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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"When you come tomorrow, bring my football boots. Also, if humanly possible, Irish water-spaniel."

Well, the scales have definitely fallen from TDH's eyes,
in the words of a certain dedicated sportsman.

Several waves of thought passed over as TDH watched
Chelski and Fight Club:

First, as TDH was getting comfortable on the couch, "Ah,
Chelski will be fielding the B team today. Well, Fight
Club may have a chance. Fortunately it doesn't matter to
the Toon. Come on, Friedel."

Second, upon seeing the team sheet, "Gosh, it's really
true, isn't it? Even the B team costs more than most of
the full squads in the Premier League. Well, this should
be a good bit of football, anyway."

Third, as the minutes ticked along, "What are these
muppets playing at? They can't string three passes
together. And if Terry's resting, why in hell is Fat
Frank on the pitch? And what's this, Young Joe coming
on? Sven must be having a coronary."

Finally, fourth, as the game died away, "Well, that was
supremely stupid. Maniche is a fat little piece of
garbage, but even with Lamps, Eidur and Crespito on the
pitch there was nothing doing. Either they're exhausted
from the season, or Jose's as useless as his fellow
Portuguese. Good on you, though, Brad the Lad!"

So there'll be no gazing in wonder at the Brats of the
Bridge anymore. Sir may be right when he says the Red
Mist have a shot next year - they'll probably want it
more, if anything. But let's hope someone else pips them
to the prize. Yes, TDH can see it now, a team wearing
black... and white... and black... and white....


The US named its team for the World Cup today. Yes, we
Yanks aren't waiting around like the rest of the world.
Consistency in squad and coach is what got us this far,
after all. And here's the roster:

Hahnemann, Marcus (Reading FC)
Keller, Kasey (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Howard, Tim (Manchester United)

Bocanegra, Carlos (Fulham FC)
Cherundolo, Steve (Hannover 96)
Conrad, Jimmy (Kansas City Wizards)
Gibbs, Cory (ADO Den Haag)
Hejduk, Frankie (Columbus Crew)
Pope, Eddie (Real Salt Lake)
Onyewu, Oguchi (Standard de Liege)

Beasley, DaMarcus (PSV Eindhoven)
Convey, Bobby (Reading FC)
Dempsey, Clint (New England Revolution)
Donovan, Landon (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Lewis, Eddie (Leeds United)
Mastroeni, Pablo (Colorado Rapids)
O'Brien, John (Chivas USA)
Olsen, Ben (D.C. United)
Reyna, Claudio (Manchester City)

Ching, Brian (Houston Dynamo)
Johnson, Eddie (Kansas City Wizards)
McBride, Brian (Fulham FC)
Wolff, Josh (Kansas City Wizards)

The US can field a pretty classy defense with Keller,
Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Gibbs and Onyewu. In midfield
we've got Reyna with Beasley, Convey and either Lewis or
O'Brien, who's been recovering in the US from an injury
in the Eredivisie. (Lewis was listed as a defender on
the US website, but Leeds has him in his correct
position, as an attacking midfielder.) Then TDH would
put Donovan - he never did fit in at Leverkusen, but he's
still dangerous and only 24 - with McBride up front.

What a team! Of course, it'll all probably be for
nothing. Even if we manage to eke out second place
against Italy, Ghana and the Czechs, we'll almost
certainly have to beat Brazil.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if anything, Team USA should win an award for coolest player names. Half of them sound like stunt men or rock stars. They should also have pro-wrestling nicknames like Josh "the Hammer" Wolff, Brian "Ker" Ching or "Steady" Eddie Lewis. Although I should point out that while at sunderland Claudio Reyna was simply known as Claire Reyna by Newcastle fans.

Just to comment on the Rooney injury: I think it it reflects on the utter lack of confidence in Eriksson as a coach that there is so much despair amongst England fans right now. Quite simply no one believes Sven has a plan B. In fact Tord Grip has come out and said as much. Why are we paying this arsehole 5 million a year again? No one has any faith in him. A confident, skilled coach's reaction to the Rooney injury would be "Right, fair enough, let's get on with it, we can still win the cup, we have the players." What does Sven do? Bites his fingernails along with the rest of us. Where's the rallying war cry? I'll say it again: Arsehole.

Anyway, I believe most of our goals are going to come from midfield anyway. Like TDH says, play Gerrard as shadow striker, or Joe Cole in the hole. Not a hope in hell that Sven will do either of these things though. Say hello to a Peter Crouch - Owen front two. With our most effective player (gerrard) toiling away in defensive midfield. Arsehole.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clarify: I think Gerrard can play the same role as rooney just as effectively; that is picking up the ball from deep and bombing forward. Not gonna happen though. Arsehole.

3:43 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

i have to say I agree with a fair bit of anon's analysis there. Sven should be pulling the wool over our eyes and saying Rooney can be replaced. Basically, no-one, not even gerrard can do what roon does, but gerrard can have a similar impact doing something slightly different. He's not going to kill with his touch, but his energy makes up for it.

That said, Joe Cole is now the only player in the squad with real something-from-nothing potential. None of the other players really does take the ball and beat his man. For me, though, the line up could be:


'tache, JT, Carra (if we have brains, but more likely it will be elmer fudd's taller cousin), Cole;

five in midfield, with a deep laying Pirlo/playmaker: Carrick, and in front of him, with license to shove forward at every attempt:
Becks, Lampers, Gerrard, Cole.

Up front, Young michael toils alone.

yes, I know Mikey would not be a great lone striker, but frankly, with the profusion of international / world class midfielders, and dearth of half-decent, in form strikers, I'd rather play with just him than waste one of our eleven positions on Crouch or a woefully out of form Defoe.

7:41 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Crouch might surprise you as a lone striker, based on his recent form, but it's 100% more likely to be Owen. And Owen, even as lone striker, gives you that flash of effervescent brilliance just about every other match. Witness his opening strike against Portugal in the Euros - he might as well have been the lone striker then.

Still, Anon is correct. Sven doesn't understand that England's strengths are and have always been in defense and midfield. He could do a lot worse than play five of the most talented midfielders in the world, all of which - including Carrick - have a taste for going forward.

And besides, England don't have such a tough group. If El Roon is available in the later stages, great, it might even be worth saving a spot on the roster for him. But as you guys said, England can still win it. And Mara, absolutely right on Carragher.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

This is an all-around solid squad ... I am surprised and happy that Ching made the cut, but would much rather see Twellman going along with him rather than Wolff ... as a DC supporter from the start, my heart is still with Eddie Pope, so I'm thrilled he made the cut for one more run

10:03 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Welcome, Reel! Well, I was getting the feeling that Arena had a thing for Ching. I, too, would have gone for Twellman. But maybe Arena thinks that Wolff is more different from the other three. Typically, if you're going to bring a guy on as a sub, you're looking for a different style of play.

I know Eddie Pope can still turn in a solid game, but my deeper hope is that he'll bring the kind of veteran calm that Julio Franco has been giving to the Mets. Oh yes.

12:11 AM  

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