A Little Bit of Euro

From the Department of "Why Not Just Shoot Yourself?" comes the announcement that Greece goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis HAS ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT following Wedneday's meaningless (for Greece) match against Spain.

A cynic would say the decision came a couple of days too late, after Nicopolidis pulled the goalkeeping boner of the tournament thus far when he chased the ball halfway up the Alps against Russia, leaving this huge thing they call "The Goal" so wide open that not even the Russkies could miss it.

It's a bitter embarrassment for a guy who was a rock for Greece in their Euro 2008 Championship run, conceding exactly NO goals in their last three matches.

Hopefully, that's what everyone will remember about him. Sadly, it probably won't be.

In what is becoming almost absurdly routine in this tournament, it was "Another day, another stoppage time goal, another David Villa feat of magic" as the Swedes suffered an embarrassingly bad defensive breakdown when, somehow, three defenders in yellow and blue did little to even slow down the Spaniard's ridiculous run to goal.

Someone should point out that, with elimination on the line and a guy playing out of his mind carrying the ball toward your keeper in the 92nd minute, sticking out a leg and dropping him like third period French was a very viable option.

Standing there admiring his pace and skill, on the other hand, might not have been the best course of action.

In a historic first which everyone hopes will have to wait a while if the Turkey-Czech Republic match today ends up in a draw, the game will go to PK's.

It's never happened before in the history of the Tournament, and most purists hope the trend continues, but if it's high drama you love, by all means tune in and root for offensive ineptitude.

What's even more remarkable, the Czechs have been in four previous PK shootouts at major tournaments over the years and have won every single one while not ever missing a single shot.

Conversely, Turkey has never been in a shootout and isn't anxious to start today.

Looking ahead to Monday, the Austria-Germany match is dripping with history as Austria hopes to repeat what is known to German fans as "The Shame of Cordoba" when the Austrians - with absolutely nothing on the line - knocked Germany out of the 78 World Cup in Argentina.

In an area of the world where even a short sports memory seems to go back 200 years or so, to many German and Austrian fans, the defeat in Cordoba is still fresh and raw.

Of course Austria wouldn't be in the Tournament at all if they weren't one of the host nations and, incredibly, due to the controversial stoppage time PK call against Poland, a win over Germany could hand them the eighth spot in the quarterfinals.