Thursday, June 15, 2006

Having seen all teams: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and more...

Well, we've now seen every team play once, so how are they looking so far?

The Good
  • Czech Republic: The Czech's 3-0 thrashing of the US stands out as the performance of the tournament. That day, they really had everything a football team could have: pace, precision, team-work, brilliant midfield play, fabulous striking, and on and on and on. Unfortunately, there's one thing they won't have from here on out: Koeller injured his thigh against the gringos and is out for the rest of the tournament. Will it slow them down?
  • Spain:Though aided by very favorable refereeing and a serving of plain luck, this plucky, adolescent-heavy Spanish team served up steaming piles of whoop-ass for the Ukrainians. Fearsome fitness, terrific pace, and a deadly Villa-Torres partnership in attack - who could ask for more?
  • Argentina: Less spectacular than the other two, but just as effective. Their game with Holland should be great fun.

The Bad
  • Japan: A shambles in every part of the field - with the attack possibly even worse than the defending. Simply painful to watch. If Zico was Japanese he'd have had to commit ritual suicide by now.
  • Togo: By the 65th minute, they plain old stopped running. Watching their Laurel-and-Hardy midfield, you'd almost think they haven't been training together...oh wait, they really haven't been...
  • Sweden: Against Trinidad and Tobago the Swedes were the kind of bad that makes fights break out in the locker room - not merely bad, but unspeakably awful. Most disappointing team yet.

The Ugly
  • Italy: The one world class team that always lives up to its stereotype. Purposefully slow, defensive futbol is horrible to watch. In the Italians' hands it's ruthlessly, soporifically effective.
  • The USA: The walking retort to my it's-all-about-fitness theory. The gringos can run hard for 90 minutes. They don't have the slightest clue what to do with the ball when they get it, no, but they certainly can run...
  • Ronaldo: Not a team, I realize, but a man carrying a nearly crushing burden of hype on his shoulders. Against Croatia he looked like his old self from the 1998 final - like a tourist who'd wandered onto the pitch somehow. Truly awful...the Croatians were shocked by how easy it was to mark him. A lot of people think he's just too fat. Frank Foer described him as a "barely mobile globular of fat with buck teeth," adding, "We should have known that Ronaldo was a tub of lard when the president of his country raised the issue." Ouch.

The Plucky
  • Trinidad and Tobago: For a team of 3rd and 4th division players, the Trinidadeans were absolutely great against Sweden. Such determination, such impudence! Great fun...

The Lucky
  • England: Having to rely on second-tier South American teams to score own-goals does not make for a very confident start.

The Underrated
  • Croatia: Stood up admirably against Brazil.

The Overrated
  • Brazil: Undoubtedly an excellent team, but hardly the race of all-conquering martians they're sometimes described as.

The Entertainingly Named
  • Ghana's Pinpong and Angola's Loco definitely lead this category.

...and, to wrap up...
Most intriguing game for the rest of the first round:
  • Italy vs. Czech Republic.

13 Comments:

Blogger ThoughtPundit said...

If Ronaldo's individual performance was the ugliest (no arguments there), what about Dwight Yorke against Sweden as the best? Captain, attacking force, imperious passer of the ball and a sweeping midfielder, more or less without stopping for an hour and a half. Only Essien's performance against Italy came close, and that was somewhat spoiled by the fact that Ghana lost...

6:07 AM  
Blogger Vittorio Pozzi said...

Pretty good asessment of the tournament. Ronaldo is only on the field in order to try and score three goals and over take Gerd Muller with his record 14 goals. Interesting to see if Pereira plays him in the later stages.

7:02 AM  
Blogger JPJP0883 said...

You guys should be more patient if it was that easy to predict a WC everyone would be rich -las quinielas, las quinielas- about Ronaldo yeah he looked bad and I think he won't be scoring many but... who knows for sure? About England! They are lucky but I want to wait for Rooney, Spain I think they have the real luck! Argentina umm... overrated and Brasil is too boring if they win again it will be better for the sake of the game if they loose.
To me I hope I can see a team like Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain or Holland winning the WC. Teams that are good their players are amazing and yet they screw up so much.... Portugal and Spain must have the title for the best underperformers.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Francisco said...

Uh-oh...looks like Ronaldo is getting the vapors again...

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Francisco,

You have been living in Europe for too long. The Checks are overrated. I love Nevded and Rosicky is worth what Arsenal paid for it, but they played their perfect game,

I don't know why you are against Brazil. Yes they are not going to win but they still play the nicest game. Does that bother you?.

Croatian underrated/? I don't think so. Where do you think these guys play in the Croatian 2nd division league?

Spain is the best team so far. That midfield has to be the best. Interesting that 2 play in the premier league for Liveropool and the other is brazilian that plays for the Villareal.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Francisco said...

Anon,

Lemme be clear, Brazil is clearly a wonderful team. It's just that a lot of the commentary about them is SO over the top you'd think their T1000 footballator monster killer robots. No! They're human. They screw up sometimes. They are not invincible, that's all I'm saying.

I think Czech Rep. vs. Italy will answer a lot of questions...

9:30 AM  
Blogger Pepe said...

Quico, dude, one thing please:
Change the template. The colors are insufferable. Or rather the color: that fucsia background is driving me bonkers.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

pepe

I am the one responsible for the template choice, not Quico. I wanted something as unfootbally as possible to make the point that it was all for fun, that Quico and myself did not take too seriously our role as foot ball pundits, to encourage people to participate in good fun no matter how much they knew on the divine game.

Now, on my screen the color is fine and does not bother me at all to read, but many people have different screen set ups. If there are more complaints I will not have any problem in changing the background.

Actually, this blog belongs equally to Quico and I and he can change and add whatever. It is just a matter of how much time we have at hand.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Pepe said...

I like your idea for the website. But that fucsia color, man!

4:28 PM  
Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

You don't sufficiently appreciate Argy. They played a magnificent game, the best of the first round!

VIVA ARGENTINA!

6:30 PM  
Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

One other thing: Brazil has a history of rising to the occasion after underestimation by pundits.

Beware.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking about stereotypes, what a bunch of stereotypes!!!!

10:06 PM  
Blogger JPJP0883 said...

woao!! man today after exams I watched how argentina trashed 6-0 the former s&m -no pun intended- my god! I am not saying they are the best or many other things that I am certain will appear after such performance, I just post this before someone kills me for previously posting ""Spain I think they have the real luck! Argentina umm... overrated"" I truly admit I am at fault they looked much better than I thought they will -this will let everyone know I am no football pundit-
Francisco and Daniel by saying in my previous post ""about Brasil... is too boring if they win again it will be better for the sake of the game if they loose"" I shouldn't be lazy and elaborate more... it was not my intention to create controversy, -just to be clear I do think they are great, Ronaldinho is superb but for me R.Carlos is still some kind of super alien, all of the team are out of this world... this being said- what I meant is that if they win again is the 6th time!! the 6th!! Italy is the closest with -a football I dislike, and with- just 4 WC. I hope you see where I am going with this.
PS Don't put your money on Spain yet they are still co-champions with Portugal for the best underperformers! and if you don't mind -this is my humble opinion- say football instead of soccer... thanks! hope everything is clear now d@@b

7:02 PM  

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