll-out/reformat as the previous three matches while Gareth Southgate....can't seem to appease England fans no matter how many times he gets it right.
Bookie drew it up afresh for the Danes even though he could have ostensibly just reached back into the archives to dust off the old lineups. No real reason for this other than, I suppose, one can never have too much practice.
Lineup—Denmark—Match Five (3-4-3) (7/3/2021)
As I was discussing in the latest Lines section, Hjulmand didn't need to rethink matters against the Czechs. The 3-4-3 matched up against their projected 4-2-3-1 perfectly. Someone was bound to punch through early. As it turned out, it happened to be a Bundesliga mainstay very much beloved by football lovers across the Bundesrepublik.
Very happy to see this we all were, even if the corner was improperly awarded. Atrocious set-piece marking from the Czechs in the 5th minute enabled Thomas Delaney to head home. Of course, to the chagrin of football lovers everywhere, the early tally meant that we weren't going to have much of a football match after that.
The Danish onslaught continued throughout the opening 45. Dolberg's finish in the 42nd effectively sealed the match. Shick's goal shortly after the restart convinced literally no one that the comeback was on. Hjulmand's crew man-managed the over-matched Czechs right up until the final whistle.
Wanna take a wild guess how the Danish trainer re-formatted late?
Lineup—Denmark—82nd minute (4-4-2)
Again, there was no need for the bookie to redraw this. Somewhere amidst my pile of tactics boards, I have practically the same illustration from Days Seven, Eleven, and Fourteen. At this point it just seemed to make sense to redo rather than rifle through the backlog.
So, for the fourth time this Summer, I've laid out how the Danes approach a match. As pertains to mother England, the bookie actually faces a bit of light catch up work first. As promised to my brethren on the Isle, here's how Southgate beat Germany.
Lineup—England—Match Four (3-4-2-1) (6/29/2021)
Your coach adjusted his game plan. Mine didn't. Respect. Naturally, I owe you Limeys more than the board I forwent when typing up the Day Seventeen Recap. At the very least you deserve a flattering picture as well.
Ahem. *clears throat*. Congratulations to you.
Okay. Moving right along. Southgate did well with his selection today.
Lineup—England—Match Five (4-2-3-1) (7/3/2021)
You new ManU boy Sancho usually starts on the left in the Bundesliga. No matter. He did just fine on the right. Everyone was essentially in the right place here and it showed. Just like in the early game, this one was effectively over after five minutes.
For some reason I don't find myself stimulated by the sight of girls in Trafalgar square anymore. Ordinarily, that would serve as soft-core porn for the bookie. Think it had something to do with the fact the the match wasn't competitive. The Swedes would have done a better job.
S.S.S. Salute to Fallen Comrades
Czech Republic—"The Czech Mates
-5 games played
-6 goals scored
Previous Czech Republic Tactical Coverage:
Well, we got to see make a deep run for the first time since the Jan Koller/Milan Baros days. There was Patrik Schick's spectacular goal in the opening match against Scotland.....and all of the rest of the forgettable goals that leave him tied for the tourney's Golden Boot.
The Danes could have quite easily really beaten them up today, but the favorites graciously took their foot off their neck. As much as the Czechs deserved to make it to this stage with a well-thought-out tactical dismantling of the Dutch, fears that they couldn't hold their own at this stage were proven correct.
Lineup—CZE—Match Five (4-2-3-1) (7/3/2021)
I knew it. I tol' you, I tol' you, I tell you again. This stood no chance of over-performing again. Credit Silhavy with switching to a 4-4-2 with the introduction of Michael Krmencik and Jakub Jankto at the half. Or was it a 4-4-2? It looked more like a 4-1-2-0-3 on the tactical cam.
This team just never had the players. They don't really have many exciting young prospects in the national system either. We may not see them again for a few years.
Ukraine—"The Black Sea Blaugults"
-5 games played
-6 goals scored
Previous Ukraine Tactical Coverage:
Coincidentally, the other team that your friendly bookie had to assign his own nickname to got eliminated today. Thank heavens the bookie no longer has to draw up another tactics board with mixed German, English, and Russian spelling.
Their presence here in the quarters was more of a fluke. A humiliating rout of a scoreline could easily be foreseen. Shevchenko didn't even do all that great with what he had, as we'll cover in this nation's bit of "catch up work".
Lineup—Ukraine—Match Three (4-5-1) (6/21/2021)
Total crap. The type of the crap that made Franco Foda's Austria look sharp. The switch to a back-three against Sweden in the first knockout phase wasn't much better.
Lineup—Ukraine—Match Four (3-5-2) (6/29/2021)
He tried something different. Note that this didn't necessarily work out very well for Zinchencko. Bookie has covered this already in the latest Line section. The team's best player didn't even get involved later in the match when his head coach moved him up and to the right.
Today they were out-matched at every position.
Lineup—Ukraine—Match Five (5-1-4) (7/3/2021)
I guess this is how it supposed to work. This is the shape that appeared to manifest on the tactical cam. I didn't see how it could get forward really, since Mykolenko and Karavaev weren't really functioning as roam-licensed wingbacks.
Kryvtsov got injured early and Shevchenko brought on extra midfielder in the form of Viktor Tsyganko. Really no clue what he meant to accomplish with that. It would appear to have suggested a 4-3-3 reformat, but it certainly didn't look like anyone on the team was interested in adhering to a set shape.
St. George showed some mercy after their fourth goal, downshifting to the lowest gear possible. The UKR actors went ahead and let their minds switch off too as both teams just did Sunday kick about stuff.
“Riffs of the Day”—Day Nineteen
Reader: These Danes are quite wasteful with their beers during goal celebrations.
Vicey: Danes are not a wasteful people, 42-M. Those beers are meant to be spilled.
Do you think this guy could execute such a Herculean twelve-pint carry if he was shitfaced? The cargo he's carrying so carefully is meant to be showered over everyone else. So long as it misses the floor, they're satisfied.
Reader: How can the Danes throw away all that beer?
Vicey: You too, 135-M? For fuck's sake man. There's so much more important in life than ensuring that every last drop of alcohol gets ingested! Let's see if we can't stress the contrast visually.
Reader: Why is Andriy Shevchenko always so gracious when losing to England?
Vicey: He's just a classy guy, 19-M.
A fine ambassador for his country. Smart and sharp like the Klitschko bros.
Reader: Great scenes in Baku!
Vicey: Meh. Not so sure I agree, 33-M.
This one was cool.
Other than that, I can't fucking stand the sight of low capacity stadiums anymore! This nonsense needs to end. Get the Johnson & Johnson vax already, people. It's pretty damn effective against the Delta Variant.
Reader: Hahaha. Your crying German girl has raised £27,000 on Kickstarter.
Vicey: Sigh. So I've heard, 15-M. So I've heard. We might as well show her again.
You know something? We're a kind and generous semi-evolved species.....who somehow can't figure out how to all get vaccinated. Since it's England's day, why don't we give them the honor of closing the post?
Percentage of the adult population which has received at least one dose in the U.K.? 85 percent. That's how it's done. It's called being civilized.
A single-payer health care system doesn't hurt either, though a single-payer rollout for the vaccine didn't work for shit in the States.
This responsible adult bids you an enlightened farewell until the final Round of Lines!