Didn’t see France vs Spain. I was out watching an Iranian-language movie about social reform and gender issues. And, lest anyone think that sounds highbrow, the movie actually revolves around Iran’s final World Cup qualifier against Bahrain. The movie’s called “Offside” and it was very funny, very moving, and brilliantly put together. In Iran, women aren’t allowed to attend football matches. And the movie is all about these teenage girls who try to sneak in. I highly recommend it to all.
On Eriksson; he’s definitely leaving after the World Cup, regardless of how well or badly England do. His successor will be Steve McClaren. The FA will be paying him I think ?1.5m a year not to coach the England team for the next two years, which in my book is money well spent. England are “in the mix” because we have the best group of talent for at least 15 years, and we’re unlikely to have such a group for a long time to come. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with Sven, who has made blunder after blunder. I’d compare him to Dusty Baker with the Cubs, except Dusty has a proven track record of success with the Giants. The pinnacle of Sven’s career is to have been sitting on the bench when Lazio spent zillions to buy the Serie A title (and bankrupted themselves in the process).
I watched recordings of both games after work today, and they were both very entertaining. I agreed with the announcers—Ghana played a lot better than Brazil, but couldn’t finish at all. That save by Dida was amazing. It seems like Brazil’s first two goals came off broken off-sides traps—not sure if that was a poor strategy, or just poor execution.
Bit harsh on Eriksson. I don’t think he’s done that well with a good bunch of players, but he’d won things just about wherever he’d been prior to England - the Swedish League and Cup and UEFA Cup with IFK Gotenburg, The Portuguese league with Benfica - who he took to the European and UEFA Cup finals, the Italian Cup at Roma, Sampadoria and Lazio (twice), and the Scudetto and Cup Winners Cup at Lazio. That’s not a bad CV from where I’m sitting.
My gripes with Eriksson are the familiar ones - he has no idea how to come back from behind, cannot cope with changes in circumstances like hot weather, injuries during a game and sendings off (contrast Scolari, who has his teams practice playing with 10 men!), and most importantly doesn’t know his best team or formation - a team should not be trying a new lineup and tactics in the last 16 of the World Cup. And he picked Theo Walcott!
I think Brazil’s name is on the Cup again, though. The offside rule doesn’t appear to apply to them.
I think it was a penalty. Grosso did not stop. Neill slid in, and Grosso was too quick for him. Neill had to know that if he’d missed with a sliding tackle he ran the risk of bringing Grosso down - and he did.
I second the thought that it was a great penalty. I would have bet the house on Totti scoring - he looked so determined.
Pains me to say it, but I thought Italy deserved it. they made many more chances. Shame Kewell was injured. Australia will be back though. They are easily one of the best 4 teams in Asia, and should continue to be for the forseeable future. Unlucky Phil!
Every cloud had a sliver lining though - I have money on the Italians for the whole thing.
I’m still sad about the loss, but Neil should never have gone to ground at that stage in the game.
Me too. Can’t they stagger the games to have one a day, instead of two on the same day? Might be unfair because each team could have a different number of days off, but is there a big advantage to having 4 rather than 3 days off (I’m not being critical, just wondering)?
I definitely think they could stagger the games more than they are; also, by having one game a day you could avoid the hottest weather. But yes, the difference between 3 and 4 days off is huge, particularly in this heat (and humidity). You’d want it to be the difference between 4 and 5 days. Of course, it’s far too late to change anything now. Ultimately the organising committee have been sticklers for a level playing field, and rather ignored the demands of TV/fans. I don’t have a problem with that; if they’re going to err, err on the side of sporting fairness. It’s the World Cup.
Germany are as good as in the final now. And they deserve it. Argentina haven’t impressed me all World Cup, and they can’t complain about this result. Pekerman has been baffling me with his team selections all tournament, and after they scored it seemed he was determined to give the game away. Crespo off for Cruz was ridiculous. For Germany, this was their least impressive match since the opener, but they held Argentina easily in check. Of course, they didn’t create anything either, but at least they showed slightly more than Argentina. One thing though; they gave the ball away at the back several times, very easily. They’ve got to watch that, or it’ll cost them.
You know, not to demean anti-racism demonstrations or anything, but really, what is “Say No to Racism” supposed to mean? Who’s it supposed to convince? Are there some folks out there thinking, “Gosh, I’ve been on the fence about this whole racism thing, but seeing England and Portugal behind that banner has really pushed me into the anti-racism camp.” Or are there some hard-core racists out there, “Whoa! My hero David Beckham is against racism! What have I been doing with my life?”
Hell, the truly dangerous racists don’t even think of themselves as racist.
You know, not to demean anti-racism demonstrations or anything, but really, what is ?Say No to Racism? supposed to mean? Who?s it supposed to convince? Are there some folks out there thinking, ?Gosh, I?ve been on the fence about this whole racism thing, but seeing England and Portugal behind that banner has really pushed me into the anti-racism camp.?
I think the idea is that saying nothing while people make Hitler salutes in the stands gives tacit approval to that behavior. Obviously, the pre-game messages aren’t going to change how people think, but it might make them think that they shouldn’t be making monkey noises at black players during the games.