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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"The World Cup is a truly international event."

Well, today all the news came in. Soccernet (link at right) can fill you in on the details - no, TDH isn't going to list every single national team here. But there are some salient details.

Let's start with Soccernet's finest headline of the day: "No surprises as Brazil name superstar squad." Almost every player is a household name, or should be. But one guy probably was surprised by the annoucement: Julio "The Beast" Baptista. TDH has taken a shine to the big man with the infectious smile, yet even on his footballing merits he would have been a great understudy for Kaka. The odd man in, however, seems to be Ricardinho of Corinthians. TDH has seen a lot of Corinthians lately, and the guy hasn't exactly set South American screens on fire.

Pekerman finally broke his silence in Argentina. TDH was not at all pleased to see Aguero left out - and both Sevilla's idiosyncratic Saviola and Boca's Palacio included. Palacio's an exciting player, but he doesn't have quite as much game-changing, world-tilting X factor as El Kun. Also, Abbondanzieri and Ustari are in as keepers, but no Lux? Was Pekerman even watching Abobblezeball against Croatia?

DeMichelis is out, which takes a lot of weight from the team. Pekerman is clearly betting that lean and quick will win - sort of like Sven - even if Argentina can't deal with ten-ton strikers like Drogba, Horseface and Slobo. And finally, no Zanetti. "I think I did everything necessary to be in the World Cup," he moaned. Farewell, old left-wing warrior....

While Klinsmann came to his press conference equipped with a video, Lippi simply read out the names in about three seconds flat. He's got tons of scoring power, with, yes Mara, Pippo joining Toni and company on the team sheet. But are any of these players, besides Del Piero, really creative enough to turn a match?

Finally, TDH was happy to see a decent non-US team pick a player from Major League Soccer! Yes, Claudio Suarez of Chivas USA, who at 37 is the world's all-time cap leader, is on Mexico's list. Progress, loyal readers, progress.


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

I cannot effing believe they've left Zanetti out. The leftish right wing-back is still among the best players in his position in the world. If Cafu can play for Brazil, JZ should still be in for Argentina.

Yay for Pippo. But Italy are going out in the group stage. Like you say, no creativity, given that both Alex (one of my all time favourite players at a club level) and Totti have proven that they cannot perform at the highest level. Totti has never been better than poor in a game that mattered, either for the national side or for Roma in Europe, and Alex has never had a good game for Italy against real competition.

With Peerless orchestrating the midfield and the classy ball playing centre backs and zambrotta on the wing, Italy will hold the ball well, and with Gattuso they'll win it will. But excluding the floppers, only Gila has a creative spark up front.

10:43 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Actually, I think this could be Del Piero's year. For the first season since his injury, he's looked pretty much like his younger self. If he gets a goal a game, Italy could go 2-0-1 thanks to their stingy defense... even without their fascist keeper.

Still, it warms my heart to hear you say they'll go out in the group stage, since that probably means you-know-you in the red, white and blue will go through, through, through....

6:27 PM  

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