In Group C it came down to a battle between hearts and minds. Between boxty and paella. Sure, Ireland isn't going to win this group. But they shouldn't have to suffer alone. And the cider they drink when they're suffering is uniformly excellent. So I'll have me some of that. Sounder at Heart has spoken, and Ireland it is.
Are we go for spoilers on the front page of day-old games? If not, I'll just say my new favorite team from Group B had a really good day. Couldn't have gone better, results-wise. Good times.
Oh, Group D. If Group B is the group of Death, Group D is the group of drama. England is so burdened under the weight of its obsessive and obsessively ferocious tabloid press that it's become a sort of traveling sports documentary that occasionally plays soccer. A situation that isn't helped locally by the fact that soccer fans in the US get their European football news filtered through the UK and so they walk around saying things like 'gutted' and 'on the trot' and feel compelled to have intense opinions about Fabio Capello's job performance.
Meanwhile, the French quit on their coach and boycotted practice in their last major tournament before finishing 29th out of 32 teams. A tournament they only qualified for because Thierry Henry got away with a handball against my beloved Irish. Oh, and two of their best players were embroiled in an underage prostitution scandal for a couple of years. Nice.
Sweden really aren't all that dramatic outside of the Zlatan, but I did just finish rewatching The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo trilogy (the good one, with Noomi Rapace, not the mediocre Hollywood one with James Bond in it), and that had a lot of drama. And Ukraine are co-hosts, so it would be kind of dramatic if they did well.
Anyway, the vote's yours. Even if it's England, I'll swallow my bile and care deeply about whether Steven Gerrooney and Frank Lampterry can play in the same midfield or whatever. Also, here's another SBNation preview of the group: