Shaka, Earle part of Euro coverage on ESPN
Wednesday, June 27 2012
FORMER TRINIDAD and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and Jamaica midfielder Robbie Earle, both English-born players who participated for their parents’ countries at the FIFA World Cup level (Hislop at the 2006 event in Germany and Earle at the 1998 version in France) are both assisting in ESPN Caribbean’s comprehensive live coverage of the UEFA Football Championships.
ESPN will be broadcasting today’s semi-final between Portugal and Spain, in Donetsk, Ukraine, and tomorrow’s match-up between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland.
The semi-finals, as well as Sunday’s scheduled final in Kiev, Ukraine, are set to begin at 2.45 pm. Commenting on the semi-finals, Hislop stated, “Portugal had underperformed by their own standards as a team. Cristiano Ronaldo had proved to be the difference. Now, I think they have demonstrated a more complete team performance.
“Spain knows Ronaldo,” added the 43-year-old. “There’s a rivalry. Spain was the favourite of many coming into the tournament.
Hislop, the former TT captain, continued, “I don’t think they played that well in the group stage but they looked their best in the quarters against France. They were dominant.
“Germany was many people’s second favourite,” added Hislop, who distinguished himself at Reading, Newcastle, West Ham and Portsmouth in the English Leagues.
“They have two more days rest than the Italians. They are young and cover a lot of ground. Italy is older and a one-dimensional squad led by Andrea Pirlo. “You need to stifle Pirlo, and I think the Germans can do that. Maybe the Italians have gone further than many thought they would. They are the only team in the semis to finish second after the group stage.” The 47-year-old Earle noted, “Portugal-Spain is going to be decided by which team can find their striker. I view Portugal as the winner if they had a top class striker.
“The obvious goal set comes from the side areas, from Nani and Ronaldo,” added the ex-Port Vale and Wimbledon player. “They do not have the central man who can convert the team’s chances. Spain has the strikers, but the match winner will depend on which striker turns up.
“Regarding the Germany-Italy match,” Earle continued, “the traditional national identities aren’t holding true. Germany is playing more like Spain — inventive, fluid, expansive soccer.
“And Italy is playing more like Germany - solid and organised. It looks like the teams have mixed characteristics.”