Friday, June 16, 2006

sprechen sie fußball?

A while ago I did a series of weekly posts looking back on past World Cups in the build up to this year’s big event. I suppose now the thing is actually happening I should also pass a few comments! Since I’m stuck for time I will just round up what I make of events in Germany every Friday until the tournament is over.

GROUP A – Well, the age old World Cup cliché has rung true : “NEVER rule out the Germans.” Due to indifferent form since rookie coach Jurgen Klinsmann took over, many people thought the host nation would struggle, but they put this to bed after just a few minutes of their opening game with a thunderbolt from fullback Lahm. A deserved last-gasp winner against Poland now sees them through, but hey – how bout them Ecuadoreans? All they need is a draw from their showdown with Germany to win the group.

GROUP B – They say the sign of a great team is one that can find a way to win even when they play badly. If this is true, my tip to win England were the best team ever in their first two matches. Were it not for a lucky own goal and a miraculous goal-line clearance from John Terry, the English fans would be getting ready for a 90-minute nail-biting fest in their third game. Sweden should now go through with them, but you have to feel for Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago. Both went over 160 consecutive minutes without conceding goals in their first two games yet both will probably be on the early plane home. That’s what makes it a “funny old game”!

GROUP C – Every World Cup has its “Group of Death”, ie a group with four nations capable of advancing, and with Argentina, Holland, Serbia and Ivory Coast, Group C is it this year. Though Argentina and Holland recorded wins in their openers, neither will feel safe just yet, and with two more games today, it’s still all to play for.

GROUP D – Mexico made light work of Iran, and although Portugal laboured to get past its former colony of Angola, I can’t see them failing to progress as well. I’m not altogethr sure either will go beyond the second round though.

GROUP E – I reckon it was more a case of an impressive Czech Republic side than a poor USA one that resulted in the 3-0 scoreline, so don’t dismiss the Americans just yet – they may be a good outside bet to sneak a result off the Italians in their second game. Ghana can’t be discounted either, though the Czechs look as good if not better than they did in Euro2004, and although losing Koller will hurt them, the talent throughout the rest of the squad, most notably Rosicky, could take them to at least the last four.

GROUP F – Hot favourites Brazil had a similar start to England, and I sincerely hope the Croatians realise they put in a valiant effort themselves in the opening game and could still well progress. Though I was happy to see the valiant Aussies record a victory, I fear it may be their last as I reckon it will be they and Japan to be travelling eastwards once this group is done.

GROUP G – Once again the French were disappointing, though you have to retain faith that they can progress, and I’d tend to plump for the Swiss to beat South Korea for the other slot based on their performance against Les Bleus. Togo had a well-taken goal to go 1-0 against the Koreans, but I think that may remain their only highlight from this campaign.

GROUP H – Many football fans would be forgiven for thinking that the literal translation of “Espana” is “perennial underachievers”. Despite their impressive drubbling of the Ukraine, we will see how they do if and when they progress past the first round, for only a final four berth will serve to shake their tag. I still the Shevchenko & co have a chance to make it through, since the two Arab nations in this group seem very shaky defensively.

all photos courtesy of

1 comment:

Mike Todd said...

Dude -- thanks for the analysis! I had no idea what was going on. That's how I am about most things.