Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup Fever - 2

All the teams in the world cup have finished playing their first group games. So which team is hot and which is not?
Spain seems to be the hottest team not only because of the number of goals they scored again Ukraine but in the way they scored it. They looked really impressive, their touches on the ball, passing and finishing. Brilliant. And which team totally sucked. Surprise it was not one of the African nations who made their debuts but France, the winner of the 1998 World Cup. It wasn't hard to believe by the way they played that they hadn't scored a goal since the 1998 Final when Emmanuel Petit scored a goal in the final minutes. Zidane, Barthez, Makelele all came out of retirements to help France qualify for the World Cup and I think that's the best they can do. They are going to struggle to reach the second-round and it will take a minor miracle for them
to go any further than that. They had class players like Henry, Viera, Zizou etc but they couldn't string together a single pass.
And Franc Ribery, boy o boy, is he really overrated, i think so, he was being talked about being the next Zidane and of possibly replacing Zidane in some of the games and bring Zidane as a sub. His skills seemed to be OK but his vision and finishing was pedestrian to say the least.

Brazil won their game against Croatia. It wasn't a great effort but they got it done. They will have to improve a lot though against Australia who are on a high after scoring 3 goals(their first ever in the WC) in the dying minutes of that thrilling game against Japan.

The second set of group games have started and I just watched England labouring to a hard fought win against Trinidad & Tobago(2-0). And they did only because the Trinidadians were tired. If things happen as they are happening now and Ecuador(who incidentally qualified to the second round for the first time) manage to get a draw against Germany, England will face Germany in the second round. What a match that's going to be?

My "Best Of" series continues :

Goal: Kaka (Brazil)
Team: Spain
Player: David Villa(Spain)
Coach: Luis Aragones(Spain)
Match: Australia V/S Japan

One of my colleague send me this interesting article about the difference between the soccer balls used in this tournament and why goalkeepers don't like it.

So don't blame the goalie.



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