Small things


Another year, another reason for not being able to attend a family wedding. This has been my story for years, ever since I ventured into medical school.

The committed nature of my job, incessant career-advancing examinations have constantly kept me apart from family. The sea of information in which we medical professionals drown keeps us wholly disconnected from the realities of life.

I just received an e-invitation for my cousin’s wedding today. I was hopeful of travel restrictions easing out earlier this year, but that has not been the case. That would mean I would no longer be able to attend her wedding physically. So much has been lost in this pandemic. I can easily curl into my corner of all the small things I wish I could do. But duty calls, and we move on.

The dark horse


England has a very talented squad. But what they do have this time around is luck as well. They happen to be on the good side of the draw. With the group of death dead, there are only two contenders for the title. Insatiable form shown by Italy. A style of play quite contrary to the ethos of the team. But todays 4-0 drubbing of Ukraine by England is a sound reminder that only the best is going to win the title.

Sterling true to his name has been anything but sensational. He has single handedly carved open England’s way to the last four. With Harry Kane joining the party in the important leg of the tournament and the first team to keep 5 clean sheets in this tournament in like forever, this defense needs quite something to be breached. Spain is the only other big name in the last four. The Danes are playing with a passion that has been shown by many others including the Swiss and Ukraine. An enticing semi ahead. Italy seems to have an easier road to the final. England will be pushed by the Danes for sure. They have nothing to lose. An enthralling last few games of the tournament to look forward to.

Well done Gareth!

What went wrong for Belgium?


The most exciting attacking team in the Euros has been Italy. So much of fluidity, running and passing iced with some quality play in the top of it all. So when Martinez sets his team to compete with Mancini, he went too defensive. The back line and the defensive central midfield stayed back far away from the attacking quartet starving them from any quality apart from individual brilliance.

If you sit back, you put yourself under so much pressure and that is exactly what Italy did. At no point in the first half did Belgium look like competing with Italy. The penalty just kept them interested and hopefully a different second half. But Martinez changed nothing. Italy played the same and the fluidity eventually won. Italy big time favorites to run away with this Euro no matter how much England dreams.

Italy and Denmark into last 8


Denmark were brilliant. Tactically they got it spot on in negating the power houses of Wales. The class kept exuding as the quality of the squad and the stamina of the players ran Wales ragged.

Austria really gave Italy a run for their money today. They played an outstanding knock out game, their first in the history of the tournament. They breached the Italian defense twice only for the first to be ruled offside. The crack lines are evident in Italian defense and will be something Belgium / Portugal will look to exploit.

The knock out phase is a completely different ball game from the group stages as witnessed today. A cracking two weeks of football lies ahead as we unravel deep into instant elimination as we see the best rise up.

Eriksen


Day 2 of Euro 2020. I watched much of Wales Switzerland. Had a few commitments after that, so decided to skip the Denmark Finland game. I was on a video call at home when my twitter feed started mentioning Eriksen. I turned on the tv to find the match suspended and Bein Sports studio in shock, and worried. I saw footage on twitter where in Eriksen collapsed likely due to an acute shortage of circulation.

This is not the first instance such things have happened in sports. The response though was the best possible. Play was stopped instantaneously, medics were called over, players themselves took up the responsiblity to initiate revival. The statue of who Eriksen the player is, made it even more disheartening. After over a year and half of literally no fans allowed in to watch games, when a reasonably occupied stadium was watching a game, this was the least expected thing for one to see.

Words cannot do justice to how important timely intervention is in these instances. The footballing world worked as one to save a life there. These sort of unifying moments, when a sport brings humanity together is why we call this the beautiful. It was a tumultuous couple of hours for me as I waited in baited breath to hear good news.

I really hope this is just a one off event, rectifiable and he can return to doing what he loves.

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