Blogs & Opinion


Guillem Balague:

Who to bank on?

Part four - Guillem has a fever - but Spain's economy is in worse health

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 10th June 2012 view comments

So, two days in to the tournament and what have we learned?

Greece scored a goal with practically their first chance in the opening game; Denmark the same; Portugal had their first serious opportunity when Pepe hit the bar.

In contrast, all their opponents - Poland, Holland and Germany - wanted to take the initiative, but their superior possession gave them little actual reward. An early trend?

Torres or Negredo: who will be the number 9?

Torres or Negredo: who will be the number 9?

Watching football from a tiny bedroom in a cosy hotel near Gdansk gives you time to conjure up all kind of theories and hypotheses. If you also happen to be feverish and running a high temperature - and can't fathom the number you need to ring for reception or room service, and don't have the willpower to find out - those theories and trends start taking on an interesting hallucinatory twist.

Someone even suggested that Spain could solve all their problems simply by sticking the 100 billion euros on Italy to win at 7/2 and asking our boys to 'take it easy' on the Italians.

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

Couldn't sleep. Counting sheep. Never quite made it up to 100 billion though. I mean, that's quite a lot right? How could the people running the Spanish banks lose that amount of money?

I know where I normally look first, but it could hardly have fallen down the back of the sofa. Who's got the money now? Big house with big sofas?

Meanwhile, you should know that the Spanish government are refusing to talk to us about it. And our President, Mariano Rajoy, spent the day hidden in a toilet. That is why he didn't make the announcement regarding the bailout himself. Look on Twitter, it's even a trend!

Apparently he will be in Gdansk where Spain play on Sunday. The government has asked the national side to 'rescue' the country with a good result in Poland and Ukraine. The cheek! This is football, where normally trophies reward the hard work and punishes speculation... if you know what I mean.

We play Italy on Sunday evening and someone even suggested that Spain could solve all their problems simply by sticking the 100 billion euros on Italy to win at 7/2 and asking our boys to 'take it easy' on the Italians.

Anyway, football. The doubt for Spain is not the style or the formation (one striker up front), but who will be the number 9.

Don't believe anybody who says that they know because not even the players know themselves - and will not find out until an hour-and-a-half before kick-off.

Alvaro Negredo was the favourite up until the last couple of days, but Fernando Torres' good mood and positive attitude appears to have given him a certain advantage.

If I hear, I'll tweet on @guillembalague before the game.

The game against Italy? A tired team against one that has had to change players and formation days before their opener at the tournament.

Both nations have very competitive genes, both winning mentalities. Both have selection dilemmas up front and both sides are exceptional defensively (Italy defending deep, Spain with his early pressure).

I'm sure the fear of losing the first game (that was so obvious in the Portugal-Germany) will rear its head. It sounds like a draw, don't you think?

Guillem Balague's Euro Diary will become, along with added entries and interviews, an eBook at the end of the tournament.

For more info, check www.guillembalague.com

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Late goal pegs back Liverpool

Liverpool drew 2-2 away to Ludogorets to keep their Champions League hopes alive with one game left in Group B.

Arsenal cruise past Dortmund

Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at the Emirates to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Rodgers: We showed character

Brendan Rodgers hailed the character of his Liverpool team after their 2-2 draw away to Ludogorets in the Champions League.

Craig Whyte detained in Mexico

Craig Whyte has been detained in Mexico after failing to attend a number of High Court hearings in London.

CL review: Madrid duo win

Real Madrid won 1-0 at Basel to stay perfect in the Champions League, while Atletico and Monaco also claimed victories.

Features

Liverpool's draw against Ludogorets showed again that confidence is fragile among Brendan Rodgers' players

Liverpool's draw against Ludogorets showed again that confidence is fragile among Brendan Rodgers' players

It was not a night on which Liverpool could resolve any of their troubles, but Brendan Rodgers must have hoped, pleaded, and prayed for better.

Champions League: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain makes it 100 appearances for Arsenal and is showing sparkling form

Champions League: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain makes it 100 appearances for Arsenal and is showing sparkling form

On a drizzly night at the Emirates Stadium there were three moments to savour. Two of them accounted for the 2-0 scoreline. The other was a stunning piece of skill by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that deserved the same reward.

Champions League: Chelsea’s five-star show at Schalke suggests they could be unstoppable at home and in Europe

Champions League: Chelsea’s five-star show at Schalke suggests they could be unstoppable at home and in Europe

They were trying to whip up an atmosphere in the Veltins Arena. The crowd were lively and the team were making the right noises. Roberto di Matteo spoke of showing no sentiment but the thought of the former coach putting one over on his old club offered a tempting narrative.