And the Irish are rubbish. But we knew that, didn't we?
It was a better day than the turgid Day 2, with Italy providing a few more fireworks than we thought they might but sadly Cassano and Balotelli not getting in a knife fight on the pitch. Still two games to go for that though. However, Di Natale will probably take Balotelli's spot in the next game, after his well taken goal and Balotelli's "abstract" performance.
What a day to study two strikers, or at least when Spain got around to having one. Balotelli can be devastating on his day, but at other times he's just....Mario. How much time did he think he would get after dispossessing Sergio Ramos? Did he expect everyone to kneel before him like he was Xerxes? Hilarious.
Fernando Torres spent the majority of the season being chastened by being behind Didier Drogba and unable to play alongside him, or by being pretty much rubbish whenever he was on the pitch. Today he had the unique pleasure of being benched behind....no one. Rather than use him as the focal point or spearhead, Vicente Del Bosque opted to not have one. Anyone ever think it would come to this?
Some will say it cost Del Bosque the match, as Spain looked labored and edge-less, only really producing the moment of magic from David Silva for the goal. But the thing is, Spain usually look labored and edge-less until they get the one goal they need until they see out the match. They did it in South Africa their last six matches, basically. I would expect to see this formation again against the batting practice pitch that is Ireland.
Look, I love the Irish. Their fans always make the occasion more fun, even when their team hasn't made the tournament. I remember thousands of them being in Germany when I wasn't there, just to soak it all up. But the Irish had two strikers starting who can't score now, and two defenders who can't defend. There was only ever one result on the cards against a much more threatening Croatia than I had originally given them credit for. And that's without Modric running the show for the most part. Croatia-Italy next time round will probably decide who joins Spain in the quarters, and it could go either way.
Day 4 Preview - Finally, England come tripping onto the stage, either to be a surprise package or bring the laugh we all think they will. But I'm rooting for Hodgson here. Not because he was treated unfairly at Liverpool or because he handled a bad situation with grace, because he turned on the fans at points. But I just want the disgusting and pathetic English press to have someone shove it up their ass. Sadly, I don't think it'll be Roy, but I'll be hoping it is. We'll also see if the French have gotten over two years ago when they were an embarrassment, and a lot of the old guard has been moved out.
Sweden are a bit more adventurous then they were, but taking on the hosts, no matter how limited they might be, can be a task.