Rongen's Euro Notebook: Breaking down the final, best of the tourney
I can't wait for Sunday, which will end up being an ABC doubleheader of the Euro final, preceded by the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. D.C. United, two of the most attack-minded teams in MLS -- but that's another column. Spain vs. Germany is a contrast in styles, players of skill and coaching moves. It's tempting to go with Spain, which looks like the team of destiny, but you can't overlook Germany, an experienced team that knows how to do the little things to grind out a win. Here's how I see the final breaking out:
It's funny, because it was basically a forced coaching move that allowed Spain to play some of its best soccer. With the tournament's leading scorer,
Similar to Spain, German coach
With space in the middle of the field at a premium, I think this game will be won on the outside, where the fullbacks will try to negate the wingers, and vice versa. Pay attention to how
I'm sticking with Ballack. He has been superb. His willingness to sacrifice on the defensive side of the ball has been the biggest sign of being a leader -- he does whatever he has to do to ensure this team wins. Meanwhile, he's also been involved in the biggest plays that have led to Germany's most important goals. While his play hasn't been flashy like Spain's Villa, the Netherlands'
Without a doubt, yes -- if for nothing else than the fact that we've seen incredible attacking soccer all tournament long. In big tournaments like these, the successful teams often take the cynical approach -- they play to not lose the game. Greece was the best example of this in Euro 2004. But this time, all of the good teams have played to win.
There have been fantastic attacking sequences that have involved a good deal of risk from the teams' respective coaches. There have been some thrilling goals that have showed off individual talent. The defensive teams at these Euros -- France, Greece and Italy -- were punished for playing that way. It's a sign that the prettiest soccer can often be the most successful soccer. From a fan's perspective, you can't ask for more.