Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 13 Random Thoughts / Open Thread

If you can't get out of work tomorrow to watch the US-Ghana match and see how everything unfolds in Group E, then go out tonight and buy yourself a Slingbox. I only hope for your sake that this is not playing as you shop for it at Best Buy. Enjoy today's matches.

Group D

7 a.m. ESPN. Portugal-Mexico
7 a.m. ESPN2. Iran-Angola

What has happened thusfar
Group D preview
Day 3 random thoughts
Day 8 random thoughts

Where things stand

Team

Pts

W

L

D

GD

Portugal

6

2

0

0

3

Mexico

4

1

0

1

2

Angola

1

0

1

1

-1

Iran

0

0

2

0

-4


Ifs & buts, candy & nuts: Iran are out. Angola's only shot is to win and have Portugal beat Mexico, then they will be tied and it will come down to goal difference. They are currently 3 behind so they would need both victories to be by a combined 4 goals or more; anything less and they are out. Any kind of result for Mexico and they are through, and can even go throuh with a loss unless the situation described above occurs. A win for Mexico and they win the group. Portugal are through, it is just a matter of seeding. Any result for them and they win the group, while a loss places them 2nd behind Mexico. Got it?

First place in this group plays 2nd in group C, while 2nd place plays the group C winner. With the two group C teams being Argentina and Holland, it is a matter of pick you poison for whatever 2 teams from this group go through.

Portugal-Mexico.
This match was going to be very interesting to watch until Portugal coach Scolari decided not to play 5 starters who are sitting on a yellow card already, because if they were to pick up a 2nd yellow then they would be suspended for Portugal's round of 16 match (even though after the end of the group stage the card accumulations are wiped clean, picking up a 2nd yellow in the third round means missing the first match of the knockout round). So Big Phil is essentially saying "I don't care if we draw Argentina or Holland, but I do care that I have all of my best players available for that match". I can see his point, and even go so far as to say he is being smart in a wily kind of way. But this game has looked juicy since the draw came out, and now it will probably be much less of a match than it had the potential to be simply because one team is not trying its best. Part of me appreciates what he is doing, and part of me wants Mexico to beat them and win the group on general principle. Hopefully it will just be a good match.

6th min.: 1-0 Portugal. Nice finish by Nuno Maniche. Interestingly, Portugal's goal is not significant not for them but for Angola first and then Mexico.

18th min.: The Mexican fans rival the SouthKoreans for title of loudest. They also do a college football thing leading up to a goal kick. They yell something as the keeper runs up and then scream out something else when the ball is kicked. The net effect sounds very cool - think kickoff cheer "Gooo Dawgs!" or "Roooollll Tide! Good stuff. Anybody know what they are chanting, and/or what it means?


Chica caliente doing pseudo CFB chants? Muy bueno.

24th min.: Penal! Rafita Marquez is called for a handball in the box, and after seeing the replay you really cannot argue with it - almost looks intentional.

24th min.: Simao buries it. 2-0 Portugal. Angola rejoice.

30th min.: Just when it looks like they might get routed, Mexico finally wake up out of their slumber and score on a header into the corner off a corner kick. Very nice goal by Fonseca. Game on.

Half Time: 2-1 Portugal.

56th min.: Penal! Penal! Penal! Mexico can draw level and put Angola up against it...

57th min.: Missed. Instead of kicking it into the goal, dude decided to kick a futbol Americano field goal. That sucker would have been good from 50+ yards. A bad miss. Bullet dodged for Angola.

61st min.: Red mist descends on Gelsenkirchen. Perez sent off for Mexico after receiving 2nd yellow, either for diving or for saying something to the referee (not sure which). Mexico will play the last 30 minutes 10 v 11.

67th min.: Angola have scored to go 1-0 up on Iran. The plot thickens...

81st min.: Iran score in the other match to make it 1-1. Joy for Mexico and Angola are totally up against it now, needing a winner and then another 2 goals between them and Portugal in the last 10 minutes.

Full Time.

Portugal 2-1 Mexico.
Well done, Mexico. You are through, unless Angola score 3 goals in the final 4 minutes. In other words, you are through.

Portugal top the group and no matter which group C team they play in the round of 16, the matchup will be awesome.


Figo: forget trading shirts, I want the sombrero

Iran-Angola.
Angola are Pearl Jam: still alive.


Still alive into the 3rd match?
Impressive.

They have everything to play for. Look for another inspired and spirited performance by and African team. Oh, and this is your last chance to look at Loco, a man whose haircut matches his name, and may walk away with the non-mullet haircut prize category when The Golden Mullet is awarded after the competition. He wears #20 for Angola and plays centreback. I'll take 2-1 Angola.


Goodbye, Loco. You & your "hair" will be missed.

6th min.: Portugal scored to go up 1-0 on Mexcio. Joy for Angola. They are very much alive and kicking at this point. They and Portugal must win by a combined total of 4 goals for Angola to beat out Mexico.

24th min.: Simao buries a penalty in the othe match to put Portugal up 2-0. Angola rejoice.


Again, Dubya: if you don't want to talk to them, may I?

30th min.: Mexico pull one back. 2-1 Portugal. A case, literally, of two steps forward, one step back for Angola.

Half Time. 0-0. Portugal lead Mexico 2-1. Nothing against Mexico, but at this point how can you not be pulling for Angola, a nation without television, to shock the world and make the final 16?

53rd min. Mexico miss a penalty that could pretty much put Angola to the sword, but it is badle missed. Still POR 2-1 MEX.

57th min. Mexico have a dude sent off. Angola, amazingly, are still alive. If they can nick a goal then they will hope that Portugal can score twice with their man advantage. It's a longshot, but there's still a chance. Trick is they haven't scored a goal yet in the WC; 240 minutes and counting...

60th min.: Holy Shit they have scored! 1-0 Angola. Now there is hope. Angola's adrenaline is high, and they are pressing ahead looking for more.

76th min.: 1-1. Iran get a leveller on a good header from a corner. Joy for Mexico and Angola are totally up against it now, needing a winner and then another 2 goals between them and Portugal in the last 10 minutes.

Full Time.
Angola 1-1 Iran.
Angola were unable to pull of the miracle shocker, but just the fact that they even competed with Mexico for that 2nd spot until the last 10 minutes of the 3rd match is flat-out remarkable. And they sure did themselves proud as no hopers who everyone expected would finsh 0-3 with a goal differential in negative double digits. A 1 goal loss to Portugal and two draws. Perhaps the most impressive suprise performance of the tournament, Ecuador and Ghana included. They will be greeted as heroes upon their return home.

-------------------------------------------------------
Group C
12 p.m. ESPN. Holland-Argentina
12 p.m. ESPN2. Ivory Coast-Serbia & Montenegro

What has happened thusfar
Group C preview
Day 2 random thoughts
Day 3 random thoughts
Day 8 random thoughts
Day 9 random thoughts

Where things stand

Team

i

L

D

GD

Argentina

6

2

0

0

7

Holland

6

2

0

0

2

Ivory Coast

0

0

2

0

-2

S&M

0

0

2

0

-7


Ifs & buts, candy & nuts: S&M and Cote D'Ivoire are out, and they are playing only for pride. Argentina and Holland are playing for seeding: Holland must win to top the group; a draw of an Argentina win and they top the group. Got it?

The winner of this group plays the runner up of group D, and 2nd place plays the winner of group D.

Holland-Argentina
The tastiest matchup in the group stage, hands down. The world has been looking forward to this match since the day the draw was announced - hopefully it will live up to some of its potential of being an amazing match. This is a good teaser for the Clash of the Titans-like matchups that we will likely see in the knockout stage. All-star game talent on the field and on the bench as well.

Messi is starting. Sweet.

19th min.: Never dawned on me until now, but Holland's Dirk Kuyt is either Boris Becker ot Johnny from Cobra Kai in Karate Kid. Not sure which.

28th min.: Argentina smash one off the crossbar. Good match thusfar, but it really needs a goal to open up.

Half time. 0-0. Entertaining, but again - this match needs a goal to really open up and "come to a boil" as the Brits say.

Holland 0-0 Argentina
.
A really entertaining scoreless draw with lots of open play and good chances, but never quite lived up to the hype and expectation. Argentina will play Mexico and Holland will play Portugal.

Messi is just special. Wow.

Ivory Coast-Serbia & Montenegro
It is sad, but Ivory Coast are the best team who will not advance to the knockout stage. We can only hope that the Civil War cease fire does not end the moment after the final whistle is blown, cause Bono had us all feeling so good, and that would be so very sad.

Half Time. Ivory Coast 0-2 S&M. Don't know, haven't seen, watching the other. Are Les Elephants being whipped by S&M?

Ivory Coast 3-2 Serbia & Montenegro.
"2-nil down, 3-2 up, we beat your ass and split you up" is what they should be chanting. Good for Les Elephants - they are definitely the best team not advancing to the knockout stage, and I am happy for them to get their first World Cup win. That team dance celebration was sweet. Hopefully the celebrations from this will will postpone the resumption of their civil war for a few more days.

7 comments:

moin said...

The real secret to coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2? Getting 2 penalties. :) Though it was completely deserved. I suppose it's a good thing that Serbia and Montenegro is splitting, because there's not much to build on based on this year's performance. (Though put them together with Croatia and you got a pretty bad ass former Yugoslavia squad, why can't people just get over a little bit of genocide these days?)

moin said...

Also, as of right now, Czech Republic, Italy, and France could all still miss out on the 2nd round. So saying that the Ivory Coast is the best team not to qualify is a bit pre-mature at the moment. Remember, crazier shit has happened.

moin said...

Oh, one more thing. I love Messi, but I think Tevez is getting a bit short changed here. He also had a goal and an assist against S&M, not to mention his goal was much more spectacular than Messi's and he was the man of the match (according to the FIFA website) of this match against the Dutch. And let's not forget that he was the "next Maradona" before Messi took over the title.

Kanu said...

Agreed on Tevez. I'm jsut not as familiar since Roman has him hidden away at Corinthians whereas I have been watching Messi blow my mind for 2 years at Barca.

No disrespect to Tevez, because at age 22 he is an amazing talent. It just that at age 18 (well, 19 minus 3 days), you just shouldn't be doing what he is doing, that's all.

As great as Tevez is, was he as great 3.5 years ago as Messi is today? Dunno, since I never saw Tevex play before last year, but I am guessing the answer is a resounding no, or else we would have seen Tevez play for Argentina at WC2002, when he was 18.

Again, no disrespect to Tevez, who is a total badsss. I'm just blown away by Messi's badassness (and complete comfort, confidence, and lack of being awestruck on the biggest stage) at age 18.

Kanu said...

And as far as IC vis a vis those other 3 you mentioned, I'm not speaking in a hierarchy of world football way or even a good on paper or perception way, I am talking about how the teams have played and looked to me in this WC way, and I would argue that overall IC have played better and looked better then CZE, France, and even Italy thusfar. Based on what I have seen from those three, I wouldn't imagine that they would have given both ARG & HOL all they could handle, battling them to narrow 1 goal losses where in each a draw would have been deserved, then come storming back from 0-2 down to beat S&M 3-2. So that is the thrust of the argument/thinking behind my statement.

phil said...

eh, I think Kanu's perception regarding IC is a influenced by fandom and general support of the African teams (which isn't a bad thing at all).

I'd say CZE has been more impressive with the win over the USA, but then both are just opinions and there is legitimate evidence to support either position.

France and Italy have been mediocre so far though and I think the case for them looking weaker than IC is pretty strong. Of course things can change very quickly when we are talking about teams that have played 2 or 3 games at this point.

Today's ARG-HOL game was a snoozer. It's a shame since that was one of the first ones I circled on my calendar after the draw.

Kanu said...

Good point Phil - I definitely tend to look at things through African-colored glasses. I should have disclosed that but anyone who has been following on for a while would rightly see that, as you did. But I feel like my line of reaasoning is not irrational. As far as CZE - they looked great against the US but got dominated by Ghana, another African team that is about even with IC , and many would say are not quite as good. My net-result impression of CZE is 1 really good match was kind of evened out by one clunker, whereas IC impressed me in both of their first 2 narrow defeats to 2 of the 6 best teams in the world, giving each all they could handle. (of course France were robbed of a win by the inept officials).

Right on about ARG-HOL,, but I suppose it was expected since both teams were also through and resting some players. I was a little suprised that Holland didn't go forward more desperately at the end to try to win it and get that top spot. WOuld you rather play against Mexico without Borgetti, or Portugal? Seems like a no brainer that you would rather play against Mexico even with Borgetti, they seemed almost content to just go through the motions and didn't seem to play with much urgency.If htey lose to Portugal and Argentina roll Mexico, then Van Basten might wigh he had brought on Robben and left Van Persie on as well...