Futsal On-Line

'Not a Single Weak Team' at Euro 2003

By Steve Harris
futsal-english newsgroup

17 Mar 2003

foglia.jpg (3442 bytes)All in all, Euro 2003 was a tremendously entertaining tournament. Lots of talent, tight games, and not a single weak team.

* Italy was the just victor. With that many rabid supporters, the hometown advantage was overwhelming. It did get a little scary at the awards presentation because hundreds flooded the pitch. It almost looked like a riot. Watch out for this team. It can go all the way at the next world championship.

(Photo: Adriano Foglia of Italy is congratulated by teammates. Courtesy UEFA.)

* The final between Italy and Ukraine had my Tournament V: Angelini (ITA) in goal, Vicentini (ITA) in back, and attackers Koridze (UKR), Moskvychov (UKR), and Foglia (ITA). I should also make mention of Zaffiro, Italy's inspirational captain and one of only four homegrown players; and Edgar Bertoni, who stood out for me as the most improved player of the Italian team Ukraine's captain Kosenko was a key component of that team's success, although at 33 years old his international career probably won't last much longer.

* Player of the tournament? That's not difficult. The key turning point of the competition was Italy beating Spain 2-0, an outcome that can be attributed to Italy having Foglia and Spain not. And Foglia is only 21 years old.

* What happened to Spain? They were good enough to win the tournament - they just let too many chances go begging. It's difficult to assign blame to one player, but I would say that the mega-talented Joan should have been able to turn more opportunities into goals. Then again, he has always had difficulty making his mark when playing for Spain. We should have also seen Kike score more, Orol perhaps, the odd strike by Cobeta, and certainly Javi Sanchez - but things just didn't work out. Disappointingly, Oscar Redondo had a very mediocre debut and Merino doesn't look to be national team material yet.

* Russia is young but tremendously dynamic. Ivanov is a formidable presence in attack and justifiably at center stage, but I must say that Malychev, a Guatemala 2000 alumnus, had moves that would be the envy of any team anywhere - a wonderfully skillful player. Moskalenko and Stroganov also caught my eye. Let's also give credit to the Russians and Ukrainians for being the most fluid and organized. I cannot even begin to imagine what their training regimen must look like.

* The Czech Republic and Slovenia provided the most pleasant surprises, with gifted casts of characters that constantly made for entertaining viewing.

* Portugal was fast and tough, and came extremely close to upsetting Spain. At the same time, I think it is telling that Portugal lost convincingly to Ukraine 4-7, while Ukraine lost convincingly to Spain 0-3.

* Belgium was the most ordinary team in the field, though not without interesting players. One thing that seems odd: With so many Brazilians playing in Belgium, you'd think that some would be nationalizing and playing for Belgium a la Italy. Doesn't seem to be the case, though. It's interesting that many of the Belgian players have Arabic names. Can anybody explain why?

Futsal On-Line