Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Italy avoids the dreaded penalties and beat host Germany 2-0. A deserved victory for the team that was the more offensive and dangerous all night. Italy had a 3-1 advantage on corner kicks, hit 2 posts, and overall looked the more aggressive team. The German run is over, but they had been playing with house money since they snuck past Argentina. I think the home crowd really played a factor in this run because, irregardless of what Marcela Balboa says, Germany remains an average team. I think their last two world cup runs have been fraudulent and not a true indication of where German football really is. They have some young players to build around, Odonkor is amazing, he is like Lennon for England or Ribery for France, wing players with loads of pace and skill. Podolski will only get better, but the German defense is very suspect.
As for Italy, they are the odds on favorites to lift the trophy next Sunday (it would be their fourth title, but first major title since 1982). I think the main reason is simply Buffon. He is the best keeper in the world right now, and with that defense in front of him rarely gets tested. When he does, he stops the shots. Lippi also has a solid rotation of forwards he can run at you, constantly testing your defense with fresh legs.
Italy has done a masterful job of putting the match fixing investigation behind them and pulled together as a team. Forza Italia.