Spain 1-0 Croatia: Navas snatches late winner

June 18, 2012
Spain 1-0 Croatia: Navas snatches late winner

Spain played an extremely cautious game, but won after Croatia pushed forward.

Vicente Del Bosque kept the same starting XI, meaning Fernando Torres again spearheaded the attack.

Slaven Bilic made various changes, effectively using a version of the 4-2-3-1 system he finished the Italy game with. Domagoj Vida started at right-back, pushing Darijo Srna forward to the right of midfield. Danijel Pranjic started on the left, with Luka Modric as the number ten. Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Perisic were only substitutes.

Spain were particularly unimpressive despite their eventual win, predictably dominating possession but creating few chances. Read more »

Portugal 2-1 Holland: van Marwijk makes changes, but Holland crash out with zero points

June 18, 2012
Portugal 2-1 Holland: van Marwijk makes changes, but Holland crash out with zero points

Portugal suffered an early setback, but played better football and fully deserved their win.

Paulo Bento kept the same starting XI for the third game in a row.

Bert van Marwijk made three changes. In defence, Ron Vlaar replaced Johnny Heitinga in a straight swap. It was further forward where he made significant alterations – Rafael van der Vaart came in for Mark van Bommel in order to add some creativity to the midfield, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar started upfront, meaning Robin van Persie played just behind a and Wesley Sneijder went to the left, the system Holland used at the end of the Germany match.

There was a huge contrast in styles here – Holland were a bunch of individuals without any cohesive structure, while Portugal were disciplined, organised and clear with their attacking intentions. Read more »

England 3-2 Sweden: long balls, set-pieces and terrible defending

June 16, 2012
England 3-2 Sweden: long balls, set-pieces and terrible defending

A scrappy game low on quality, but high on entertainment.

Roy Hodgson made one change. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was dropped with Ashley Young moving to the left, and Andy Carroll coming upfront as a target man.

Erik Hamren brought in three players – Johan Elmander upfront, Anders Svensson in the middle, and Jonas Olsson at the back, though Sweden played pretty much the same formation as against Ukraine.

This was a crazy, open match that could have gone either way – both sides had spells when they were on top. Read more »