Monday, June 19, 2006

My second round thoughts

My best and worse for the second round of World Cup matches.

Top three:

1. Maxim Kalinichenko
Who? Obviously it is the obscure reserve Ukrainian midfielder who happens to be a lookalike from LOST's Sawyer, unknown to the planet until he single-handedly destroyed Saudi Arabia (ok, not much of a strong opponent, I have to admit) eclipsing no less than Andriy Shevchenko. Bet we'll be seeing more of him in the next Champions League. And maybe Ukraine meets Brazil in quarter-finals, who knows....

2. Robinho
I wouldn't go so far to say he's better than Ronaldo already. And Ronnie surely deserves a lot of credit for his performance against Australia, when his ability more than compensated the enlarged waistline. BUT there is no doubt the team gets far more dangerous with Robinho. He should've scored once or twice against Australia - in the second goal, he hit the post - and we all remember what happened a year ago when he started alongside Adriano in the Confederations Cup. Well, some remember better than others. Like the Argentines.

3. José Pekerman
He is not the biggest gambler of the tournament because Marco Van Basten is there. But it is undeniable that betting on the questioned Abbondanzieri, Burdisso, Mascherano, Maxi Rodríguez and Saviola (against the more estabilished likes of, say, Lux, Zanetti, Verón, Kily González and Diego Milito) is paying off enormously. By far the most consistent, threatening and entertaining football being played in Germany is Argentine. Tanta gloria, tanto fútbol, desplegado por el mundo....

Worst three:

1. France
Uncroyable. I have to say that the only reason I endured watching 90 minutes of Korea 1-1 France was because I watched it at an airport lounge, with my flight 2 hours late, the TV was in front of me and I was too tired to move but too tense to sleep. Wish I had a magazine. France are dismal, dull, disorganized, uninterested, desolé and so forth. They started promisingly with one or two forays from Sagnol and a couple of runs infield by Malouda, plus Henry's goal, but that was it. A pity for Zidane, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a team without him draw with Togo and get back home - deservedly.

2. Drawing and seeding system
Unbelievable that the Ivory Coast is out and that either Ghana or the Czechs will be out, while either Korea, Switzerland or France will be in the Last 16. Blame the inexplicable Fifa team rankings and the seeding system. Maybe blame Pelé.

3. Sven-Goran Eriksson
What to say. Where is the holding midfielder? Why was Rooney rushed in? How come Downing and Lennon get in the field and do not receive balls? Why did you call up Walcott if you'd not play him for Christ's sake? Luckily for him they'll play Ecuador in last 16 before the winner of Portugal v Holland in quarterfinals, who'd be the first REAL opponents since the beginning of qualifying.

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