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Saturday, June 10, 2006

WC2006: Day 2

Some entertaining action but, to be fair, disappointing football in today's matches. From the top:

1. England lacked any sort of cutting edge, and the fact that Sven seemed happy enough to play 4-5-1 with only a 1-0 lead must be a little worrying. Beckham's dead balls and crosses were impeccable, but the headers weren't on target. Neither, for the most part, were the long-range efforts by Fat Frank and Stevie G. Rust, perhaps? Could be, but England need dangermen up front. Er, start Walcott!

1a. That Paraguayan Paredes is a shameless diver who should end up with a red before the end of this stage. Once when he went down in the box, the instant replay showed him smiling and starting to get up before his teammate lost the ball. Then he went back to rolling around in mock pain. Arsehole.

2. TDH caught bits of Sweden v Dyn-O-Mite! while preparing an enormous Argentine barbecue. The TnT-ers certainly played their hearts out, which was in itself great to see. But come on, those Swedish strikers should be able to manage at least a goal.

3. Well, TDH will never say that a team should only ride its luck - you need to score goals, too. Still, Ivory Coast were supremely unlucky that Saviola's goal counted, since he was a good two yards offside. All the same, they had plenty of chances but couldn't seem to put enough mustard on the ball. The Argentines defended surprisingly well (and that's not saying much), but they needed a bit of Messi/Tevez spark.



Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Can't agree, there TDH. Argentina were superb. Riquelme in particular was marvellous. I thought Saviola was just about level, and Ayala's goal should also have stood. Basically, despite not playing Messi or Tevez, Argentina looked like their standard game could carve opponents open. When they need that spark, bringing those two on will do the job. I think Pekerman basically got it right, to my surprise.

That said CIV were the second best side I've seen so far. Drogba is a real leader, the kind of guy you want for a team making their debut, and Yaya Toure will surely move to one of Europe's big clubs soon.

Glorious to see the King in the stands as well. Maybe that was what gee'd up the Argies.

9:06 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

btw - did anyone see what Valdano wrote in theguardian yesterday:

"since the 1980s, the unit of measurement in Argentine football has been called Diego Armando Maradona".

9:11 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Nah, I've seen the replay a zillion times now, and Saviola was clearly offside. Ayala's shot wasn't a goal, either - the whole ball has to cross the whole line, and it pretty clearly didn't. You know, if the US and England can't win, I'd love to be in the middle of a huge Argentine fiesta. But I call 'em as I see 'em....

I agree that Drogba was fantastic. He was a defender, central midfielder and striker all at the same time. Too bad Keita, Kalou and Kone kouldn't strike the ball with more force. With a second Drogba the Ivorians would have won, I think.

Quite a few Argentines I've met view Diego Armando with a combination of reverence and ridicule. I doubt seeing him in the stands would have had much effect on the players - he's ALWAYS in the stands when the national team is on the pitch.

8:26 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

yeah, to be honest, I was pretty blind drunk by the time the goals were scored, had a bbq for the englnad game.
still shaking off last few beers when I posted that.

Drogba was great, and Robben today for Holland, too... he clearly cares more about the national side than the club.

10:54 PM  

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