Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dreams of Spanish Glory to hold appointment with reality...

Somebody once said that a second marriage is "a triumph of hope over experience." They could just as well have been talking about rooting for Spain at the World Cup.

Every four years it's the same damn thing: we get all worked up about what great players they have, we debate ponderously whether they or the Netherlands are the best team never to have won a World Cup, we note the absurdity of a country with world-beating domestic league that suddenly can't shoot straight when they get to the World Cup...and then they choke. Badly, usually. Embarrassingly, even. It's one of futbol's great anomalies...

So let's continue the ritual: though this is a prediction that has embarrassed me in every World Cup since 1986, I do think this is Spain's year. If not to win, to reach the final four. A team needs DEPTH to do well in the World Cup, excellent players all over the field AND on the bench. Spain certainly has that. They're young, they're fast, some of them are deliriously talented (watch Iniesta, Fabregas and Villa) - they really have it all. Just by the law of probabilities, you'd think they'd have to make a serious run for the trophy sooner or later.

We'll see them tested today, though, cuz Ukraine is a damn good team. They have Shevshenko, the former AC Milan and now Chelsea striker, and a goal scorer of gargantuan proportions. (Though, alarmingly for them, he's been having injury problems.) They have 10 lesser-known but apparently not-at-all bad other players. Their teams do better in European competition than teams from anywhere else in the East. They're not a bad team at all. I say Spain 1, Ukraine 0.

Trivia: The Spanish national anthem has no lyrics. Try getting roused to that! (Maybe that's why they don't win...)

In the day's two other matches, African champions Tunisia will spank perpetual whipping boys Saudi Arabia, no matter how much money the royal families dangles in front of them (2-0). And a historically resonant Germany-Poland is likely to...erm...be the footballing equivalent of August 1939...(Germany 3, Poland 0.)

2 Comments:

Anonymous daniel said...

Spain... yeah, right...

At least they can hardly do any worse than the French....

What, me bitter?

On another note: not a single Spaniard sung his anthem, almost all Ukrainians did. Then again the "principes de Asturias" sans Leonor made the trip to watch Spain. I am sure that Hola is covering the event....

9:02 AM  
Blogger Miguel-O-Matic said...

Damn it! No TV at work. Even on MatchCast, this game looks like a dandy...

9:36 AM  

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