[Scott's Pool Updates]

Monday, July 5, 2021 
Issue # 7.2.3 "There Were Six Singularities"
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First Semifinal - Wembley Stadium - London   Second Semifinal - Wembley Stadium - London
ITA - Italian Rep (Italy)
Gli Azzurri (The Blues)
Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC)
ESP - Kingdom of Spain
La Roja (The Red One)
Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF)
ENG - England
Three Lions
The Football Assoc (The FA)
DEN - Kingdom of Denmark
De Rod-Hvide (The Red-White)
Dansk Boldspil-Union (DBU)
#7 | 1A | Winner | 5-0-0
6th Semifinal ('68, '80, '88, '00, '12)
A1: Beat Turkey 3-0
A4: Beat Switzerland 3-0
A6: Beat Wales 1-0
R16: Beat 2C-Austria 2-1 (ET)
QF: Beat 1B-Belgium 2-1
#6 | 2E | Runner-Up | 2-0-3
5th Semifinal ('64, '84, '08, '12)
E1: Tied Sweden 0-0
E4: Tied Poland 1-1
E5: Beat Slovakia 5-0
R16: Beat 2D-Croatia 5-3 (ET)
QF: Beat 3A-Switzerland 1-1 (PSO 3:1)
#4 | 1D | Winner | 4-0-1
3rd Semifinal ('68, '96)
D1: Beat Croatia 1-0
D4: Tied Scotland 0-0
D6: Beat Czech Rep 1-0
R16: Beat 2F-Germany 2-0
QF: Beat 3C-Ukraine 4-0
#10 | 2B | Runner-Up | 3-2-0
4th Semifinal ('64, '84, '92)
B1: Lost to Finland 1-0
B4: Lost to Belgium 2-1
B6: Beat Russia 4-1
R16: Beat 2A-Wales 4-0
QF: Beat 3D-Czech Rep 2-1

Semifinals begin Tuesday; a Marvel Infinity Stone look at the tourney

HOME, CA (smt) - As Marvel's Avengers begin Phase 4 of their saga a year late (with seemingly TV's WandaVision, Falcon & Winter Soldier, and thus far, Loki (2 eps left) not progressing any grand story (but nonetheless entertaining as a standalone series) and pretending Phase 3 never really happened), I wondered how the one-year wait for the Euro 2020 (not 2021) tournament was going to be.  Would there be fans?  Would teams have to withdraw due to COVID-19 positive tests?  Would the tournament be consolidated into one location bubble?  Luckily, everything has been pretty normal with only the near death of a player on the pitch shocking the world.  Well, normal if you consider France, Portugal, Netherlands, and Belgium bowing out way too early.  And normal if you think teams will only have to wait 16 months (rather than 24 due to a winter World Cup) to get another shot at redemption on the grand stage. 

Euro 2020 seemed to have harnessed the power of the Infinity Stones, six immensely powerful gem-like objects tied to different aspects of the universe, to pull off a well-run tournament (so far!).  The first Euros with VAR, there have only been a few hiccups and only a few debatable ref calls.  Golazos galore and high-scoring matches (on record pace of 2.81/match).  13 players have scored twice (Ronaldo did it twice) though we have only had three game-tying/game-winning stoppage time goals and no direct free kick goals.  Full capacity stadiums at a couple sites and maybe more than 60,000 in Wembley for the Final Four is impressive considering how things looked just three months ago where a tepid maybe fans for Munich was acceptable and sites like Bilbao and Dublin were taken away due to no guarantee of fans. 

But while Thanos and others wielded all six stones at once to create chaos and destruction, they also can be a positive feedback loop, so who holds the six stones now?  Who have kept this tournament interesting and somewhat unpredictable? 

So in honor of the successful Phases 1-3 of Marvel's Avengers, here are which teams I think own the six infinity stones

Power Stone ITAThe Power Stone is powered by the user's mastery of mind. It increases strength and durability, enhances virtually any known superhuman ability, energy manipulation.  Italy quietly came into the tournament on a 27-match unbeaten streak while all the talk was on other teams such as France, Belgium, and Portugal.  But match-to-match, Italy has increased its play, and totally controlled the #1 team in the world (Belgium) in impressive fashion in the quarterfinals.  Can Italy continue to over perform and win the tournament?
Space Stone CZEThe Space Stone is powered by the user's mastery of power. It allows travel through space, mostly through teleportation and is able to interfere with the motion of other objects.  While most of the group stage was as most predicted, #40 Czech Republic constantly interfered with others relatively straight path to success.  Scotland came out strong but Czech Rep's Patrik Schick scored right before and after halftime, the latter a 54-yard golazo (in a game Scotland needed to win, and thus, didn't make the Round of 16).  Schick's goal stunned #14 Croatia (the loss helped eliminate them for the R16) and then outshot #4 England in a narrow 1-0 loss.  They then prevented an easy path to the quarters for #16 Netherlands by not only beating them 2-0, but not allowing them to even have a shot on goal while outshooting them 13-7. This was the first shock of the tourney.  And despite outshooting #10 Denmark 16-13 and having more corners, they fell short in their comeback, losing 2-1.. because Denmark probably has the Mind Stone powered by a greater soul.
Time Stone ESPThe Time Stone is powered by the user's mastery of space. It allows for time travel; stop, slow down, or speed up flow of time; accelerate or slow down ageing; see into the past and future; and bend time to the user’s will.  Spain has controlled possession in every match, all 5 having at least 62% possession.  In the first couple matches, lots of possession, seemingly dulling the opponent to sleep, but only one goal and two draws to show for it.  Then they used the possession to attack and score 5 goals in consecutive matches.  Spain's youth was not supposed to peak yet, but they have accelerated their success.  Will Spain stop, slow down, or speed up play against Italy?
Reality Stone ENgThe Reality Stone is powered by the user's mastery of time. It alters all of reality.  England has folks believing this is the year they bring the trophy home and they will get that chance with the semifinals and final in London.  The early reality was that despite playing at home, England only scored once and had two draws, the latter against little brother Scotland.  But the Round of 16 takedown of Germany and winning 4-0 (doubling their previous 4-match combined goal total) away from London against Ukraine has fans confident again.  But will reality come crashing down in the Semis yet again?
Soul Stone SUIThe Soul Stone is powered by the user's mastery of reality.  It can observe, attack or even steal a being's soul or spirit and is used to revert individuals to their natural state.  The Penalty Shootout is a time-stopping event that almost switches a tied soccer match into a different sport.  Switzerland stole France's heart converting all 5 of their kicks and knocking out the #1 favorite to win the Euros.  The Swiss came back from 3-1 to tie it in the final 10 minutes of regulation.  But things reverted back to their natural state as the #13 Swiss lost in the PSO to #6 Spain, missing their last 3 kicks. 
Mind Stone DENThe Mind Stone is powered by the user's mastery of soul.  It is near-limitless psionic/psychic abilities including empathy, telepathy, and telekinesis.  Denmark is the 10th ranked team in the world yet in its first match, it was near disaster as their best player and heart and soul, Christian Eriksen, collapsed on the field, and forced to finish just 90 minutes later, lost 1-0 to the weakest team in the group.  Another loss had doomed every other team before them from making the knockout stage, but somehow, they dug deep and their 4-1 win over Russia not only qualified them, gave them the runner-up position.  Despite being the only team to lose when leading at the half, with the world at its side and showing support and empathy, Denmark are hoping to repeat their '92 Euro championship run.

Other Themed Retrospectives WC06 (Les Misérables), WC18 (Greatest Showman), WWC19 (Women of Star Wars)


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