Monday, June 19, 2006

WC Round 2 Wrap

3 Games from today:

Switzerland vs. Togo

Togo has Adebayor, who is world class, and Kader, who is making himself a bundle with his play at the cup, and er, 8 other dudes who want way too much money. Switzerland has Senderos, who's been the Next Big Arsenal Defender for about 3 years and is almost as overrated as Nakata and a bunch of guys who speak 5 languages apiece. The Swiss are the most archetypically German team in the W.C., meaning while that Togo had a lot of the play, they were punished for any weak defending. Yes, yes you should have had a penalty, but karma's a bitch. Good bye and good riddance, Togo.

MoM: Tranquillo Barnetta: Fabulous name. Scored one, assisted one, struck the bar, almost scored from 45 yards, most dangerous player on the field

Ukraine vs. Saudi Arabia

Men against boys - at times in the second half, the Ukranians were almost contemptuous, as they should have been. Every four years the Saudis are shown that their insular league is just not good enough and does not force their players to learn the requisite skills...and every four years, they burn through coaches like an Escalade burns gas. Almost to a man, their first touch was decidedly Junior Varsity. By comparison, the ref, Graham Poll, controlled the ball much better the two times it was pinged at him (of course that might mean a call-up to the England lineup, as that is more than can usually be said of Peter Crouch.)

The Saudi keeper was egregious - Rebrov's goal was either the best strike ever, or complete incompetence from Zaid, I've yet to see a conclusive replay angel. Kalinichenko, Schevchenko and Voronin all looked very active and dangerous for Ukraine.

MoM: Kalinichenko, goal, 2 assists, one struck crossbar and a genuine menace all day long.

Spain - Tunisia

Not to toot my own horn, but I predicted that Spain would win 3 or 4 to one with about 65 minutes gone and 10 Tunisians in their own box at all times. Bad, bad coaching by Lemerre for Tunisia - first in defending so deep with a 1-0 lead, second continuing to defend like that once the game was tied. With the Ukraine result already known, there was no difference between tying 1-1 and by losing by up to two goals - they should have gone all out at 1-1 as a win would have been huge, but as between a loss and a tie, didn't matter. Some justice to the Spanish goals, as a dislike noisy keepers, and Boomijiel was that. All 3 goals he could and should have done better, especially Torres' first; Jaidi was in a reasonable spot if he had stayed back. Instead, he made it easy.

For Spain, they controlled all of the possession, and never, ever looked panicked. Xabi Alonso could have scored twice an another day. Senna was nowhere near as good as against Ukraine, and Fabregas was an improvement. Torres looks like the real deal.

MoM: Tough to say. Probably coach Luis Aragones for some intelligent substitutions.

Pooh's Team of the Second Round:

G: Woonjae Lee - S.K.
LB: Juan Pablo Sorin - Arg
CB: Rafa Marquez - MEX
CB: Oguchi Onyewu - USA
RB: Willy Sagnol - FRA
LM: Sulley Muntari - GHA
CM: Ze Roberto - BRA
CM: Maxim Kalinchenko - UKR
CM: Deco - POR
RM: Luis Valencia - ECU
CF: Javier Saviola - ARG

Coach: Luis Aragones - SPA

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