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Thursday, June 08, 2006

"And now with Argentina out, they will be on the plane home with France."

TDH saw France take on China in Les Bleus' last friendly, and it must be said: they were pretty poor. Pretty piss poor. The only good news from the first hour or so was that El Abuelito Cisse broke his leg, meaning that the team would finally have a chance at a decent strike partnership.

But then came Franck Ribery. If you haven't seen him, well, let's put it this way - you'll know when you have. Not just for the bizarre haircut and the enormous scar running down the side of his face - he got it in a car accident when he was two, though he should really say it's from a knife fight - but for the way he plays.

Imagine a mixture of Young Joe and Kiki Ron: Young Joe but faster, Kiki Ron but with a lower center of gravity - the tricks, the spurts, the shots, the total package. France owed the last two goals to him, even though his name didn't show up on the scoresheet. And that brings us to TDH's first World Cup prediction: the European player who'll go for the most cash post-Cup will be none other than Tony Montana himself. "Dah wurld iss yurs...."


Now, for the rest. TDH was fancying Italy, would you believe, until Nesta and the fat sketchy bloke went down. (He looks pregnant in this photo!) The fascist keeper may be gone soon, too, and good riddance. (But the Telegraph - bless - says he's just misunderstood!) No one doubted Italy's defense, and this year it looked like they'd have scorers, too. But no, perhaps it was not meant to be.

TDH always picks Germany to overachieve, and as hosts this year should be no different. But let's face it, except for Ballack, Schweinsteiger and Lehmann they're pretty frickin' ordinary. France looks to have lost its touch, and Argentina is one enormous headcase. Spain... ah, forget it.

So we're left with Brazil and England - an England fortified with Vitamin R at that! - in the final. And this is where the Sven factor comes in. It's a dead cert that he'll come up with something utterly Martin-Lawrence-esque. He's likely to try, out of nowhere, a 3-6-1 with two wingers on either side and JT alone at the back.

Brazil will roll, and the English press will run screeching along Sven's limo all the way to the posh offices of Banco Madrid. Third place to the Ivory Coast. Eddie Johnson to the Premier League. That's right, Arsene and Jose have already bought all the decent African players. Good night.


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

TDH - No chance in heck for Italy with or without Sandro and Rino. Totti is hugely over-rated, and Gilardino doesn't do it for me, despite playing for Milan. For me, their only indisputably world class players are Nesta, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Pirlo and Buffon. Gattuso is near it.

You'll notice that none of them play an advanced role.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about this Luca Toni chap? He's supposed to be quite prolific isn't he?

Also, I saw Cisse's leg break and it was very, very nasty, but the result of simply getting his legs tangled with a defender. He appears to have a bundle of breadsticks in place of a shin-bone. Drink some milk man!

11:14 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Luca Toni is extremely prolific, and I'm sure he's going to have a stormer after I say this, but here goes:

there's a reason why no-one had heard of him before he turned 29. He's big and strong, but not a great footballer. He could struggle against really good defences because he doesn't have the ability to create something from nothing. He'll take what comes his way, but in the absence of a fit, in form creative player, he'll not get too many chances.

12:26 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

What, no counter-predictions for the tournament? Did you know it's starting tomorrow? Or - gasp - do you all agree with me?

2:15 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

TDH, be careful what you ask for.

a quote from this week's Ramble: "Looking at the odds one can get, I’d recommend a modest punt on Ukraine to make semi-finals. They’ve looked superb in their warm-ups, and that’s without the One Who Broke My Heart. A relatively easy group, coupled with the best forward in the world, means that they may surprise us."

I'd love to tip Spain, but I'm conflicted. Beautiful midfield will be let down by Raul, if he's playing (that was enormously difficult for me to say. I *idolized* Raul back when he was still a football player, rather than a waste of organic matter). If Hitler shows some balls and drops Raul, to play Villa alone up front, supported by a five man midfield with real wingers pushing up (Reyes; Xavi, Alonso, Fantasticbregas; Emperor Commodus), and the defence hold steady (and I Salgado; Marchena; Puyol; Pernia looks good) then they've got one of the best starting eleven's in the cup.

Then Ghana. I predict Ghana will take Italy apart in game 1 - without Rino, can you imagine what Essien will do to us? I expect it to look like the Somme with Italian bodies littered everywhere.

4:00 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

clarification: I'm not italian, so ignore the 'us' there. I was thinking in particular of Gila and Pirlo, who are 'us' for me.

secondly, I'm aware there weren't all that many italians at the somme. I meant it would like the Somme, except with Italian bodies littered everywhere.

4:05 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Do you really think Ghana are so great? They had a terrible African Nations Cup. Essien is top class, of course, but it takes a village....

Also, I don't want to jinx it, but certain injuries to certain players in a certain group could be helping a certain team I hold dear.

10:10 PM  

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