Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup III: Togo, or not Togo

I've been complaining at being stuck at work while the World Cup matches are on, but the advantage is that I don't feel compelled to watch games like Togo v. Korea or Tunisia v. Saudi Arabia, and I can just follow them online instead. Sounds like both games had a lot of action, but not a lot of skill.

And, actually, you could say the same about Germany v. Poland. The Polish keeper, Boruc, was pretty good, but most of my entertainment came from wondering how many different ways the Germans could find to fuck up in front of goal. Also, Klinsmann really ought to remind them that passing into space is great, but not if your teammates are running in the opposite direction. Still, they got the win, and it looks like Germany will be the first team to book its place in the final 16.

Of the other games that I actually watched:

  • Brazil 1-0 Croatia: It was probably impossible for Brazil to live up to all the pre-tournament hype, but they're going to have to step it up a notch if they want to win this thing. It's not that they were bad, they just weren't as fantastic as I'd expected. Croatia. meanwhile, are probably the best of what you'd think of as the second-tier European teams -- along with Serbia; if only the country didn't keep splitting into smaller and smaller pieces.

  • Spain 4-0 Ukraine: I'm trying not to get too excited over this result, because chances are they're just going to choke in the quarter-finals, but damn that was a great performance from Spain. They've got an excellent midfield, now that Aragones seems to have stopped fucking around with his lineup (and got over his fear of the colour yellow), and they're very good at holding possession. I thought the penalty for Torres was a bad call by the ref, and I wouldn't be surprised if Shevchenko uses some of Abramovich's rubles to take out a hit on the linesmen, because he got screwed by offside calls a few times, but Spain were cruising in spite of the officiating.

Question of the day: Which of the supposed star strikers has underperformed the most so far? Ronaldo? Thierry Henry? Wee Michael Owen? My vote goes to Henry, because he doesn't have the excuse of recovering from injury or carrying around a whole extra person. Of course, he doesn't have the team built around him the way he does at Arsenal, but still, you expect him not to suck quite this much at an international level.

Oh, and the other advantage to watching the games on tape in the evening? The ability to fast-forward through all the annoying commercials (no more really cool oom-pah-pah bands!) and the half-time blather. I still think the Canadian commentators are better than the guys on ESPN, but really, they shouldn't have so much trouble pronouncing "Thierry Henry." Considering that we speak French here and all.

1 comment:

Jones said...

"Which of the supposed star strikers has underperformed the most so far?"

I have to vote Henry. Not only has failed to do anything interesting, let alone useful, he's also publicly blamed the team's lack of scoring on new kid Ribery. Classy.

Actually Ronaldo has probably been the worst (he just stood there the whole game!) but he hasn't really done anything to earn my scorn. He actually hasn't done anything at all except show up and be fat, so, enh.