Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup - It has been a long time

I have been absent for too long on my Blog. General laziness is to blame. But how could I not share some thoughts and ideas during the biggest tournament for futball fans of the world? So are some musings as the first round draws to a close:
  • England, they are through to the next round but not impressive. Doing what they needed to do but not convincing me that they can go far. This is compounded with the apparent loss of Owen for the tournament. This only makes the selection of Walcott even more glaring. While I am all for selecting a young player to give him a taste of the big stage, preping him for future greatness. But when your strikers are Walcott (young and apparently not trusted by Erickson), Crouch (completely useless unless you drop 15 crosses on his head, otherwise does nothing), and Rooney (when healthy one of the most dangerous strikers in the world, but he is still recovering from a broken foot). England gets to the 1/4 finals and crashes out against a superior Holland squad
  • Brazil, Ronaldo, Adriano both look lethargic. I have faith that Adriano will turn things around, but Ronaldo is fat, out of shape and does not care. They will have a hard time against a tough Czech or Italian squad in the second round...upset special - Spain will defeat Brazil in the 1/4 finals.
  • Germany: Won all three of their games and let out a collective sigh of relief when England did not lose to Sweden avoiding a Germany-England game. They will face a tough match against Sweden, but due to the home field they will make it through, only to run into the buzz saw that is Argentina.
  • Holland: Van Basten has picked a solid team, unlike others (Domenech) he is not afraid to drop players - Seedorf, Davids etc - to build a team that the deems worthy. He has them clicking and they will be dangerous. They have pace - Robbens, finishing - Van Nisterlrooy, all round talent - Van Persie up front. With players loke Cocu bringing some veteran leadership they will go far.
  • Argentina: Anyone who watched them demolish Serbia knows these guys are for real. The beat a tough Ivory Coast team 2-1 and then demolished Serbia. All this with players like Messi and Teves coming off the bench....how deep is this team???? Defensively they are solid. Offensively they are scarey. With Riquelme running the midfield they will go very far.
  • Espana: The perennial underachievers, appear to have finally gotten things together. They also have a wealth of talent, when you can bring Raul and Fabergas off the bench you are embarassingly deep. Torres will drive teams crazy. Their midfielders all know their roles - Alonso, Xavi etc. The old Spain would have folded like a house of cards after being down 1-0 against Tunisia, instead they kept pushing, stayed within themselves and earned a well deserved 3-1 win.
  • Czechs: Tale of two teams, versus the US they looked like a machine. Rosicky and Nedved completely controlling the midfield, Koller dominating up front. Against Ghana they looked like an old team, depending on Cech to keep the loss to a 2-0 defeat rather than a 4 -0 or 5 -0 .... With Baros and Koller back, they will remember how to play and find their way to the semis.
  • Italia: I was not impressed with either of their games. They looked out of sorts against the US, allowing the Yanks to dictate the pace. Down to 9 players in the second half, the Americans actually looked more dangerous. Where is Toni and the rest of the strikers? Del Piero is the only one that looked dangerous on Saturday. They limp into the next round and lose to Brazil.
  • Ivory Coast: Knocked out already, but looked dangerous. Had they been in France's group they would be in first place and throught to the second round. Their defense is solid based on the Toure boys. Midfield is solid, and Drogba does less whining and diving and more playing...something he should try for Chelsea
  • Ghana: Also looks dangerous. The team is more than Essein, they play well as team, tackle hard and run people into the ground. Will end with a hard earned victory against the US.
  • United States: Looked out classed against the Czechs. They had no fire. Against Italy they got lucky...both ways. Lucky to get the own goal, and unlucky not to score another one. They took the game to the Italians, and played the style an underdog needs to - physical. The defense tackled hard, pulled jerseys etc, but did so up the field, preventing truly dangerous free kicks but also breaking up the rythm of the Italians, and allowing their team to reset on defense. Will end the tournament with 1 point, not a bad tournament considering the group they were in, but bad in light of the irrational exhuberance from the American pundits who saw America getting to the Semi finals...
  • France: Worst for last....they are terrible. Domenech is aweful, Zidane is done, Henry has brought his whining game not his scoring game from Arsenal....but I cannot do my rant justice in this section so more later.....
Finals - similar to 1978 Argentina plays Holland
Third Place game - Spain vs Czech Rep

Holland champion
Spain 3rd place

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