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Euro 2012 Live Thread: Day 3 - Spain v. Italy, Republic of Ireland v. Croatia

I'll never wish anything but luck on this man.  Unless he signs for the unwashed ever.  That would be a game changer.
I'll never wish anything but luck on this man. Unless he signs for the unwashed ever. That would be a game changer.

Day two saw the Euro 2012 Group of Death kick off and saw the championship aspirations of one of the favorites of the tournament take a sizable dent. The early match saw Denmark survive early pressure from the favored Dutch side and then become beneficiary of a fortuitous deflection and a poor bit of goalkeeping from Dutch number 1 Maarten Stekelenberg to score the only goal of the match to take a somewhat surprising 1-0 victory from their first group match. For the Dutch, it was another major tournament disappointment... there is time to recover, but matches versus Germany and Portugal are likely not what any support base would be hoping for in terms of "recovery" matches.

The second match of the day saw the favored team of many who are into guessing such things take care of business, as Germany barely nipped Portugal thanks to a Mario Gomez goal and put themselves in as favorable a position as they could have hoped for at this point of the tournament.

Today's matches:

Game 1: Spain v. Italy

Location: PGE Arena, Gdansk, Poland

Kickoff: 1100 CST

Two veritable blue bloods of European football square off in the first match of the day in Danzig, Poland. Neither team will be pleased to start the Euro 2012 campaign with a loss in their first match, one would think that the road back (Croatia and Republic of Ireland) is going to be slightly more forgiving than The Netherlands' similar road in Group B. The match itself will be a bit of Immoveable Object v. Irresistible Force with the defensive mindset of Italy in direct opposition to the free-flowing attacking play of Spain.

Game 2: Croatia v. Republic of Ireland

Location: Stadion Miejski, Poznan, Poland

Kickoff: 1345 CST

Game 2 of the day sees Leon Best-less Republic of Ireland (along with Toon idol Shay Given and Toon goat Damien Duff) take on Croatia. The pessimist's view woudl tell you that this is perhaps the ROI's only best chance to take 3 points (if any) from Euro 2012, although they have in recent years stood up well to Spain and Italy in major tournament qualifiers. For me, I am desperately hoping for a second place ROI finish and France to win their group to set up a karmic dust-up in the quarterfinals with the ROI with a chance to avenge perhaps the second-most famous blatant hand-ball cheat in history. If they are to have any chance of this, however, they're going to have to make it through Croatia which may be easier to sit here and type than to actually manage.