Monday, June 5, 2006

World Cup Group A

Soccernet Team Page
LD's Germany writeup
Historically they tend to play no-frills, efficient football that lacks charm and flair but is effective in a cold, calculating, meticulous way. I know, I know: that sounds so unlike everything you have ever heard about Germany, but alas it is true.

As the host country the fun will be watching their matches for the sheer spectacle, as well as following all of the wacky goings-on off the field.

Mats, not Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, will be beween the posts

Who to watch for? Mats Wilander of course. That's Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who finally beat out legendary but just about over the hill Oliver Kahn, who you may remember from the old Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer skits on SNL. I love Mats and want him to do well, but this team is not all that strong overall and even with the massive home country advantage I cannot see this team going any farther than the quarterfinals at best, but you never know. They didn't look that great in 2002 either but made it all the way to the final on a hot goalkeeper, efficient solid play, a good draw and a bit of luck so you never know.

Soccernet Team Page
LD's Poland Writeup
I don't know a whole lot about their soccer team to add any insight to what you will read anywhere else, but the match against Germany on June 14th will be as passionnate a match as you will find in the first round. Not only are they neighbors, which always makes for an intense match, but these two have a bit of history as well. Hundreds and hundreds of years of it, capped off by a little thing called the Blitzkreig that went down in 1938. The match is a must see just for that.

Costa Rica
Soccernet Team Page
LD's Costa Rica Writeup
I'll always pull for any small nation team from the Caribbean or Central America, and they fit the bill although not as much at Trinidad & Tobago. Los Ticos are capable of playing good football, and will have the least amount of pressure on them, which will make them a dangerous underdog throughout the group stage.

Soccernet Team Page
LD's Ecuador Writeup
The Altitude Boys are largely being written off because during South American qualifying they earned almost all of their points at home (9,250 ft.) and didn't do much of anything when playing road matches at sea level. The thinking is that if their matches were played in the Alps, at say Matterhorn Stadium, then they would advance to the knockout stages with ease. We'll find out once and for all if they are a one trick pony on the world stage.

Like Bob, Ecuador play much better when they are high

You will be hard pressed to find anyone picking Germany not to advance out of the group stage (the host nation has never not made it), and I buy that as well. The 2nd spot is completely up for grabs, with Poland probably favorites but Costa Rica and Ecuador could easily jump up and bite them in the ass.

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