Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 19 Random Thoughts / Open Thread

Very happy to have finally reached the last of 19 match days in a row and the 2 days off that come after today, but more on that later. I couldn't decide whether to rock my France jersey circa Euro2000 or my Spain national team shirt, so I left them both in the closet and went with Vieira, Arsenal away circa 2004. Enjoy the matches.

Brasil-Ghana
With Essien, I would give Ghana a punchers chance against Brasil. Without him it is difficult to do so, but you never know. They do get back the two goalscorers from the match against the Czech Republic. Ghana are still a quality side capable of playing some good soccer, and given great play and cruise control from a Brasil team sure to be taking them for granted (Roberto Carlos has come out and said "Ghana have no chance"), you never know. I am reminded of the 1996 Olympic semifinal in Sanford Stadium, when the the heavily favored and arrogant Brasilians went up on no-hopers Nigeria 1-0 and then 3-1, only to watch in horror as 18 year old Kanu equalized near the death and then scored a stunning golden goal winner in extra time to knock them out 4-3. Many of Brasil's current squad were in that match (Dida, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Juninho) , so I am suprised a bit by RC's arrogance (Brasil showed further arrogance by flying home right after their 3rd place match and skipping the medal ceremony that followed the next day's final; Brasilian president of FIFA Joao Havelange allowed this without punishment). Throw in the possibilities for penalties, yellow and red cards, and wacky-ass refereeing, and anything is possible. I know that in typical African team fashion they will fight to the very end no matter what; this is not a team that will roll over and die if they go down 0-2.


Roberto Carlos slept on these guys;
why so little respect for Ghana?

Brasil looked so much better without Roberto Carlos and with Robinho, as Myles so astutuely pointed out. Surely Roberto Carlos will be back in the team, since Brasil's team is largely selected on seniority, and Robinho picked up and injury in training, so the less than thrilling Brasil team might show up, especially given their aforementioned expectation that all they need to do is show up to win the match.


Does she just need to show up to win?

I am not saying that Ghana will necessarily win, I am just saying that it may very well be closer than the 5-0 Brasil romp that many are expecting.

Part of me really wants Ghana to pull off the all-time African World Cup upset, but part of me also really wants to see Brasil face Spain in the quarterfinals, since I think that may be the best match of the tournament and I think Spain can beat Brasil. At this point I just hope that it is a really entertaining match that is not overshadowed by poor refereeing, which at this point seems to be asking a hell of a lot.

Half time. Brasil 2-0 Ghana. The scoreline many expected, but if you watched then the match was not the domination by the Selecao that people assumed would occur. Frankly the score is flattering to Brasil. Thier first goal was a classic case of beating the offsides trap; Ronaldo was put through by a brilliant pass by Kaka (great vision to see it and then make it happen) and finished cooly by R9 to make him the leading goalscorer in the history of the World Cup with 15 goals.


R9's World Cup goals: all 15 of 'em.

After that it was mostly Ghana, and they damn near dominated the next 40 minutes of the half. For many stretches it was one-way traffic, and although Ghana created a half-dozen great chances, they were unable to put any into the net, including an agonizing shot from 2 yards out that unfortuantely was right at Dida, who was able to save it. During that stretch Adriano went down in a collision with the keeper, and I thought for sure that a penalty would be given. Instead Adriano was booked for diving. Interesting - was this call influenced by what happened yesterday with Grosso at the end of Italy-Australia? Probably.

In the 44th minute Brasil scored a 2nd that was not legal. In the initial pass out to the right, Adriano was clearly offsides by about 2 yards; he is now said to be in an passive offsides position and if he is then involved in the play then it should be whistled for offsides. The play goes on, and as soon as the ball is crossed into the box to him, he should be whistled for offsides. To make matters worse, he was also offsides when the cross came into him from the right. So he was offsides twice on the same play, the first one clearly and the 2nd one marginally. He bumbled it into the net off his thigh and it's 2-0 Brasil, the 2nd goal being very much against the run of play. Tough luck for Ghana, who damn near dominated most of the half, but have only a 2 goal defecit to show for it.


Dude couldn't have been pleased with Brasil's 2nd.


On the other hand, she loved it.

Full Time.
Brasil 3-0 Ghana.
As predicted, Ghana did not roll over and die when down 0-2. Instead they kept attacking and creating chances, even after they were reduced to 10 men when Gyan, already on a yellow card, was booked for diving and sent off. Not as bad a call as the one on Adriano, but I don't think it is any coincidence that I think only 1 card was given for diving in the first 38 matches, yet two were given in the first match on the first day after the Italy-Australia incident yesterday. A classic case of overcorrection. The third goal was a tap in by Ze Roberto and his rapidly expanding retro afro, courtesy of a mistake by the Ghana goalkeeper.

Brasil were deserved winners; they played well and although their 2nd goal was illegitimate they probably should have been awarded a penalty when Adriano was booked for diving.


This quartet party on to the quarterfinals.

Ghana fought valiantly and the final score is not at all indicative of how tough they played Brasil. They represented African soccer well and probably earned alot of respect around the world with their performance today.

Spain-France
First things first: watch this game if you get a chance simply because it may be the last match in the amazing career of Zinedine Zidane, who as I said in the preview is most probably the best player in the world since the retirement of Maradona in 1994. Zizou has retired from Real Madrid, and his last match for France in this competition will be his last ever.

Wow what a matchup, where to begin? Two of my favorite teams, one with two of my favorite players in the world (France: Vieira, Henry) and the other my pick to win the tournament with two other favorites (Spain: Fabregas, Reyes). The ghosts of Arsenal past (Vieira, Wiltord), present (Henry, Fabregas, Reyes) and perhaps even future (Wenger is allegedly interested in Torres, although I doubt at this point Arsenal can afford El Nino) will all be on display in addition to Zizou. This is the sexiest match of this round on paper; hopefully it can live up to it on the field.

In the first two matches France basically played a 4-5-1 with Henry up top, which was foolish by coach Domenech. In the third match they played 4-4-2 and looked considerably better: was this due to the formation, or not having Zidane and with the offense flowing to and through Henry? Probably a little bit of both. Zidane will obviously play, so we'll see what happens. In my opinion Zidane should play, but they should play 4-4-2 with Henry and Saha up front. I think Saha is currently much better than Trez, who like Ronaldo only runs and tries when he thinks he has a chance to score; he's lazy and goes massive stretches of matches being invisible. That being said, just like Ronaldo he is always capable of coming out of nowhere to score a huge goal, like his extra time golden goal winner in the absolutely amazing Euro 2000 final against Italy.


I hope shipping & handling was free 0n that bad boy.

For Spain it looks like 18 year old Cesc Fabregas will get to start, and based on his performances thusfar (not to mention his play for Arsenal this spring) it is difficult to argue against it. His introduction at halftime and 2nd half play in the the Tunisia match was instrumental in Spain turning 1-0 down into 3-1 up. Reyes should be used as a dangerous 2nd half super sub, his pace and work rate alone will cause fits for some of the tiring French legs. Torres has been great and I think Raul has played well, too. Spain have so much talent all over the park it is just ridiculous.

I can't mention this match without bringing up the Aragones/Henry incident as well. In a 2004 Spaninsh training session:

Aragones approached Spain striker Jose Antonio Reyes, who like Henry plays for English club Arsenal, at Las Rozas and shouted in his face: "Some players have to see things more clearly.
"Tell that black shit that you are better than him. Tell him from me. You're the best."

He went on to add "Me cago en su puta madre", which literally translates as "I shit on his prostitute mother" (which apparently is a commonly used curse phrase in Spain).

When asked to clarify his comments, he said:

"Reyes is ethnically a gypsy," said Aragones. "I have got a lot of gypsy and black friends. All I did was to motivate the gypsy by telling him he was better than the black."

This caused an immediate uproar in England, where Henry plays for Arsenal, and a massive cultural clash brewed between the two nations, coming to an ugly head when England played Spain soon thereafter in a "friendly" international that was friendly in name only, with all of England's black players being taunted by the Spanish crowd with monkey chants whenever they touched the ball, and plenty of other bad blood as well.


Aragones: happy that the ball is white,
unlike that dark ball used at Euro2004.


So now we have Aragones' Spain against Henry's France, the majority of which is black players of African descent.

But don't count out Domenech, the coach of France. He is not a racist, but he a shitty manager, and he is insane. It just came to my attention this morning that the reason for his long dispute and non-selection of proven star and goalscorer Robert Pires is because... wait for it... Pires is a SCORPIO. No I am not making this shit up. That is also his explanation for sticking with Barthez instead of the better Coupet. What a wanker. Oh, and since young and talented Arsenal defender Gael Clichy is a Leo, he can forget about playing for Les Bleus as long as this nutjob is the coach, which hopefully won't be too much longer.


What the World Cup looks like if you are on acid,
or insane like Domenech.

Like the earlier match I am conflicted here: part of me wants to see France win because thay are my boys, and also nothing would be better than for Aragones to be knocked out by two goals from Henry and a third from Senegalese born PV4. On the other hand I really like Spain despite not having any respect for Aragones, and I picked them to upset Brasil en route to winning it all and lifting the World Cup. Again, I just hope that all of the Arsenal connections do themselves proud and that we get a great match that is decided by the players and not the referees.

So either 3-2 to Spain with Henry and Vieira scoring for France and Cesc as the man of the match, or 5-2 to France with Henry netting two, Vieira one, Saha one, and Zidane getting the other goal and also assisting one of Henry's, the first Henry goal from a Zizou assist.

Half Time. 1-1.

France came out and had the better of it in the first 20 minutes. Vieira was clearly up for it after being outplayed and embarrassed by Fabregas at Highbury in the Champions League quarterfinals. France were making most of the chances, and a cross across the goalmouth was barely missed by both a sliding Ribery and a sliding PV4, both with the goal at their mercy. Shortly thereafter Spain were awarded a penalty when Thuram took down Pablo in the box. Credit where credit is due for the referee- the call was correct. David Villa stepped up and slotted a perfect penalty, barely beating Barthez who guessed correctly and dove low to his right. 1-0 to Spain and they looked more dangerous for the next 10 minutes.

Shortly before halftime Vieira controlled the ball with a brilliant bit of skill, then quickly got off a perfect pass with his left foot just before the defender could block it, releasing Ribery perfectly through the defense and putting him 1-0n-1 with the keeper. Ribery rounded the goalie and slotted home. 1-1 and game on. The last 5 mintes of the half were intense - a preview of what is to come in the 2nd half, which should be a classic. I'm off to the pub to watch it on the big screen instead of my little PC monitor.

Spain 1-3 France.
{to the tune of Volare}
"Oooooohhhh, Vi-ei-ra!
Ooooooohhhh, Vi-ei-ra!
He comes from Sen-e-gal,
He plays for Ars-e-nal France!"

The old men beat the younger and more talented Spainards, once again largely on the sheer will of one Patrick Vieira. Although Ribery scored the opener, it was made by PV4's skill, and in the 83rd minute he headed home the crucial go-ahead goal for France. He bossed the midfield, gaining a measure of revenge on young Cesc, and he seemed to carry France through the match with his sheer will as Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane were largely silent, absent, and ineffective throughout. Sorry FIFA, but Ribery is not the Man Of The Match. Your real MOTM, for the 2nd match in a row, is PV4. He has scored a goal and made another in each of the last two matches, not to mention his header that was wrongly not given which would have been the gamewinner against South Korea. He is France's MVP in this tournament, and it seems that he realizes that this might be his last realistic chance to really shine on the big stage. He is taking that opportunity, reminding us of what a colossus he was between 1998-2004, and showing that at 30 he is not over the hill and can still boss a match when he is "in the mood".


Ribery MOTM, my ass. Le MOTM c'est ici, mes amis.

As I said, Zizou was largely absent throughout, but showed at the end his penchant for coming through huge in the clutch. First he provided the cross that PV4 headed in to make it 2-1. Then in extra time he was given one good chance and there was little doubt that Zizou would bury it in the back of he net, which is exactly what he did. The most clutch footballer I have seen in the last 8 years killed the game off in the final minutes. Trois-Un au Les Bleus.


Monsieur Clutch kills the game off.

So Los Campeones Del Kanu are out. Today Spain were frankly disappointing. I thought that they would come out and really take the match to France, with their superior overall talent and youthful legs. In fact the opposite happened for most of the match. Spain's goal was against the run of play and they never showed the constant attacking threat that we saw in the group stage. I am biased, but I thought that Aragones should have brought on Reyes in the 2nd half to utilize his pace, speed, and skill against the tiring older legs of France, but instead he brought on Senna with his last substitution. It is sad for Spain, because they were so clearly better than France during the 3 matches of the group stage, but today France were simply better than them. It is unfortunate that such a good, talented team that played so well are knocked out, while 3 teams that have not played nearly as well as them are in the final 8 (England, Ukraine, Italy). But that's the way the cookie crumbles.


Adios, chicas. I'm sad to see you go.

And as Moin so astutuely pointed out a while back, don't believe the hype about Spain choking/underachieving in the World Cup. Yes they have not advanced as far as their talent suggests they always should have, but they have had some terrible luck/circumstances against them more then they have outright choked. I'll let Moin tell it:

I can't say for tournaments I don't recall, but of the ones I saw, Spain hasn't been choking in tourneys, they just have an incredible string of bad luck. USA94: Lost out when Baggio did his Baggio thing. England96: Lost out to England in PK shootout. Frace98: (drawn into Group of Death) Lost out because their all time best keeper, Zubizereta, let in a howler against Nigeria. Also Paraguay did a catenaccio impression and then proceeded to beat a Nigerian squad that played like it had nothing on the line. Euro2000: Lost out to France (best team in the world at the time). WC2002: You covered that already (2 goals wrongly disallowed in quarterfinal against SK; lost on penalties). Portugal2004: (drawn into Group of Death) Lost out to the hosts in the Group Stages. The group produced both finalists.

If international soccer were golf, then Spain would still be the BPTNHWAM: Best Player To Never Have Won A Major (a title, which interestingly, is generally regarded as belonging to Spanaird Sergio Garcia). They are a young and insanely talented team, and if I had to pick a winner right now for Euro2008, they would definitely be my first choice. Cesc at 20 will be so much better than Cesc at 18, and he will only be 22 at World Cup 2010. Throw in 22 year old Torres and 21 year old Reyes and that is a great nucleus to build around in the next 8 years.

France move on to face Brasil in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the 1998 final where France shocked Brasil 3-0, handing them their worst defeat in an international. Ever. Lots of the same players will be involved on Saturday - should be epic.

Finally, I won't lie: I LOVE it that Aragones was knocked out of the Cup by PV4, a dark skinned black man of African birth, who scored the goal to knock his ignorant ass out. I'm just thankful that Paddy isn't a Scorpio...

23 comments:

Solon said...

A couple other bits on that epic Olympic Semifinal:

(1) Nigeria missed a penalty at 3-1, which makes their comeback that much more amazing.

(2) Watch a tape of that game, and you'll be thrown by the fact that the buck-toothed giant Ronaldo has "Ronaldhino" on the back of his jersey. Those wacky Brazilians and their nicknames!

(3) There was a small collection of Nigerian fans, sitting on about the 20-yard line on the South Stand, toward the West Side of the stadium, who were absolutely RELENTLESS--didn't matter what the score was, they were going nuts, banging their drums and cheering the entire time. Over the course of the game, it seemed like they turned the crowd around, so that all the people who had come out to see the mighty Brazil were so impressed by their persistence (and, to be fair, by the spirit of the Nigerian team) that by the end of the match the mostly-American crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Nigeria. I've never seen anything like that before or since.

(4) It was definitely your second-finest day as a footballer, Kanu--the legendary 15 minute hat-trick and stoppage-time brace at Stamford Bridge is the topper.

moin said...

Ronaldo was known as Ronaldinho back then because there were 2 other established stars named "Ronaldo". To distinguish them, one of them got promoted to "Ronaldao" (Big Ronaldo). Then the 2 older one retired and Ronaldo got the rights to the nickname we know now.

Of course, when Ronaldinho came up, his nickname was actually Ronaldinho-Gaucho (where he came from) to distinguish him from the original Ronaldinho (Ronaldo). It's still the name of his official website.

It's a common name.

Juninho Pernambucano's name is also derived where he's from.

I'm fairly grateful there's only one Pele. Though a couple more Socrates would give me a good chuckle too.

moin said...

After careful consideration of the plan of attack of both France and Spain:

http://berkstock.hit.bg/tmp/euro/euro2004_plan.html

I've decided that the Croatian plan is the best plan and they shall win the whole thing.

Wait.. what? They are already out?

Damn! Spain then.

On a slightly more serious note, that site might be a joke, but it has been damn spot on as to the tactics of England, Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, and France hasn't it? (5 out of 8 ain't bad in a satire/parody setting)

A7 said...

Look A7 got his goal and I'm happy for him but I'm rooting for Ghana. Ghana has more than enough fight in them to make a match of this. Roberto Carlos should get punched in the jaw for making a not only a guarantee of victory but a nonchalant dismissal of their talent. As mentioned in the prior blogs stranger things have happened Kanu being at the top of the list. I'd like Ghana to make them eat some crow. Yes it will be tough without Essien but Brazil's back line seems to be getting lazy on passes in front of the goal and one mistep could result in an advantage for Ghana. The Black Stars must capitalize on their chances to keep up with Equipo Jogo Bonito.

A7 said...

A7 penalized for diving. I'm tired of this reactionary refereeing. It seems like each game one ref tries to make up for some other refs mistakes. Can we please focus on the footy being played..

nerazzurri said...

No way was that a dive by Adriano. He tripped over the defender's leg in the box. So now if he picks up any other yellow cards in the future, he'll be out of the following match. And with Robinho sidelined with a thigh injury, that could be a bad thing. If these refs aren't dicking you over aggressively (see Australia), they find a way to do it passively.

And what's with all the hate for Roberto Carlos? I didn't see anyone anywhere picking Ghana in the upset. We all know anything can happen in sports, but realistically, could you see Brasil going down to Ghana today? This is the World Cup, not the Olympics which Brasil has never won and don't put nearly as much stock/effort into.

Kanu said...

Solon- I have the tape, direct feed from FIFA with no commentary, might have to watch it again sometime soon; don't forget Kanu's epic wacky-ass goal celebrations in that match.

A7 - Agreed. The Adriano call as well as the Ghana dude being sent off were both affected by Grosso yesterday in my opinion. Overeactions, both.

NA - Agreed. Good point about A7 now being on a yellow. As far as RC, I think I just said that I was suprised by his arrogance considering that he was on that 96 Olympic team.

moin said...

Yeah, typical Spain. Promising, but, through a combination of bad luck and inconsistent play, gets knocked out early. Bad luck in that a referee decision that screwed France also ended up screwing Spain. Inconsistency because, well, they should have done better.

Actually, it's fun to think about what Vieira's header goal/non-goal against Korea actually meant.

France would have won the group and went up against the Ukraine, undoubtly beating them and setting up a quarters matchup against Italy while the Spanish should (emphasis on should) beat Switzerland and meet up with Brazil. Meaning our Quarters matchup would have been: Germany-Argentina, Spain-Brazil, England-Portugal, France-Italy, slightly juicy line up. If only.

moin said...

By the way, did anyone notice how Henry clutched his face and got a yellow card on Puyol? I rest my case.

phil said...

yep moin, the claims that TH never engages in dramatics were clearly proven false today.

moin said...

Ho ho ho! The Ghana coach has accused the officials in the Brazilian match of bias.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/ghana/5111574.stm

To me, this is kind of like Mark Cuban complaining about foul calls against Dwayne Wade. I feel your pain man, but, it's going to fall on deaf ears. This is Brasil we are talking about here! They are Joga Bonito! They never foul anyone! Any fouls called against them are mistakes by the officials. Look at them smiling when they are up 4-0 against Wecankickaball-istan! You'll never see a German player smile on a pitch (especially if you look at them at when they are down in the match). Brasilian players never dive, never are offsides, never are selfish, never back pass, never do anything! They play the game the way it should be played! By taunting and belittling their opponents in the most patronizing way when they are up!

Yeah, I've grown a little cynical of all the virtual felatio perform on the Brazilian team this past month. :P

Solon said...

Moin:

I've got to give you credit my man, that TH12 bit was pretty funny. Not instant karma but pretty damn close.

I pay homage to the sweeper.

Solon said...

One thing, Phil--I wasn't claiming Henry doesn't engage in dramatics.

My God, he's likely the most dramatic player in the world right now; witness his theatrics when he doesn't get a pass when he believes he's through on goal (did you see him today when Ribery held the ball too long about 1/2 through the 2H? Who else does that?), or his protestations to the referee when he thinks he is falsely called offside.

That said, I stand by my statement, despite today's incident, that Henry is not a diver. The English press--notorious for playing that shit up as much as it can, especially if the diver is foreign--has never labelled him as such, and they wouldn't hesitate to do so if it was warranted. My God, I saw an article a few months ago getting on Robert Pires for his dive against Portsmouth to win a PK--and that game was in 2003, for fuck's sake.

(And, not that it matters, but it wasn't even a 'dive'--he dragged his foot and deliberately caught the defender, which puts it in the Italy penalty yesterday category--bullshit to most, yes, but a fairminded person (e.g., Bobbeh) could certainly make a case for it.)

In any event, Moin's larger point is true--that, pretty much without exception, every player will crumple like a heap under certain circumstances. And, today, I think the combination of having lost to Barcelona in the CL Final--where he claimed to have been fouled by Puyol repeatedly--along with a tight game in which he created few chances, led to his moment of madness.

It's disappointing and disheartening, no doubt, but it's also aberrational.

moin said...

Heh, if we are talking about theatrics in those terms, I think you gotta give it to Cristiano Ronaldo actually. The man throws a hissy fit when the opposing keeper has the audacity to save any particularly well taken shot of his.

Actually, one thought occured to me. When Ronaldo retires, does Ronaldinho get promoted to Ronaldo or does he stay Ronaldinho? Something to ponder.

Kanu said...

Hey stays Ronaldinho because he has become a worldwide brand, and marketing forces will not allow such a change.

As someone who has seen Henry play 300+ times, I 2nd the notion that he is not a diver. Did he make a meal of it today and shamefully get Puyol booked? Absolutely. I think it was a combination of 2 things: 1) as Solon said, he feels like Arsenal were fucked in the CL final and specifically commented after the match that he felt that Putol kicked the shit out of him and was never punished even with fouls being called. TH is a moody & emotional dude, verrry French, and I think he was emotional about Puyol and reacted emotionaly when fouled hard by Puyol based in his Cl experience 2) add to this that he was not above taking the piss given the whole Aragones thing.

I agree that this is an aberration as far a diving/simulation. Hell yeah is a moody, tempermental, whiner when things don't go his way, but he is not a diver - this was much more of an exception than a rule.

Another point that needs to be made concerning that play is Aragones bitching that France's 2nd goal was a result of the Henry's theatrics and therefor indirectly illegitimate. No No No. Putol clearly fouled Henry; Henry just made a fool of himslef and played the ref into booking Puyol, but Puyol fouled and/or obstructed Henry no doubt. So there would have been a free kick even without the miniature homage to Rivaldo 2002. So you can argue that he card was illegitimate, and rightfully so, but the goal was completely legit because there would have been a foul and a free kick even without Henry's "dramatics".

nico said...

Puyol needs to get a haircut.

phil said...

I agree that the second goal was legit. The "foul" light went on in my brain before I saw (or processed) TH's reaction as I watched the game.

And as a person who's probably only seen Arsenal play 6 or 7 times in the past year I don't have the data on TH that others do and I'll conceed the point that if he were guilty of that sort of thing very often the English press would be all over him.

I just thought it was funny that the day an impassioned defense of him was posted, he went and did the very thing in question.

I'm also grumpy since now Spain is out I have to start rooting for France to beat Brazil, but I fear I'm going to end up rooting for Brazil over Italy or Argentina by the time this is done. I'm still hoping for a Germany/England final, though Germany/France would be fun as well.

Thistle71 said...

a) dibs on the name ronaldo once tubby retires.

b) in thinking of moin tiring of the virtual felatio performed on the brazilian team. i agree. but do you, or anyone else also find it kind of patronizing to brazilians? this whole portrayal of these happy go lucky fellas from a warm sunny place who just have a natural sense of rhythm seems to gloss over so much. firstly, some of these guys are from pretty miserable favelas and perhaps not as happy go lucky as nike likes to portray. secondly, they actually know tactics - it isn't just natural rhythm taking control (like me listening to c&c music factory). thirdly, anyone who has sat through a gremio v. juventude match knows there ain't nothing pretty about the brazilian league.

thoughts?

Kanu said...

Agreed on all that you said except the name change. That won't happen, although I think you are actually claiming it for yourself.

They are tactically very strong and fundamentally solid, agreed. People just focus on the Joga Bonito. Though it is also important thay they are not above the anti-Joga Bonito - 2 cases come to mind: 1) Leonardo losing his mind and elbowing the US dude in the face in USA94, and Rivaldo's dive of all dives in 2002 when a kciked ball hit him in the leg and he fell down and rolled around clutching his face.

OMAA said...

I took the day off yesterday to watch my son at baseball camp and happened to get home in time to see the last 15 or so minutes of the France-Spain match. I have decided that this game is not for me based on that match. All of the theatrics, diving, complaining, etc. make me think it is a Bobby Hurley high(low)light reel. There were people looking for their eyes on the ground after they were bumped on the head by an opposing player, people holding their leg like it was broken, only to pop up seconds later and dart down the field. These guys are insanely athletic and mostly a joy to watch, but if all the other stuff are what it is all about in 'big soccer.' then count me out. I will get enough of that from Coach K's next whiny point guard.

moin said...

First of all, thistle, I agree with what you said. I just don't like the whole media portrayl of the Brazilian squad. It over simplifies something that doesn't need to be simplified.

Omaa, saying that "big soccer" is about theatrics and conning the officials into calling fouls is like saying that American Football is all about taunting and trash talking to your opponents, or that baseball is about arguing with the umpires, or that hockey is about the fights.

OMAA said...

Hockey is about the fights, football seems to be about the 'show' and taunting. There isn't that much arguing with umpires in baseball because once you do it, you are pretty much marginalized. Just the game I saw was full of diving for no apparent reason. Of course, this is coming from a guy that only play 1.5 halfs of soccer in high school.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank u for complimanting Spain i do agree they were by far the best team. As for Aragones he may be stupid but why b happy he was knocked out that means spain is knocked out which is very bad.