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Day 3: Recap
Straight up: 3-1-0
Good lord this Spanish side is good. A hat trick of headers. Remarkable class after conceding the 0-1 inside of sixty seconds. Who needs Alexia Putellas and Jenifer Hermoso? As we were talking about yesterday, injuries to stars in major tournaments almost seem to invariably boost teams.
Bill Simmons' "Ewing Theory" works in football too.
S.S.S. Tactical Breakdown
Something different in your Shadow Scholar Syndicate blog this year, friends. Ordinarily, on a German matchday, it's all about the bookie's Fatherland. Not this time. Having assumed the responsibility to write the German women's match report for a separate website this year, I want to talk a bit more about Spain in tonight's tactics segment.
Naturally, we''ll still pay tribute to my Mädels.
Easy enough to project this lineup, with the question as to whether Popp would be ready in time the only real lingering factor. I will say that, much to my surprise and pleasure, it turned out to be a clear 4-3-3.
Lineup—Germany—Match One (4-3-3) (7/8/22)
Risky as all hell. When your friendly bookie first saw it settle, he had some jangled nerves looking at all that space. The Danes were clearly instructed to hassle the Mädels off the ball early. For about two minutes it almost looked as if the unsettling tactic might work.
Thankfully, the Danish back-there proved an absolute disaster. Our brave girls hassled the likes of Stine Ballisager, Katrine Veje, and Rilke Sevecke right back until they began committing an obscene amount of turnovers. Eventually, Lina Magull punched them squarely in the jaw.
A forceful strip and even more forceful finish from the woman of the match.
As noted above, bookie was pulling double duty as the match reporter elsewhere. There also being pressers and general press editorials to cover, I'll jump straight to the grades. All five subs receive marks too, meaning we've got quite the list.
Grades—Deutschland (Match One)
We've much to be excited about with no one even approaching a "C-Level" performance. Schüller and Däbritz I think were a bit messy in finishing off some clear cut chances that needed to be put away. Otherwise, there was no real cause for concern.
Magull was the deserved queen of the scoresheet, not to mention the first person to punish the Danish back-three. This girl was the slightly more quiet assassin of the Danish build-up play:
Lena Oberdorf lives up to every last bit of the hype. We're switching over to the senora/senoritas now, whom I don't feel need to be intimidated by this performance. Quite a great deal more was rotten in the state of Denmark here; much more than I or anyone else anticipated. Spain can thus chalk this off.
Oberdorf remains a problem for which a solution must be found.
The ultimate solution to Putellas' absence turned out to be exactly the one I advocated. Not bragging. I promise. Jorge Vilda does not read your friendly bookie. It's the other way around. Bookie reads him, and he remains one of my favorite tacticians to ever have had the privilege of covering in these tourneys/
Lineup—Spain—Match One (4-3-3) (7/8/22)
Contrary to what you might have heard, nothing about this constellation was responsible for Anna Westerlund's through ball that split the defense forty seconds in. Leila Ouahabi did let the early slip through get to her and, as a result, had a bit of a wobbly opening 20 minutes. She recovered slowly than the rest of her team, but did recover in any case.
Gradually, the Spaniards calmy made inroads down that right flank. They went from the torched to the torchers in a deliberate and methodical manner. Ona Battle really led the team in this regard. The Finns found some of the early crosses and diagonals easy to defend. Ultimately, however, Vilda's girls worked their way up to a higher level.
Captain Irene Paredes finally came to the rescue with her finish off that corner. The goal that put La Roja back in front is likely one that we'll be talking about all tournament. To begin with, Mapi Leon was superbly slick on the service. More sensationally, a 5'2'' midfielder put herself in the perfect space to head home a second.
Aitana Bonmati, along with Leon, turned in a monster match. The team on the whole did extremely well in possession. They could teach the men's side a thing or two about how tiki-taka might be resurrected. Those two were just fabulous on both sides of the ball.
Whilst the likes of Lucia Gracia, Esther Gonzalez, and (sorry to say) Mariona Caldentey had their dips, that pair remained strong throughout. None of the opponents could shackle them in the same way that some of the Spanish players found themselves frustrated before the Finns totally ran out of gas.
This one having been largely decided before the subs started pouring on, we'll only grade the initial XI. Three A+" players in this set of marks! Man, will there ever be some intriguing matchups when it comes time to face Germany on Tuesday.
Grades—Spain (Match One)
Keeper Panos wasn't really tested all that much after the opening goal. Upon review it looked like she could have gotten more than just a touch on it. Gonzalez never really found a way to be effective through the match and took some really heavy touches in addition to some horribly askew finishes. She might be replaced next match.
A shame that more of her teammates weren't looking for Ouahabi more often as she was frequently wide open. I think she'll pose a significant test for Felicitas Rauch on Tuesday on the left. When it comes to the player Giulia Gwinn shall be tasked with marking......
Ona Battle is an absolute beast. I'm understandably scared. For the bookie personally, the true unsung hero of this Spanish team has to be the hard bruiser with the throat tattoo. Mapi Leon can crunch tackle as good as a man.
This came in the 81st minute with Spain leading 3-1. Leon kept right on running through the full 90 plus injury time. We could have had four headed goals had Marta Cardona finished off that late cross.
This girl can really hurt you. Scary good tackling might see you injured on a perfectly legal ball win. What a treat we're all in for on Tuesday. Bookie stands ready to bow before these girls should they knock off his Mädels.
“Riffs of the Day”—Day Three
Reader: More close ups of Tuija Hyyrynen throw ins, please.
Vicey: You just love those eyes, don't you 11-M? You probably remained in a hypnotic state for most of the match until they took her off in the 67th.
Reader: How man Alexia Putellas shots do we need?
Vicey: You raise a fair point, 32-M. I think we all had enough of the black baseball cap.
Yes, we get it. All the girls dedicated their goals to her. It's a horrible spot of luck that the ACL tear took her down in the best form of her career. Does she look like she's enjoying being on the sidelines? Leave the poor lass in peace. She's has a hard enough nine months ahead of her as it is.
Reader: Why do women suffer so many ACL tears?
Vicey: Don't have the statistics in front of me, 46-M. Perhaps you're right. I do have the feeling that I'm talking about that type of injury much more often when covering women's than men's football. There's got to be some sort of physiological reason for this. Er....wider hips?
Reader: No "Group of Death" classification here, Vicey?
Vicey: Of course not! The real "Group of Death" comes tomorrow. Pay no attention to what these commentators are saying. You can't have a "Group of Death" when half the teams get walloped on the first day of group play.
Reader: Your girl Steffi is freezing up again!
Vicey: Sigh. I know, 55-M. I think she's just nervous. That's all.
Look. It's been a rough day for her. The ESPN studio new is pouring it all over her about how Denmark snapped the six-continental-title streak with that quarterfinal elimination back in 2017. She'll find her voice eventually. Give her time.
Reader: What the hell was that ruling on the Huth disallowed goal?
Vicey: Your guess is as good as mine, 5-M. I think one of Juve Brand's hair strands was offside...prior to the advantage play....and prior to the early start on the next cut-back cross that might have constituted the second offside. Something like that.
Reader: What a comeback for the attendance figures!
Vicey: Indeed, 19-M. If any new readers happen to be just joining us, 19-M and I have been reviewing the most important issue facing women's football in the other two dailies. Today we got 16,819 to watch Spain-Finland over at the MK Dons ground.
That is indeed a record for a Women's Euro match not involving a host country.
Almost 16,000 came out to watch Germany take on Denmark. There are some unconfirmed reports in the German media that close to 15,000 traveling German supporters hopped over to the Isle.
Portugal vs. Switzerland
Both Lines holding this evening. Bookie stands by his prediction that this particular one will be a sleeper-stunner.
THE LINE: Switzerland +1 Goal (holding)
Netherlands vs. Sweden
Whatever you do with Saturday, please don't consider missing out on this blockbuster! The future winners of the competition will likely debut here.
THE LINE: Pick em' (holding)
GENTLEMEN, ENTER YOUR WAGERS