Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The yellow brick road... not to Oz....

A draining match that showed the stubbornness, and tough game of the Swiss, the creativity of the French but not enough to harbor significant hopes for the future of the tournament.

The Swiss played hard and hard ball. They roughed up Zidane. They roughed up Henry. They roughed up whomever they could until the umpire finally had to distribute an impressive 5 yellow cards to the Swiss team!!!!

But the real effect was the perturbation of the French team where we saw Zidane almost in a fist fight with his teammates, and Zidane making a mistake that cost France one of its three yellow cards. Indeed, shooting a free ball without waiting for the umpire to authorize the shot is a mistake that a team captain should never make, even more one with the experience of Zidane. Shows you how exasperating the Swiss team was. Then again, they qualified strictly on tied games and they probably think that they can pull out that trick again to reach the next round.

I had written that anything less than a 2 points advantage over Switzerland ruled out France for higher things. But playing that Swiss team really did not allow for a good assessment of the French strength. At least they seem in better spirit than 4 years ago, most of the players this time singing La Marseillaise, and a team fit enough to withstand a grueling game, and a really warm one to boot. All is not lost, but if Brazil is in the mood I do not see France beating them.

8 Comments:

Blogger ElĂ­zabeth said...

Uy Daniel... I was very disapointed with the game.

Bra vs Cro is now on, emotions are high, I just saw the first brazilian goal. And the game is "a muerte".

3:54 PM  
Blogger ow said...

ok some questions:

Now that the first set of games is over who looks the best. Quico, still think England should win it all?

I assume the U.S. qualifies as the biggest dissapointment so far. Given that they have yet to play Italy it looks pretty much impossible for them to make it to the second round. Sucks having the World Cup be essentially over after one game.

But here is a general World Cup question. How frequent are upsets? Is it almost always the case that the best team in soccer wins? Or are there lots of upsets? And have there been World Cup champions that probably weren't the best team but got on a hot streak at the right time and maybe beat some superior teams?

7:15 PM  
Blogger ow said...

ALmost forgot - another question. Is a different style of soccer being played in this tournament. From previous tournaments what I remember is a) the European teams would just kick the ball way down the field and have a couple really fast players chase it and if they got there before the defense maybe score b) the Latin Americans would play really bunched up in the middle of the field and do a whole bunch of little passes then didn't accomplish anything except eventually turn the ball over ( I seem to remember the Colombians paying like this).

But when I am watching these games I am seeing the players a lot more spread out, a lot more precision medium length passing and ball control, and more of an attempt to set up planned strikes in the opponents end. I seem to being enjoying these games more than I did previous world cups.

Are these changes real or is it just my imagination from not watching soccer not more than once every four years?

7:39 PM  
Blogger Francisco said...

Football keeps getting better. Because footballers keep getting fitter. Old techniques no longer work. Precision and fitness rule the day.

France could not impose themselves on Switzerland. That's a lame excuse. A top team should be able to impose itself on anyone. The French were unable to. That's bad news for France.

So far, Germany and the Czechs are definitely the two best teams. We will see Spain tomorrow. So far, it's Germany vs. Czech Republic for me.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Alfredo Octavio said...

You can't complain about referees until you get FOUR goals incorrectly annulled...

8:38 PM  
Anonymous daniel said...

Quico

I do not quite agree with you. Yes on Germany and the Czech as the best prospects to reach the finals, but you could not really tell how good or bad France was today. It is not everyday that you see a game with 8 yellow cards!!!!

And do not forget that the Swiss reached the World Cup winning almost nothing: they tied their way to the top (including two ties with France!). I am not confident on France but I am not ready to throw the towel yet.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Francisco said...

Daniel,

If France couldn't destabilize the Swiss defense, what the heck are they going to do if they fall a goal behind against Italy, or Germany, or the Czechs?! Doesn't bode well, my friend...

3:34 AM  
Anonymous daniel said...

Quico

Why don't you worry about Spain? :)

To each "hincha" its irrational hopes.....

9:04 AM  

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