Euro 2008 Days 3 and 4; Rooting for the Underdog
France v. Romania
Oh, how I love it when a coach is bitten on his ass because of his own trepidation. Faced with a Romanian team that was concerned completely with defense, Raymond Domenech brought on a forward for a forward, then a midfielder for the other forward. Ridiculous. If you are the better team, if you are in a situation where you are in a group with two other tough teams and you are playing the Weak Sister, you will probably need a win. Now, it may be that France will still go through; however, leaving things up for chance leaves you where Italy was last Euros, claiming collusion between the Swedes and Danes as they flew home.
Italy v. Netherlands AND Spain v. Russia
Both of these games are similar to me because they represent the essential nature of the sport. While both the Netherlands and Spain enjoyed victories that were generally represented as routs, that doesn't accurately describe how the games played out. Both games could have conceivably been victories for the other teams, had chances been/not taken. Actual domination in soccer is a rare thing and although both the Spanish and the Dutch are sentimental favorites at TMFF, these performances are definitely not an indication that they are ready to rampage through the rest of the field.
Sweden v. Greece
That was a pretty nice goal.
On Rooting for the Underdog
I also wanted to talk about Rick Reilly's recent article for ESPN regarding rooting for the underdog. Under the viewpoint of liberated fandom, rooting for somebody or some team simply because they're less likely to win is just as formulaic and insipid as bandwagon-jumpers are to those who always pull for the underdog. To consistently choose one side of an equation regardless of the character involved is dogmatic blindness. It's taking the side of the working man in the same sense that totalitarian Communism was all about the proleteriat.