Saturday, June 11, 2011

U21 Euros Day 1: The Ones Who Stood Out

Shaqiri inspires Swiss win - FOOTBALL - Euro U211. Aleksandr Perpechko- Only in the squad due to Yurchenko's injury, Perpechko took on the Belarussian number ten shirt with aplomb.

Clearly confident, Perpechko tested the Icelandic keeper with a series of long range shots, many of which were hit with dip and swerve to go with some serious velocity.

The center of most of Belaruse's attacks, Perpechko was lively on the ball, dictating the direction of play on attack, and helping to close down the Icelandic midfield on defense.

Perpechko's highlight reel moment came with only a few minutes to go, his delicately chipped through ball put Skavysh in on goal; a chance he duly converted.

The clear favorite for man of the match, Perpechko walks away from the game with an assist to go with the points, and he can now look forward to playing Denmark on Tuesday.

2. Alksandr Hutar- While Belaruse-Iceland will be remebered largely for Perpechko's magic, we must not forget that the direction the game could have changed had it not been for the heroics of Alksandr Hutar.

For much of the match, Iceland were all over Belaruse, and had it not been for two spectacular saves from Hutar, then the game could have taken a dramatically different turn. First, Hutar denied Sigthorsson with a terrific sprawling save, Iceland's number nineteen had been played through on goal and his sidefooted shot  looked destined for the back of the net. Remarkably, minutes later, Sigthorsson was again denied, this time by the face of Hutar, after the Icelander had carved out a chance for himself with some robust play.

Pre tournament, Belaruse weren't fancied to make a mark in Group B, but after a win and the asecdance of a couple tasty looking player, they may well defy the odds and reach the semi finals.

3. Xherdan Shaqiri- Heading into the tournament, we knew that this lad was going to be a player to look out for; Shaqiri through himself onto the world stage with a terrific goal against England in Euro 2012 qualifying.

By far the man of the match, Swiss talisman Shaqiri scored the winner against hosts Denmark, with a strike that will live long in the memory, a low blaster after a mazy run. To be honest, the Danish defense should have known better than to let him attack space in the fashion he was allowed to, the diminutive Swiss international was clearly the best player on the pitch, a man capable of taking advantage of defensive lapses.

Currently playing for Basel, Shaqiri will probably move on after this competition, if he wasn't one of the best young players in the Europe pre tournament, he certainly is now. The way he moves on the ball is simply breathtaking, his turns are sharp, his pace terrorizing, and his ability to put a deft touch on the ball totally out of this world.

Having helped the Swiss to all three points, Shaqiri is likely to feature prominently in the remainder of the competition, something all fans of high quality football should be delighted about.

4. Yann Sommer- I have already brought up the name of one young keeper, and if anything, the one I'm about to present is even better.

Under siege for most of the second half, Sommer made save after save, including a stunning reflex block after Jensen had looked certain to score. Perhaps more importantly though, were the small things which he did right, catching the ball at set pieces, and containing dangerous low shots with consummate ease.

Calm under pressure, Sommer made a difficult late stop look easy, when he somehow managed to catch a terrifically hit Christain Eriksen free kick. That save preserved the points for Switzerland, and sent hosts Denmark to an ignominious defeat.

5. Innocent Emeghara- I must admit, when Emeghara came on against England last weekend I was too busy laughing about his name to pay much attention to the lad's game. Given the opportunity of a closer inspection though, I realized the error of my ways.

Spurning a chance to score inside the opening seconds, Emeghara was a constant threat to the Danish back line. His speedy runs down the wings created numerous crossing opportunities, and he actually did record an assist on Shaqiri's goal.

Though he faded slightly in the second half, Emeghara's overall performance was highly impressive, however, he is likely to be forgotten amidst a wash of post match praise for Shaqiri.

1 comment:

  1. Comment on the young stars that you're being impressed by!