Euro 2012 – Top players so far

15 06 2012

Ok, now before anyone points out the obvious yes we are only partway through the group phase but this is my blog and I make the rules!

With the second round of matches more or less out of the way now I have decided to have a quick look at some of the standout individual performances in the tournament so far.

 Mario Gomez

In my view Bayern striker Mario Gomez went  into the tournament with a little bit of a point to prove after a disappointing night in the Champions League final against Chelsea.

Well, with 3 goals so far he has more than delivered. Whilst he was the scorer of the only goal against Portugal was important it is two strikes against Holland which really impressed.
In particular his first where he timed his run to perfection and scored a goal that Dennis Bergkamp would have been proud of.

I would be surprised if an in form Gomez couldn’t fire German on to at least a Semi Final place.

Adrei Arshavin

  If I had to pick three words to sum up Arshavin’s time at Arsenal they would be frustrating, lazy and mercurial.

After the initial promise Arshavin has pretty much failed to deliver. Yes people can point to his assist rate but it is more his work rate or lack of that bugged me. He just doesn’t seem to care.

Well if for Arsenal Arshavin has been found wanting it has been a completely different story for the Russian national side.
This is the Arshavin that Arsenal fans have been crying out to see, making runs, picking out passes and just generally pulling the strings in the way we know he can.

Russia have been one of the standout teams for me and I credit Arshavin with being a big part of that success.

Mario Mandzukic

If it hadn’t been for injury to first choice striker Ivica Olic then Wolfsburg striker Mandzukic would likely have found himself consigned to the bench.

Well couldn’t that have proved to be a mistake? With 2 well taken goals against Ireland and the all important equaliser against Italy last night. Mandzukic is proving to be a more than capable replacement.

Here is hoping Croatia can manage to make it out of the group stage so we can see more of this promising forward.

Alan Dzagoev

With 3 goals to his name so far 21 year old Dzagoev is really starting to live up to Russia’s expectation.

The CSKA Moscow striker has been a revelation so far and if not quite the dark horse that some people are making him out to be he has certainly raised more than a few eyebrows as Russia have looked more than good value for a tilt at the title.

Niklas Bendtner

 If you have ever had the pleasure of listening Niklas Bendtner then you will be well aware that he is a supremely confident young man,some might even say arrogant.

Well Sunderland’s top scorer last year, a mighty 8 goals, has started to live up to a little bit of his own hype after netting two well taken goals against Portugal.

Of course the controversial 24 had to go his own way by flaunting tournament rules against and flashing his Paddy Power sponsored boxer shorts.

 

Andriy Shevchenko

At 35 there are some people who thought that this might prove to be a tournament too far for Shevchenko.

Well two goals against Sweden from the talismanic striker will have gone someway to proving them wrong.

Shevchenko has always been a player for the biggest of stages and an excellent start to the tournament so far coupled with his resurgence for Dynamo Kyiv is just going to show why he is still top dog for the Ukraine.

Yohan Cabaye

Cabaye was the best midfielder on show in the France v England match by some distance, especially when compared with Scott Parker….

The Newcastle player dictated the tempo of the entire game and showed levels of class that may yet earn him a move away from St. James Park.

He controlled and patrolled the middle of the park with ease and it was on this foundation that France dominated the entire game.

 

 

 

 

 

 Bastian Schweinsteiger

Gomez might be getting the plaudits for scoring 3 very good goals but if he is pulling the trigger than it is Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger who is providing the ammo.

In fact I would go so far as to say that Germany’s chance of winning the tournament revolves heavily around Schweinsteiger’s ability to set the tempo of the game more or less single handed.

Approaching his prime at 27, Schweinsteiger’s influence was evident again on Wednesday when he set up both goals as Germany beat the Dutch 2-1 with a lesson in fast, powerful and clinically effective football.

“Schweinsteiger is getting better and better, he’s developing more of a presence and when it gets tough he can keep the ball,” coach Joachim Loew said after Germany moved to the brink of the quarter-finals. “He’s physically strong and wins the one-on-ones.”

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ABC Sambal Extra Pedas

1 02 2011

A friend from work came back from Holland this week and knowing that I am a sucker for all things hot and spicy grabbed a bottle of hot sauce for me on her way back.

The sauce in question is from ABC, an Indonesian company who manufacture a range of different sauces;  this particular offering is their Sambal Extra Pedas which simply means extra hot.

Sambal being a Southern Asian sauce is often lumped in alongside Thai sauces such as Sriracha, now I cannot stand Sriracha and not just because of all the hype surrounding it at the moment, there is just a flavour to most store bought varieties that doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily for me though I have always quite enjoyed Sambal and I am keen to see how this particular brand measures up.

Ingredients: chile, sugar, water, salt, garlic, starch, acetic acid, sodium benzoate

Smell:

Upon opening the bottle I was hit straight away with a good big hit of chillies and garlic with just the slightest hint of sugary sweetness and vinegar coming through in the background.

Appearance:

This sambal looks an awful look like an orange slightly translucent tomato ketchup, it is completely smooth with not the slightest shred of seed or skin and has a medium viscosity that means you might have to give the bottle a bit of a whack to get things moving initially.

Taste:

I had a sneaking suspicion that I might like this sauce; it looked good it smelt good and I am known to enjoy sambal, even so I was really really pleasantly surprised by just how good this sauce was.

The main flavours that come through straight away are the chillies and the garlic, the vinegar is there but you really have to be looking for it to find it and the sweetness seems just right. There is enough to offset the chillies and the garlic but not so much that it seems overly sweet or cloying.

Since opening the bottle I have tried this sauce on a whole bunch of different foods; sausages, prawns, cod, egg fried rice, wanton rolls…. the list is really quite exhaustive.

The foods have all been really quite different but one thing has been static across the board – the sambal has worked well with pretty much all of them!

Obviously it has faired best with the more Asian items like the fried rice and the wanton rolls but that delicious mix of chillies, garlic and sweetness also worked brillantly with the seafood. The prawns were lifted to another dimension and it really worked well with the big meaty cod steaks.

Heat:

There is a decent bit of heat to this sauce, whilst it wont be breaking any records it is certainly hotter than a lot of other “sweet chilli sauces” that you would typically find in a supermarket which often are just sickly sweet concoctions with just enough chilli for you to notice it.

The burn, such as it is, stays very forward in your mouth and builds nicely whilst never really threatening to overwhelm.  If you think that tap water has a kick to it then I would steer clear but otherwise you shouldn’t be in for any shocks.

Heat 2/5

Overall 3.5/5








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