Ped's Euro Musings -2
With the first round of Euro 2012 group matches now complete it is clear that City players are writing the headlines. And very much in typical fashion, with a notable exception.
David Silva provided the assist for Spain's goal against Italy. Balotelli was his cantankerous self, getting a yellow card and becoming the victim of racial abuse. Lescott scored a cracking header for England against France and Samir Nasri scored an equally cracking low drive against England. The notable exception was that Joe Hart let it in on the near post.
Milner should have done better with his early chance. No doubt Rooney would have converted that, but oh yes he let his nation down with a stupid sending off in the qualifiers, and they could well be on the way out before he finally gets himself on to the field in the third match. After that Milner made a reasonable contribution in his 'disciplined' role.
As expected the Stretford contingent did practically nothing. Evra continues to stick his nose in where it isn't wanted and Strike Force One, Welbeck and Young couldn't strike a match. Indeed Young couldn't even get himself in a position where he could dive for a penalty. Welbeck's best contribution was to divert a shot by the French for a corner, when Hart had it covered.
Nasri's deception of Hart was cute from his viewpoint. He looked at the far post then clipped it near through a ruck of defenders and attackers leaving Joe a lot to do after seeing it late. That apart Joe made some good saves to keep France's expectations limited.
Evra of course conceded the free kick superbly delivered by Gerrard and equally wonderfully converted by Lescott.
Lewandowski's contribution could well push up the ante when Stretford come calling and the Spanish coach is sticking with Casillas between the sticks for obvious reasons.
England would have taken 1-1 at 5pm so from their viewpoint it was a good result against one of the fancied teams. But France are not great at the back and the absent Adam Johnson would have given Evra the runaround, provided more of a goal threat than Young and probably delivered more potent crosses for Welbeck or even under plan B to Carroll.
And Glen Johnson? Need I say more...Micah?
Ribery always looked dangerous, but played more in the manner of Drogba, going to ground easily holding everything in sight, instead of getting 'at it'. Benzema for me was excellent and is probably what City were expecting when signing Dzeko. Quick and mobile in the box, always looking to get off his shots and shots that seek to find the inside of the post or the underside of the bar.
There was a mobile look to their midfield where Cabaye looked good and Nasri very good.
A dangerous team out of the way and an entry on the points board will give England confidence for now. It will be interesting to see what it looks like after round two of matches on Friday night.