Player of the day- Mesut Ozil

Germany must now be the favourites to win the European Championships as they just keep getting better and better as the tournament continues.

The Germans were far too strong for the Greece who were very negative themselves and in the first half is showed as they struggled to get into their opponents half. Germany had all of the ball and created numerous chances and should have been well ahead before halftime however they had to wait for their left back Philipp Lahm to score from outside the box, at first glance I thought the keeper should have done better however it did swerve and was hit incredibly well. The second half started exactly like the first but surprisingly Greece grabbed an equaliser from a counter attack through Georgios Samaras who slid in and there was a feeling they could go onto win the game. Goals from Sami Khedira who was fantastic on the day, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus in the space of 15 minutes ended the contest and sent the Greeks home. There was still enough time for Dimitris Slapigidis to grab his second of the tournament from the penalty spot after Jerome Boateng handled in the box. So, Germany are looking impressive and what makes it even more remarkable is that they changed their front three for this game and started Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose instead of Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez. It just shows they have so much strength in depth and have enough quality to win the whole thing, their attacking talent is amazing and I always look forward to watch them.

Man of the match- Mesut Ozil- For me it doesn’t matter who plays for Germany as the front three, if this man is behind them then they will get chances and should be able to score goals. He was sublime in this game and the only thing that was missing from his performance was a goal, he created chances and always wanted the ball. Even when he gives a bad pass it doesn’t damage his confidence and it does not stop him from trying a difficult through ball the next time he gets. This is a very good attribute as a lot of other players go hiding and just play a simple pass.

The playmaker has been at Real Madrid since 2010

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Players of the day- Petr Jiracek and Eugen Polanski

Czech Republic took on Greece in their second group game and had to avoid defeat if they wanted to stay in contention of qualifying for the knockout stages.

After the first 10 minutes it seemed as though it would be a stroll in the park as they raced into a two goal lead with goals from Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar. They had numerous chances to extend their lead further but their final ball kept on letting them down and the Greeks were doing themselves no favours by defending terribly and looking all over the place at the back. Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky was pulling the strings and when he went off at halftime, that is what changed the game in my opinion because they could not control the possession as well as they had done in the first half. Still, the Greeks didn’t look like scoring until a horrific error from Petr Cech allowed substitute Theofanis Gekas to score. Greece couldn’t get an equaliser and to be honest it never looked likely as they were just throwing balls into the box aimlessly. After seeing all the teams now, Greece are by far the worst in the competition but they do still have a chance of progressing if results go their way in the final game.

Man of the match- Petr Jiracek- The wide man stuck out for me in the game as he was constantly running away from defenders with the ball and his goal was a very good finish after a very clever run from him. No other players stuck out for the full 90 minutes, Tomas Rosicky was good while on the pitch, Vaclac Pilar looked good while on the ball, but he couldn’t get it as often as he would have liked and right back Theodor Gebre Selassie was a threat going forward but didn’t deal with Georgios Samaras that well when he was defending. Jiracek covered every blade of grass and created several chances for his teammates.

Jiracek currently plays for Wolfsburg

Co-hosts Poland have a massive rivalry with Russia and it is more to do with politics than the actual football and at times on the pitch it was a blood and thunder game with a lot of passion. Thankfully it didn’t spill over and it was a very exciting game. Alan Dzagoev who now looks favourite to be top scorer in the whole tournament opened the scoring with a header from a free kick and most neutrals must have thought that was curtains for Poland but they stuck in there and looked the better team in the second half and deserved their equaliser. The goal came from a very quick counter attack and it was finished off brilliantly by Jakub Blaszczykowski who unleashed a rocket of a shot with his left foot. Poland looked more likely to win the game in the end but a lack of quality let them down at teams, however this result will give them confidence going into their must win game against Czech Republic.

Man of the match- Eugen Polanski- This may seem like a strange choice as he didn’t stand out as much as other players but in my mind he was the most important player on the pitch as he broke up countless attacks from Russia and his tackling was near perfect. Plus nearly every pass he made, went forward and started his own teammates counter attacks and his own players recognised this and the Polish defenders after winning the ball gave him it as quickly as possible. It was a shame that he had to go off and he is irreplaceable in the Poland side so hopefully they can get him fit for the last game.

Polanski has 10 caps for Poland

Players of the day- Dimitris Salpigidis and Andrei Arshavin

Euro 2012 kicked off with two very entertaining games as co-hosts Poland drew against Greece and Russia destroyed Czech Republic.

The quality in the first game may not have been the greatest but there was certainly enough to suggest that this could be one of the best competitions in recent years. Poland took the lead through their main striker Robert Lewandowski after Kostas Chalkias’ couldn’t reach a superb cross from the right. Poland looked in control and they should have been comfortably in front and the home support must have thought it was game over when Sokratis Papastathopoulos was sent off for two very harsh bookings. But the second half didn’t quite go to plan with Dimitris Salpigidis scoring an equaliser after yet another error but this time from the Poland keeper, Wojciech Szczesny. The game went from bad to worse for the Arsenal goalkeeper as he conceded a penalty and was sent off. Fortunately for him substitute keeper Prezemyslaw Tyton saved the spot kick and kept the Polish on level terms. There was still enough time for a disallowed goal and a good chance for Georgios Samaras but 1-1 it finished.

Man of the match- Dimitris Salpigidis- The Greece substitute changed the game when he came on at halftime and whatever the manager said to him clearly worked. The team in the first half looked old and lacked creativity to break down the Poland defence but Salpigidis came on and added new energy to the side and was rewarded with a simple goal. He then broke the offside trap and got to the ball before Szczesny who took him down and gave away a penalty. Just before the end he thought he had won the game but unfortunately the player that crossed him the ball was offside. He deserves to start the next game and he provides a goal scoring threat which their original starting 11 didn’t.

Salpigidis has now scored eight international goals

Onto the next game and Russia showed why they are one of the teams to watch in this tournament with some fantastic counter attacking football. With goals from Alan Dzagoev, Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko, the Russian team look like they could be an outsider to win the whole trophy. Going forward at times they cut the Czechs open at will and if Aleksandr Kerzhakov had his shooting boots on it could have been an even more convincing score line. Vaclac Pilar managed to grab a goal for Czech Republic and even though they were badly beaten they will take encouragement from the game and will believe they can beat both Greece and Poland.

Man of the match- Andrei Arshavin- The winger was in very good form and he just seems to love the European Championships. He impressed in the 2008 tournament and he looks like he is going to be one of the best players in this tournament too. It makes you wonder why he couldn’t produce this form for Arsenal. His passing was spot on and he was not scared to try an ambitious ball. The captain showed all his talent and his only disappointment will be that he couldn’t get himself on the score sheet.

Arshavin spent the second half of last season on loan at Zenit St Petersburg

Did Celtic deserve to win the league?

Celtic have been crowned SPL champions again after a four year wait and they did it in spectacular fashion beating Kilmarnock 6-0.

Goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Glenn Loovens, Gary Hooper and Joe Ledley meant the title was coming back to Celtic. The result will also be sweet for the fans and players because they got beaten in the Scottish League Cup final by Kilmarnock when they were hoping to add more silverware to their fantastic season. Some people may argue that this league title should mean less to Celtic and because of Rangers’ current financial problems they shouldn’t celebrate it as much but I don’t agree with this and I believe that Celtic would have went on to win the league anyway. After being 15 points behind their rivals at one stage they pulled it back and to make it even better they actually beat Rangers to completely overturn the points deficit with a goal from Joe Ledley.

Looking at the team, they had the best in Scotland anyway and deserve the title, the only player that was possibly going to stop them would have been Nikica Jelavic who is proving in the English Premier League that he is a good goal scorer and may have made more of a difference. But we will never know because they were forced to sell him and they only have themselves to blame for that so why should Celtic be bothered. In goal Celtic have Fraser Forster who has a lot of potential and could one day be one of the best in Europe if he learns to keep his concentration up fully especially when defending set pieces but he is certainly a very good shot stopper and with more experience will get even better.

The defence is possibly the weakest part of the team but they do have a lot of potential in there with Adam Matthews at right back who is very solid defensively and adds a lot going forward with his pace. Two defenders actually scored three of the goals that secured the title and in Charlie Mulgrew they have a player that can play in a few positions and his versatility can be vital at times. He does also get a few goals and assists as well. Unfortunately one of the best players in the league couldn’t take as much part as he would have liked in the title win and that is Emilio Izaguirre who is a fantastic player and one that I want to see a lot more of.

The midfield is very hard working and committed and in Scott Brown they have a player who will do anything to win a game of football and will do anything for the cause therefore it is easy to see why the Celtic fans love him. Joe Ledley is very similar in that respect and he can at times just add a little extra quality too.

They also have some good attacking options and some very good finishers at the club in Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes. They may miss a few chances but the bonus of being at a massive club like Celtic is that they will get the opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. Georgios Samaras also chips in with goals and his six this season have been vital and he may infuriate some fans but he is always a danger and can always score an important goal for the team.

Lennon will be hoping for even more success in charge of Celtic

So well done to Celtic and I hope Neil Lennon enjoys this moment as much as he should because this could be the first of many and Celtic will probably go and dominate Scotland for a long time to come. They were the best team for most of the season and for that reason I believe that they did deserve to be SPL champions of 2012.