free geoip

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

WC2006: The TDH XI

Before TDH brings you the best XI of the tournament, spare a moment for this thought: the only team to take a point off Italy in the 2006 World Cup was the US. The champs couldn't beat us!

Now, on to the matter at hand. As always, TDH is going for a formation that actually works, i.e. not picking four playmakers in midfield. Also, both native ability and play during the Cup were factored in.

Ricardo - owner of some amazing saves and a genius at penalties, which matters

Miguel - always a TDH favorite, manages to cover his man and still get forward constantly
Cannavaro - what can you say - the little guy fights like a heavyweight, purely amazing
Ayala - magisterial and reliable, with a goal to boot - a match for any forward
Boulahrouz - definitely caught TDH's attention in a tough position to fill, a name for the future

Maxi Rodriguez - consummate worker, too often ignored by opposition blinded by his starry companions
Mascherano - for a holding player, the total package of tackling and passing
Pirlo - one of the most humble of the Italians, with the least reason to be
Robben - let's not forget about one of the most lethal left wings in football

Drogba - a towering figure for the Ivory Coast, bossing the whole game at both ends
Klose - just call him Mr. Goals; sure, Ronaldo is the record scorer, but this guy hit 12 of 20 shots on goal, and five hit the back of the net (compare to 8-15-3)

Subs: Buffon, Thuram, Terry, Meira, Zambrotta, Hargreaves, Riquelme, Lennon, Kaka, Tevez, Torres


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

I'll comment properly later. What I'd like to say though is that after the memory of Zizou's butt disappears, the abiding memory for me of this tournament is the look of absolute certainty that his team would win on Canna's face when the penalties were being taken.

Did you see it? He was standing by the centre cirlce, arms folded across his chest, slight smile on his face, watching the penalties unblinkingly, while Andrea Pirlo, after his penalty was holding him, arms wrapped around him, obviously trying to siphon off some of that confidence.

It was inspiring.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

What no Lampard? The man had more shots in the tournament than... it's OK I'm just kidding. That's a damn decent looking XI. The most surprising inclusion is perhaps Drogba- but then, as has been widely commented, this was a World Cup crying out for world-class forward talent. And perhaps for a few more coaches sticking with 4-4-2- when exactly did this classic and essentially conservative formation start to be considered so risky and cavalier?

I do like the marauding Miguel, and seem to remember him being linked with Newcastle more than once. Glad to see our boy Hargreaves on the bench. I might have considered Vieira in there as well... and Zidane. I don't think you can ignore a man who scores the cheekiest penalty ever in a World Cup Final, then, just as the game is petering out into penalties, takes it upon himself to liven up proceedings by headbutting the nearest Italian (who may or may not have called his mother a whore) as hard as he can in the chest. The only way Zizou could have made a more indelible impression on the tournament would have been if he had stuffed the trophy up his shirt on his way off and run really fast out of the stadium. Now that would have been a way to end a career in style.

7:47 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

ok, first few comments on the line-up.

1) I think you've let your dislike of Gattuso (though I honestly don't know why one would dislike him, he's not a dirty player) cloud your judgement. He should at least have made the bench.

2) very surprised to see lennon there - 20 minutes a couple of times shouldn't be enough, certainly not ahead of, say, Essien or Kone.

3) Big up on two slightly controversial but fully justified inclusions: Drogba, the best captain in the tournament, and Hargreaves, who has made me eat my words with a pair of immense performances.

4) Klose is the most improved player in the world. It's like he's had leg transplants. He's so skillful now!

5) Terry shouldn't be there - a couple of dreadful mistakes, partly atoned for by a great clearance, but head of defenders like Marquez? no way. I realise you're looking at inherent ability, but the point of this is also to separate the big game players (step forward, Mr. Cannavaro) from the bottlers (yes, Thierry, I'm talking to you).

6) Finally, Bouhlarouz ahead of Zambro is madness - and Zamb played on both wings. Bou was good, but should have had a red card from his attempt to amputate C-Ron's leg.

9:40 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

I'd accept Rafa Marquez in place of Terry. Good idea.

I can explain Lennon quite simply: my bench, like my squad, has a player for each position. You want to put Essien way out on the right? Fine.

Ah, Gattuso. The man is a tackling machine, and no, not always the cleanest - he's tied for third in fouls among midfielders. But Mascherano covers more ground, and Hargreaves has revealed himself to be, as Redgravey would say, a dog of war.

3:09 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

good point - the bench does need to be balanced. Will definitely concede lennon in that case.

And on Gattuso, I suppose I can't complain too loudly - I was singing Mascherano's praises, too. and I have massive respect for the way Hargreaves handled himself in the face of criticism from people like me.

basic problem was that the most impressive performers tended to come in central midfield. at least ten-fifteen world class (or at least immensely promising) performances over the tournament there (Pirlo, Masch, Gatt, Riquelme, Zizou, Essien, Appiah, Yaya Toure, Fantasticbregas, Makalele (we don't even notice how good this guy is sometimes), to get us started...)

How about a disappointing eleven? Totti would have to captain it, despite going home with a medal. I think we could add Rooney (no goals scored or created), Lampard, Ronaldinho, Sheva, and possibly Ballack.

3:43 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

btw - jonathan's comment made me laugh out loud. I wish Zizou had nicked the cup...

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a fine XI. but I would have made room for Ribery. and Klose and Hargreaves were revelations this tournament.

5:41 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Another good point, this time from Anonymous. I think I'd drop Kaka for Ribery, since he's more of a left-sided player and less inconsistent in this tournament. But my starting XI doesn't change.

9:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home