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Dara
(acolyte)
06/29/06 04:36 AM
The real tournament starts here new [re: EJ]  

Four very promising quarter finals that really could go either way.

Germany - Argentina

The tie of the round, and the most finely poised. As I've said before, home advantage can't be underestimated. The Germans also have more momentum than any of the sides left.

On the other hand, the Argentinians have shown their resilience and proven they can come from behind. Most of the other quarter finalists are still untested on that front.

I wouldn't be surprised if this one goes to penalties. Which the Germans will, of course, win. So, the Germans to continue their march on the World Cup.

Italy - Ukraine

Most people here seem a bit down on the Ukrainians, but I quite like them. At least they're trying to play attractive football. They've shown great resilience to recover from their first game mauling and make it this far.

I expect them to give the Italians a good match, but I expect the Italians to progress with their usual economy of effort (and with the rules). If there's one team that has consistently proven their ability to pace themselves through a tournament, it's the Azurris.

Engerland - Portugal

I'd expect a full strength Portuguese side wisely coached by wiley Phil Scolari to dispose fairly easily of this limited and flawed English team, but I also expect England to get past this decimated Portuguese outfit. It won't be pretty though.

Brazil - France

I thought France were absolutely excellent against Spain, showing resilience and self belief when coming from behind.

The big question is whether it was a one off. The Spanish match was something of a grudge one, given the racist comments the coach made about Henry (and never apologised for) and the racial abuse the Spanish fans reportedly meted out to the French black players before the game. So the French would have had no problems being up for it, and the Spaniards may have been suffering from an inferiority complex against a team they've never beaten in a competitive fixture.

Worryingly, the French have already pronounced this tournament a success for them. When teams reach the point where they think they've already done everything that could be reasonably expected of them, they tend to exit next round, and I expect Brazil to win, with Ronaldo again proving he's not bad for a guy they say is a fat fool.

Slan libh,

Dara



"I could count my friends on one hand, but I'd look like I was giving an invisible friend a hand job." - Shelle

Arlequino
(cracked actor)
06/29/06 06:11 AM
End Game new [re: Dara]  

Germany - Argentina

The outstanding team of the tournament thus far meets the shockingly attractive and not as spineless as everyone would've had you believe a month ago hosts. Man for man, system for system, coach for coach, Argentina are the clear favourites here.

For Germany, quite clearly, the best hope is that Frings can go some way to nullifying the massive threat posed by Riquelme just in front of a German backline that doesn't appear altogether comfortable with flighted or threaded balls through the middle. Equally, if Ballack can keep Mascherano and Cambiasso tied down in the centre of the field then the German wingers can pose a distinct threat to the Argentine full backs. Podolski and Klose will have their work cut out against Ayala and Heinze, but if either can steal a march on a still not fully fit Heinze, or Germany can overload on the Argentine defence, there's the potential for trouble there.

Having said all that, though, I still can't see Argentina not progressing. They're such a terrifyingly strong side, and their attacking resources are simply to die for. Even more so than Brazil's. It might take extra time, but Argentina to win 2-1.

Italy - Ukraine

Surely the two least deserving quarter finalists. Ukraine profited from a weak group, Italy from a massively fortuitous last 16 victory. Without De Rossi in the centre, Italy look a little bit gutless. Even Gattuso seems to have lost his crunching, all-action style a little. Totti has, once again, disappointed. Toni looks like a striker who'd struggle for 30 goals in the Ryman league, let alone Serie A.

For Ukraine, however, Italy may be exactly the team for them not to play. Relying on service to Shevchenko and Voronin and the clever running of Rebrov, Ukraine need to be able to find gaps in flat back fours. And the Italian defence doesn't provide a great deal of space for anybody. Even if you do get past two of the greatest centre-halves in world football, you've got to face down probably the greatest 'keeper on the planet.

The only real hope for Ukraine is that Italy do what Italy do best, and completely fail to turn up. A quarter-final against the least fancied of the remaining teams seems, on paper, to be a more or less forgone conclusion. Should Italy treat it as such, Ukraine may just come out with a victory. They'll have to fight hard though. Still - Italy to win 1-0 or 2-0.

England - Portugal

The curse of Big Phil. Hmm. He's undoubtedly a fantastic coach with brilliant positional analysis and supreme motivational skills. He doesn't, however, have quite the squad that England can boast. Moreoever, he doesn't have the single player upon whom Portugal have relied for the majority of his tenure. And he doesn't have a world class striker. Or a particularly good defence.

In fact, much like England, the Portuguese strength is in midfield. Except their two first choice midfielders are missing. Perhaps it's patriotism, or even disgust at the way this English World Cup campaign has panned out, but I just don't see how to call this one. Though both head and heart say England, that small, nagging doubt that this squad can play as a team makes me fear for this match.

Brazil - France

As Spain - and I - have begun to learn, one can never bet against France. Finally playing the game that their first team has been promising for so long, France looked, for the first time, like the true successors to their '98-'00 success story. With Zidane waking up again, Ribery remembering what it is to play football, Vieira looking like his old, giant self and Barthez displaying the better side of his character, France may not have looked complete. But they looked a damn sight better than they have done for quite some time.

Brazil, like France, have looked to be in a stupor since the beginning of the tournament. Ronaldinho is either drained from his Barcelona season, or incapable of playing a midfield role. Kaka has only shown glimpses of his spectacular ability. Ze Roberto looks like a nobody keeping a somebody - Juninho - out of a deserving starting position. But, in spite of all this, and Ronaldo's awful start to the tournament, they've just kept on getting results.

If one team really turns it on, there's little doubt that they'll emerge victorious. Should both teams do so, this could be one of the games of the tournament. Watch for Malouda, Ribery and Zidane all coming central and swamping Emerson in the hole. Should France win, it may well be the shearing of their wings that holds the key. France to win, 3-1.

later,
Chris...

I could stay if you asked me,
So for God's sake don't ask me to stay



EJ
(byroad singer)
06/30/06 11:52 AM
Argentina - Germany new [re: Arlequino]  

No goals at half time. Argentina with more ball possession, Germany with the only clear cut chance to score. Not a very beautiful but a very intense match. It will all change as soon as one team scores.

And I want to believe that a light's shining through somehow


th0mas
(acolyte)
06/30/06 12:24 PM
Re: Argentina - Germany new [re: EJ]  

Yep. The positive thing about the goal is, that there won't be any idiots with flags driving through the city.

edit: okay... too early... but if they win that match, there will be more idiots than ever. why can't german fans a bit be like the swedish...

edit: Damn, I don't envy anyone currently standing on that lawn.

edit: Days I am glad not to live in Friedrichshain: 1. pretty much every day in 1945, 2. today.


Liest das denn keiner außer mir?

Edited by th0mas on 06/30/06 01:48 PM (server time).



Arlequino
(cracked actor)
06/30/06 02:14 PM
Re: Argentina - Germany new [re: EJ]  

Sincerest and deepest congratulations to the Germans.

It takes something pretty different for me to be desperately hoping for Germany to take victory, but the new style of German play, the bravery of Michael Ballack, the neat play of Tim Borowski and the heroics of Jens Lehmann had me there. Oh yes.

Argentina let themselves down badly. Not only in their reaction to defeat, but in their pretty dreadful performance, particularly having taken the lead. The coach's substitutions were truly insipid, and the decision to leave out Saviola and Messi entirely backfired spectacularly. Riquelme was so well pressured, and the German defence held its line so impressively that the Argentines were effectively blunted.

Whisper it quietly, but depending on results in the Brazil-France quarter, Germany might just be the favourites for this tournament.

later,
Chris...

I could stay if you asked me,
So for God's sake don't ask me to stay



diamondogz74
(freecloud)
06/30/06 03:45 PM
Re: Argentina - Germany new [re: Arlequino]  

In reply to:

Argentina let themselves down badly. Not only in their reaction to defeat, but in their pretty dreadful performance


It was a bloody disgrace, talk about bad losers, all credit to Germany for a fine performance.


London Bye Ta-Ta...

forgetthatim50
(kook)
07/01/06 00:12 AM
Re: Argentina - Germany new [re: Arlequino]  

settling a tie by the penalty kick method seems horrible. it may be ok in a regular schedule match,but not going to what we call sudden death in american football playoffs is sad. it would be like the 7th game of the nba settled by a game of horse.



EJ
(byroad singer)
07/01/06 04:57 AM
Re: Argentina - Germany new [re: forgetthatim50]  

Winning a penalty shoot-out is not a matter of luck - it is a matter of quality. Yesterday's shoot-out was another fine example for that: In a situation where the pressure on a player is higher than at any other moment in this sport Germany delivered four clear cut shots while the Argentinians failed twice, first due to bad shooting, second to excellent goal keeping. There was no luck involved, it was all down to personal quality or the lack of it.

As suspected at half time the first goal changed the whole match, interestingly enough to the disdvantage of the team which scored it. In addition to Arlequino's exact analysis of Argentina's mistakes it was fascinating to see how that Argentina goal took tons of weight from off the Germans' shoulders. While they were so afraid of conceeding a goal in the 50 minutes before in which they almost suffocated from their own nervousness the sudden experience of being indeed a goal down set their minds free as they realized that it wasn't that horrible at all. And that now that the assumed shock had come about there was no reason to care any longer about Argentina taking the lead and that they may just as well play their own game. And so they did. Accompanied by perfect substitutions (Klinsmann is a genius in that department) and Argentina's surprising tactical shortcomings the Germans suddenly began to play football, got a well deserved goal and in the end a well deserved win.

What I find truely wonderful is how well my beloved Werder Bremen guys are doing in this tournament and especially in yesterday's game: Borowski and Klose created a wonderful goal and most of all defensive midfielder Torsten Frings shut down on any attempt by the normally marvellous Riquelme to do anything great in midfield. It was down to Frings' tactical, mental, physical and technical power that Argentina almost never got into dangerous positions and in the end had only one and half opportunities to score. Without the Werder players Germany would long have been out.

And I want to believe that a light's shining through somehow


EuropeanCanon
(crash course raver)
07/01/06 07:40 AM
Shapes of Frings new [re: EJ]  

In reply to:

most of all defensive midfielder Torsten Frings shut down on any attempt by the normally marvellous Riquelme to do anything great in midfield. It was down to Frings' tactical, mental, physical and technical power that Argentina almost never got into dangerous positions and in the end had only one and half opportunities to score.


Yes indeed.

I thought he wasn't at his best in Germany's opening matches. Knowing of his qualities, though, I thought to myself at the time: Frings Can Only Get Better.

Sorry.

I think we all get that feeling “what can I do to help the human race” then you probably like me say fuck it theirs something on the TV - JamieSim

EJ
(byroad singer)
07/01/06 08:10 AM
Re: Shapes of Frings new [re: EuropeanCanon]  



And I want to believe that a light's shining through somehow



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