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Sunday, July 02, 2006

WC2006: TDH in mourning for the third (and last) time

Poor England. As Sven said, they didn't deserve to lose. But football isn't about justice, is it?

If it had been, England surely would have won - and not just for the crime of Euro 2004 or past losses on penalties. They played better than they had at any time in the tournament, and they created a fair number of chances, even with a somewhat ill-advised 4-5-1.

Still, one has to wonder how so many penalties were missed. Ricardo did an admirable job, sure. But Carragher made the fatal mistake of taking his early - that was unbelievable - and thus faced the psychological dilemma of which way to go after showing his hand. And well, whatever confidence Big Phil inspired his side with was lacking from England. Sven never looked like he was driving the bus.

And Sven has to share the blame for Rooney's temper, too. He could never control his player, as that memorable incident last year in Northern Ireland demonstrated. Also, Lennon is definitely a star for the future, but it would have been nice to see Walcott instead of Carragher in the closing stages. What else was he there for?

In the end, however, the players can't be let off the hook. Even when they found themselves in the right places at the right times, they couldn't execute. A shame.


The lone piece of good news for TDH so far in this World Cup came when France, looking like France of 1998, steamrolled Brazil. Those supposed pitch-dancers disappointed time after time, while the French played with, shall we say, elan. Brazil can no longer feel the same sense of entitlement. It's proof that even those baby-faced innocents of football let their skills get to their heads.

TDH didn't expect the French to win, but now TDH hopes Les Bleus will go all the way. (Yes, even though they're French.) Given the choices, what would you do, loyal readers? Germany - no chance, they've gotten much further than their skill deserves, even though TDH likes the adoptive Kountrymann quite a lot. Italy - while Gattuso and Buffon are in the team, never! Portugal - after today? So that leaves France. Allez-y!


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

what the hell is wrong with Gattuso?! He's a God. Buffon is a prick, but a great player, best keeper in the world.

As bad as I felt for England, they didn't deserve to be in a semifinal. At no point in this tournament did they show as much ability or skill as, say, Ivory Coast.

The Germans have done brilliantly throughout the tournament, and though you're right to say they are playing above themselve, what's wrong with that? they deserve a reward for being better than they should be, just like England deserved to go home for being so much worse than they should be.

final thought: surely England, if they were playing well, should have been able to fashion a real chance or a goal against a portugal team missing the man who knits their team together? They had sixty minutes with 11 men against a weakened team that even at its best has at most one or two players who would make the England team. Not happy. No one should escape blame. Only Hargreaves played to his level, and easily outshone his more illustrious colleagues.

12:51 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

1. I just don't like Gattuso. Or Buffon. I can't cheer for pricks. Fortunately Gary Neville had become somewhat less of a prick in time for this tournament.

2. I want to end the strangehold of home teams on the World Cup, which always carries the whiff of corruption.

3. England did create a few real chances - Lennon's jink and Gerrard's short cross come to mind. Crouch was very good at holding up the play, but the problem is still that he's crap in the air. He needs to learn how to use his head.

4. I have finally joined the group of Hargreaves believers. He was a monster, and perhaps the only one besides Gerrard who almost killed himself on the pitch. He played by sheer force of will.

5. I have to ask, where was Young Joe? Did he even touch the ball?

2:14 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

ok, we'll need to agree to disagree on Gattuso, but I can see how he's much easier to like if he plays for your team. Buffon, no arguments, I was simply saying he is a great player. I hate him, too.

I would generally agree with you on the home team stuff, but I don't think Gmy had many controversial decisions their way. I suppose there was Lucic's red, but the game was all but over by then. and Larsson had that penalty. They've simply either matched or outplayed all of their opponents.

yep, Hargreaves was great - that guy is fit! reminded me of Gattuso rampaging around the pitch in minute 119 of the 2003 CL final.

And yep, Young Joe was anonymous; then again, he was against Miguel, and very rarely was the ball played to his feet. He's worse than useless when the game is played in the air, as it seemed to be for large stretches of the game.

and finally, yeah, England did produce chances, and they may well have deserved to win this match, in retrospect. But over the five games they played, they weren't in my top 8 for the tournament. By a long sight. That said, neither are France, but one can't deny they're hitting serious form, even though Henry is still a total prick.

2:43 PM  

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