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EURO 2012 Preview #2 & 3: Which of Denmark and Sweden will be more fun at Euro 2012? November 15, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Euro 2012.
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It’s pretty obvious that either Denmark or Sweden will be the most fun team at the coming European championships. Spain basically tries to pass teams to sleep. France, England, Poland, Ukraine and Russia are too deeply enveloped by self-loathing to be truly enjoyable. As I’ve already said, Holland is punching well below its weight.

So we need to turn to either Denmark or Sweden for enjoyment. Every logical indicator points to Denmark:

  • More crafty vets (this is the Jacob Welcker category). Dennis Rommedahl is a 33-year-old speed merchant. Lars Jacobsen, 32, is a fixture in the team at right-back despite never really having been good. Martin Jorgensen is 36 and Thomas Sorensen is 35. Christian Poulsen doesn’t qualify because nobody would accuse him of being crafty, but there’s no logical explanation for a 31-year-old who does not know how to play soccer still being a fixture for the Danes. If Per Kroldrup, a 32-year-old center back who does not know how to head the ball comes in too, so much the better. Sweden only really has Anders Svensson and the creaky center back pairing of Olof Mellberg and Daniel Majstorovic, all of whom have, let’s face it, been in their mid-thirties for a decade anyway.
  • Christian Eriksen. Just look at how much fun he is.
  • Far more fun in the center of defense. Majstorovic and Mellberg are your traditional Scandinavian center-half pairing. One is bald, one is hairy, both are extremely slow. Hulking, consistent, journeymen. Yawn. Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer are the improbable central defenders the whirring disorientation of the 21st century promised us. Cultured left feet. Enough bad tattoos to fill an entire coffee table book of questionable Nordic body art. Unfeasible sweatiness. Bad hair. Despite the fact that each is the size of a small rhinoceros, both of them look like tousel-headed schoolboys up to no good. Any team with those two at the back is going to be an utter thrill ride.
  • Nicklas Bendtner. At some point, he will be crushed under the weight of his own hubris. That will make for wonderful viewing.
  • No Zlatan.

Nonetheless, I can’t avoid the impression that I will like Sweden more

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Here are some transfers I’m trying to see on deadline day August 30, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, Italian soccer, Spanish soccer.
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The transfer window will snap shut Wednesday, but before it does, there are a few things I’d like to see go down. I’ll go over some of them for you.

When Stephen Ireland moves to Anzhi Makachkala, it will be Samuel Eto'o performing the japery.


Stephen Ireland to Anzhi Makachkala

After accepting a drink from a shadowy man with a thick accent and a thicker mustache in a trendy Birmingham nightclub, Stephen Ireland wakes beneath a soiled newspaper in a dusty Moscow subway station.

His cell phone rings and its his agent, demanding to know why he signed for Anzhi Makachkala. His girlfriend has left him, his life is in tatters, and to make matters worse, on the training ground the next day, Samuel Eto’o delivers even more bad news: this time his gram really is dead.

Ireland, surprisingly, is gutted, and his despair over his grandmother, plus the Cameroonian striker’s obvious distaste for him, make the next six months a living hell. Eto’o, for his part, obviously disdains Ireland’s chrome-plated lifestyle and passes up no opportunity to play cruel jokes on the hapless playmaker. But one day, Anzhi finds itself 4-0 down at halftime against Zenit St. Petersburg and Eto’o puts his hand on Ireland’s shoulder in the changing room.

“Steve,” the striker says. “I made it all up. Your gram’s alive and well, and what’s more, she’s won the lottery. I’ve got her on the line for you.”

Ireland is overjoyed, and he and Eto’o each bag a hattrick in the second half, catapulting Anzhi into first place. Glad for the second chance to reconnect with his gram, he buys her a mansion in Moscow and he and Eto’o are over for tea after practice every weekday. It’s good for everyone; Eto’o’s burning desire and fierce intelligence have rubbed off on Ireland, making him not just one of Europe’s finest playmakers but a respectable man. Ireland’s gram finally feels like people aren’t constantly treating her as if she’s already dead.

As for Eto’o? He has found love. He proposes to grandma Ireland on the podium at the Champions League final and they live happily ever after.

It turns out well for Roberto Carlos, too, because Stephen Ireland gives the World Cup winner his garishly customized SUV, … and only then does the Brazilian realize a Range Rover with pink hubcaps is the only thing he ever wanted.

Ghost Dog to Arsenal.

With Arsene Wenger now the worst coach of all time, it’s clear that what Arsenal really needs is someone to kill him. Forest Whitaker’s character in Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, the 1999 film by Jim Jarmusch has a well-documented inability to learn French. His love of exotic Japanese methods would quickly win him Wenger’s trust, but he has a proven history of turning on nebulously foreign employers whose leadership he can’t trust.

Marco Materazzi to Real Madrid

Let’s be honest, these two were meant to be together.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Arsenal

The Swede’s title-winning mojo is really the only thing Arsenal needs/the Gunners’ only hope.