ESP 4-1 RUS - Of course, it's easy to spout the virtues of David Villa after that performance. He looked good even when he wasn't scoring. As a whole, the Spaniards didn't look as good as the score would indicate, but were plenty better than the unmotivated Russians (a redundancy). It's easy to swoon over Spanish football. They play so pretty. I've seen it so many times. How will they play when the game doesn't come so easily?
GRE 0-2 SWE - As holders, Greece owe more to the game than bastardized catenaccio. If the champ is going to lose, he should go swinging. One of the chief downsides of sacrificing offense is that you have little room for error, a margin, on this day, made even smaller by the mere presence of Ibra, supposed balky knee and all. Karagounis, awful as he was, should give back that number 10 shirt.
The Greeks' tactics, made necessary by a lack of talent, were excusable when they found a way to score in each of the knockout rounds in 2004. This time around, there is no Zagorakis to marshal the squad to withstand the pressure and there is no Tsiartas to create magic out of nothing when there is a need to chase the game.
Sweden, just as big and tough and, through Ibra, more talented, didn't help the game any by refusing to push the game when the Greeks pulled. Sweden's tactics were to hammer high balls into Ibra to wear down the Greeks. As well they should have, as Ibra is the one clear advantage Sweden had over Greece. It's hard to fault them, especially because it worked.
Greece were finally lulled to sleep by their own game and Ibra pounced for a bit of magic. Soon after, they pulled Dellas- proving the brilliance of Sweden's tactics- and Sweden walked right through the hole in the defense to stuff home the second.