Friday, June 9, 2006

Day 1 Random Thoughts / Open Thread

One of the great things about the World Cup, as in all sports, is when the narrative gets turned on its head. The narrative going into the Poland-Ecuador was that Poland would definitely handle Ecuador, beacuse the match was in Germany, Poland's neighbor, and that the match was at sea level, where Ecuador have not won at competitive match in their last 11 tries becasue they are a 1 trick pony who win all of their matches at home (Quito: elevation 9,250 ft) but struggle at "normal" altitudes.

Ecuador turned the narrative on its head today, beating Poland 2-0. They apparently dominated the fist half (I only watched the 2nd), went ahead, played bend-don't-break defense, then put the game away in the 80th minute. Poland fans will feel hard done by, since they hit the post twice in the last 5 minutes. Also, they had a goal disallowed for a 50/50 offside call that was probably 51/49 in favor of onside (although it looked like the Ecuador keeper "switched off" seeing the linesman's flag go up), while Ecuador's 2nd goal was another 50/50 offside call that was probably 51/49 in favor of offside but was given as onside. What Poland didn't know was that they were never going to score on Ecuador, because they failed to game plan for Ecuador's goalie going Will Clark meets The Ultimate Warrior and painting his cheeks with the national flag. Looked silly as hell, but the mojo worked.


Polska forgot to gameplan for crazyface

Tough luck, but full credit to Ecuador who played really well, especially defending all of Poland's crosses into the area. It sure would be fun to be in Quito tonight, where I am sure a massive, massive party has recently begun. They are also in great shape now to go through, as they play Costa Rica next. If they can beat Costa Rica, they will basically be through no matter what else happens. Poland, on the other hand, are up against it and in their next match face their toughest match against huge rivals Germany. They really will need to beat the Germans to have a solid chance of going through; a draw and they will likely need help, and a loss and they are likely done.


When will I ever get another chance to gratutiously
throw up a picture of a pretty Polish girl?

In the early match the narrative held true to form, that Germany, despite missing their best player Ballack, would have too much talent for the pesky Ticos. Costa Rica never backed down and kept coming, but the Germans saw them off in the end 4-2.

Highlight videos available on the Official FIFA World Cup site (will they show controversial offsides decisions thereby making their refs looks bad, after the bad refereeing in 2002? Probably not, they'll instead go MLB and purposely ignore replays of controversial calls).

As much solid writing as I have seen recently on the World Cup, this article was forwarded to me and is the best one I have read yet. If you only read one article about what the World Cup is all about, read this one. Or, you could just go here and get Claudia Shiffer's hard-hitting "analysis". I highly recommend the former.

9 comments:

nico said...

I saw the US play Poland in Chicago a few years back. There were about 40,000 Poles there with a surprisingly large number of women present. There were so many model caliber women there that day it put the typical SEC home game to shame. 75% of them made the woman you posted the picture of look like the backside of a dog.

Kanu said...

Yes. In the 88th minute on TV they panned to the one Polish woman in the crowd who was infinitely hotter that what I threw up here. But the photographers for the official site missed her and gave us this one instead.

Kanu said...

Oh, and I am sure that there are some straight-up honeys dancing in the streets of Quito right now as well.

nico said...

Truth.

David said...

Ecuador did deserve their win, though their defending in the first 20 minutes was rather dirty, as they consistently fouled when beaten, rather than let a teammate cover for them. It didn't matter as Poland was just poor -- no thought, or imagination. I kept wondering if Jeff Bowden was hired as their offensive coordinator. The only entertainment I got from watching Poland was checking out the mullets (like #4's).

Given the weakness of their defense, Germany is going to have to outscore all of their opponents, though if they score goals like the first and the last (which are probably both already candidates for goal of the tournament) then they've got a chance.

All in all, a good first day -- 8 goals in two games is a great first start.

anon.4 said...

That was a great game and a wonderful win for Ecuador. What a line -up of games today. It is now time for England - Paraguay. This is the first game of Paraguay's national side that I will see without Chilavert minding the net, but at least he is going to be giving the play by play. It was good to hear him say something in Guarani. I have my welfare check on Paraguay. I hope they win or I will be stuck without the government cheese for sometime. Gosh I love fĂștbol.

anon.4 said...

David that was funny Poland having Jeff Bowden as their offensive coordinator. But if I recall incorrectly there was also wide left and wide right for Poland in their goals attempts.

anon.4 said...

great article as fĂștbol as conflict. Really good links on this blog. Claudia could have done a much better job though.

Kanu said...

A4-

Thanks man. That article is so great it almost merits its own post. Just can't reveal that it is on a lefty blog or 50% of people won't click on it on general principle.

David- I have long been a huge mullet fan - might have to start an ongoing Golden Mullet competition or even an all-mullet team.

Funny about Bowden. First half for sure, but they actually crated lots of chances in the 2nd half, and were unlucky with the woodwork teice and that offsides call.