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Monday, June 12, 2006

WC2006: Day 3

Ah, the World Cup can be a great leveller. Witness how plucky Angola almost stuck it to the Portuguese. (Actually, witnessing Big Phil on the sideline was enough for a whole day's entertainment.) And then see how a far superior Dutch side only managed 1-0 against S&M.

But still, didn't those Soldiers in Orange play some fantastic football? Robben was definitely the star, but the defense looked solid and the midfield was churning. With so many players capable of bulging the net, they'll surely chalk up some bigger scores.

TDH has to admit, though, to having the sinking feeling that something was about to snap every time Robben went steaming down the left side. Yes, it's a fairly minor but chronic disease known in parts of northeast England as "kieronosis."

Still, funny how the World Cup heals all wounds. Nesta is coming back, so are Ballack and Totti, and even Rooney may play in the very next match! Miraculous!


Best coaching move of the day goes to La Volpe, owner of a flourishing radio taxi business in Buenos Aires and sometime coach of El Tricolor. His second-half substitutions - including pulling the high-flying Guille Franco - put a spark into the Mexican attack, and one of the subs scored.

Very emotional moment with Oswaldo "The Human Bird" Sanchez after the match ended; all the players came around to thank him for being there right after his dad's death. In the first half, at least, they really needed him.

Most unlucky player has to be Kiki Ron, who hit the crossbar with a header from somewhere in the stratosphere and smacked a couple of balls wide. But he'll get his, have no doubt.


Loyal readers will know how much TDH likes a good Separated-at-Birth, like that old chestnut, Steve Finnan and Hilary Swank. But the Dutch squad has a pairing that left even TDH floored. Witness Ooijer and Vennegoor of Wotsit!

Oor is it the Ooijer way around? Same club, same national team, yet never on the pitch at the same time, today at least - COINCIDENCE? And by the way, could the Dutch coaches' shirts have been any tighter? Van Basten looked like he was going to go lift a car at halftime....


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

I wasn't impressed by Holland. Clearly a one-man team. If Robben misfires, you can't see where the goals will come from. Lots of pretty passing and no cutting edge, until the ball comes to young Arjen's feet.

Ronaldo - meh. Lots of stepovers, but did you notice how many times his tricks and flicks wound up with him going sideways or even backwards? comparing him with Robben is instructive. Ronaldo has quicker feet and far more tricks but achieves about 3% of what Robben does with his direct running. With Rob, you are always worried when he has the ball, but with Ron, defenders look like they don't mind him faffing around with it, just so long as he doesn't move forwards. he's by far at his best when keeps the stepovers to a minimum and exploits his pace and touch instead.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Palms said...

Serbia gave a good account of themselves in the second half. I was a bit surprised that they took Kezman off considering he was looking the most dangerous of all the Serbs (in a non-kalishnikov toting sense of course). The 6 foot 8 lad was rubbish to be honest. His first touch was appalling, he let passes go past him, got in the way of his teammates and he was nowhere near any of a lot of the better crosses.

I can't help noticing that some of the teams are having trouble getting to grips with this supposedly lighter ball. It does seem to resemble a beach ball at times, and a lot of the free kicks and long shots are sailing way over the bar. A lot of players' first touch seems a bit unsure as well.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Is it just me or have we been talking about talking about newer, lighter, more unreliable balls ever since the Peruvians scared the living bejesus out of Scotland with their new-fangled bendy free-kicks in 1978? At this rate the opening match of the 2018 tournament will be abandoned due to the matchball floating up off the centre-circle and into orbit before anyone gets a chance to kick it.

Oh, and yes.. that Angola left-back showed all the mobility of a mahogany wardrobe, and rather less positional sense- but Ronaldo was too busy admiring his own step-overs to notice, and kept running straight into him. Robben would have had him dismantled into his component pieces within twenty minutes and turned into an attractive set of shelves.

12:41 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

I've got one of the replica balls. Funny, it does actually look "rounder" than your typical ball, probably because of the double-width panels. As for lighter, I don't know. It seems a bit stickier somehow - easier to control with a light touch. Stickier probably also means easier to bend....

2:14 PM  

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