Thursday, August 17, 2006

Greece gets correction from England, and other internationals

England gave Greece a 4-0 correction in yesterday's first post world cup international matches. Goals from Lampard, Terry and 2 from ... ugh.... Crouch put the game out of doubt before the half time whistle. England looked good, moving the ball around and Gerrard and Lampard worked well as Hargraeves did all the messy holding in the midfield, something Gerrard should never have been asked to do. Of course Greece looked like a shell of its Euro 2004 form, they are in real risk of not making the Eure in 2 years. They looked slow, poorly organized and horrible on defense. This last is such a difference from what we saw in Portugal 2004.

Before my Enlgand friends get too excited, England is going to be really tested without Rooney up front. 2 Goals aside, I still have strong doubts over Crouch's value as an international striker. Dafoe looked out of place, not really knowing what was expected of him. Lampard and Gerrard looked much more comfortable than what we saw in Germany. The defense was never really tested so no ability to determine their worth.

Other observations: Germany handed Sweden another lose, the Germans appeared to continue emphasising the attacking style that took them to a 3rd place finish....Norway held Brazil to a 1-1 draw, and were it not for some out standing saves from the Brazilan keeper it might have been a lose for the 5 time WC champs, granted many of the regulars were left off the roster....World Cup champs Italy took a ugly 2-0 lose to Croatia, yuck.....Sad ending to Nedved's carreer with the Czech team losing 3-1 to Serbia, the Czech team was on the down turn during the world cup, this just demonstrates that they have much work to do moving ahead......Ireland got mauled by a Holland team that scored more goals in one game than in their entire world cup, surprised that Van Basten still has his job after a poor WC showing.......France ecked out a tough win in Sarejevo, they gave up another goal on a set piece where the Bosnia player was left alone on the far post, terrible, but they showed some hunger and ability to level the score and then pull out a victory in the dying minutes. It was good to see the youngters Mavuba and Faubert thrown into full International duty (Mavuba did get 3 caps during the WC qualifiers), Faubert scored the winner. Overall not a great 4-0 drubbing, but also a tough fought victory in a very hostile environment. Of course I still do not understand the infatuation with Boumsong, he was very lucky he did not get a PK called against his blatant trip, I rather see Mexes or even Givet partnering with Gallas, Boumsong has the natural talent but seems to have serious brain-farts the past few seasons.

The real work starts in a few weeks with the opening for many teams' Euro qualifying campaigns.

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