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WMR
02-07-2006, 05:16 PM
We started some World Cup talk in another thread, figure I'd move it over here for further pontification. :)


Twellman has been such a no-show at the International level that we really need to see similar performances against better opponents. The Norway game was great, for a number of reasons, and he has come on as of late, and is great in the MLS, but he has been spotty in Int. competition, although we need another goal-scorer BAD.

I'd like to see the US play a modified 4-4-2.

Basically a
4-1-2-1-2

You've got your 4 defenders. Claudio Reyna, an excellent tackler and field general, is your defensive midfielder.

Beasley on the left; whoever on the right.

Donovan as the back-forward:

Feeding the ball to McBride & Johnson

That's sort of how they run things at times and I LIKE IT A LOT.

WMR
02-07-2006, 05:17 PM
From other thread:


Here's how I'd use McBride:

First game, against Czech Republic (OUCH) he should start. Depending on how things go, play him between 65-75 mins. At this point, what US soccer fans have to understand is that we have a BIG dearth of proven goal scorers. Eddie Johnson has been great, and is very young with young legs, but he's been unable to stay consistently healthy. If he's at 100% come WC, he'll start next to McBride, no question. At that 65-75 minute mark, though, I would agree with you that, at this point, Twellman is probably the first forward off the bench. McBride is used to logging lots of minutes and his level of fitness, playing in the EPL, is still very high, his age notwithstanding.

Beasley and Donovan will both start, obviously.

Here's my starting 11 for the WC:

Keller
Cherundolo -- Onyewu -- Pope/Berhalter(that's a toss-up at this point although I'd probably give the nod to Berhalter at the moment with Pope as first man off the bench -- Bocanegra
Midfield: This is another tough one, For the right winger at this point, you probably going to see Ralston, but if Clint Dempsey can play like he did vs. Norway in the remaining matches then I'd love to see him step up to that role, Donovan, Reyna, Beasley
Forwards: Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride

WMR
02-07-2006, 05:19 PM
Anyone want to comment on how badly the US got jobbed in the WC draw?? Mexico got an overall #1 seed even though WE won CONCACAF?????

The World soccer establishment thought the US got a little too feisty in the last world cup; they're looking to knock us down a couple pegs.

WMR
02-07-2006, 05:21 PM
You know who the US plays if we finish 2nd in our group? (The most likely scenario)

The #2 team to advance from our group will play the #1 team from the group that contains..... yep, you guessed it: BRAZIL!! LOL.

Even though we'd really struggle to beat the Brazilians, they're my 2nd favorite team, and it would be really cool to see a US v. Brazil World Cup Classic (hopefully!!!) ;)

M2
02-07-2006, 07:18 PM
Anyone want to comment on how badly the US got jobbed in the WC draw?? Mexico got an overall #1 seed even though WE won CONCACAF?????

The World soccer establishment thought the US got a little too feisty in the last world cup; they're looking to knock us down a couple pegs.

Our guys were more than feisty, I thought the Germans got about as lucky as a team can get in getting past the U.S. in 2002. I hate those Teutonic flop artists.

Just to continue the discussion we were having in the other thread. I'm a big advocate of marrying style to temperament and, IMO, the U.S. needs to play a fast, attacking style in order to advance. I actually like the tough draw at the Brazilians looming for a 2nd place finish because I think it might convince Arena to pin his team's ears back.

Anyway, I'm all for sliding a midfielder closer to the front. The Spanish used to do that with Michel back in the '80s and I think the Dutch did it in '70s.

westofyou
02-07-2006, 07:44 PM
I haven't spent much time looking at the whole thing yet, however the US needs to be stronger up front than they have in past WC's that's a given and this might be the year that they do just that. However their bracket is tough and Italy always shows up.


Group A


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Costa Rica 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Poland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ecuador 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group B


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Paraguay 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Trinidad 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group C


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Côte d'Ivoire 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group D


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Angola 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Portugal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group E


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ghana 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Czech 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group F


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group G


Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Korea Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Togo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group H

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ukraine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tunisia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Betterread
02-07-2006, 07:49 PM
Our guys were more than feisty, I thought the Germans got about as lucky as a team can get in getting past the U.S. in 2002. I hate those Teutonic flop artists.

Just to continue the discussion we were having in the other thread. I'm a big advocate of marrying style to temperament and, IMO, the U.S. needs to play a fast, attacking style in order to advance. I actually like the tough draw at the Brazilians looming for a 2nd place finish because I think it might convince Arena to pin his team's ears back.

Anyway, I'm all for sliding a midfielder closer to the front. The Spanish used to do that with Michel back in the '80s and I think the Dutch did it in '70s.

The style you favor benefits an attacking mentality and would be attractive to watch. Depending on the matchup, however, it may be superfluous. The first step is for the US to advance out of the group stage. That means that not only do you need points out of every contest, you must ensure your opponent cannot take points from you. That means defensive formations and emphasis on counter-attack. We will be killed by the Czechs (if they are on - which is not a given) if we stretch our defense. You remember who they can run out on the field - Nedved, Rosicky, Baros. Their strength is in attack, but their defense is vulnerable. So if we can play a boring style but tie and share the points - we can get our points from Ghana and pray that Italy takes us lightly and doesn't show up. I am looking forward to the tournament and I would love it if we beat Italy.

WMR
02-07-2006, 08:12 PM
maybe Italy will be Portugal a la 2002. HOWEVER: Not playing them 1st hurts. BAD. They're notoriously slow starters.

Red Heeler
02-07-2006, 09:00 PM
The style you favor benefits an attacking mentality and would be attractive to watch. Depending on the matchup, however, it may be superfluous. The first step is for the US to advance out of the group stage. That means that not only do you need points out of every contest, you must ensure your opponent cannot take points from you. That means defensive formations and emphasis on counter-attack. We will be killed by the Czechs (if they are on - which is not a given) if we stretch our defense. You remember who they can run out on the field - Nedved, Rosicky, Baros. Their strength is in attack, but their defense is vulnerable. So if we can play a boring style but tie and share the points - we can get our points from Ghana and pray that Italy takes us lightly and doesn't show up. I am looking forward to the tournament and I would love it if we beat Italy.

The U.S. doesn't have the size to play a defensive game. Germany showed that in '02. The best players on the U.S. team are skinny little guys who can run like deer. They need to play an up tempo, Brazilian style, game to play to the strengths of the team. Unfortunately, Arena seems to prefer the English style of bring it up the sides and cross into the box.

westofyou
02-07-2006, 09:01 PM
Arena seems to prefer the English style of bring it up the sides and cross into the box.That's where McBride gets the nod.

Red Heeler
02-07-2006, 09:04 PM
That's where McBride gets the nod.

True. I just got through watching McBride eat ManU alive in the air. His EPL experience will be a big help. I still think that Donovan, Beesley, and Johnson make the team better suited to through balls on the ground, though.

Betterread
02-07-2006, 10:33 PM
The U.S. doesn't have the size to play a defensive game. Germany showed that in '02. The best players on the U.S. team are skinny little guys who can run like deer. They need to play an up tempo, Brazilian style, game to play to the strengths of the team. Unfortunately, Arena seems to prefer the English style of bring it up the sides and cross into the box.

Size and defensive ability are not necessarily commensurate. How about Franz Beckenbauer from the past, or Fabio Cannovaro or Juan Pablo Sorin or Roberto Carlos. None of the guys mentioned are larger than 5'8" yet they consistently draw difficult marking assignments, including tall strikers for their clubs and countries.
I wasn't aware that the Brazilian style of football was called up-tempo. I think of the Brazilian style as short pass, possession-centered attacking football.
I would be interested in what you mean by up-tempo? Perhaps you are describing another tactical dimension that I am ignoring.

M2
02-08-2006, 02:28 AM
Brazil plays with an elegance and flair that no one can match.

But the U.S. has crazy legs. I don't think it has to expose the defense to attack.

Betterread, given the draw I don't think the U.S. should play for second in the group. Advancing out of the group strikes me as a been-there, done-that goal.

The team can't afford to play for a tie with the Czechs. That's not even an advancement strategy. If goal differential is the plan then the U.S. ought to stay home.

The U.S. can attack. So can the Czechs. Coaches hate exciting matches, but I would urge the U.S. to dare to play one (and win). One of these days a U.S. coach is going to let American players be American players. We're a hard-charging people and we need a play hard-charging brand of football.

Also, the U.S. has a choice -- beat Italy or beat Brazil or forget about the round of 8. I chose beat Italy. That's the game where I think McBride's aerial assault will be of the most use.

Red Heeler
02-08-2006, 08:38 AM
Size and defensive ability are not necessarily commensurate. How about Franz Beckenbauer from the past, or Fabio Cannovaro or Juan Pablo Sorin or Roberto Carlos. None of the guys mentioned are larger than 5'8" yet they consistently draw difficult marking assignments, including tall strikers for their clubs and countries.
I wasn't aware that the Brazilian style of football was called up-tempo. I think of the Brazilian style as short pass, possession-centered attacking football.
I would be interested in what you mean by up-tempo? Perhaps you are describing another tactical dimension that I am ignoring.

Up-tempo was a poor choice of wording. I certainly don't think the U.S. should try to play basketball on grass. The Brazilian style is about creating space through player movement with and without the ball. They may not go up and down the field any faster than anybody else, but there is a lot more player movement to their style. The U.S. has one of the most athletic teams around, so they should play to a style that takes advantage of it.

WMR
02-08-2006, 04:21 PM
One of the MOST athletic teams? Sorry, I've got to disagree with ya there.

If the US wins in the World Cup, it will be through organization, accurate passing, and an effective offsides trap.

Most teams in the World Cup will be more athletic than the USA.

M2
02-08-2006, 04:38 PM
One of the MOST athletic teams? Sorry, I've got to disagree with ya there.

If the US wins in the World Cup, it will be through organization, accurate passing, and an effective offsides trap.

Most teams in the World Cup will be more athletic than the USA.

If you had to run an 10-man relay, I'm guessing the U.S. would be one of the top finishers. True or false, McBride (who you wouldn't count as one of the faster players on the U.S. roster) runs around folks in the Premiership pretty well?

What the U.S. doesn't have is the skill of other nations, but we've got kick and run down pretty well. Everybody needs organization and accurate passing, but what you just described is Italy (soccer's version of the Borg). The U.S. can't beat them at that game.

WMR
02-08-2006, 05:39 PM
If you had to run an 10-man relay, I'm guessing the U.S. would be one of the top finishers. True or false, McBride (who you wouldn't count as one of the faster players on the U.S. roster) runs around folks in the Premiership pretty well?

What the U.S. doesn't have is the skill of other nations, but we've got kick and run down pretty well. Everybody needs organization and accurate passing, but what you just described is Italy (soccer's version of the Borg). The U.S. can't beat them at that game.

When I talk about athleticism, I mean that more in the way of ball skills, creativity, and quickness. The only U.S. player with world-class quickness is DaMarcus Beasley. Our defense, while physical, will be one of the least-athletic starting back lines in Germany. McBride isn't athletic (comparatively). Gritty? yes. Hard driving to the ball? No doubt.

There's a reason Landon Donovan couldn't cut the mustard for Bayern Munich. He's a great player who fits into the US's cohesive unit style of play very well, but he doesn't possess a world-class skill set at this point in his career.

Look at Claudio Reyna, arguably our best player. He's far from athletic, especially at his age. He is, however, an excellent decision-maker and very strong on the ball.

I do agree that we should play a hard-charging style of soccer in the world cup to maximize our chances, but our success won't be because we have better athletes (yet) or players with better, more complete, skill sets.

M2
02-08-2006, 06:58 PM
When I talk about athleticism, I mean that more in the way of ball skills, creativity, and quickness. The only U.S. player with world-class quickness is DaMarcus Beasley. Our defense, while physical, will be one of the least-athletic starting back lines in Germany. McBride isn't athletic (comparatively). Gritty? yes. Hard driving to the ball? No doubt.

There's a reason Landon Donovan couldn't cut the mustard for Bayern Munich. He's a great player who fits into the US's cohesive unit style of play very well, but he doesn't possess a world-class skill set at this point in his career.

Look at Claudio Reyna, arguably our best player. He's far from athletic, especially at his age. He is, however, an excellent decision-maker and very strong on the ball.

I do agree that we should play a hard-charging style of soccer in the world cup to maximize our chances, but our success won't be because we have better athletes (yet) or players with better, more complete, skill sets.

I think you need to separate out ball skills and creativity from athleticism.

Athleticism is comprised of the raw animal qualities the players bring to the mix. The U.S. ranks decidedly ahead of other nations on that front and it's advantage on which the club needs to capitalize (on a sidenote, imagine if LeBron James, Michael Vick and Alex Rodriguez played soccer).

It's why I mentioned marrying style to temperament above. Watch a kid's soccer game sometime. I remember in Spain seeing kids work a short-passing game while they showed off their ball skills. American kids want to boom the ball, streak down the field and attack the net. Pardon the pun, but we're a goal-oriented lot.

Obviously soccer requires you to forge a team and work together, but Americans by nature want to get there faster and strike harder. Our best and brightest do just that. We're never going to have the most skilled players. The Brazilians will always be more creative. The Italians will always have better ball skills. Yet we just might be able to field a team that runs its opponents into the pitch. Shock and awe might be overstating it, but they're not bad guideposts.

BTW, I really like the idea you've got about deploying the midfield with a distrbutor like Reyna playing quarterback and allowing attackers like Donovan to trasition forward in quicker fashion. Obviously defense and ball control are a huge part of the game no matter what style you play. What I'm suggesting (and I'm guessing Heeler is too) is that the U.S. make sure it can run a good fast break, that it be able to pounce.

WMR
02-08-2006, 08:04 PM
Yes, I agree with you. It's just that when I think of true devastating athleticism I think of a Wayne Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry etc. etc. I don't think we've got a single player of that caliber at this point, but, considering it, I think you may be right in that, as an entire team our athleticism and speed is superior to most other countries.

WMR
02-08-2006, 08:07 PM
I really like Kasey Keller but I think Friedel is the superior GK. I wish we still had him in the fold for this WC. His performance in 2002 was unbelievable.

Betterread
02-08-2006, 09:51 PM
BTW, I really like the idea you've got about deploying the midfield with a distrbutor like Reyna playing quarterback and allowing attackers like Donovan to trasition forward in quicker fashion. Obviously defense and ball control are a huge part of the game no matter what style you play. What I'm suggesting (and I'm guessing Heeler is too) is that the U.S. make sure it can run a good fast break, that it be able to pounce.

I like Reyna better as a holding midfielder with Donovan playing behind a lone striker (mcBride) - thus a 4-1-3-1-1 (a modified 4-5-1). Donovan is too frail to hold the ball up in a striker's role at the WC level, in my opinion. He's more effective running freely, finding space and drawing defenders to him. I think our national squad's athletes could be dangerous with a timely counter-attack every now and then. After the way we have played in the last few tournaments, the US should view elimination from the group round as a disappointment. We should advance, although that will be hard given the group we drew.

OldRightHander
02-08-2006, 10:34 PM
I saw an EPL team playing a 4-5-1 the other day (kicking myself for not being able to remember who it was) and I liked a lot of what I saw. I think that could work well with the team we have. Say what you will about the tough draw, but if we make it out of that group, the team could be prepared for a good run in elimination play. One can only hope.

M2
02-09-2006, 11:37 AM
I like Reyna better as a holding midfielder with Donovan playing behind a lone striker (mcBride) - thus a 4-1-3-1-1 (a modified 4-5-1). Donovan is too frail to hold the ball up in a striker's role at the WC level, in my opinion. He's more effective running freely, finding space and drawing defenders to him. I think our national squad's athletes could be dangerous with a timely counter-attack every now and then. After the way we have played in the last few tournaments, the US should view elimination from the group round as a disappointment. We should advance, although that will be hard given the group we drew.

I'd argue the strength of the U.S. team is players who run freely and can draw defenders to them. That's why one forward strikes me as the team trying to be something it's not.

ochre
02-09-2006, 11:42 AM
Yes, I agree with you. It's just that when I think of true devastating athleticism I think of a Wayne Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry etc. etc. I don't think we've got a single player of that caliber at this point, but, considering it, I think you may be right in that, as an entire team our athleticism and speed is superior to most other countries.
There are several other teams in the WC that do not have athletes of that caliber too... :)

WMR
02-09-2006, 02:26 PM
There are several other teams in the WC that do not have athletes of that caliber too... :)

But is there any team in the WC that doesn't have at least one player as athletic as our most athletic player? (I would posit that that player, for our team, is DaMarcus Beasley)

Red Heeler
02-09-2006, 07:10 PM
But is there any team in the WC that doesn't have at least one player as athletic as our most athletic player? (I would posit that that player, for our team, is DaMarcus Beasley)

I would guess that there are more than a few teams that don't have anyone who can beat Beasley, Donovan, or Johnson in a footrace.

As for your earlier post about super athletes, I'll give you Christiano Ronaldo, he's crazy fast with some unbelievable footwork thrown in on top. Henry is fast enough, but it is his striking that makes him a killer. Rooney is pit bull tough, but I don't see anything spectacular about his athleticism.

WMR
02-09-2006, 09:24 PM
Rooney is one of the fastest players in the world. We don't have anyone that can blow by defenders like he does in the EPL while maintaining such solid ball control.

Cedric
02-09-2006, 09:50 PM
I root for Totaal Voetbal’s finest. Something about those orange uniforms and the style of play. I'm glad they are back.

WMR
02-09-2006, 10:18 PM
I love Van Nistelrooy, Davids, Makaay... very talented squad. Especially Van Nistelrooy, what I wouldn't give for the US to have a goalscorer with his acumen and guile.

ochre
02-09-2006, 11:44 PM
I would guess that there are more than a few teams that don't have anyone who can beat Beasley, Donovan, or Johnson in a footrace.

As for your earlier post about super athletes, I'll give you Christiano Ronaldo, he's crazy fast with some unbelievable footwork thrown in on top. Henry is fast enough, but it is his striking that makes him a killer. Rooney is pit bull tough, but I don't see anything spectacular about his athleticism.
Rooney's definitely above average physically from what I've seen of him in the few PL games I've seen. He looks a step or two faster than a lot of those top level players and he's much stronger.

westofyou
02-09-2006, 11:46 PM
and he's much stronger.And he's young and fiesty, they'll prod him and try and make him cut his own throat whenever he's on the pitch.

ochre
02-09-2006, 11:54 PM
And he's young and fiesty, they'll prod him and try and make him cut his own throat whenever he's on the pitch.
Sure. He's an extreme hot head. I was just trying to point out that he is pretty far towards the right side of the bell physically.

westofyou
02-09-2006, 11:57 PM
Sure. He's an extreme hot head. I was just trying to point out that he is pretty far towards the right side of the bell physically.
Yes he is, he's a feisty guy and very important to England (IIRC Owen is out now and I don't know where that stands) but from the games I've seen over the past 2 years he's always hovering outside a scrum or having a talk with the Ref... so he's gonna be poked... it is after all a chess match game .... hence the popularity wane here in the states.

Betterread
02-10-2006, 12:30 AM
I would guess that there are more than a few teams that don't have anyone who can beat Beasley, Donovan, or Johnson in a footrace.

As for your earlier post about super athletes, I'll give you Christiano Ronaldo, he's crazy fast with some unbelievable footwork thrown in on top. Henry is fast enough, but it is his striking that makes him a killer. Rooney is pit bull tough, but I don't see anything spectacular about his athleticism.

Rooney is a powerful and pacy player, as is Ronaldo. Rooney is just more powerful, more technically gifted, has more pace, plays more consistently and most importantly WORKS HARDER both in practice and in competition.
And its less important how fast you are in football rather at what speed you can apply your technical skills. The higher the technical skills and the higher the speed at which they can be used is how players are statofied.

WMR
02-10-2006, 12:32 AM
I believe that Owen is supposed to be back well in time for the WC. Despite his still relative youth, injuries have hampered a bit what was his greatest asset, his speed. Not sure if he'll ever be the player he was a couple years ago, but he's still a hell of a striker and a good pair with Rooney up top for the Brits.

On a sidenote: Has anyone seen much of Steven Gerrard? WOW. Talk about a beast. That guy is amazing. Plays his club ball for Liverpool.

EDIT: Ack, thx BR.

Betterread
02-10-2006, 12:35 AM
On a sidenote: Has anyone seen much of David Gerrard? WOW. Talk about a beast. That guy is amazing. Plays his club ball for Liverpool.

His name is Steven Gerrard and he's about as vital to England as Rooney is. He's not a bad guy to pick for your team.

WMR
02-10-2006, 12:36 AM
Rooney is a powerful and pacy player, as is Ronaldo. Rooney is just more powerful, more technically gifted, has more pace, plays more consistently and most importantly WORKS HARDER both in practice and in competition.
And its less important how fast you are in football rather at what speed you can apply your technical skills. The higher the technical skills and the higher the speed at which they can be used is how players are statofied.

Rooney is unquestionably more powerful than C. Ronaldo, but I don't think Rooney can hold a candle to C. Ronaldo's technical ability and I would call their relative speeds a wash with the edge to C. Ronaldo because I think he can operate with better technical abilities at full speed than Rooney (your 2nd point, which I agree with).

They're just different players. C. Ronaldo is a wing player who excels at moving the ball, crossing, and facilitating play. Rooney is the bull in the china shop who busts through a defender but who can also make a couple moves at speed if need be.

Betterread
02-10-2006, 12:44 AM
I saw a Ronaldo take a really nicely positioned 25 yard free kick last week versus Fulham and put it over the top of the goal by about 20 yards - just a terrible kick. Then a few minutes later, Man U had a free kick from 35-40 yards and he struck the ball so that it swerved right, then left, then took a "hop" past the keeper who didn't even dive. Think about that description, it was like a breaking pitch that broke one way, then the next, then sailed up. It was an unbelievable strike. That's what you get with Ronaldo. What happens if the game ends and you only have the one free kick - will you get the sublime skill or the lazy, crappy effort?
That's the issue I have with him and he is only 21 so it would be normal for him to have room to mature. He is a great talent and is very fun to watch. I just happen to like Rooney better.

WMR
02-10-2006, 12:49 AM
I think he just turned 21 the other day... Rooney is very young too, but I think that the type of game he has typically takes longer to develop than the hard-charging striker role that Rooney fills.

Betterread
02-10-2006, 12:58 AM
They're just different players. C. Ronaldo is a wing player who excels at moving the ball, crossing, and facilitating play. Rooney is the bull in the china shop who busts through a defender but who can also make a couple moves at speed if need be.
Of course you're right that they have different styles. However, they are both attacking players and these players are paid to score goals. This year, Ronald has 5 goals, while Rooney has 10 goals.

WMR
02-10-2006, 01:08 AM
LOL, well they are on the same team, after all. I wonder how many of Rooney's goals have come off of Ronaldo assists?? ;)

Nugget
02-10-2006, 01:51 AM
As much as we all have a soft spot for England (aside from our respective teams) I don't think they have the defensive ability to lift the WC. The WC is unlke most of the premier club championships as its less about attractive football as each game is essentially and do or die final.

The teams who do go well are Germany, Brazil and Italy. And I would pick one of those three. The outsider is Argentina. Brazil have a much underestimated defence and really does complement their attacking creativity. The Germans are great at protecting their net and building to taking that one chance to score.

The English really have put too much into their attacking gifts this time around. Rooney, Owen, Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard are five guys any team would want. But if I had to take one guy from the England squad it would be Jamie Carragher - will never let you down at the back.

Cedric
02-10-2006, 03:05 AM
As much as we all have a soft spot for England (aside from our respective teams) I don't think they have the defensive ability to lift the WC. The WC is unlke most of the premier club championships as its less about attractive football as each game is essentially and do or die final.

The teams who do go well are Germany, Brazil and Italy. And I would pick one of those three. The outsider is Argentina. Brazil have a much underestimated defence and really does complement their attacking creativity. The Germans are great at protecting their net and building to taking that one chance to score.

The English really have put too much into their attacking gifts this time around. Rooney, Owen, Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard are five guys any team would want. But if I had to take one guy from the England squad it would be Jamie Carragher - will never let you down at the back.

I don't honestly think Italy and Germany have much a chance at all. Germany has some hope being the host, but they both have subpar teams right now. Right now it's Brazil and then the rest. My top three possible winners would be

1. Brazil
2. Argentina
3. France

I think Spain is gonna break the drought somehow. And a slight sleeper pick would be the Netherlands to win it all. Yeah they are ranked 3rd, but they have a really inexperienced squad. I'll root for them to repeat 88 in Germany.

I guess Germany could make it. They got a pure luck draw... AGAIN

ochre
02-10-2006, 10:57 AM
I tend to only catch the premier league games on Fox Soccer world or whatever. Not sure why, but when I flip over to there those tend to be what's on. I've seen Rooney and Ronaldo a few times this year therefore. I'm not necessarily an England fan, just that's what I've seen more of.

M2
02-10-2006, 12:58 PM
I've always been a fan of teams like Brazil, Spain and the Netherlands, where they not only want to win, they want to play a superior style as well. To England's credit, it's gotten away from the dreadful kick-'em-in-the-shins soccer it was playing in previous decades. The absolute hell final for me would be Italy vs. Sweden.

Sleepers I'll be rooting for: Cote D"Ivoire (stuck in the group of death with Argentina, Serbia and the Netherlands) and Trinidad (coached by Leo Beenhakker).

If the tournament plays to form Brazil and Spain will collide in the round of 8 and that's a shame.

WMR
02-10-2006, 03:01 PM
As much as we all have a soft spot for England (aside from our respective teams) I don't think they have the defensive ability to lift the WC. The WC is unlke most of the premier club championships as its less about attractive football as each game is essentially and do or die final.

The teams who do go well are Germany, Brazil and Italy. And I would pick one of those three. The outsider is Argentina. Brazil have a much underestimated defence and really does complement their attacking creativity. The Germans are great at protecting their net and building to taking that one chance to score.

The English really have put too much into their attacking gifts this time around. Rooney, Owen, Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard are five guys any team would want. But if I had to take one guy from the England squad it would be Jamie Carragher - will never let you down at the back.

I'm more a fan of individual English players than their team overall. I disagree with you, however, about the weakness of their defense. Gerrard is one of the strongest tackling midfielders in the world. Cole, Ferdinand, etc. etc. They've got at least half a dozen truly world class defenders.

If anyone's defense proves to be their undoing, I'd go with the Brazilians. Roberto Carlos and Cafu, their main stalwarts in the back, and major pieces of their counter-attacking defensive game, are both getting exceptionally long in the tooth for a defender (about 35).

That being said, they're my 2nd favorite team because of the way they play the game. Such joy and creativity, wonderful. And my favorite player right now is easily Adriano (well, maybe he's tied with Henry, who is also a joy to watch). If anyone hasn't had the opportunity to see this guy, he plays over in Serie A for Inter Milan and is possibly the strongest striker on the ball that I've ever seen (Yes, easily stronger than Rooney, which is really saying something). And with a Brazilian's flair, no less! And a lefty!

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2004/soccer/10/17/weekend.rdp/p1_adriano_all.jpg

Hoosier Red
02-10-2006, 04:15 PM
Back to the US for a moment, is there any knowledge to be gained from tonights titanic struggle against Japan?

I know it's mainly MLS players, but anything to look for, positives negatives?

M2
02-10-2006, 04:28 PM
Back to the US for a moment, is there any knowledge to be gained from tonights titanic struggle against Japan?

I know it's mainly MLS players, but anything to look for, positives negatives?

Depends on who's playing for Japan.

It's probably a matter of individual players making their mark in this game, but the Japanese are excellent preparation for Italy. It would be nice to see how well you can attack them.

WMR
02-10-2006, 05:05 PM
Back to the US for a moment, is there any knowledge to be gained from tonights titanic struggle against Japan?

I know it's mainly MLS players, but anything to look for, positives negatives?

Watching the game tonight, the biggest thing I'd be looking at is the performance of our forwards, most notably Taylor Twellman, and the midfielder Clint Dempsey. Both these guys had really nice games against Norway. Can they put two in a row? Consistency is what they've been lacking; hopefully they can show some tonight.

Out of the current squad for tonight's contest--comprised totally of MLS players--versus Japan these are the two "bubble" players who could actually end up starting a match for the U.S. in the World Cup. (The other two sure-fire starting-caliber players on this roster are Landon Donovan & Eddie Pope)

Eddie Johnson is on the roster for tonight's match but has been injured. It will be interesting to see if he is fit enough to play. He might be used as a sub, doubt Bruce will want him to go 75 or 90. If he's healthy come WC, and at top form, he'll almost certainly be the other top forward paired with Brian McBride (unless Arena puts Landon Donovan as a forward, which he does at times but would probably prefer to eschew under ideal scenarios b/c Eddie Johnson has the potential to be the "pure" goalscorer that the U.S. has never really produced.

Chris Rolfe is another to watch. He's yet to get a cap but has been a spectacular goal-scorer at times in MLS. I'd like to see him get a shot tonight.

As far as Japan is concerned, supposedly they've brought their A-team defense and their B-team forwards, so we should face, at the very least, a much more organized and skilled defense than these players (TWELLMAN & DEMPSEY) saw against Norway's C-Team which will hopefully provide a better barometer of their progression.

EDIT: Heath Pearce is a defending youngster who plays professionally in Denmark for FC Nordsjaelland. The rest are MLS.

Red Heeler
02-10-2006, 10:02 PM
One thing that makes the U.S. tough to gauge is that so many of the national team members play their club ball in MLS. It offers little perspective for comparison to teams for whom the majority of the starters play in major European leagues. If you are playing in a league with Chelsea, Barcelona, or Juventus, you are probably regularly playing a team better than most of the teams you will see in the World Cup.

Most of the U.S. players are unknowns as far as that level of play. For the most part, they have spent their time playing, at best, at the equivalent of AAA. Does the U.S. have a bunch of Miggy Cabrera's and Albert Pujol's or do they have a team full of Brandon Larson's?

Someone mentioned Donovan's lack of success in Germany as a weakness to the team. Frankly, that experiment was doomed from the start. A scrawny fast guy like Donovan is a miserable fit in German style soccer. If he would have gone to Spain or Italy, that would have been a better test.

M2
02-12-2006, 01:33 PM
Well the U.S. put the screws to a normally tight Japanese defense. Twellman was dominant again and Dempsey also had himself a hell of a match. Here's a write-up on the game:

http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/060211/1/61gh.html

Betterread
02-12-2006, 04:53 PM
Well the U.S. put the screws to a normally tight Japanese defense. Twellman was dominant again and Dempsey also had himself a hell of a match. Here's a write-up on the game:

http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/060211/1/61gh.html

I thought Twellman and Demsey looked good - maybe Dempsey makes the Germany trip now. I was pretty impressed by his form. He could supply some depth to the squad, although I don't know who he would displace in the starting midfield. Twellman already had a spot. Boy, Japan didn't really try too hard to be competitive until they started being embarrassed. I was thinking that they were having a look at some outside shot selections. They really allowed Twellman a lot of room.

M2
02-12-2006, 08:02 PM
They really allowed Twellman a lot of room.

I see his MLS games every now and then and a lot of people seem to allow him a lot of room. He runs free as well as any American I can remember.

Teams put markers on him and he gets free. The guy makes things happen.

I'm not sure who the U.S. squad drops for Dempsey either, but I'd drop somebody. Just thinking out loud, any U.S. midfielders you think would make a nice halfback?

Nugget
02-12-2006, 08:55 PM
Cole is currently injured and Ferdinand has been shown up lately in the central defense. Plus Campbell is having head problems.

The WC is about a different type of football especially in the QF and SF. I just don't think the English have either the defense or the tactics to go through. They certainly have the talent but its different at the WC.

Betterread
02-12-2006, 11:09 PM
I see his MLS games every now and then and a lot of people seem to allow him a lot of room. He runs free as well as any American I can remember.

Teams put markers on him and he gets free. The guy makes things happen.

I'm not sure who the U.S. squad drops for Dempsey either, but I'd drop somebody. Just thinking out loud, any U.S. midfielders you think would make a nice halfback?

Don't Ben Olsen and Frankie Hejduk play both Midfield and defense positions? Maybe they are settled in their current roles. Sometimes the WC coach sees a player at a different position - so it makes for interesting watching.

WMR
02-13-2006, 02:33 AM
After Reyna, Donovan, and Beasley, the 4th midfield spot is wide open and I could easily envision Dempsey being given the nod if his stellar game continues.

What will be very telling is how he performs when he is paired with the rest of the starters who are in the midst of their European club schedules during the final Pre-WC friendlies.

Twellman will probably be a sub b/c Bruce WILL start McBride and Twellman is a very similar player. soooo.... unless Eddie Johnson is unable to regain form by the WC, he should be the starter alongside McBride with Twellman being the 1st sub. (I could see Twellman starting one game out of the 1st 3 w/ McBride being used as the sub in that game: Obviously, depends on what we need point-wise).

Red Heeler
02-13-2006, 05:45 PM
Cole is currently injured and Ferdinand has been shown up lately in the central defense. Plus Campbell is having head problems.

The WC is about a different type of football especially in the QF and SF. I just don't think the English have either the defense or the tactics to go through. They certainly have the talent but its different at the WC.

I wonder how much gas Beckam is going to have left in his tank, too. Dude is running his legs off for Madrid.

Red Heeler
02-13-2006, 05:49 PM
Twellman will probably be a sub b/c Bruce WILL start McBride and Twellman is a very similar player. soooo.... unless Eddie Johnson is unable to regain form by the WC, he should be the starter alongside McBride with Twellman being the 1st sub. (I could see Twellman starting one game out of the 1st 3 w/ McBride being used as the sub in that game: Obviously, depends on what we need point-wise).

I'd like to see Arena rotate the three as starters for group play. That way each could have nearly a full game rest heading into the knock-out portion. It would also give him an idea of which combo works the best.

westofyou
03-15-2006, 05:23 PM
U.S. moves up to highest FIFA ranking ever



ZURICH, Switzerland -- The U.S. national team improved to fifth in FIFA's monthly rankings -- the highest it's ever been placed by world soccer's governing body.


The Americans, who broke out of a three-way tie for sixth with Spain and Mexico despite dropping a point to 764 in Wednesday's latest poll, also moved ahead of France, which dropped to eighth.


The United States reached the quarterfinals at the 2002 World Cup finals and won the 2005 Gold Cup.


At the other end of the top 20, World Cup host Germany and European champion Greece dropped out.


Greece, which failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, dropped from 19th place to 21st with 704 points. Germany, which reached the final at the last World Cup and will host the next edition, had been tied with the Greeks but dropped to 22nd with 700 points.


Brazil remained at the top of the list with 835 points, two less than it had in February's rankings. The Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Argentina continue to occupy the next three spots.


The Czechs remain a distant second with 789 points, but that's only one more than the Netherlands. The Argentines also lead the United States by only one point.


Spain remained in sixth place, while Mexico dropped to seventh and France to eighth. England stayed ninth and Portugal remained in 10th.


Iran and Croatia were the teams that benefited from the drop at the bottom of the top 20, sharing 19th in place of Greece and Germany.


Also, Palestine moved up 17 places to 121st, its best ever ranking.

Newport Red
03-26-2006, 05:14 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 20, 2006
German Coach and American Ways Are a Tough Match
By JERE LONGMAN
DÜSSELDORF, Germany, March 19 — With the World Cup opening June 9, Germany is in a familiar panic as the host country, fearing that its coach is merely a "Baywatch" blond, more concerned with his tan lines than with the bottom line of winning a global soccer championship.

Since Jürgen Klinsmann, a former star forward and captain of Germany's national team, became the coach in July 2004, he has continued to live half of each month in Southern California with his American wife and two young children. This transcontinental commuting has aroused three of Germany's favorite preoccupations — soccer, the United States and the weather.

A self-described cosmopolitan who speaks four languages, Klinsmann has hired an American trainer, as well as a sports psychologist, and has opened his roster to younger players. These reforms have unsettled the insular and conservative German soccer federation, which appears to want and fear change, said Oliver Bierhoff, the national team manager.

Germany is split between those who embrace Klinsmann and those who vaguely fear an Americanization of German soccer, according to Andrei Markovits, a professor of German studies at the University of Michigan who has written about Klinsmann and anti-Americanism in Europe.

The United States is still considered a soccer upstart here. In the view of some soccer officials, journalists and politicians, whatever New World approaches Klinsmann has learned in America have little application for an Old World soccer power like Germany.

"It's a clash between the new and the old in Germany," Markovits said by telephone. "There is a real cleavage between the left, liberal, urbane, youngish Germany that really likes him and the 'real' guys who go to the bar every night and think he's the worst because he's sort of an intellectual, he lives in L.A. and brings in American methods and married an American wife."

Particular dread set in March 1, when Italy routed Germany, 4-1, in an exhibition in Florence, Italy. Klinsmann was blamed for everything from poisoning German soccer to grinning too much to undermining the brittle economy.

Speculation even arose that Klinsmann could be fired if Germany were to lose an exhibition to the United States on Wednesday in Dortmund. At the least, soccer officials fear that he will be booed for dropping a Dortmund-based defender, Christian Wörns, from the national team. T-shirts exhorting "You for us and we for you" will be handed out to placate and rally the home fans.

Criticism grew so intense by last week that Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, felt it necessary to deflate mounting pressure on Klinsmann. She declared that he was "on the right track" and urged him to ignore his critics.

"It's simply sad for a country that is going full speed to their biggest sporting event for the next 50 years," Klinsmann, 41, said here Sunday in an interview with a small group of international reporters.

"The World Cup is bigger than the Olympics," Klinsmann said. "It's the biggest thing you can host. And it seems like we do everything possible to be far too skeptical, far too critical, instead of being happy and proud and honored that you have that competition."

German reporters were not invited to the interview. It infuriates Klinsmann that he is portrayed by some as a beach bum. Apart from pledging to spend most of his time in Germany as the World Cup approaches, he has defiantly said he will stick to his plans "no matter where home is."

"I take this job very seriously," he said, adding of the World Cup: "If we win our first two games, everyone will try to jump on our train. But the train will have left already."

Those unhappy with Klinsmann were surely unmoved by the latest rankings from FIFA, soccer's world governing body, which put the United States fifth, the highest it has ever been, and Germany 22nd, the lowest it has been.

"I think there is a lack of respect for our soccer," said Bruce Arena, the American national team coach.

The United States threatened Germany before losing, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. Yet Arena said he still sensed a competitive jealousy among traditional powers who felt threatened by the rise of teams from North America, Africa and Asia.

Germany's obsession with the weather, which has been particularly cold this winter, might influence the dissatisfaction with Klinsmann, said Peter Zygowski, a language consultant at the Goethe Institute in San Francisco.

"They are completely obsessed with sunshine and the beach, and when they hear about Klinsmann in California, it conjures images of vacation, slacking off," Zygowski said by telephone.

That was certainly not his image as a rapacious goal scorer. Klinsmann scored 47 goals in 108 appearances with the German national team. He played forward for the team that won the 1990 World Cup and was the captain of the squad that won the 1996 European championship.

After a professional club career in Germany, Italy, France and England, Klinsmann retired in 1998 and settled in Huntington Beach, Calif., to work in sports marketing and consulting. He prefers the privacy afforded him in the United States, believing that anonymity abroad will allow his son and daughter to grow beyond his considerable sporting shadow.

The United States, he said, also appealed to him for its "let's go for it" attitude. Many Germans seem pleased by the new attacking style Klinsmann has put in. There was widespread agreement that change was necessary after Germany's embarrassing exit in the first round of the 2004 European championships, only two years after reaching the final of the World Cup. (It lost to Brazil.

National team coaches face constant second-guessing in soccer-consumed nations. But Klinsmann's management style has been especially provocative: spending half of each month in California, communicating with his players via e-mail and telephone, following their club matches on satellite television.

He would do the same thing if he lived in Berlin or Rome, Klinsmann said. But to some soccer officials, "e-mail and PowerPoint is an American way of doing things," said Bierhoff, who is Klinsmann's second in charge.

"Every proposal seems suspicious," Bierhoff said.

Germany's recent exhibition loss to Italy unleashed an angry response. "Disaster," proclaimed the soccer magazine Kicker. The Bild tabloid, Germany's largest daily and one that has been highly critical of Klinsmann, wrote, "Mama Mia We Are Bad." The tabloid showed a picture of a grinning Klinsmann ("Grinsi Klinsi") and added, "With you, one can only cry about our national team."

Die Tageszeitung wrote that Klinsmann threatened the expected $9.5 billion economic windfall from the World Cup and sapped Germany of its anticipation and general optimism. "Euphoria has been replaced by depression," the paper said, adding, "At most, the gastronomy branch can hope that, out of desperation, the masses grab for the bottle."

After that defeat, Klinsmann returned to California on the anniversary of his father's death, missing a workshop for World Cup coaches. That prompted a rebuke from Germany's greatest soccer hero, Franz Beckenbauer, who led West Germany to the 1974 World Cup title as the captain and to the 1990 World Cup title as the coach.

"Time is running out," Beckenbauer, who is president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, told reporters.

Stefan Effenberg, a former teammate of Klinsmann's, urged that he be fired immediately, saying, "The rest of the world is laughing at us."

Some politicians even wanted Klinsmann censured before a sports subcommittee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, according to Markovits, the Michigan professor. "That's like Larry Brown being cited before Congress for only bringing home a bronze from the Athens Olympics," Markovits said, referring to the Knicks' coach. "Absurd."

In recent days, the criticism has subsided, with Chancellor Merkel supporting Klinsmann and saying: "We should not destroy our justified joy of anticipation with all this negativity. Do not let yourself be deterred from your path."

Beckenbauer, too, offered encouragement, saying, "There is no question that Germany can win the World Cup." But he also could not resist a dig at Klinsmann as they met in Berlin, telling reporters: "It is fine that Jürgen will now stay in Germany. He has had enough of the sun."

The German team does not have the skill of Brazil or Argentina, and the tactical sophistication of Italy, Klinsmann acknowledged. But he also noted that his team would enjoy a tremendous home-field advantage in the World Cup. "The truth will be on the field," he said.

If Germany wins the World Cup on July 9, Klinsmann will again be a national icon. If things go badly, Markovits said a German journalist recently suggested to him that Klinsmann would become persona non grata in his home country.

"Maybe he could visit his parents, but he would be completely vilified," Markovits said. "I would seriously worry about his safety if the Germans lose in the quarterfinals."



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ochre
05-08-2006, 03:09 PM
So, Rooney broke his foot?

NJReds
05-08-2006, 03:26 PM
Here's our roster as named by Arena:


US squad for Germany:
Goalkeepers: Kasey Keller (Borussia Monchengladbach), Tim Howard (Manchester United), Marcus Hahnemann (Reading)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Cory Gibbs (ADO Den Haag), Chris Albright (LA Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (Leeds United), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake)

Midfielders: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), John O'Brien (Chivas USA), Ben Olsen (DC United), DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Bobby Convey (Reading)

Forwards: Brian McBride (Fulham), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo).

(Albright is a replacement for Hedjuk, who is injured)

I'm surprised that Twellman isn't on the roster, but based on the amount of playing time he gets w/the US, I'm not sure he's an "Arena guy."

RawOwl UK
05-09-2006, 06:33 PM
So, Rooney broke his foot?

Yeh it doesn't look good :( Sven says he will take him anyway hoping he could make the later stages. This has opened the door for 17 year old Theo Walcott of Arsenal who has yet to make an appearence for the gunners !!!!!

He is seriously quick, rumours are that in a 100m sprint he beat Henry by 10yrds . I think it's worth the gamble in taking him, could be the impact player we need ala Owen in 98.

Crossing my fingers for the Roonmeister but doubt he will be ready in time :bang:

By the way, I have booked the first 2 weeks off work :beerme: games kick off at 2pm 5pm and 8pm BST every day for the first 2 weeks !!!!

FOOTBALL HEAVEN :thumbup:

Red Heeler
05-09-2006, 08:57 PM
Yeh it doesn't look good :( Sven says he will take him anyway hoping he could make the later stages. This has opened the door for 17 year old Theo Walcott of Arsenal who has yet to make an appearence for the gunners !!!!!

He is seriously quick, rumours are that in a 100m sprint he beat Henry by 10yrds . I think it's worth the gamble in taking him, could be the impact player we need ala Owen in 98.

Crossing my fingers for the Roonmeister but doubt he will be ready in time :bang:

By the way, I have booked the first 2 weeks off work :beerme: games kick off at 2pm 5pm and 8pm BST every day for the first 2 weeks !!!!

FOOTBALL HEAVEN :thumbup:

Bad luck about Rooney. I'm going to have to call BS about Walcott beating Henry by 10 yards in a sprint, though. Ryan Freel probably can't beat Scott Hatteberg by 10 yards over a 100 yard sprint. On the other hand, Henry can fly, so anyone who can beat him by a stride in a sprint is cooking. How is Walcott in the air? With Beckam delivering the ball, a top notch attacker in the air is a powerful weapon.

Nugget
05-09-2006, 10:49 PM
Walcott's the reserve. England will more than likely play with a 4-5-1 which means that you'll either have Owen or Crouch up front with Rooney if fit in the midfield. That's why England has only gone with the four strikers.

RawOwl UK
05-10-2006, 02:47 AM
Rooney wouldn't play midfield !!! maybe just sitting of the main striker but that would be a more 4-4-1-1 than 4-5-1. If Rooney isn't fit you could maybe see Carrick getting the holding role in midfield sat in front of the back four, allowing Lampard and Gerrard to support the front man.

If this did happen I feel the fans would get very frustrated if things didn't go our way early on in games. It would probably be ok in the group games.

Walcott is not known for being strong in the air, but if the right ball is played to him I'm sure he would do the business.

WMR
05-10-2006, 02:48 AM
England fans are going crazy. S.G.E. is considered by many to have officially gone insane.

Nugget
05-10-2006, 03:04 AM
Raw Owl -I agree that its more of a 4-4-1-1 with Rooney playing the Scholes role in the previous World Cup. However, I'm pretty sure thats what the English will go with first up. If it doesn't work the problem is that without a fit Rooney the squad can't really change around. Walcott and Owen are much the same kind of striker and as much as I hate to say it they should have left Crouch at home. Bent would have been the much better option.

The Aussies just announced their squad and no real surprises. Even with all the concern over Schwarzer and Cahill the one guy they need to keep it cotton wool is Hiddink.

reds1869
05-10-2006, 05:54 PM
England fans are going crazy. S.G.E. is considered by many to have officially gone insane.

Hopefully there are no attractive secretaries around to cause another scandal for Sven. God knows that's the last thing England's drama queen squad needs at this point.

Nugget
05-11-2006, 01:45 AM
Given McClaren's performance in the UEFA Cup this morning I don't think there will be much change in the management style after the World Cup either.

For those interested FA Cup Final this Saturday. The REDS v the Hammers.

RawOwl UK
05-11-2006, 01:11 PM
Middlesbrough were garbage last night BUT a fine acheivement to reach a major european final . The BIG one is next Wednesday.

ARSENAL V BARCELONA --The Champions League Final.

Nugget
05-12-2006, 12:05 AM
Maybe for English soccer supporters but the big one is Saturday - REDS to win.

I was more on about his performance after the defeat - could he have been less gracious.

Cedric
05-12-2006, 12:39 PM
Italian soccer federation is going through a HUGE investigation right now.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=367724&cc=5739

RawOwl UK
05-12-2006, 04:27 PM
Walcott's girlfriend probably doesn't know whats hit her at the moment !!!!! She will be in the newspapers everyday for the next few months , poor girl.

How is the build up going over there ? Is world cup fever catching stateside ?

Hoosier Red
05-13-2006, 10:18 AM
it's not a fever, but there is certainly more buzz than I remember from the last two years.

Gatorade has a commercial with the US soccer squad, and ESPN has been running a lot of commercials for the World Cup.

Definately a lot more attention than in previous years.

But fever, no, I'm considering taking comp time to make sure I can watch the US games. The last World Cup I was unemployed which made it much easier to find time to watch the games.

Stupid Job.

ochre
05-13-2006, 04:05 PM
I'd label it more of a "curiosity" than a fever. Outside of a few soccer enclaves the general population is probably only vaguely aware that something is going on. ESPN is getting behind it a bit though, so maybe by the next world cup there will be some excitement.

Betterread
05-13-2006, 05:45 PM
Reds win on penalties! Reina came up big.

How does Derek Walcott make the English world cup squad but doesn't get named for even one EPL match? What is Wenger doing (he must be behind the Walcott selection)? What is Sven Goran doing?

The American public know more and expect more of their squad this cup. Everyone I know (not just soccer fans) knows the US are in a tough group. If the US advances, I believe they will capture the nation's attention.

reds1869
05-14-2006, 11:13 AM
What a match! I've followed the Reds for years, albeit very casually. Alas, my beloved Tractor Boys have yet to make it back to the top flight. 15th in the league this year; ouch. It's tough being an Ipswich supporter on the left side of the Atlantic.

The US is in a tough group, but on the bright side we will bounce one of the top ten sides out by advancing. Eliminating the Czechs or Azzuri either one will be excellent for our knockout chances.

RawOwl UK
05-14-2006, 02:30 PM
USA have announced their squad.

Goalkeepers : Marcus Hahnemann (Reading), Tim Howard (Everton), Kasey Keller (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Defenders: Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Cory Gibbs (ADO Den Haag), Eddie Lewis (Leeds), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake)

Midfielders : DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Bobby Convey (Reading), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), John O’Brien (Chivas USA), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City)

Forwards : Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Brian McBride (Fulham), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)

RawOwl UK
05-14-2006, 02:34 PM
Reds win on penalties! Reina came up big.

How does Derek Walcott make the English world cup squad but doesn't get named for even one EPL match? What is Wenger doing (he must be behind the Walcott selection)? What is Sven Goran doing?

The American public know more and expect more of their squad this cup. Everyone I know (not just soccer fans) knows the US are in a tough group. If the US advances, I believe they will capture the nation's attention.

Amazing game !!!!:eek:

Gerrards last minute strike to make it 3-3 will go down as one of the all time great goals !!! If you haven't seen it he was 35 yrds out and caught the ball on the volley which fizzed in the bottom right corner without touching the ground.

Reina's save in the last minute of ET was also amazing. Best cup final for years. Got to feel sorry for West Ham.

ochre
05-14-2006, 02:45 PM
How has Reyna looked over there in league play? I don't get to see too many games here. Seems like he's been around (the national team) for a long time :).

reds1869
05-14-2006, 06:15 PM
Liverpool has had some finals magic the past two years. I don't know what was better, this or the Champions League Final last year.

I am so mad that I have to work during the final on Wednesday. I guess I'll tape it and resist the temptation to get on Soccernet until later that night.

RawOwl UK
05-20-2006, 01:49 PM
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2002390000-2006230273,00.html

Things are looking better !!!! keeping my fingers crossed .

Betterread
05-22-2006, 06:59 PM
More details on Rooney's recovery - the oxygen tent seems to be helping (I am unfamiliar with this medical approach - does anyone know how it is utilized?)

Rooney making 'perfect recovery' from metatarsal injury

Wayne Rooney's chances of playing a key part in the World Cup have been boosted after England's team doctor Leif Sward claimed the player was making a 'perfect recovery' from a broken metatarsal.

The Manchester United striker fractured a bone in his right foot against Chelsea on April 24 an it was estimated he would take a minimum of six weeks to recover.

However, Sward revealed the 20-year-old had made great progress.

'Everything points to a perfect recovery. I have the highest hopes for Rooney and the World Cup,' the England medic told The Sun. 'I hope I can give a perfect answer about Rooney after the next MRI examination on Thursday.

'I hope everything has healed good and I can say everything points in that direction. This healing process has been very, very good.'

Rooney has been spending time in an oxygen tent to aid the healing process and he will have another scan later this week to assess his fitness.

He has not kicked a ball since being carried off at Stamford Bridge but Sward explained: 'He is not allowed to do that or anything else that could make his foot worse before Thursday's examination.

'But he can put pressure on his foot now with the special protection he is wearing.

'It seems like Wayne Rooney has the gift of healing quickly - but it's not that strange. Young people have that gift, much more than older patients.'

Red Heeler
05-22-2006, 09:01 PM
More details on Rooney's recovery - the oxygen tent seems to be helping (I am unfamiliar with this medical approach - does anyone know how it is utilized?)


I suspect that they are talking about a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. It is a chamber that has oxygen in it at several times atmospheric pressure. The blood becomes more saturated with oxygen than is possible at atmospheric pressure therefore delivering more oxygen to healing tissues. I'm not familiar with human studies, but a study done on horses at the University of Tennessee while I was in school showed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy decreased wound healing time.

Nugget
05-22-2006, 10:00 PM
Not quite the hyperbaric chamber but is olong the same lines. Its akin to the oxygen tent used in hospitals for burns victims. Its simply has pure oxygen recirculating through it but not under pressure.

Just as a side note Beckham used one before the last World Cup or was it Euro Cup. I'm sure RawOwl would remember.

Betterread
05-23-2006, 01:50 PM
Thanks for the information RedHeeler and Nugget - I understand the reference now.

RawOwl UK
05-23-2006, 02:26 PM
Just as a side note Beckham used one before the last World Cup or was it Euro Cup. I'm sure RawOwl would remember.

It was the 2004 Euro's .

I am so hyped up for this it's amazing !!! I have bought a 9ft x 6ft St George flag to take to the pub for the games :)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230000134997&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&rd=1#ebayphotohosting

Nugget
05-23-2006, 08:48 PM
Add the cross of St Andrew and St Patrick move it up to the top left hand corner, put the southern cross on the right hand side on a blue background and a seven pointed star on the bottom left and you have the right flag :)

reds1869
05-23-2006, 11:32 PM
Add the cross of St Andrew and St Patrick move it up to the top left hand corner, put the southern cross on the right hand side on a blue background and a seven pointed star on the bottom left and you have the right flag :)


Keep the same colors, remove the crosses, shift the stars to the upper left hand corner, add some stripes, and then you're on the right track! :beerme: Well, as long as you don't have to play Morocco. :cry:

Betterread
05-23-2006, 11:39 PM
Keep the same colors, remove the crosses, shift the stars to the upper left hand corner, add some stripes, and then you're on the right track! :beerme: Well, as long as you don't have to play Morocco. :cry:

:) - Well said, HF.

NJReds
05-24-2006, 01:13 PM
If the US doesn't pick up their game by leaps and bounds over that mess last night against Morocco, then they might as well book their ticket home from Germany immediately following their third game. They were atrocious.

RawOwl UK
05-24-2006, 02:21 PM
I know its hard BUT these game are all about a not getting injured rather than beating the opponents . Something Reyna couldn't manage.

England B v Belarus B tomorrow night. Hopefully we get to see Walcott make a cameo appearance.

NJReds
05-24-2006, 02:24 PM
I know its hard BUT these game are all about a not getting injured rather than beating the opponents . Something Reyna couldn't manage.

Exactly. There's a saying that when you're playing a game and trying to avoid injury, that's usually when you get hurt.

RawOwl UK
05-24-2006, 05:31 PM
Is the TV coverage any good over there ? Any Ex English players involved ?

NJReds
05-24-2006, 05:59 PM
Is the TV coverage any good over there ? Any Ex English players involved ?

Of the World Cup...or soccer/football in general.

On most cable systems you can get Fox Soccer Channel which shows EPL, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Argentine, among other games including national friendlies; tournaments, etc. They also show "Sky Sports News" and a weekly EPL wrapup show, among other features.

ESPN shows live Champions League games. In the NJ area, we get RAI weekly Serie A games; and the two cable Spanish-language stations show many games from around the world.

As for the World Cup - ESPN and ABC has the English language coverage. Telemundo (spanish) will also show most, if not all, of the games.

To tell the truth, WC coverage got much better after we hosted the event in 1994. Before that they interrupted games with commercials and had commentators that didn't really follow the games.

RawOwl UK
05-24-2006, 06:20 PM
Sky Sports news !!!! So you know who Jeff Stelling is ? :) and Claire Tomlinson ;)

We are lucky with the BBC (no adverts ever !!!) & ITV who will cover every game live during the tourney.

reds1869
05-24-2006, 06:48 PM
Sky Sports news !!!! So you know who Jeff Stelling is ? :) and Claire Tomlinson ;)

We are lucky with the BBC (no adverts ever !!!) & ITV who will cover every game live during the tourney.

I get BBC World Service on my satellite radio. I got to listen to the Championship playoff final, which was quite a thrill for an Ipswich fan salivating for Championship coverage. It would've been more of a thrill had the Blues not finished 15th in the table.

All in all the football coverage is ok. When I lived in Cleveland I got Gol! TV (a Spanish language soccer channel) and several Mexican stations. I watched the 2002 World Cup on Univision in Spanish because they hadn't installed my cable yet. It was odd watching the most memorable US performance in decades on Mexican TV. My Lord was the coverage biased during the US vs. Mexico cage fight.

reds1869
05-24-2006, 07:51 PM
Reyna OK (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=368744&cc=5901)

NJReds
05-25-2006, 10:20 AM
Sky Sports news !!!! So you know who Jeff Stelling is ? :) and Claire Tomlinson ;)

We are lucky with the BBC (no adverts ever !!!) & ITV who will cover every game live during the tourney.

Game coverage here has been ad-free since the 1994 World Cup. Before that, coverage was terrible.

WMR
05-25-2006, 10:25 AM
Soccer coverage in the States on the major networks is still pretty poor.

The anointed 'top-team' for WC 2006 consists of Dave O'Brien and Marcelo Balboa.

Dave O'Brien doesn't understand the game. He's a baseball and football guy with a good voice. He doesn't understand letting a game breathe... the best soccer announcers focus on the game and the strategies being employed, not the human interest stories that most American broadcasters are so intent on communicating.

Marcelo? Maybe the worst commentary guy EVER. I think he's been in a coma for the past 8 years.

Too bad, really, b/c ESPN could have picked just about any of the men working EPL matches and done a MUCH better job...

westofyou
05-25-2006, 11:15 AM
the best soccer announcers focus on the game and the strategies being employed, not the human interest stories that most American broadcasters are so intent on communicating.Welcome to the Olympics.

A fine example of this is in action right now, in the US we are eating OLN coverage for the NHL playoffs, in the early rounds they streamed CBC feeds in and the announcing style was much more focused on the games, not blanks return from knee injury or dyslexia.

RawOwl UK
05-25-2006, 02:42 PM
Who's the Irish guy who used to do the U.S league games ? How bad was he ???

NJReds
05-25-2006, 02:48 PM
Who's the Irish guy who used to do the U.S league games ? How bad was he ???


Tommy Smyth (ESPN)...I like him.

Nugget
05-25-2006, 10:26 PM
Tommy Smyth and Tommy Anderson are both on ESPN's coverage. Both are ex-Irishmen to ESPN via Australia.

Good win by the Aussies last night but they will have to improve to cut it at the World Cup. The question is how did Greece win the Euro Championships?!

Betterread
05-27-2006, 10:40 PM
Wow, England looked pretty unimpressive vrs. Belarus - mostly on the back line - Lennon looked pretty unstoppable at the beginning and Sol earned two PKs - in the first half being pulled down and in the second on a hand ball to prevent Sol from scoring off a header. I know it was a "b" game but still.....
And the US - looked good v. Venezuela - Dempsey was dominant and the US had the bulk of possession. Good warmup guys.

RawOwl UK
05-28-2006, 06:26 PM
Did you see Belarus's first goal !!!

Betterread
05-28-2006, 06:38 PM
Yes - I never saw anything like that before - Green collapsing while taking the goal kick. Did you think Belarus should have stopped before kicking the ball in the net?

Red Heeler
05-28-2006, 08:10 PM
Yes - I never saw anything like that before - Green collapsing while taking the goal kick. Did you think Belarus should have stopped before kicking the ball in the net?

I don't think the Belarussian player knew that Green was hurt. He probably thought that Green slipped. Strange injury, though. It didn't look all that wrong on replay. Any word on what the injury was? It looked like he might have had an external rotation ankle sprain. I've done that once. Hurt like the devil and way more damage than the much more common internal rotation.

Nugget
05-28-2006, 08:41 PM
Um he tore a groin muscle - Id say it probably hurts a bit more than an ankle sprain.

But that means a guy who isn't even in the first team at Liverpool is England's third choice keeper. Which isn't much when they have Calamity competing for a starting spot.

RawOwl UK
05-29-2006, 09:38 AM
Scott Carson played the last 11 games of the season for the mighty ......SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY !!!!!!!!!


so pleased for the guy as he was amazing for us. Feel for Green BUT Carson is the better keeper imo.

WMR
05-29-2006, 05:46 PM
Doesn't matter when you've got Paul Robinson and David James. Both world-class.

Nugget
05-29-2006, 08:50 PM
Havnig followed David James for most of his career I'd say he can be world class at times but he fails to be world class for 90 mins. He has one or two moments which would make any fan turn away in hope. As for the Scott Carson I agree he is a good keeper but I think Kirkland would have done a better job as third stringer given he has been playing week in week out.

WMR
05-29-2006, 10:08 PM
Havnig followed David James for most of his career I'd say he can be world class at times but he fails to be world class for 90 mins. He has one or two moments which would make any fan turn away in hope. As for the Scott Carson I agree he is a good keeper but I think Kirkland would have done a better job as third stringer given he has been playing week in week out.

Sort of like the English Fabien Barthez?

WMR
05-30-2006, 12:30 PM
Speaking on Goalkeepers... Will Aussie's Scwarzer be fully fit for their initial 3-game set? I know he wore a facemask for a couple matches.

The Dude is a great keeper. Very solid.

I'm actually high on Australia getting out of their group... Croatia is tough, but Australia *can* beat them.

I think Australia is better than Japan.

Definitely a tough group though. Anytime you're paired with Brazil, optimism is always great, but you can more or less go ahead and give them the #1 spot coming out of that group... Brazil losing to any of those 3 would be considered one of the all-time upsets...

Anyway, how is your country approaching this WC? Happy to be there, I'm positive. Is there pressure on Hiddink to reach the round of 16?

How has Mark Viduka's form been as of late?

Nugget
05-30-2006, 09:07 PM
Schwarzer is fully fit - its between him a Kalac for the starting keeper's job. Kalac plays for AC Milan and the two have been going at it for the no.1 since the junior days. I believe Schwarzer is the better keeper but at this point in time I don't think anyone is second guessing Guus.

People are going crazy at having made it - we have been so close the last few times. Especially with Guus. There isn't too much pressure to get to the second round, its going to be close and since we play Brazil last I think that could be a good thing. Everyone is hoping that we beat Japan and Croatia so the Brazil match will hopefully not be too much pressure.

Viduka is playing great, having been given the captains armband he has been on fire. Guus is employing a 3-4-2-1 formation which means he is playing pretty much as a lone striker but with Kewell (if fit), Cahill, Strejovski and Skoko I think we have enough firepower.

At this time Guus is being hailed as Australian football's Messiah - just getting there has been an achievement. We last made it in 1974 (before I was born).

WMR
05-31-2006, 10:56 AM
What about the Brits? Before Rooney's injury, they were my #2 pick to win the Cup (behind Brazil). Steven Gerrard is my favorite non-US player. An absolute beast. Did anyone see his goal from 35 yards out in the FA Cup?!?!

I wonder if they might play him up top w/ Michael Owen? Let Lampard fill his midfield role? Playing Gerrard as a DM is such a waste of his immense abilities, despite his EXCELLENT tackling abilities. The man truly does not have a weakness in his game.

I was disappointed to see Shaun Wright-Phillips left off the squad.

John Terry, Ashley Cole??? I LOVE England's defense.

If Rooney could make it back for the later rounds... I think England can do it.

Don't forget the wildcard, 17 yr-old Theo Walcott. After the US, I'm pulling for England; I really like their squad. Oh Rooney!!

RawOwl UK
05-31-2006, 05:39 PM
Looks like Carragher or Carrick to play in front of the back four. Leaving Beckham, Lamps & Cole in midfield with Gerrard supporting an (unfit) Owen.

Enjoyed the 2nd half last night V Hungary. Beckham & Joe Cole were the stars of the show. Good to see Crouch score, anyone see his robotics celebration :) That was mad !!!!!

Don't call us Brits ;) the scots & Welsh wouldn't be happy :)

ochre
06-01-2006, 10:43 AM
Looks like Carragher or Carrick to play in front of the back four. Leaving Beckham, Lamps & Cole in midfield with Gerrard supporting an (unfit) Owen.

Enjoyed the 2nd half last night V Hungary. Beckham & Joe Cole were the stars of the show. Good to see Crouch score, anyone see his robotics celebration :) That was mad !!!!!

Don't call us Brits ;) the scots & Welsh wouldn't be happy :)
I learned when I was stationed in England not to call Scottish people "Scotch". Evidently that's just for imbibing.

Nugget
06-02-2006, 01:55 AM
Crouch doesn't get to celebrate very often.

I don't know about everyone else but I think the loss of Edmilson will give Brazil a headache in the later rounds. Its when your playing the top teams that your ability to have a great holding midfielder is at its premium. Without Edmilson I think that Brazil could be vulnerable. Hopefully against the likes of Australia but I think the world powers are better positioned to exploit it.

WMR
06-02-2006, 11:34 AM
Edmilson wasn't going to start... I think his loss will have a negligible affect on the Selecao... they are so spoilt for choice at Midfield and Forward.

I see their only real vulnerability at D. The loss of Lucio, for example, would be disastrous.

RawOwl UK
06-02-2006, 04:25 PM
Nice to see that Deon Burton might play against England tomorrow :) Good luck Deon.

dsmith421
06-02-2006, 07:09 PM
Tommy Smyth (ESPN)...I like him.

Tommy Smyth is an absolutely nightmarish announcer. The best example is the fact that he will persist in a given argument even when conclusively proven wrong by replay evidence, especially if he can somehow work his biases in. For example, in the Champions League Final, Thierry Henry of Arsenal went in hard on Marc van Bommel of Barcelona and got booked. Smyth continued to argue the booking was justified even though replays from varoius angles showed Henry had made an incredibly clean, though hard, tackle and got all ball.

He also can't make it three minutes into a match without mentioning Manchester United or Ireland, even if the game in question is being contested between, say, Anderlecht and Fenerbahce.

The problem is that with the exception of Derrek Rae and his lovely fake Welsh accent, there is no one on American TV that can call a convincing match. Jack Edwards was a disaster, Marcelo Balboa is absolutely atrocious, Harkesy stunk, Dellacamera is about as good as we get. If they could get some 'serious' play by play men to do World Cup matches, that would assist the legitimacy of the game. I may just do what I did in 2002 and watch most of the WC on Univision.

The other option is to kidnap Martin Tyler and Steve Banyard, but that's probably asking too much.

Nugget
06-03-2006, 02:40 AM
Luckily we still get free to air coverage down here for the world cup. Plus I understand that we are getting Martin Tyler and Gary Bloom as the commentators. The coverage will be excellent.

RawOwl UK
06-03-2006, 08:30 AM
Steve Banyard

He used to present the sport on my local radio station Hallam FM:) he's pretty good.

Martin Tyler & Andy Gray are the best double act bar none !!!!!

We have old faithful John Motson as ever on the BBC. The World Cup would not be the same without Motty :)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/match_of_the_day/882124.stm

Nugget
06-04-2006, 08:24 PM
Good win by England over Jamaica over the weekend, but can't understand why SGE didn't trial Hargreaves in the shielding position. Considering both Cole and Neville were out and Carragher was at right back. I'm wondering whether Crouch is giving false hope but its good that Owen played the full 90.

For the Dutch fans both Cocu and Sneijders went off injured. Sneijders looked the more serious as he had to be carried off.

Red Heeler
06-05-2006, 10:01 AM
Good win by England over Jamaica over the weekend, but can't understand why SGE didn't trial Hargreaves in the shielding position. Considering both Cole and Neville were out and Carragher was at right back. I'm wondering whether Crouch is giving false hope but its good that Owen played the full 90.

For the Dutch fans both Cocu and Sneijders went off injured. Sneijders looked the more serious as he had to be carried off.

Crouch is a limited player, but he does have his uses. When you have a guy like Becks who can drop a 40 yard cross into a trash can, having a giraffe to recieve that cross is a pretty potent weapon.

I watched part of the match between Mexico and the Dutch the other night. The Dutch looked dominant. They were playing beautiful soccer, creating several good opportunities, but they couldn't finish. van Nistelrooy wasn't playing at the time. He should be able to eliminate that problem.

dsmith421
06-05-2006, 02:03 PM
Martin Tyler & Andy Gray are the best double act bar none !!!!!

I like Tyler because he's clearly a Gooner and has to try really hard not to openly root for them during matches. I also like him because he's one of the best announcers in sport, bar none.

It seems like this year Sky went to two-man teams (Tyler and Gray being the most obvious) whereas in the past it seemed like most matches were announced by a single commentator. I liked the old way, reminded me of Peter Aliss doing the Open Championship alone, without the constant cut-outs to hole announcers and all the garbage that breaks up US golf coverage.

Nugget
06-05-2006, 09:17 PM
I watched part of the match between Mexico and the Dutch the other night. The Dutch looked dominant. They were playing beautiful soccer, creating several good opportunities, but they couldn't finish. van Nistelrooy wasn't playing at the time. He should be able to eliminate that problem.

In the Aussie game they were dominant in the first half with Van Pierse and Robben showing real class. Ruud played the whole game but the Dutch did seem to be wary of the physical stuff. The Socceroos just didn't give them much space in the 2nd half. It was Schwarzer who saved the day for them though. He made about a dozen saves and a lot of them were reflex and at full stretch.

WMR
06-06-2006, 02:26 AM
A couple of the Aussie tackles versus the Dutch lacked class.

Nugget
06-06-2006, 02:50 AM
They were hard tackles and probably not required in the last game before the World Cup (for the Dutch at least). However, it is much how the Australian game is played. Even Van Basten acknowledged that most of them were hard but not unfair. Wilshire deserved to be sent off and its unfortunate that the Red Card won't follow over to the World Cup. Need I not mention Kevin Muscat and glad that he is no longer on the Socceroos.

WMR
06-06-2006, 03:04 AM
Yeah... I understand where you're coming from, but wow, imagining if a player from Venezuela had pulled the crap that esp. Wilshire pulled in that game versus, say, a Landon Donovan... wow, would I be pissed.

WMR
06-06-2006, 03:07 AM
Speaking of games where 2 teams played with VERY different intentions: Switzerland v. Italy... hehe, the Swiss were certainly playing with blood in their eye in that match... now Italy getting shook up... lol, that I will manage to deal with!

Too late for Aussie v. Italy and Czech Republic friendlies?? ;)

Nugget
06-06-2006, 04:29 AM
Nah we have Lichtenstein on Wednesday. The problem with Wilshire is that he is kind of third string at the moment. Even with Kewell and Cahill out he isn't guaranteed of a start. Josip Skoko who scored against Greece is ahead of him in the depth chart.

Also the Aussies remember what Bruce said about them when they qualified so it could be quite a game if the Aussies and Team USA ever meet up.

Four more sleeps before it starts.

NJReds
06-06-2006, 10:46 AM
Also the Aussies remember what Bruce said about them when they qualified so it could be quite a game if the Aussies and Team USA ever meet up.


What did he say?

Edit: I just read the article in SI; I understand.

westofyou
06-06-2006, 11:19 AM
Good article in the NYTimes the other day.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/sports/soccer/04score.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


Keeping Score
Time Has to Be Right to Risk a Red Card
By DANIEL ALTMAN
Published: June 4, 2006

Anyone who follows basketball or football knows there are certain situations in which it is better to commit a foul rather than give an opponent a chance to score. Soccer is no different. But when, exactly, is the right time to incur the referee's wrath?

Last month, the Champions League final in Paris between Barcelona and Arsenal presented such a situation.

In that game, Samuel Eto'o of Barcelona, the striker from Cameroon, was racing toward goal early in a scoreless match. Eto'o had already beaten Arsenal's defense, and only Jens Lehmann, the German national team's first-string goalkeeper, could stop him.

Eto'o, one of the top forwards in the world, nipped the ball past Lehmann, and it was then that Lehmann faced a decision — foul Eto'o and risk expulsion from the match, or let him pass for a certain goal.

Lehmann grabbed his ankle and sent him reeling. The referee Terje Hauge of Norway whistled the play dead and showed Lehmann a red card — thus ending his participation in the biggest match of the European season after less than 18 minutes.

Barcelona's Ronaldinho, the Brazilian wizard and the world player of the year, failed to score on the resulting free kick. But Arsenal had to play the rest of the match with 10 men instead of 11, and lost, 2-1.

Did Lehmann make the right decision from a statistical perspective? For Geert Ridder of the University of Southern California and his co-authors in research, the answer is yes. They analyzed Dutch professional soccer from 1989 to 1992, using the assumption that the defending player's objective was to minimize the probability of losing the match — a decent model for the Champions League final, and for the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

The researchers found that with two evenly matched teams — a tournament's two finalists often are — a player should foul to avert a certain goal anytime after the 16th minute. Lehmann acted prudently, with a minute to spare.

But what about games in the World Cup's group stage? Michael Wright, a senior lecturer in management science at Lancaster University in Britain, and Nobuyoshi Hirotsu, one of his former doctoral students, used data from the 1999-2000 English Premier League to see what would happen if a defender instead tried to maximize the number of points his team took from the match. In the English leagues (and others around the world), as in the World Cup's group stage, teams receive 3 points for a victory, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss.

The Lancaster twosome — again looking at evenly matched teams — found that the defender should always foul to avert a certain goal if his team is losing by one or two goals, and should never foul if his team is leading by two goals or more. If his team is winning by one goal or the game is tied, the gains by fouling begin from 7 to 13 minutes through the first 45-minute half, depending on whether the team is playing at home or away.

Wright and Hirotsu also discovered that committing the foul increased the chances of winning much more for the team that is already leading. The gains for the losing team are not as large. But in a few situations, such as when one team is leading by a goal between minutes 28 and 41, a red card against that team actually improves both clubs' chances of winning — only the probability of a draw is reduced.

The question was recently asked in a different way by Marco Caliendo, a senior research associate at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, and Dubravko Radic, an assistant professor of retailing and service management at the University of Wuppertal: How much does it matter that a red-carded player's team is reduced to 10 men for the rest of the match?

They used records of the World Cup tournaments from 1930 through 2002 to measure the effect of red cards. To hone their results as finely as possible, they considered only red cards awarded when a game was tied and neither team had a home advantage.

Caliendo and Radic found that a red card did not give either team an advantage in scoring after roughly the 60th minute of a 90-minute match. Absorbing the card and the expulsion was clearly preferable to allowing a goal as the match drew to a close. Earlier in the match, however, red cards actually raised both teams' chances of scoring, but the 11-man team gained a strong advantage.

So if Germany's Michael Ballack is steaming through the Costa Rican defense on Friday in the World Cup's opening match, will the men at the back glance up at the clock before deciding whether to take him down? There is usually not time to think in such situations. But if it happens late in the second half, they shouldn't think once — let alone twice.

dsmith421
06-06-2006, 01:46 PM
That is a fascinating article. The biggest problem with Lehmann's foul is that Arsenal and Barcelona were not evenly matched...as a Gunner, I can admit that.

Anyone think Costa Rica can get a result against the Germans Friday? (The first international game I ever attended was in Alejuela against the Jamaicans).

NJReds
06-06-2006, 01:53 PM
Anyone think Costa Rica can get a result against the Germans Friday? (The first international game I ever attended was in Alejuela against the Jamaicans).

Not really. Maybe on a neutral site, but not in Germany. Like many CONCACAF teams, CR is very tough at home, but not very good on the road.

RawOwl UK
06-06-2006, 04:32 PM
Rooneys looking in good shape after his training session today. I was amazed with what i saw.

Interesting comments on here regarding Crouch !!!

Peter Crouch is very tall yes , BUT his ability is in his boots. He is very inventive with knockdowns & flick on's , as well as having the confidence to shoot on site.

He looks like a freak show, so people jump on him straight away. Good luck Saturday PC.

reds1869
06-07-2006, 09:30 AM
If you can find it pick up Soccer America's World Cup Preview issue. Great stuff on the US team and run downs of all the teams in the field. A subscription to SA costs less than one to Four Four Two AND you yanks get to support your domestic game for a change.

Betterread
06-08-2006, 03:28 PM
ESPN has a great piece on Clint Dempsey, who I hope will be the USA's new soccer talent. Read it and you'll become a fan of his, too.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=370300&root=worldcup&cc=5901

reds1869
06-08-2006, 04:27 PM
Like many CONCACAF teams, CR is very tough at home, but not very good on the road.

Unlike the USA, who essentially plays every game on the road. It is sad how hostile the "home" crowds are at most of our U.S. games. Did you go to the Chicago game vs. england? I know that some fans traveled from the UK and some ex-pats were there, but most of those England jerseys were worn by people with American accents. C'mon, my familiy is as English as they come but I will never cheer for anyone against the US. I simply can't stand the way Americans don't support their national team!

NJReds
06-08-2006, 04:30 PM
Unlike the USA, who essentially plays every game on the road. It is sad how hostile the "home" crowds are at most of our U.S. games. Did you go to the Chicago game vs. england? I know that some fans traveled from the UK and some ex-pats were there, but most of those England jerseys were worn by people with American accents. C'mon, my familiy is as English as they come but I will never cheer for anyone against the US. I simply can't stand the way Americans don't support their national team!

I was not at that game, but I went to a US v. Brazil game at Yale (Conn.) where the crowd was largely favoring Brazil. And forget about when we play a team from a spanish-speaking country -- it's not even close in terms of fan support.

reds1869
06-08-2006, 04:34 PM
I was not at that game, but I went to a US v. Brazil game at Yale (Conn.) where the crowd was largely favoring Brazil. And forget about when we play a team from a spanish-speaking country -- it's not even close in terms of fan support.

Guatemala in DC is always a veeeeerrrrrrrry bad idea. For my money, Columbus gets the most pro-American crowd of anywhere. I lived there during La Guerra Fria, and man was it fun to see a majority U.S. crowd!

NJReds
06-08-2006, 04:36 PM
Guatemala in DC is always a veeeeerrrrrrrry bad idea. For my money, Columbus gets the most pro-American crowd of anywhere. I lived there during La Guerra Fria, and man was it fun to see a majority U.S. crowd!

Great stadium, too. (from the looks of it on TV).

In my neck of the woods, I get more international games then US national team games. I saw Roma v. Real Madrid and Juventus v. ManU in Giants Stadium - both crowds were sellouts (79,000).

M2
06-08-2006, 06:51 PM
A couple of the Aussie tackles versus the Dutch lacked class.

Why should the Aussie's play any different than anyone else from the British Commonwealth?

Actually, to England's credit their national side no longer attempts to kick the opposition in the shins until the pitch turns red, but that's classic Brit/Irish/Scottish/Welsh football. It was built around the idea that maybe they didn't have the best athletes or ball skills, yet they surely were willing to inflict the most punishment.

IMO, if the Aussies don't attempt to tear opposing strikers to ribbons, then they aren't being an Aussie football team and they'll be three and out. It gets back to something I was saying way back at the start of this thread - find a style that fits your national temperament and play it to the hilt.

M2
06-09-2006, 01:17 PM
Great first 14 minutes of the opening game so far. The Germans scored on a beautiful shot only to have the Costa Ricans counter back on a brilliant series of quick passes which sprung the team's only real goal-scoring threat Paulo Wanchope.

Nugget
06-09-2006, 01:20 PM
Germany back on top before 20 mins

M2
06-09-2006, 02:40 PM
3-2 Germany with about 10 minutes to play in the match. Costa Rica will probably get itself at least one more chance to even this thing up. One thing is for sure, the Germans still flop and fake mortal injury as well as anyone on the planet.

reds1869
06-09-2006, 03:48 PM
All in all a fun opener. Germany is in deep trouble if they play that way in the knockout phase.

M2
06-09-2006, 04:02 PM
All in all a fun opener. Germany is in deep trouble if they play that way in the knockout phase.

Really entertaining game. The Germans nailed two amazing shots. During the game the announcers noted that they're using the equivalent of a juiced ball in this World Cup, so teams may have to risk more because it may take 3 or 4 goals to win a knockout game.

RawOwl UK
06-09-2006, 04:39 PM
the team's only real goal-scoring threat Paulo Wanchope.

The guy who danced though the Man Utd defence on his debut for Derby County in 1996 (ish)

good to see Wanchope in action again .

M2
06-09-2006, 05:45 PM
Meanwhile Ecuador has a real good team. They're a class above Poland and the Poles supposedly had a strong team. This on the heels of a supposedly weak team from North America giving the host Germans some trouble. I'm starting to wonder if the story of this World Cup will be that much of the world has caught and in many cases surpassed the Europeans.

RawOwl UK
06-09-2006, 05:52 PM
Ecuador were quite poor till the goal. Played pretty well afterwards though and deserved the win.

westofyou
06-09-2006, 05:53 PM
Meanwhile Ecuador has a real good team. They're a class above Poland and the Poles supposedly had a strong team. This on the heels of a supposedly weak team from North America giving the host Germans some trouble. I'm starting to wonder if the story of this World Cup will be that much of the world has caught and in many cases surpassed the Europeans.
Poland played uninspired force it in the box football, Ecuador, played a great spread and used the whole field. Poland deserves the defeat they didn't fight hard enough.

M2
06-09-2006, 05:59 PM
Poland played uninspired force it in the box football, Ecuador, played a great spread and used the whole field. Poland deserves the defeat they didn't fight hard enough.

What I really liked is that Ecuador seemed to figure out early on that you can really drill these balls and took a few long range shots. It didn't net direct results, but it sucked the Polish defense forward a bit and created some space to attack into behind it.

It seemed to me that in a lot of cases the ball was getting away from the Poles in their buildup and the Ecuadorans had superior legs and quickness, enabling them to take possession.

westofyou
06-09-2006, 06:05 PM
What I really liked is that Ecuador seemed to figure out early on that you can really drill these balls and took a few long range shots. It didn't net direct results, but it sucked the Polish defense forward a bit and created some space to attack into behind it.

It seemed to me that in a lot of cases the ball was getting away from the Poles in their buildup and the Ecuadorans had superior legs and quickness, enabling them to take possession.
True, they moved the ball quite well side to side, this seemed to confuse the Poles who tended to bunch and thus create more space as well.

RawOwl UK
06-09-2006, 06:35 PM
Great support from the Polish fans throughout. An excellent opening day.

For me THE big one tomorrow. The buzz is amazing at the moment, a win would be fantastic for England.

westofyou
06-09-2006, 06:47 PM
Great support from the Polish fans throughout. An excellent opening day.

For me THE big one tomorrow. The buzz is amazing at the moment, a win would be fantastic for England.
6 am game time for me on that one...

captainmorgan07
06-10-2006, 06:05 PM
Anybody see englands win on the own goal by the player from paraguay boy do they feel dumb couldnt' muster a goal yet u give one up by ur own guy england look sluggish hopefully us americans will show um how it's done monday

RedFanAlways1966
06-10-2006, 06:13 PM
Trinidad & Tobago! :D

captainmorgan07
06-10-2006, 06:16 PM
they played a heck of a game they celebrated like they won and rightfully should have

Betterread
06-11-2006, 11:15 PM
Sunday night - after watching 6 of the 8 matches played in the tournament, the Dutch looked the most impressive and played the best soccer. They attached creatively, switched fields impeccably, and showed through Sneider, von Persie, et al that their young players are going to be contributors. Also, I noticed they played a 3-4-3. I loved Van Basten as a player, and he is showing something as a coach,as well.

M2
06-11-2006, 11:50 PM
Sunday night - after watching 6 of the 8 matches played in the tournament, the Dutch looked the most impressive and played the best soccer. They attached creatively, switched fields impeccably, and showed through Sneider, von Persie, et al that their young players are going to be contributors. Also, I noticed they played a 3-4-3. I loved Van Basten as a player, and he is showing something as a coach,as well.

Eric Wynalda kept making the point that the Dutch were laying out a blueprint for the U.S. to follow tomorrow. I tend to agree. Problem is Van Basten made some vicious cuts, leaving behind many of his nation's "star" players. He didn't kid himself about what type of players are needed to play that style. The U.S. meanwhile is going to have Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride playing central roles and they're well-past the point where they can apply the constant pressure that the Dutch did today and that the U.S. would do well to emulate.

captainmorgan07
06-11-2006, 11:51 PM
tommorrow is a very big day for american soccer a win or tie tommororw would be huge watch out of onyewu on the back line he can handle the big man from czech republic im taking the Red White and Blue in a Stunner 1-0 on a demarcus beasley goal in the 85th minute they will go on to make it out of group e

WMR
06-12-2006, 12:20 PM
I was at the Columbus WC qualifier when the US beat Mexico and we had a BIG homefield advantage. Columbus is really the only venue I've seen so far where we are guaranteed to have a homefield advantage.

I've seen all the games so far and my two favorites to this point were the T & T game and the Australia game. Australia was very hard done by the refs allowance of the Japanese goal, loved the comeback. Hopefully Cahill can start the next game, he is the best Aussie player by far, IMO. The T & T game... simply a beautiful performance from the soca warriors. Taking a draw from Sweden is the upset of the tournament so far. Heroic performace from 37 year old T & T GK Shaka Hislop.

Let's Go Yanks!!!!

(BTW, England looked dreadful. They must improve if they're to have long-term success in this tournament)

DropDocK
06-12-2006, 12:56 PM
Cahill must be immortal in Australia by now. I'm glad they pulled out a convincing win after the Japanese goal was allowed by the refs.

This is the first year I've really gotten into this tournament. There's an office pool at work and I have the Netherlands to root for and they look like a favorite. Then I have acquaintences from Sweden (was the best game with T&T I saw before the Aussies pulled out the late comeback), Australia, Sweden, Poland, Ecuador and the Netherlands to root for. :beerme:

M2
06-12-2006, 01:59 PM
Onyewu is killing the U.S. He failed to mark Koller on the first goal and simply handed the Czechs the second goal with a lazy header.

Meanwhile there's no push on the offensive end. The Czechs are dominating the middle of the field. McBride has been invisible. Beasley and Convey haven't been able to create anything on the wings. Right now this team looks every bit as bad as the '98 squad.

M2
06-12-2006, 02:34 PM
Onyewu gets burned again. 3-0 Czechs.

Eddie Johnson is the only U.S. player who's shown a thing today.

captainmorgan07
06-12-2006, 02:35 PM
im hoping ti's only first game jitters cause it looks terrible right now

westofyou
06-12-2006, 02:38 PM
Onyewu gets burned again. 3-0 Czechs.

Eddie Johnson is the only U.S. player who's shown a thing today.
Dead in the water and the back line has been soft against the counter attack.

M2
06-12-2006, 02:40 PM
im hoping ti's only first game jitters cause it looks terrible right now

This looks to be a permanently flawed team. No one in the middle can play defense and the bad touches up front are epidemic. DaMarcus Beasley is handling the pill like it's a superball.

Hands-down the U.S. is the worst team I've seen take the field so far.

NJReds
06-12-2006, 02:42 PM
This looks to be a permanently flawed team. No one in the middle can play defense and the bad touches up front are epidemic. DaMarcus Beasley is handling the pill like it's a superball.

Hands-down the U.S. is the worst team I've seen take the field so far.

If South Korea didn't score a goal late in the match w/Portugal at World Cup 2002, I doubt expectations would be so high for this team.

M2
06-12-2006, 02:53 PM
Well it's two wins in the next two games or go home. A 3-0 loss pretty much shoots any chance at moving forward on goal differential right in the foot.

flyer85
06-12-2006, 03:07 PM
I guess this thread can now be closed. That was quick. :D

M2
06-12-2006, 03:08 PM
Meanwhile I'm thinking Ghana is the sleeper in this group. If that club can beat Italy today, it would put the U.S. and Italy in a game of two teams playing for their lives on Saturday. That would at least create a little drama.

DropDocK
06-12-2006, 04:05 PM
That was awful to watch. Way to look like you want to be there guys.

Red Heeler
06-12-2006, 04:24 PM
First of all, the U.S. players did not show up to play today. It will be a big setback to soccer in the United States if this team lays a 1998 style egg. With good run, the ordinary Joe might decide that this isn't such a bad game. Two more games like this and ordinary Joe might tune in to the next World Cup if there is nothing else on TV.

Second, Bruce Arena is a good coach who is poorly matched with this team. The strength of the best players on the team is speed. Arena prefers a game suited to big men. For the U.S. to sustain success in soccer, we need to decide on a style of play. The best U.S. athletes playing soccer are always going to be size challenged because if they were bigger, they would play football or basketball. Thus, the style of play needs to be quicker, with the ball on the ground more than in the air.

M2
06-12-2006, 04:50 PM
Second, Bruce Arena is a good coach who is poorly matched with this team. The strength of the best players on the team is speed. Arena prefers a game suited to big men. For the U.S. to sustain success in soccer, we need to decide on a style of play. The best U.S. athletes playing soccer are always going to be size challenged because if they were bigger, they would play football or basketball. Thus, the style of play needs to be quicker, with the ball on the ground more than in the air.

I couldn't agree more.

Arena also seems to have the team working this endless buildup that leads nowhere. That's fine if you want to pack some height into the box, but the U.S. needs to perform some quick transitions. They need to run through the defense before the defense has a chance to set itself.

WMR
06-12-2006, 05:25 PM
I don't care what style of soccer you're professing to play, when the effort and workrate is like what we saw from the U.S. today, you deserve to lose. DaMarcus Beasley must be benched. His touch has totally deserted him. Landon, wow, way to fight against the rep that you disappear on German soil.

Folks blaming Onyewu, yeah he was bad, but that Koller goal was more Pope than Gooch. And Kasey Keller above them all. His dreadful distribution led directly to the man running down our left flank with nary a defender in sight.

Hmmm, what else, start Dempsey next game, bench Beasley, don't try to play an asinine 4-5-1... start EJ...

Overall, yes, I've seen all the matches so far and the U.S. has put forth, by a LARGE margin, the weakest effort to this point.

Just an embarrassing effort all around. No imagination, no ideas, no hustle, no desire, no heart, technical mistakes, tactical idiocy... lol, can you tell I'm disappointed. I don't mind losing to Czech Republic, no shame in that whatsoever, but to lose like this is really pathetic.

MWM
06-12-2006, 05:32 PM
US soccer players are just inferior to those produced most everywhere else in the world. They're seriously lacking in precision and in basic ball control skills. They're incapable of playing quick touch soccer. You'd think that players at that level would be capable of receiving either a long pass or a quick but strong pass without it bouncing 5 feet away from them. The difference between European players and US players couldn't have been more apparent than in today's game. The US isn't even close. I watch a lot of Euro soccer and most of they're bench players would be stars in the US, with few exceptions.

Until the better athletes in the US start to play soccer with more regularity as opposed to baseball, basketball, football, the US wil NEVER be serious competitors in the world soccer arena.

I agree with M2. I've watched every game but one and the US team was the weakest team I've seen so far with the exception of Trinidad and Tobago (who were extremely lucky to avoid a goal against a team who dominated them the entire game).

IMO, the best game I've seen so far is Argentina - Ivory Coast. I love watching the African teams play. I think Ghana will also handle the US without any problem.

WMR
06-12-2006, 05:39 PM
I felt the Ivory Coast was very hard done by the Ref; thought there were a couple of plays that were penalty kick-worthy b/f Drogba scored their lone goal.

Yes, it is a lot to explain w/o getting extremely in-depth, but the US Youth development system stresses qualities that do not create players with the flair and creativity of a Rosicky/Nedved/Ronaldinho etc. etc... However, a solid team concept will still allow this team to compete, we just didn't have that today. at all.

Outshined_One
06-12-2006, 05:50 PM
Ghana's been getting robbed against Italy today. The refs have not been very kind to them, needless to say.

However, Ghana is actually a pretty solid team, fundamentally speaking. They're not like other African teams, whose game plans typically revolve around outrunning the other team and not much in the way of good anticipation and gameplanning. Too bad Italy's been on top of them every step of the way and the refs have not been helping their caue.

M2
06-12-2006, 06:09 PM
Folks blaming Onyewu, yeah he was bad, but that Koller goal was more Pope than Gooch. And Kasey Keller above them all. His dreadful distribution led directly to the man running down our left flank with nary a defender in sight.

Keller certainly had an awful game. Tony Meola even made the point that all three of those goals were shots a top-flight keeper could have stopped.

As for that first goal, looked to me like Pope came over from his slot to mark Koller after Onyewu completely neglected him, but there's no getting around a man that size. Onyewu was the defender between Koller and the ball and he got caught in no man's land. He didn't get tight to attacker and allowed enough space for the ball to find giant Czech striker. Pope can't be expected to climb over Koller's back, but at least he was on the man. Had Onyewu done the same, Koller would have had no play. Yet, as happened time and again today, Onyewu got lost and found himself in a completely useless position.

I don't know that I've ever seen a defender as flat-footed and lost as Onyewu was today. If people are getting benched in the wake of this debacle, then Jimmy Conrad ought to have Onyewu's spot outright.

ochre
06-12-2006, 06:14 PM
I don't know that I've ever seen a defender as flat-footed and lost as Onyewu was today.
How quickly we forget Wily Modesto

M2
06-12-2006, 06:15 PM
Ghana's been getting robbed against Italy today. The refs have not been very kind to them, needless to say.

However, Ghana is actually a pretty solid team, fundamentally speaking. They're not like other African teams, whose game plans typically revolve around outrunning the other team and not much in the way of good anticipation and gameplanning. Too bad Italy's been on top of them every step of the way and the refs have not been helping their caue.

That was a fun game played by two teams that went at each other and played solid in the back as well. I can't remember the last time an Italian team managed to get that many players into the attack at the World Cup. Italy just played a class team that did most everything right and came away with a 2-0 victory. I'm impressed.

Betterread
06-12-2006, 07:17 PM
Italy looked good, but Ghana was not organized in their back line and Italy really should have scored more - as they were able to get behind the back line easily and often. The reason Ghana even barely stayed in the game was their nice midfield play. Luca Toni, Pirlo, Nesta, and Totti all looked great. Forza Azzurri!

Nugget
06-12-2006, 08:44 PM
Cahill must be immortal in Australia by now. I'm glad they pulled out a convincing win after the Japanese goal was allowed by the refs.

This is the first year I've really gotten into this tournament. There's an office pool at work and I have the Netherlands to root for and they look like a favorite. Then I have acquaintences from Sweden (was the best game with T&T I saw before the Aussies pulled out the late comeback), Australia, Sweden, Poland, Ecuador and the Netherlands to root for. :beerme:

Cahill is certainly being feted as they were great goals but much of the credit is going to Guus. He had the players at conditioning camps for most of June and I think their physical fitness certainly showed.

As a side note supposedly the referee came up to Schwarzer after the match and said that he was wrong about the goal as he didn't see him being obstructed but obviously God was on Australia's side today.

If you want to see a never say die attitude look at how the Aussies played against Japan. Kewell in his first full competitive game played the full 90 and you had guys like Emerton, Grella and Culina who never stopped running.

Yachtzee
06-12-2006, 11:05 PM
I felt the Ivory Coast was very hard done by the Ref; thought there were a couple of plays that were penalty kick-worthy b/f Drogba scored their lone goal.

Yes, it is a lot to explain w/o getting extremely in-depth, but the US Youth development system stresses qualities that do not create players with the flair and creativity of a Rosicky/Nedved/Ronaldinho etc. etc... However, a solid team concept will still allow this team to compete, we just didn't have that today. at all.

I agree. I signed my 3 year old up for a soccer program just to get him some exercise over the winter when it was too cold outside. The program invovled a coach trying to get 3, 4, and 5 year olds to perform regimented exercises in order to develop skills. Needless to say, my son was bored within 5 minutes. I was just hoping they would let the kids run around and kick the ball around for an hour. When they're that young, I don't think you can really expect much more.

When I think of my own youth and playing soccer, I gained more "skill-wise" from watching the movie "Victory", going out into the yard with my friends to play "pick-up" soccer and imitating Pele and Osvaldo Ardiles. Mostly what I learned from playing organized youth soccer was how to run laps, stretch, and complete a "wall-pass". Occasionally we'd work on set plays for corners, free kicks and throw-ins. We didn't spend nearly enough time learning ball handling skills or even work on getting "touch" for the ball. By the time you started getting the feel for it down, the season was over and it was time for baseball or basketball season. How many kids learn to juggle the ball these days?

When I lived in Europe, pick-up games were quite common. Those of us foreign students at the University had our own pick-up game every Friday. No Ref, no watch, no 4-4-2 alignment, just pick teams and go. Play on whatever field is available. By the way, playing on a clay field is something else. Vasiline on the knees helps prevent serious scrapes.

WMR
06-12-2006, 11:16 PM
Keller certainly had an awful game. Tony Meola even made the point that all three of those goals were shots a top-flight keeper could have stopped.

As for that first goal, looked to me like Pope came over from his slot to mark Koller after Onyewu completely neglected him, but there's no getting around a man that size. Onyewu was the defender between Koller and the ball and he got caught in no man's land. He didn't get tight to attacker and allowed enough space for the ball to find giant Czech striker. Pope can't be expected to climb over Koller's back, but at least he was on the man. Had Onyewu done the same, Koller would have had no play. Yet, as happened time and again today, Onyewu got lost and found himself in a completely useless position.

I don't know that I've ever seen a defender as flat-footed and lost as Onyewu was today. If people are getting benched in the wake of this debacle, then Jimmy Conrad ought to have Onyewu's spot outright.

I watched it again, and I see what you're saying, but the man behind Koller, Pope, bears just as much responsibility--if not more--in that situation. Pope's vantage point was superior to Onyewu's in that he could see the play developing yet did not move to create some physical contact to either prevent Koller's clean strike or separate him from the ball. I'm not excusing Onyewu, there is plenty of blame to go around.

Yikes, please no Jimmy Conrad vs. Italy. I'll take my chances with Bocanegra b/f Conrad.

Yeah, I'm not blaming any of the goals on Keller per se, but I just have little confidence of him to make any sort of spectacular save... he has looked average for a while now. Really funny all the people on ESPN pimping Keller as the best goalie in the world, in all seriousness, I can name at least 20 goalies who are better than Keller. Cech, Barthez, Coupet, Landreau, Kahn, Lehmann, Van Der Sar, James, Robinson, Dida, Marcos, Julio Cesar, Buffon, Dudek, Sanchez, Schwarzer, Casillas, Reina... this is just off the top of my head... I love KK, but wow, calling a guy who plays for a bottom of the table Bundesliga team one of, if not the #1, GK's in the world is beyond lunacy. And the whole, he doesn't get respect b/c he is American is really lame. I mean jeez, being American hasn't stopped Brad Friedel from being respected and voted the top GK in the EPL on a couple of occassions. Speaking of which, you can add him to my list.

Nugget
06-12-2006, 11:54 PM
Tim Howard aint bad either. When Keller played in the EPL he didn't seem to be as good as Friedel. I wonder why Brad retired just before the World Cup. He was certainly doing well in the EPL.

Go the USA against Italy. The Aussies will have a much better chance against the Czechs than the Italians.

MWM
06-12-2006, 11:56 PM
I think the US goes 0-3 this Cup. I just can't see them beating either Italy or Ghana.

IslandRed
06-13-2006, 12:43 AM
I agree. I signed my 3 year old up for a soccer program just to get him some exercise over the winter when it was too cold outside. The program invovled a coach trying to get 3, 4, and 5 year olds to perform regimented exercises in order to develop skills. Needless to say, my son was bored within 5 minutes. I was just hoping they would let the kids run around and kick the ball around for an hour. When they're that young, I don't think you can really expect much more.


(Sorry for the potential hijack)

Last year, I reluctantly volunteered to coach my daughter's under-6 soccer team despite the fact that what I knew about soccer could have fit on a post-it note. But the Internet is a wonderful place and I knew a few guys who had done it before, so we've had two successful seasons now based on these principles:

* Rule #1: If a kid playing under-6 gets to the end of the season and had fun and wants to keep playing, you've achieved the objective.

* Rule #2: The coach can't turn kids that age into great players, but he can make them not want to play anymore. See Rule #1.

Kids at that age learn best by doing and have limited patience for standing around. So we didn't do traditional drills. Everything was in the form of a game (with a name), almost all of it involved all the kids playing at once, a ball at their feet almost all the time -- but in the course of playing the games, they were using the skills they needed to learn. The few things that involved taking turns were rapid-fire things with them going as soon as their names were randomly called. I ran them ragged and they got better just from getting a whole lot of touches, even though they weren't getting any individual instruction to speak of. We'd always close practice with "Hit The Coach" and a raid of the snack bag, so even if a kid was having a blah day it ended on a good note.

Coach also had a blast. My inner five-year-old can be located easily, and horsing around with the kids is a lot of fun.

WMR
06-13-2006, 12:49 AM
Tim Howard aint bad either. When Keller played in the EPL he didn't seem to be as good as Friedel. I wonder why Brad retired just before the World Cup. He was certainly doing well in the EPL.

Go the USA against Italy. The Aussies will have a much better chance against the Czechs than the Italians.

Nug, supposedly he didn't want the wear and tear of battling Kasey for the #1 spot for another 4 years after 2002. Yep, Friedel's club career has been MUCH more impressive than KK's. I think that Friedel felt that his performance in 2002 should have made the #1 position HIS until he showed that he was not worthy of the title, but Bruce made it clear that his 2002 performance would not give him a leg up over Keller for 2006. A mistake, IMO.

Congrats again, btw, on the win today. Wow, if Guus wasn't revered in Australia as a genius b/f, he certainly is now... haha his subs couldn't have turned out any better. Why not start Cahill? His fitness appeared up to the challenge. Very skilled player.

REALLY looking forward to seeing Brazil tomorrow.

reds1869
06-13-2006, 12:51 AM
The US MNT took a 16 year step backwards today. Absolutely pathetic. I have never seen a team place so lifelessly in such a huge match. Bruce Arena has taken this team as far as he can. We need new blood, and it's a shame Gus Hiddink is going to the Russians. He is exactly what the USSF needs at the helm of this program!

WMR
06-13-2006, 12:51 AM
I think the US goes 0-3 this Cup. I just can't see them beating either Italy or Ghana.

Hmm yep if we play like we did today, judging by the effort put forth by Italy and Ghana... hmmm, not looking good. Italy is clearly world class and Ghana put forth a very spirited performance. If we lose to Italy, I don't see us beating Ghana.

IslandRed
06-13-2006, 01:01 AM
Until the better athletes in the US start to play soccer with more regularity as opposed to baseball, basketball, football, the US will NEVER be serious competitors in the world soccer arena.

Right on. Some radio guy was making that point this morning -- the speed-and-size freaks who play football here would be playing soccer in any other nation playing in the World Cup.

At the risk of another possible hijack, I wonder if the better athletes in the U.S. are all that interested in baseball, either. And I'm not just talking about the lack of young African-American players. Youth baseball is largely an over-organized suburban experience these days. Go to most any high school and pick out the 10 or 20 best athletes, and I bet fewer of them are playing baseball than football or basketball, or even running track.

Outshined_One
06-13-2006, 01:28 AM
Ahhhhhh, the wonders of having 10 Spanish language channels at your disposal.

That Italy-Ghana was even worse than I originally thought. Italy was shoving Ghana's guys all over the pitch and they did it in an annoying, yet somewhat clever way. When they go to throw up their arms to show they weren't engaging in handplay, on the way up they give guys a shove in the back, letting the opposing guy's momentum take care of itself.

It's kind of sneaky, but if the refs even bother to watch the games, they will get nailed more and more for it as the tournament goes on.

Nugget
06-13-2006, 01:31 AM
Congrats again, btw, on the win today. Wow, if Guus wasn't revered in Australia as a genius b/f, he certainly is now... haha his subs couldn't have turned out any better. Why not start Cahill? His fitness appeared up to the challenge. Very skilled player.

REALLY looking forward to seeing Brazil tomorrow.

Same questions being asked here. Our local commentators were making that point during the match. They thought the tactics were right but the players weren't. I think Cahill's fitness is not as good as Kewells. He has had some sort of problem in each of the warm up matches. Given his importance I'm happy Guus kept him in reserve and out of the tussle in the first half. The Japanese winger Alex was probably the main reason and also why Wilshire started. Having said that Alex really didn't seem to have the run that maybe Guus expected. He really didn't trouble Wilshire much and by the second half the Japanese looked out on their feet.

BTW - an interesting bit of trivia on the US is that they haven't won a World Cup match in Europe yet. Good luck against the Italians. For us Brazil is big but the Croation match will be a real grudge match. There are actually three of their team who came up through the Australian youth system.

Nugget
06-13-2006, 01:33 AM
Ahhhhhh, the wonders of having 10 Spanish language channels at your disposal.

That Italy-Ghana was even worse than I originally thought. Italy was shoving Ghana's guys all over the pitch and they did it in an annoying, yet somewhat clever way. When they go to throw up their arms to show they weren't engaging in handplay, on the way up they give guys a shove in the back, letting the opposing guy's momentum take care of itself.

It's kind of sneaky, but if the refs even bother to watch the games, they will get nailed more and more for it as the tournament goes on.

On that point a comment was made in the Australian match that because its a the World Game some of the refs from the smaller countries may be overawed by the ocassion.

WMR
06-13-2006, 01:51 AM
Same questions being asked here. Our local commentators were making that point during the match. They thought the tactics were right but the players weren't. I think Cahill's fitness is not as good as Kewells. He has had some sort of problem in each of the warm up matches. Given his importance I'm happy Guus kept him in reserve and out of the tussle in the first half. The Japanese winger Alex was probably the main reason and also why Wilshire started. Having said that Alex really didn't seem to have the run that maybe Guus expected. He really didn't trouble Wilshire much and by the second half the Japanese looked out on their feet.

BTW - an interesting bit of trivia on the US is that they haven't won a World Cup match in Europe yet. Good luck against the Italians. For us Brazil is big but the Croation match will be a real grudge match. There are actually three of their team who came up through the Australian youth system.

Why are Australians able to play for either Australia or Croatia? How are Australia and Croatia linked? I know that there are several players from Australia who are of Croatian descent (Viduka, could you name the others?) What is the story there?

From all accounts, it will be a grudge match of the highest order. Wonder how Croatia will fare against Brazil tomorrow? Gotta think Brazil will come out guns blazing.

Nugget
06-13-2006, 02:09 AM
The main reason is by way of heritage. Its the same for playing for England (it happens more often in the cricket).

A lot of the Australians have a Croatian heritage with their parents being postwar migrants or in the case of Jason Culina, his dad came out to play in Australia and ended up staying.

The 3 guys who play for Croatia have dual citizenship. Whilst they were born and grew up in Australia they have Croatian parents. I understand that allows them to pursue Croatian nationalilty. Accordingly, having made that choice they can play for Croatia. Also I understand under FIFA rules that as long as you haven't played a senior match for another country you are free to play for the country of your choice (subject to nationality rules) without any waiting period.

WMR
06-13-2006, 02:52 AM
Who on each team had to make such a move?

Nugget
06-13-2006, 03:40 AM
Of the current Croation squad Joey Didulica, Josip Simunic and Anthony Seric were born and bred in Australia but have adopted Croatian nationality for football purposes.

Of the Australian squad Culina, Viduka, Kalac, Skoko, Popovic and Covic have Croatian heritage. All were born and bred in Australia. Also of interest is Kewell who has English grandparents. He was also approached to play for England early in his career but opted to remain with Australia.

Roy Tucker
06-13-2006, 09:16 AM
Watched the replay of the Czech-US match last night. All of the comments in here are spot on. What a listless and dispirited performance. This is the World Cup and they looked like they were playing a Tuesday night league game. I see more spirit in the Sunday pickup game here at the park with all the Mexicans.

FWIW, my daughter's club team has a Brazilian trainer and teaches them style and flair (along with solid fundementals). He does it for the whole club.

M2
06-13-2006, 11:31 AM
The US MNT took a 16 year step backwards today. Absolutely pathetic. I have never seen a team place so lifelessly in such a huge match. Bruce Arena has taken this team as far as he can. We need new blood, and it's a shame Gus Hiddink is going to the Russians. He is exactly what the USSF needs at the helm of this program!

The guy I'd like to see the U.S. pluck for the job is coaching Trinidad and Tobago -- Leo Beenhaker.

Wily Mo, I'm not saying Pope made a good player on Koller, clearly he didn't (the big man made him look like a child). Yet at least he marked the man and attempted to make a stop. Can you explain to me what Onyewu was doing on that play?

As for who to replace Onyewu with (because somebody has to replace him), I was under the impression that Bocanegra is more of an outer player. Conrad makes consistently good decisions and he's probably the most ferocious defender the team has got. I'm all for a total turnover on the backline after yesterday's game. Put Conrad and Berhalter in the middle with Bocanegra and Albright on the flanks.

I'm with you on Friedel. If the team wasn't going to be throw in behind the up-and-comer, Howard, then Friedel's proven himself the nation's top big game veteran. I agree that Keller doesn't seem to have the spectacular save in him.

Chip R
06-13-2006, 11:39 AM
This is a bit off point but whither Freddy Adu? Is he not old enough? Injured? Not scrappy enough?

westofyou
06-13-2006, 11:42 AM
I agree that Keller doesn't seem to have the spectacular save in him.The Manny Legace of soccer keepers. You feel comfy with him until the game is on the worlds stage, then it's the back of the mind issue and that can't be conquered.

NJReds
06-13-2006, 12:09 PM
The Manny Legace of soccer keepers. You feel comfy with him until the game is on the worlds stage, then it's the back of the mind issue and that can't be conquered.

I'm not sure what he could've done yesterday. Nobody could've stopped those first two goals for the Czechs.

I've seen teams playing pickup games in the local park expend more effort then the US did yesterday. Lazy, slow and uninspired -- definitely the worst performance so far in this world cup.

This type of performance is not unprecidented, though. In the 2002 World Cup, the US got thrashed by Poland, 3-1, and was fortunate to make it through to the knockout stage.

And now Reyna and Donovan are playing the blame game. Tossing the newcomers under the bus, saying they weren't 'ready'. Arena knocked Beasley and Donovan. I'm curious to see what Arena comes up with for the next game.

M2
06-13-2006, 12:55 PM
I'm not sure what he could've done yesterday. Nobody could've stopped those first two goals for the Czechs.

I've seen teams playing pickup games in the local park expend more effort then the US did yesterday. Lazy, slow and uninspired -- definitely the worst performance so far in this world cup.

This type of performance is not unprecidented, though. In the 2002 World Cup, the US got thrashed by Poland, 3-1, and was fortunate to make it through to the knockout stage.

And now Reyna and Donovan are playing the blame game. Tossing the newcomers under the bus, saying they weren't 'ready'. Arena knocked Beasley and Donovan. I'm curious to see what Arena comes up with for the next game.

That's horrible leadership from Reyna and Donovan considering they deserve to be under that bus as much as anyone. Reyna did little more than pass backwards yesterday and watch Czech players rush past him when he was supposed to be playing defense. Donovan did an invisible man imitation.

Arena will never bench Reyna (IMO he should because the guy can't play at World Cup tempo) because of their history together. If Donovan plays another game yesterday I assume he'll be on the bench against Ghana (Beasley fits that category too).

As for the first two goals, if Pope and Onyewu sandwich Koller on that first one, then the Czech probably wouldn't have been able to head the ball with such authority. On the second goal, Rosicky doesn't score if Onyewu doesn't put the ball right on his foot in a spot where he can take a free blast at the net.

NJReds
06-13-2006, 12:59 PM
As for the first two goals, if Pope and Onyewu sandwich Koller on that first one, then the Czech probably wouldn't have been able to head the ball with such authority. On the second goal, Rosicky doesn't score if Onyewu doesn't put the ball right on his foot in a spot where he can take a free blast at the net.

That's my point. Not much Keller could do about those goals.

To add...if Onyewu doesn't pick up an unnecessary yellow card in the 4th minute, then he can actually body-up on Koller without worrying about picking up his second.

WMR
06-13-2006, 01:39 PM
This is a bit off point but whither Freddy Adu? Is he not old enough? Injured? Not scrappy enough?

Judged by Bruce Arena to not be ready to contribute. He's old enough, yes the scrappiness might play a role. IMO, Freddy is already probably our most inventive player, our player with some 'ideas' that few American players are capable of generating. He would have been a nice late-game wildcard sub, IMO.

M2
06-13-2006, 01:42 PM
That's my point. Not much Keller could do about those goals.

To add...if Onyewu doesn't pick up an unnecessary yellow card in the 4th minute, then he can actually body-up on Koller without worrying about picking up his second.

Onyewu lost all track of Koller on that play. I could even understand if he had marked the man and been forced to play him gingerly because of the yellow card, but that's not what happened. Onyewu jogged right out of the play.

I agree that there's not much Keller could do about those two goals, but I bet Cech would have stopped at least one of them.

WMR
06-13-2006, 01:45 PM
The guy I'd like to see the U.S. pluck for the job is coaching Trinidad and Tobago -- Leo Beenhaker.

Wily Mo, I'm not saying Pope made a good player on Koller, clearly he didn't (the big man made him look like a child). Yet at least he marked the man and attempted to make a stop. Can you explain to me what Onyewu was doing on that play?

As for who to replace Onyewu with (because somebody has to replace him), I was under the impression that Bocanegra is more of an outer player. Conrad makes consistently good decisions and he's probably the most ferocious defender the team has got. I'm all for a total turnover on the backline after yesterday's game. Put Conrad and Berhalter in the middle with Bocanegra and Albright on the flanks.

I'm with you on Friedel. If the team wasn't going to be throw in behind the up-and-comer, Howard, then Friedel's proven himself the nation's top big game veteran. I agree that Keller doesn't seem to have the spectacular save in him.

LOL, Gooch was doing a great job marking that air. ;) Nah he was in no-man's land, and he was there by his own design.

Actually, Boca is played out of position when he's put at LB, he is a CB. I honestly don't think you bench Onyewu, maybe Pope, b/c of his age. Onyewu took his lumps and made his bad decisions, I think he'll put in a much better performance on Saturday and should definitely still start. I wouldn't mind subbing Boca for Pope, what we really need is the player who tore a muscle in his leg in the build-up to the WC: Corey Gibbs. He is a physical defender who plays well for ADO Haag and can play some true Outside LB. I think if you want Eddie Lewis to play next game, he needs to be put in an actual midfield position b/c he was a blackhole yesterday when expected to defend.

Keller's distribution and control of his backline was HORRIBLE yesterday. Really really bad. The 2nd goal, his 'jump' on the shot was awful. I'm sorry, but an athletic Tim Howard steers that shot from 35 past his far post. KK will make all the easy saves, but so will our other two goalies, and Howard, at least, provides the hope of making the specutacular save that I haven't seen out of KK in a long time.

WMR
06-13-2006, 01:47 PM
And Keller was rooted to his backline on the first, a hard charge and punch, it was obvious what was coming, and Koller was not out of his near-reach had he come out

NJReds
06-13-2006, 02:04 PM
I agree that there's not much Keller could do about those two goals, but I bet Cech would have stopped at least one of them.

Not the second one. Nobody would've stopped that. A beautiful and amazing shot.

NJReds
06-13-2006, 02:05 PM
I honestly don't think you bench Onyewu, maybe Pope, b/c of his age. Onyewu took his lumps and made his bad decisions, I think he'll put in a much better performance on Saturday and should definitely still start.

They need someone with size to mark Toni.

Chip R
06-13-2006, 02:20 PM
Judged by Bruce Arena to not be ready to contribute. He's old enough, yes the scrappiness might play a role. IMO, Freddy is already probably our most inventive player, our player with some 'ideas' that few American players are capable of generating. He would have been a nice late-game wildcard sub, IMO.

Thanks. I was wondering why he didn't make the team if he is supposed to be so good.

M2
06-13-2006, 02:41 PM
Not the second one. Nobody would've stopped that. A beautiful and amazing shot.

I'm with WilyMoROCKS on this one, Keller looked like he got a bad jump on it to me. I don't think it's a save that other goalies would make all the time, but I think there's other goalies that could have made that save. A little better anticipation and athleticism and that shot could have been punched away.

It was a great shot, but Keller was in a position where he could get to that post and Rosicky had to play it forward one touch before he blasted it.

WMR
06-13-2006, 02:44 PM
Thanks. I was wondering why he didn't make the team if he is supposed to be so good.
He's a soccer prodigy, truly. I think it's very important that he get to a top-flite European team as soon as possible. A player of his abilities can only be stifled and held-up in terms of progression in MLS. (Imagine keeping Dunn at AAA until he was 24 or something like that)

NJReds
06-13-2006, 02:44 PM
Switzerland and France doing their best to bring the tournament to a screeching halt.

WMR
06-13-2006, 02:49 PM
Wow, I'm really disappointed with the French coach Domenech's tactics and decisions. Trezeguet is a WORLD-CLASS striker. He should have been paired with Henry from the start. France will be in despair after this game.

M2
06-13-2006, 02:50 PM
Thanks. I was wondering why he didn't make the team if he is supposed to be so good.

There's a rumor that he's got a bit of an inflated head. Though it might just be that he's got a natural genius for the game and he's smart enough not to let his coaches squash it.

I'd really like to see Adu head down to the pro leagues in South America, to a club like Flamengo or Boca juniors. That's the place where he'd be given the chance to let his futbol freak flag fly.

Chip R
06-13-2006, 02:56 PM
There's a rumor that he's got a bit of an inflated head. Though it might just be that he's got a natural genius for the game and he's smart enough not to let his coaches squash it.

I'd really like to see Adu head down to the pro leagues in South America, to a club like Flamengo or Boca juniors. That's the place where he'd be given the chance to let his futbol freak flag fly.

It's only natural for a kid his age to have a big head. When people are telling you that you're the next big thing and the Michael Jordan of soccer, it would turn anyone's head.

I know very little about the game but it seems you and WMR have a good point. However it's a problem for soccer here in the U.S. If he stays here and becomes the poster boy for MLS, his skills don't develop. But if he goes to Europe or South America it is a huge indictment on MLS and the game in the U.S. as a whole.

M2
06-13-2006, 03:02 PM
But if he goes to Europe or South America it is a huge indictment on MLS and the game in the U.S. as a whole.

I wouldn't take it that way. The best players from all over the world play for clubs in other countries. It's the way the system works. If a kid like Adu goes abroad that just means the U.S. is becoming more involved in the international game. I'd worry more if U.S. players stayed exclusively in MLS. No league or national team is going to improve if it's operating as an island.

WMR
06-13-2006, 03:08 PM
I like the South American idea, M2. Go there for a few years then a major European club.

I don't view it as an indictment of MLS. MLS is the best thing that ever happened to U.S. Soccer. It's just that MLS can only take you so far. Look at MLS like they're a double-A league in baseball. Before MLS, the only players who got a chance to play professionally were those who were either good enough to go straight to the majors and skip the minors (VERY rare) or showed enough innate ability that one of the major european teams would take the youngster into their youth development system (every major team has their own youth development teams and camps). MLS is the conduit that has allowed the players who couldn't make the jump directly the chance to play soccer as a profession and try to either stake out a spot on the National Team here in America or improve to the point where they can make that AA jump to the 'Big Leagues.'

Freddy is somewhat of a special case in that he is WAYYY ahead of the curve. He signed with MLS, I believe, when he was 14. Now he's 17. MLS has been good for Freddy in his young career, but it is near-time for him to take the next step. I love M2's novel approach of going to South America. His flair and creativity and ideas would only improve in such an environment. He could become the #10 that we have desperately needed. European tactical abilities with South American flair? That could be a potent combination when combined with Freddy's innate abilities and intelligence on the pitch.

Yachtzee
06-13-2006, 03:09 PM
He's a soccer prodigy, truly. I think it's very important that he get to a top-flite European team as soon as possible. A player of his abilities can only be stifled and held-up in terms of progression in MLS. (Imagine keeping Dunn at AAA until he was 24 or something like that)

Here's a question. Having lived in Europe and experienced the fans over there first hand, and with all the talk about racism among European fans toward African and dark-skinned European players, would it be possible for the MLS to make a concerted effort to woo some of this top-flight talent, or would the transfer fees be too much of a financial burden for the league?

You'll have to forgive me because I haven't been able to follow soccer as much as I used to, so I may not be up on current trends in US Soccer and the MLS. It seems to me like the league would be better served by going after talented young African players than seeking out over-the-hill Euros who want to make a few more bucks before retirement. Would the lure of endorsement contracts and the lack of an overtly racist fan base be enough to attract these guys?

NJReds
06-13-2006, 03:10 PM
There's a rumor that he's got a bit of an inflated head. Though it might just be that he's got a natural genius for the game and he's smart enough not to let his coaches squash it.

I'd really like to see Adu head down to the pro leagues in South America, to a club like Flamengo or Boca juniors. That's the place where he'd be given the chance to let his futbol freak flag fly.

Arena addressed this a few times before the final roster was selected. He didn't want to bring a 16-year-old (now 17) player to the World Cup. He thinks that Freddy is a great talent, and has a fine future ahead of him.

WMR
06-13-2006, 03:15 PM
Here's a question. Having lived in Europe and experienced the fans over there first hand, and with all the talk about racism among European fans toward African and dark-skinned European players, would it be possible for the MLS to make a concerted effort to woo some of this top-flight talent, or would the transfer fees be too much of a financial burden for the league?

You'll have to forgive me because I haven't been able to follow soccer as much as I used to, so I may not be up on current trends in US Soccer and the MLS. It seems to me like the league would be better served by going after talented young African players than seeking out over-the-hill Euros who want to make a few more bucks before retirement. Would the lure of endorsement contracts and the lack of an overtly racist fan base be enough to attract these guys?

Interesting question b/c yes, racism is definitely a big problem in Europe. The truly top-flite African talent would be expensive, no doubt. The J-League (The Japanese League) has become infamous for bringing young Brazilians to their league, I think mining the African talent, so to speak, could only help raise the overall talent level of MLS. The racism is worst in Spain, and they have relatively few (almost none) black players. But yeah, there are plenty of leagues where racism is a big problem. Many of the top-flite Africans go to the EPL where it's virtually nonexistent. Also, yeah me too, not sure how much cash MLS has for seeking out such transfers. I'd take an Eto'o over a Beckham though anyday. lol, wishful thinking that, I know.

princeton
06-13-2006, 03:18 PM
IMO, Freddy is already probably our most inventive player.

Adu's no Li'l Lee Nguwen ;)

M2
06-13-2006, 04:53 PM
Kaka is flashing some star power. Ronaldinho went into the tournament as the nominal world's best player, but I won't be surprised if Kaka emerges from the Cup with that title.

MWM
06-13-2006, 05:59 PM
I just don't see anyone beating Brazil. This year's team is stronger than the 2002 one, IMO and they are just play a different game than anyone else. They didn't dominate today, but they're just too good. I can't see them losing. I wish I didn't loathe them so much because they are sure fun to watch.

I was really impressed with Croatia today. They looked strong and I think can play with just about anyone. They've been one of the better teams thus far.

westofyou
06-13-2006, 06:01 PM
I just don't see anyone beating Brazil. This year's team is stronger than the 2002 one, IMO and they are just play a different game than anyone else. They didn't dominate today, but they're just too good. I can't see them losing. I wish I didn't loathe them so much because they are sure fun to watch.

I was really impressed with Croatia today. They looked strong and I think can play with just about anyone. They've been one of the better teams thus far.
Croatia has surprised me again, they always seem to have world class 32 year old types.

But I agree on Brazil, they move the ball to well to lose without being their own worst enemy.

MWM
06-13-2006, 06:10 PM
I think if France - Switzerland had gone to PKs they would have finished 0-0..... a lot of wide open goals missed today by both teams.

M2
06-13-2006, 06:16 PM
I just don't see anyone beating Brazil. This year's team is stronger than the 2002 one, IMO and they are just play a different game than anyone else. They didn't dominate today, but they're just too good. I can't see them losing. I wish I didn't loathe them so much because they are sure fun to watch.

I was really impressed with Croatia today. They looked strong and I think can play with just about anyone. They've been one of the better teams thus far.

Croatia impressed me too.

I pretty much root for the Brazilians. I figure the folks who play the game so much better than everyone else deserve to win. They're certainly the most fun to watch. It sure beats the snot out of watching teams spend 90 minutes trying to take the air out of the ball.

Plus, I used to date a few Brazilian women, makes it easy to root for the national side.

MWM
06-13-2006, 06:30 PM
I pretty much root for the Brazilians. I figure the folks who play the game so much better than everyone else deserve to win. They're certainly the most fun to watch. It sure beats the snot out of watching teams spend 90 minutes trying to take the air out of the ball.


It's more of a South American soccer thing for me. Yes, they're better than everyone else, but they play dirty, IMO...at least dirtier than anyone else. And most importantly they invented and perfected the art of the dive. I hate the dive more than I hate the DH or a sac bunt in the first inning. It's the single worst thing about soccer and they get more calls on dives than anyone else. Sometime last decade I built up a strong dislike for theSouth American teams in the world cup and it's stuck.

M2
06-13-2006, 06:38 PM
It's more of a South American soccer thing for me. Yes, they're better than everyone else, but they play dirty, IMO...at least dirtier than anyone else. And most importantly they invented and perfected the art of the dive. I hate the dive more than I hate the DH or a sac bunt in the first inning. It's the single worst thing about soccer and they get more calls on dives than anyone else. Sometime last decade I built up a strong dislike for theSouth American teams in the world cup and it's stuck.

For me, the Germans have always been the world's great dive artists. Get within two feet of them and they fall like they've been mortally wounded (note how quickly Frings recovered from supposedly having his leg ripped asunder in the team's opening game - and why didn't he have to leave the field when the stretcher came out?).

I agree that the Argentines dive a lot, but the Brazilians usually want to make you look foolish with an amazing play and they can't do that if they flop around. Zico used to flop, but more recent Brazilian teams have played a much sturdier style. Rivaldo (one of my two favorite players of the past 20 years with Luis Enrique) was a tank with the ball at his feet. Though to be fair, Rivaldo did a masterful acting job against the Turks during the last cup on a play near the corner.

WMR
06-13-2006, 07:25 PM
You mean the 'nut-ball'? LOL, yes me too, Rivaldo is one of my all-time favorite players. The guy was made of steel and had such a predatory nose for goal. I felt Parreira really should have given him more of a look for this squad. He would have been an excellent late-minute sub vs. Croatia.

Ronaldo appeared totally out of it, although he did not look fat like he did w/ Real Madrid, just out of it. Wonder if Parreira will give him another start in their next game; probably.

Ronaldinho was stifled by the Croatians. The Croatians played wonderfully. Their game vs. Australia will be one of the better game of the 1st round. Few teams I've seen so far are capable of playing with the Brazilians nearly as well as the Croatians did today.

This current Brazil squad really doesn't have many divers. Argentina? Uruguay? Their diving is still legendary, but yeah, as someone else said, while Brazil will take the foul if you give them the opportunity, they are much more mindful of beating you with their skill, ability, passing, vision, and lethal finishing.

MWM
06-13-2006, 08:26 PM
It was a tough goal to give up today for Croatia. It was their one defensive lapse. The two guys right next to Kaka looked like they were completely taken by surprise that he would take the shot. I watched it a couple of times and he should not have gotten that shot off cleanly. And the goalie was way out of position. He was in the center of the goal while the ball was on the left side of the box. The ball had some hook on it, but it was still a few feet inside the post. It was a good shot, but the keeper really should have stopped it. But the Brazilians don't miss a lot of opportunities they get.

I hope Croatia advances.

Nugget
06-13-2006, 09:06 PM
Bring on Monday - Brazil may get a shock.

As for Croatia I believe that they have the kind of play that is perfect for the Aussies to combat. Up the middle which is where the Aussie defence is stronger.

We'll probably struggle against the Brazilians as they have pace and skill on the wings which our wide defenders struggle with.

As for the MLS v European debate. The European leagues are still the best for day in and day out competition, both within the club and in the league. I think the issue MLS has is that rather than developing the home grown talent an then allowing them to go overseas, because of the transfer fees being paid its turned into more of a retirement league. You only need a few marquee players with the rest of the roster made up of young US talent. It gives them seasoning - The really good ones will progress on to Europe.

Yachtzee
06-13-2006, 09:38 PM
As for the MLS v European debate. The European leagues are still the best for day in and day out competition, both within the club and in the league. I think the issue MLS has is that rather than developing the home grown talent an then allowing them to go overseas, because of the transfer fees being paid its turned into more of a retirement league. You only need a few marquee players with the rest of the roster made up of young US talent. It gives them seasoning - The really good ones will progress on to Europe.

Of course, it depends on the European league as well. Clearly the Serie A, Spanish Primera Division, EPL, Bundesliga, French and Dutch leagues are the class of Europe. However, I think that MLS teams would probably hold their own against teams of the second and third tier national leagues of Europe. But even with those leagues, I think a key difference is that their top teams are battle tested against the top clubs of Europe through the UEFA Cup and Champions League.

Maybe another idea would be to organize UEFA Cup and Champions League-like competition for the Americas, where the top MLS teams would face of against the top Mexican, Brazilian and Argentinian clubs, among others.

On the World Cup note, I wish I could have watched the Brazil-Croatia game today. I listened to some of it on XM. It sounded like a great match.

By the way. As the parent of a 3 year old, I can't help but laugh that one of the world's top players is named Kaka.

Betterread
06-13-2006, 11:36 PM
A lot of the Australians have a Croatian heritage with their parents being postwar migrants or in the case of Jason Culina, his dad came out to play in Australia and ended up staying.

The 3 guys who play for Croatia have dual citizenship. Whilst they were born and grew up in Australia they have Croatian parents. I understand that allows them to pursue Croatian nationalilty. Accordingly, having made that choice they can play for Croatia. Also I understand under FIFA rules that as long as you haven't played a senior match for another country you are free to play for the country of your choice (subject to nationality rules) without any waiting period.

You've identified a significant subtext to this game. Simunic, a longtime starter in the Bundesliga and for the Croatian national team, was a shiing product of the Australian youth system, yet he never played for the national team. Viduka stayed loyal to the country, but forced the Melbourne Knights to let him go basically for free to one of croatia's top teams - Dinamo Zagreb, where he had a lot of success and was sold for a lot of money to Celtic, from which he went to Leeds, et al.
Croatia played well. The thing that impressed me most was how they kept their defensive shape under all that Brazilian movement. Dario Simic did an unbelievable job of containing Ronaldinho on his side, while Emerson and Ze Roberto were awesome as defensive midfielders for Brazil. Kaka got the goal, which was well-taken, but those 2 were Brazil's best players today. Good thing for Lucio...If Croatia can play like that vrs. Australia and Japan they will advance.

M2
06-14-2006, 10:17 AM
The Spanish have spent the first 17 minutes swarming all over Ukraine. They've got three men forward, they've benched Raul, they've got what might be the loudest crowd I've heard in this tournament.

They look better than any team I've seen so far.

MWM
06-14-2006, 11:34 AM
Actually, Spain may now be my least favorite team in the world. Hard to root for a team with a fanbase so full of blatant racists. I'd love to see them get beat about 5-0 to one of the African teams.

westofyou
06-14-2006, 11:51 AM
Actually, Spain may now be my least favorite team in the world. Hard to root for a team with a fanbase so full of blatant racists. I'd love to see them get beat about 5-0 to one of the African teams.
Ghosts of the Moors haunt Iberia.

M2
06-14-2006, 11:58 AM
Ghosts of the Moors haunt Iberia.

I spent three months in Spain once upon a time and the natives had a prejudice against South and Central Americans (called them Indios, mostly as an insistence of to who the "real" Spaniards are), but they were pretty tolerant of Africans. Mind you, this was 19 years ago and maybe the cultural zeitgeist has changed.

I immersed pretty well over there and as far as anti-African racism goes, I never saw it.

MWM
06-14-2006, 12:40 PM
I immersed pretty well over there and as far as anti-African racism goes, I never saw it.

I'm basing it on recent stories read and on a special done on ESPN about racism against Africans by Spanish soccer fans (actually it's not uncommon throughout much of Europe, but it's the most widspread in Spain). Players from Africa playing on Spanish club teams receive mass amounts of abuse even from fans of their own team. Black players are often subjected to chants of "Monkey" from the crowds. At one point, one of the better African players playing in Spain picked up the ball in the middle of the second half and walked off the field. I don't claim to be an expert and it's possible I'm jumping the gun here because there's been a lot of publicity on the topic lately.

M2
06-14-2006, 01:07 PM
I'm basing it on recent stories read and on a special done on ESPN about racism against Africans by Spanish soccer fans (actually it's not uncommon throughout much of Europe, but it's the most widspread in Spain). Players from Africa playing on Spanish club teams receive mass amounts of abuse even from fans of their own team. Black players are often subjected to chants of "Monkey" from the crowds. At one point, one of the better African players playing in Spain picked up the ball in the middle of the second half and walked off the field. I don't claim to be an expert and it's possible I'm jumping the gun here because there's been a lot of publicity on the topic lately.

That's inexcusable stuff and it should be a national embarrassment for Spain. Wonder what made that worm turn? Then again, I was there in the late '80s, which was like Spain's early 70s with no Vietnam getting in the way. Everybody loved everybody back then.

Hoosier Red
06-14-2006, 01:10 PM
Adu's no Li'l Lee Nguwen ;)

After seeing Ngyuyen(sp?) at IU for just a year, I absolutely can't wait to see Adu and Nguyen carving up people in the 2010 WC.

Yachtzee
06-14-2006, 09:07 PM
Did anyone see Tunisia - Saudi Arabia or Germany - Poland today? From what I heard on XM, they sounded like two great matches.