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westofyou
06-14-2006, 09:10 PM
Did anyone see Tunisia - Saudi Arabia or Germany - Poland today? From what I heard on XM, they sounded like two great matches.
I saw the start of the Tunisia match and the 2nd half of the German match. Both SA and Tunisa are smaller teams, they matched well against each other, the Poles and Germany was a rough middle field match and the Ref had a quick yellow card. Onc ethe Poles went to ten on the RC, the Gremans were able to spread it out and work the space, they were lucky to get it after hitting the post twice in the 89th minute.. but if I was German fan I would be worried that the team is flat.

MWM
06-14-2006, 10:23 PM
Poland looked pretty good in the first half, but looked gassed about halfway through the second half. Poland's goal keeper had one hell of a game. Keepers in general are so good in this day and age you have to be almost perfect to score. I would have loved to see Poland beat Germany. It's about time Poland won SOMETHING over Germany. They deserve it.

I was not that impressed with the German team. I thought they'd be stronger than they were. They were pretty good on defense, but their offense seemed lackluster and lacking any real gameplan. Klose was very underwhelming in today's game. But they're through to the next round.

Nugget
06-14-2006, 10:49 PM
It seems to be the way with the German teams in the World Cup. They just seem to do enough to keep getting through to the next round. With all the teams having played once I think the WC is a bit more open than past years. Brazil always has the potential but the Spanish are coming through, the Germans are always hanging about and there are half a dozen other teams. Lets see how the next set of matches pan out.

Outshined_One
06-14-2006, 11:23 PM
The German team had a ton of scoring opportunities in the second half, but Poland's goalie was doing an incredible job of keeping it out of the net.

Once Poland was down to 10 men, though, it was simply a matter of time.

M2
06-15-2006, 12:06 PM
Ecuador looks great and now only needs a tie against the Germans to win their group.

On a separate note, the studio folks ESPN has had covering the World Cup have been excellent.

oneupper
06-15-2006, 12:13 PM
Ecuador looks great and now only needs a tie against the Germans to win their group.

On a separate note, the studio folks ESPN has had covering the World Cup have been excellent.

Ecuador is a middle of the pack South American team which happens to be riding a good moment.

Costa Rica's performance... IMO just accentuates how WEAK the CONCACAF is and how wrong the FIFA is to take 4 teams for this region to the World Cup.

M2
06-15-2006, 12:26 PM
Ecuador is a middle of the pack South American team which happens to be riding a good moment.

Costa Rica's performance... IMO just accentuates how WEAK the CONCACAF is and how wrong the FIFA is to take 4 teams for this region to the World Cup.

I can't take too much issue with CONCACAF given how poor Asian and African teams have looked. I'd drop a team from those continents before I even considered taking a bite out of North America.

I think what Ecuador's showing is that that sub-elite South American futbol (e.g. not Brazil or Argentina) is pretty good. We'll see what Paraguay does against Sweden today. If they can gain at least a tie then Paraguay and Trinidad will probably be playing for second place in Group B.

If anything I think South America deserves a fifth slot in the next Cup.

WMR
06-15-2006, 12:27 PM
Ecuador is a middle of the pack South American team which happens to be riding a good moment.

Costa Rica's performance... IMO just accentuates how WEAK the CONCACAF is and how wrong the FIFA is to take 4 teams for this region to the World Cup.

NO!!!!!

Are youi a U.S. fan? Losing qualifying spots is the absolute worst indictment for a soccer region. It woul be disastrous. We don't have 4. We actually hav e4.5. Our fifth place team plays team out of Asia in a home and home to decide who gets that spot. Giving up a single qualifying spot would be HORRIBLE for soccer in this region which is stgruggling to get better (and the majority of the Honduras and Panamas and Jamaicas of of CONCACAF \ARE struggling to improve. Soccer needs all the help it can get to continue to grow in this part of the world. Taking away a sport would be a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR setback for soccer in this region, and yes, the world.

On another point: The U.S GOT to accept ANY invitation to the Copa America championship (primarily South American tournemtn). The lack of playing quality opponents bringing a near-full side is one of the biggest problems that created what we saw yesterday. When was the last time we played a powerouse bringing their true heavy-hitters? A LONG TIME

Getting more younger players oversees and scheduling top sides and participating in ANY 'good' tournements are the three monumental tasks facing American Soccer if they expect to continue to grow and improve.

M2
06-15-2006, 12:43 PM
The qualifying spots for this World Cup were:

Europe - 13
Africa - 5
Asia - 4.5
South America - 4.5
North America - 3.5
Oceania - 0.5

Personally, I'd transfer one slot from Asia to South America and drop 0.5 from Africa and give it to the Euros.

WMR
06-15-2006, 02:09 PM
Oneupper: In reply to your SA weakness coment: Please remember that , in somewhat of a shocker, Uruguay, perennial power South American failed to qualify. I think I'd drop 0.5 from Asia and give it outright to Oceania. IMO, Oceania deserves to have 1 spot w/o being forced to play a South American team. *Australia & New Zealand, obviously 2 main power but I think giving Aussie football a high chance of consistently making the tournament is both good for soccer in general and especially good for that country and the overall betterment of the game)

M2
06-15-2006, 02:34 PM
M2: In reply to your SA weakness coment: Please remember that , in somewhat of a shocker, Uruguay, perennial power South American failed to qualify. I think I'd drop 0.5 from Asia and give it outright to Oceania. IMO, Oceania deserves to have 1 spot w/o being forced to play a South American team. *Australia & New Zealand, obviously 2 main power but I think giving Aussie football a high chance of consistently making the tournament is both good for soccer in general and especially good for that country and the overall betterment of the game)

The lack of Uruguay, Colombia or Chile really underscores why the South Americans deserve another spot. Any one of those teams might have been the top qualifier from Asia or Africa.

While I'm sympathetic to Oceania, they really don't have enough quality teams to merit an automatic selection. Though if they were to get one, it would make sense to make Asia pay the price for it.

WMR
06-15-2006, 02:53 PM
The lack of Uruguay, Colombia or Chile really underscores why the South Americans deserve another spot. Any one of those teams might have been the top qualifier from Asia or Africa.

While I'm sympathetic to Oceania, they really don't have enough quality teams to merit an automatic selection. Though if they were to get one, it would make sense to make Asia pay the price for it.

Agreed on all points, esp. Colombia, they should have made it.

It'd just make it more of a true "World Cup" to have *someone* from Oceania represented. I would take the 1st place Oceania team anyday over the 4th Asian (even if just in terms of attractability (sp?) and =interest)

In terms of raising the level of American play,k if we could keep all the current spots, I would LOVE a combination ofCONMEBOL and CONCACAF. Soccer growth in America would gain in a few years what will take decades with our current qualification opponents.

All in all, England has been a disappointment.

M2
06-15-2006, 02:58 PM
The seeds are being planted for England vs. Germany in the round of 16. That would be huge.

I love the combined Americas idea.

oneupper
06-15-2006, 03:25 PM
Oneupper: In reply to your SA weakness coment: Please remember that , in somewhat of a shocker, Uruguay, perennial power South American failed to qualify. I think I'd drop 0.5 from Asia and give it outright to Oceania. IMO, Oceania deserves to have 1 spot w/o being forced to play a South American team. *Australia & New Zealand, obviously 2 main power but I think giving Aussie football a high chance of consistently making the tournament is both good for soccer in general and especially good for that country and the overall betterment of the game)

Australia (A team I root for BTW, lived in Melbourne 8 years) pulled off a nice one against Uruguay. It's the CONCACAF (North America/Caribbean) slots that are excessive IMO.

Mexico and the US can be competitive AT TIMES with the rest of the world, but after that...its the pits.

A North + South American group of some sort would be a fine solution. As things stand today, the SA teams play a grueling 18 match (10 teams) elimination series over 2 years. CONCACAF has lots of "little" teams everyone beats up on. Mexico and the US might still be able to make it, but they'd have to earn it.

As for Colombia...they didn't have a good team in the early going. After Brazil and Argentina, SA teams are very evenly matched. If you look at the group standings, you'll see it was a fight. Even Venezuela, which was a perennial dormat, has been fielding a much better team lately.

M2
06-15-2006, 03:30 PM
Australia (A team I root for BTW, lived in Melbourne 8 years) pulled off a nice one against Uruguay. It's the CONCACAF (North America/Caribbean) slots that are excessive IMO.

Mexico and the US can be competitive AT TIMES with the rest of the world, but after that...its the pits.

A North + South American group of some sort would be a fine solution. As things stand today, the SA teams play a grueling 18 match (10 teams) elimination series over 2 years. CONCACAF has lots of "little" teams everyone beats up on. Mexico and the US might still be able to make it, but they'd have to earn it.

Trinidad's played better than most every African and Asian team so far. Again, I've got no problem with 3.5 CONCACAF slots given that lesser regions like Africa and Asia have more.

oneupper
06-15-2006, 03:40 PM
Trinidad's played better than most every African and Asian team so far. Again, I've got no problem with 3.5 CONCACAF slots given that lesser regions like Africa and Asia have more.\

I don't agree. Trinidad was outshot by Sweden 18-6 and got away with a tie.
With some decent finishing, England could have beaten them 5-0 today.
What happens with these overmatched teams in World Cup play is that they'll play back and pray for a tie. Doesn't make for much of a match.

The African teams, may have lost, but IMO have played much more competitive matches. They'll take the risk and try to win. Makes for more interesting soccer.

M2
06-15-2006, 04:00 PM
\

I don't agree. Trinidad was outshot by Sweden 18-6 and got away with a tie.
With some decent finishing, England could have beaten them 5-0 today.
What happens with these overmatched teams in World Cup play is that they'll play back and pray for a tie. Doesn't make for much of a match.

The African teams, may have lost, but IMO have played much more competitive matches. They'll take the risk and try to win. Makes for more interesting soccer.

Portugal ran circles around Angola. Togo and Tunisia played enjoyable matches against AA opponents from Asia. Trinidad played beautiful defensive soccer against two of the better attacking teams in the world for almost two full games until the Brits broke through at the end of today's contest. Trinidad's shown they can stay on the field with top flight opponents and they might be playing for a slot in the knockout round against Paraguay. Wait until Spain gets ahold of Tunisia and the Saudis. Switzerland and France should make easy work of Togo. We'll see if there's anything to South Korea against those two European clubs as well. Japan's well on its way to getting obliterated. Angola's got the weakest draw in the cup, but Mexico should carve them up pretty well.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are the clear class of Asia/Africa regions and, unfortunately, they wound up in the two groups of death. Outside of those two teams, and maybe the Koreans, there isn't a club from either of those two continents that's likely to stick with the better teams in the world. Not very interesting as far as I'm concerned.

Outshined_One
06-15-2006, 04:00 PM
Trinidad's played better than most every African and Asian team so far. Again, I've got no problem with 3.5 CONCACAF slots given that lesser regions like Africa and Asia have more.

Trinidad's been decidedly mediocre so far. What's saved them is good defense and luck. I mean, sheesh, England was pretty terribly coached today and simply couldn't get the ball into the net until T&T started to visibly wear out and screw up. If that game ended in a tie, I think Peter Crouch would have been strung up by his toenails afterwards.

T&T had plenty of opportunities to score themselves, but squandered them pretty badly (save for their best scoring chance on the header with the goalie out of the picture, which would have gone in if it weren't for that miracle).

M2
06-15-2006, 04:08 PM
Trinidad's been decidedly mediocre so far. What's saved them is good defense and luck. I mean, sheesh, England was pretty terribly coached today and simply couldn't get the ball into the net until T&T started to visibly wear out and screw up. If that game ended in a tie, I think Peter Crouch would have been strung up by his toenails afterwards.

T&T had plenty of opportunities to score themselves, but simply could not convert.

Last I looked, defense was a skill. Trinidad stifled the English and Swedish attacks, didn't allow them to take high percentage shots until that Crouch header. And you're right, T&T did create some chances to score in that game and very well could have beaten one of the tournament favorites.

In my book, that's a team that has acquitted itself well so far.

Outshined_One
06-15-2006, 04:17 PM
Last I looked, defense was a skill. Trinidad stifled the English and Swedish attacks, didn't allow them to take high percentage shots until that Crouch header. And you're right, T&T did create some chances to score in that game and very well could have beaten one of the tournament favorites.

In my book, that's a team that has acquitted itself well so far.

Read my edit, I had to clarify. :p:

England had way too many open shots for me to say that the T&T defense was stifling. They were good, but that was pretty much the extent of the talent on that team.

WMR
06-15-2006, 04:49 PM
Hmmm, I must heartily disagree about T & T, ESPECIALLY their first match versus the Swedes. Considering the side that they were up against, and how they fought tooth and nail even when going down a man, T & T v. Sweden has been my favorite/most exciting match of the tournament so far. (Sorry, Saudia Arabia v. Tunisia just doesn't do it for me)

oneupper
06-15-2006, 04:55 PM
Angola is a team that eked out a spot over the more talented Nigeria by stressing defense. Probably the weakest in Africa along with Togo. Tunisia should not have tied the Saudis. They are a much better team. I agree Spain will slaughter both.
Japan and Korea are showing what they really are without a home field advantage.
Australia has shown gutsy play, lets see if they are content to lose honorably against Brazil.

Nugget
06-15-2006, 08:21 PM
Having read the posts I've got to disagree with giving extra South American and European slots. Each continent has had its poor performers and I don't think you could say that South America deserves an extra place. Uruguay played a full home and away series against Australia and didn't make it. Also South Korea and Japan played very well. Japan played the tactics that a lot of WC teams play. Get the goal ahead and sit on it. Most teams, no matter how good you are, feel that all they want to do is not lose the first match. Australia and Hiddink were just better match conditioned. The fact that they are lowly ranked is just a reflection of how little FIFA sanctioned tournaments they can play in. As for the South Korean match it seemed like Advocat was playing the same tactics as Hiddink. Putting up the shutters early and keeping something in reserve for the second half.

The problem with African football is more about politics than talent. Both Togo and Angola having qualified for the WC lost all their matches in the African Cup of Nations and Togo had their coach walk out on the eve of their first match. All in all I think that there is a good balance between the continents for the World Cup. If you look at some of the performances so far you could say that from Europe, Poland and Ukraine have underperformed (so too France), USA from NA, Paraguay has been steady but have never looked like winning a match, Saudia Arabia are perennial underperformers but are well financed, Ghana has been the real African disappointment given their lead up into the World Cup.

On the performance above and beyond that has to go to Trinidad and Tobago through a bit of luck, tactics and Dwight Yorke.

And on a side note, for the next World Cup Australia will be qualifying through the Asian Group so you may more than likely see another South American qualifier as they will more than likely play New Zealand.

M2
06-16-2006, 11:38 AM
Argentina has dismantled Serbia, which has responded by playing like thugs. Lionel Messi just pulled a Frank Robinson. He took a hard foul and then made the defender who took the shot at him look like a fool.

Plus, it's hard to root for a Serbian team led by a guy named Milosevic.

WMR
06-16-2006, 11:41 AM
Wow yeah I think Argentina may have just put in the most impressive performance by a team so far. They have looked amazingly good.

WMR
06-16-2006, 11:42 AM
oh my they're scoring for fun now, five - nil, Argentina

WMR
06-16-2006, 11:46 AM
Wow, Messi a goal and an assist, 18 years old, he truly does appear to be the real deal. What wonderful short-space passing from the Argentinians.

6-0 Argentina.

M2
06-16-2006, 11:52 AM
So if Cote d'Ivoire played Argentina close and Serbia played the Netherlands close and Argentina destroyed Serbia, does that mean Cote d'Ivoire can pull a shocker against the Dutch?

WMR
06-16-2006, 11:57 AM
Good question, M2, I know many were picking the Cote D'Ivoire v. Netherlands match as one of their top picks of the opening round. I think Ivory Coast will win; I'm pulling for them anyway, I love watching the African nations and their free-wheeling style of soccer. Drogba is a beast.

A bit of dissension as well in the Netherlands camp after their win over S&M...

we shall see! :)

MWM
06-16-2006, 12:00 PM
I watched Messi a couple of years ago as a teen in under 18 world championship game against Nigeria. He was head and shoulders above everyone else. He single handedly beat a superior Nigerian team who outplayed Argentina almost the whole game.

MWM
06-16-2006, 12:09 PM
Has anyone been more underwhelming than England? Heck, I don't think they've looked that much better than the US.

And count me in the camp who's been impressed with Trinidad. They're not spectacular, but they play very disciplined and make very few mistakes. They seem to be well coached and play smart. I like what I've seen out of them.

I also think Sweeden has been one of the more impressive teams. I was glad to see them pull it out against Uruguay last night. They deserved to win. If both teams play the way they have so far, Sweeden will hand England their lunch. But England is already through and Sweeden just needs a tie to advance, so I'm not sure how intense the game will be even though the winner will win the group and get a more favorable pairing in the next round.

I'm pretty stoked about the Netherlands - Ivory Coast game. That should be an exciting one.

reds1869
06-16-2006, 03:05 PM
I'm pretty stoked about the Netherlands - Ivory Coast game. That should be an exciting one.

This one did not dissapoint. What an intense finale! Ivory Coast deserves better than early elimination, but they'll be tough in four years. Easily one of the more thrilling contests so far.

oneupper
06-16-2006, 04:25 PM
This one did not dissapoint. What an intense finale! Ivory Coast deserves better than early elimination, but they'll be tough in four years. Easily one of the more thrilling contests so far.

Agreed. Great game (The ARG-IVC was good, too). Feel very bad for the Ivory Coast team, they proved they could play with any side.

MWM
06-16-2006, 04:28 PM
Yeah, I hate to see the Ivory Coast not advance. They were fun to watch and played some really good soccer. I was not very impresses with their keeper. He looked shaky even on the saves he made. The first Dutch goal should have been stopped.

But I love the Netherlands. I became big fans of theirs during the '98 Cup (even before the famous Bergkamp goal). I thought they were the best team I saw that year and was disappointed they lost to Brazil in penalty kicks in the semi-finals. But boy were they fun to watch that year. I've rooted for them ever since.

IslandRed
06-16-2006, 04:46 PM
Just one question about the Netherlands... Have the numbers on their jerseys always looked like a schoolboy drew them on with a big Sharpie?

oneupper
06-16-2006, 06:24 PM
But I love the Netherlands. I became big fans of theirs during the '98 Cup (even before the famous Bergkamp goal). I thought they were the best team I saw that year and was disappointed they lost to Brazil in penalty kicks in the semi-finals. But boy were they fun to watch that year. I've rooted for them ever since.


I've been rooting for the Orange guys ever since Cruyff and Neeskens made their magic in Germany '74. They SO deserved to win that cup, but home field advantage prevailed.

They did not look good today, however.

reds1869
06-16-2006, 07:42 PM
Just one question about the Netherlands... Have the numbers on their jerseys always looked like a schoolboy drew them on with a big Sharpie?

IMHO the worst shirts in the tournament belong to Costa Rica. It looks like some guy made them in his basement with a box of Hanes undershirts and a paint by numbers kit.

MWM
06-16-2006, 08:21 PM
Geez, someone wake me up when Angola and Mexico is over. What a boring game. And what a bonehead move buy that Angolan player to get a red card towards the end of the game.

MWM
06-16-2006, 08:25 PM
Oh yeah, the ref for the Dutch- Ivory Coast game was terrible. The Yellow to Robben was pretty bad, but diving is such a problem that it's going to happen from time to time. And the card to Dogba was pretty bad too and that might have been costly had Ivory Coast pulled the game out.

The line from the day was when Tommy Smith said, "This ref needs to wake up. I mean, when you get out of bed in the morning you're supposed to be awake."

oneupper
06-17-2006, 08:07 AM
Geez, someone wake me up when Angola and Mexico is over. What a boring game. And what a bonehead move buy that Angolan player to get a red card towards the end of the game.

Angola is a very weak team and Mexico did little to justify its status as Group Seed.

reds1869
06-17-2006, 10:29 AM
Angola is a very weak team and Mexico did little to justify its status as Group Seed.

What's frighteneing is that the USA would likely have been seeded if Mexico were not. Geesh, CONCACAF is looking shaky.

WMR
06-17-2006, 11:14 AM
'Shaky' is being kind.

U.S.: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put in a respectable performance VS. Italy today.

MWM
06-17-2006, 01:06 PM
Wow, the US didn't even get a good shot off in 90+ minutes against the Czech Republic and Ghana scores in just over a minute.

Who are we rooting for here?

WMR
06-17-2006, 01:12 PM
Oh we need a Ghana result in the worst way. A Czech Republic win means we definitely need a win vs. Italy and must then have Czech Republic beat Italy as well. A Ghana win or tie allows a tie vs. the Italians to allow us to keep some hope going into the final match.

A Ghana win would be the best.

MWM
06-17-2006, 01:40 PM
This Czech-Ghana game is turning out to be one of the best games we've seen so far. There's something about these African teams (Angola excepted) that makes their games exciting to watch.

the way it's going I'd be shocked if the zechs don't score.

pedro
06-17-2006, 02:41 PM
Ghana just went up 2-0. This is a good game.

OUReds
06-17-2006, 02:50 PM
Ghana just went up 2-0. This is a good game.


A great game. I wondered if Ghana was going to get the second breakthrough against Cech. He was an absolute beast in goal. Just way too much pressure though. Ghana with an amazing game really.

The Czech Rep. is not a young team. I wish the US would have played them second game. They just don't look as dynamic, and I very much think, in part, that is a function of age and fatigue.

reds1869
06-17-2006, 02:53 PM
Excellent stuff from Ghana, dominating every facet of teh match. They should have won by more, but Cech proved that he is the best keeper in the world today. He made some spectacular saves down the stretch.

DropDocK
06-17-2006, 03:04 PM
Wow what a game between Ghana and Czech Republic, highly entertaining and spectacular saves. I didn't think Ghana would ever get a second goal then their goalie had some sweet saves in the final minutes as well.

Can't wait for the US to kick off!

MWM
06-17-2006, 03:17 PM
Dude, Ghana is going to demolish the US. It won't even be close.

OUReds
06-17-2006, 03:29 PM
Dude, Ghana is going to demolish the US. It won't even be close.

Might I ask why you think this? Looking over the roster, I don't see how their roster is overwhelmingly better then ours outside of Essien. We're talking about a team that crashed out of the African Cup of Nations in the first round, losing to such football giants as Togo and Zimbabwe.

They played a great match, and the the US looked terrible against the same team, but lets not go overboard.

WMR
06-17-2006, 03:32 PM
The U.S. can match up with Ghana much better than the Czech Republic. The athletic Ghana side severely exposed a depleted and--now--tired Czech Republic defense.

We can actually run with them.

Our biggest deficiency will be in midfield. We have no one of Chelsea man Michael Essien's technical ability or class.

The good thing is that a couple Ghana men will be unavailable for the U.S. match.

The bad thing is that I'll be surprised if Gooch gets out of the Italy game unscathed (already carrying a yellow). Also, Claudio, arguably our most important player, carries a yellow into the Italy match as well.

dsmith421
06-17-2006, 03:39 PM
Making any argument that the US is more talented than either the Italians or the Black Stars is a waste of time: we aren't.

However, if we stay organized, get stuck in, and maybe catch some luck along the way we can get four points and get through. It's not impossible.

Arena staying with 4-5-1 (effectively) and leaving out Johnson makes life more difficult. Personally I would have utilized a 3-5-2, bringing Bocanegra into the side with Onyewu and Pope--that way we can avoid the greatest weakness in the side (terrible fullbacks) and hopefully get some purchase in midfield.

I am not confident, though, to be honest.

OUReds
06-17-2006, 03:39 PM
The bad thing is that I'll be surprised if Gooch gets out of the Italy game unscathed (already carrying a yellow). Also, Claudio, arguably our most important player, carries a yellow into the Italy match as well.

The early card to Gooch in the first match was an absolute killer, no doubt. There is simply no replacement for him in the middle defence. I hope he can keep his cool and get through this match clean also. Unfortunately, keeping a cool head is not something he is known for.

WMR
06-17-2006, 03:41 PM
Aargh, still no Eddie Johnson, I hate the 4-5-1

OUReds
06-17-2006, 03:46 PM
Making any argument that the US is more talented than either the Italians or the Black Stars is a waste of time: we aren't.

However, if we stay organized, get stuck in, and maybe catch some luck along the way we can get four points and get through. It's not impossible.

Arena staying with 4-5-1 (effectively) and leaving out Johnson makes life more difficult. Personally I would have utilized a 3-5-2, bringing Bocanegra into the side with Onyewu and Pope--that way we can avoid the greatest weakness in the side (terrible fullbacks) and hopefully get some purchase in midfield.

I am not confident, though, to be honest.

I would never, EVER make the arguement that the US is more talented then Italy, or Ghana for that matter. I think talent-wise a good argument can be made that the US equals Ghana though.

I don't like the changes made either frankly. I think Bocanegra has lost one step too many, that Mastroeni needs benched, and that Johnson needs to get in the lineup. I would play O'Brien and Reyna in the middle, with Donovan and Convey out wide, with Johnson and McBride up front. What do I know though. Go USA!

pedro
06-17-2006, 04:30 PM
Wow, that was one flagrant foul by the Italian player.

Red card. Match not even a 1/3 over and now italy must play with 10 guys..

score tied 1 - 1.

reds1869
06-17-2006, 04:49 PM
A ridiculous red card on Mastroeni! I am rage filled at the moment. The Azzuri are world class divers. I had an Italia Calcio shirt until 15 minutes ago; now it is ripped into little pieces at the bottom of my trash can. I'll probably regret that in the morning, but man did it feel good.

Outshined_One
06-17-2006, 04:50 PM
This ref has been atrocious. He's calling all the Italian dives and not giving the US much room for error. That last red card was utter garbage.

Donovan has been sloppy in the box. He's making dumb passes and not keeping track of the ball. Pope needs to knock it off with the handplay and the screwups on defense.

Convey and Dempsey have been doing a very nice job so far, happily. Toti getting subbed out was a welcome move.

OUReds
06-17-2006, 04:52 PM
For that ridiculus red card against Mastroeni, I think we need to take a page out of the Juventus playbook and lock the referee in the dressing room.

Caveat Emperor
06-17-2006, 04:54 PM
Ridculous red card on Pablo -- and the worst part is, the U.S. was looking fantastic with the man advantage.

Maybe if Donnovan starts falling and clutching his ankle more, the Americans can get a couple free kicks and score a goal or two off some set pieces.

cincinnati chili
06-17-2006, 04:58 PM
Good first half. I'm waiting for the German Oom pa pa marching band to come on the field

reds1869
06-17-2006, 04:59 PM
Ridculous red card on Pablo -- and the worst part is, the U.S. was looking fantastic with the man advantage.

Maybe if Donnovan starts falling and clutching his ankle more, the Americans can get a couple free kicks and score a goal or two off some set pieces.

Notice that McBride was just walking after HE WAS ELBOWED AND BLEEDING. Half of the Italian team acts like you shot them in the shin if you come within five feet of them. Heck, they act that way after they foul you! I used to cheer for the Azzuri, but never again. I now understand why so much of the world hates them...you really feel it when your team is the one getting the shaft.

WMR
06-17-2006, 05:01 PM
Aaargh, gotta hand it to the Italians, they are world-class divers. That red on Mastroeni was such crap. Damn. Alright, Italians will come out strong starting 2nd half, weather the early storm and let's get a goal.

Outshined_One
06-17-2006, 05:04 PM
If the US cared about soccer, this ref would never be allowed into the country.

RedFanAlways1966
06-17-2006, 05:06 PM
Pretty soon this ref will make this game 3-on-3... :thumbdown

WMR
06-17-2006, 05:07 PM
Oh no oh no, not another red, wow, this ref was bought and paid for

Outshined_One
06-17-2006, 05:09 PM
Unreal. Just put a blue jersey on the ref already and get it over with.

Outshined_One
06-17-2006, 05:52 PM
That was incredibly exhausting to watch.

I hope Italy goes down in flames.

WMR
06-17-2006, 05:53 PM
I am so proud of this team. The adversity this team had to deal with this game, to play like they did, wow, I am so proud. Hard done by the ref, but what a gutsy gutsy performance.

reds1869
06-17-2006, 05:54 PM
That was incredibly exhausting to watch.

I hope Italy goes down in flames.

Not yet. We need the Italians to win against the Czechs...it is the only realistic way we can advance. we will not get through on a four way goal differential tie, or a three way one for that matter.

Outshined_One
06-17-2006, 05:56 PM
Not yet. We need the Italians to win against the Czechs...it is the only realistic way we can advance. we will not get through on a four way goal differential tie, or a three way one for that matter.

True. But I still wish much ill upon their houses. :D

OUReds
06-17-2006, 05:57 PM
This game was as good as the Czech game was bad. Just a great, great game. Beat Ghana, Italy beats Czech, and we're through. That's a better scenario then we had any right to expect after the first game.

reds1869
06-17-2006, 06:08 PM
True. But I still wish much ill upon their houses. :D

Me too, and I was a casual Italy fan coming into this. Now it's just the good ol' U.S. of A., England and Deutschland for me. My homeland and those of my two families; the Italians have been permanently written out of my heart.

Yachtzee
06-17-2006, 06:26 PM
What a game! I can only imagine how much better it would have been if the ref had laid of the cards in this game. The Italian foul on McBride was clearly a red card, but I saw little that warranted a yellow, let alone a red in the rest of the game. I can't believe the US got hit with two reds. It appears the Italian penchant for diving is still going strong.

I'm looking forward to the next Group E games. I hope Italy wins the next one, just to give the US a shot at going through, but after that, I hope they bow out quickly.

oneupper
06-17-2006, 06:48 PM
Hi Guys. Great Game, awful refs (the italians will have their beefs too).

Pleasantly surprised with the US performance. Very gutsy.

The classifying possibilites, however, are not good. The US needs the Italians to win and they really only need to tie. Ghana plays a physical game and is not that good a side, but does make some brilliant plays at times. Won't be easy.

Pope's red card might be a blessing in disguise. He hasn't been effective at all, IMO.

OUReds
06-17-2006, 07:32 PM
Hi Guys. Great Game, awful refs (the italians will have their beefs too).

Pleasantly surprised with the US performance. Very gutsy.

The classifying possibilites, however, are not good. The US needs the Italians to win and they really only need to tie. Ghana plays a physical game and is not that good a side, but does make some brilliant plays at times. Won't be easy.

Pope's red card might be a blessing in disguise. He hasn't been effective at all, IMO.


They may only need a tie to advance, but it is likely they will need a victory to win the group. If that is the case, you'll see Italy go all out, as the second place team from our group will almost certainly meet Brazil in the round of 16.

Needless to say you don't want to face Brazil before the finals if you have designs on winning the whole shooting match like Italy does.

*Edit: Looking at the goal differential, it looks like Italy will almost certainly win the group with a tie. Unfortunately that kinda defeats my above point :)

MWM
06-18-2006, 12:34 AM
Wow. I just watched the game and the US got completely jobbed byt he ref. There really needs to be an automatic video review of all red cards. Both were jokes. As I was watching the game I kept saying to myself that Arena needs to get Pope out of the game after the first Yellow card because the ref was card happy and the way the Italians play I just KNEW another yellow was coming. I really thought that was one of the few times where a pre-emptive substitution to avoid playing a man down was in order. If the Americans could have kept the 11-10 advantage I think they win the game.

The Italians should be hanging their heads in shame after that "performance" today. What a bunch of pansies. I couldn't play a sport like that and feel like I'm accompishing anything. Diving is an embarassment to the sport and to the players. I think it makes them look like fools even if it works. Like others, I lost a lot of respect for Italian soccer today.

I can't believe how good the American team looked with the exception of that one goal. That was horrendous defense on that free kick. The thing I hate about soccer after diving is the whole raising the hand thing when you think you were fouled or that their was a handball, etc... The replay showed one of the American defenders standing there with his hand in the air watching as the Italians scored the goal.

And I'm not suggesting Keller SHOULD have saved that goal, but he sure could have and many keepers would have. He was very slow reacting. He just doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the goal.

But overall, I'll echo the sentiments of others that have said they were proud today. The American team came out today and played their asses off. They played with as much heart as I've ever seen them play.

And I think some might be underestimating just how much Italy WILL NOT want to face Brazil in the first game of the next round. They're about the only team that would have that affect, but I think it will be a strong motivator.

WMR
06-18-2006, 01:14 AM
Wow. I just watched the game and the US got completely jobbed byt he ref. There really needs to be an automatic video review of all red cards. Both were jokes. As I was watching the game I kept saying to myself that Arena needs to get Pope out of the game after the first Yellow card because the ref was card happy and the way the Italians play I just KNEW another yellow was coming. I really thought that was one of the few times where a pre-emptive substitution to avoid playing a man down was in order. If the Americans could have kept the 11-10 advantage I think they win the game.

The Italians should be hanging their heads in shame after that "performance" today. What a bunch of pansies. I couldn't play a sport like that and feel like I'm accompishing anything. Diving is an embarassment to the sport and to the players. I think it makes them look like fools even if it works. Like others, I lost a lot of respect for Italian soccer today.

I can't believe how good the American team looked with the exception of that one goal. That was horrendous defense on that free kick. The thing I hate about soccer after diving is the whole raising the hand thing when you think you were fouled or that their was a handball, etc... The replay showed one of the American defenders standing there with his hand in the air watching as the Italians scored the goal.
And I'm not suggesting Keller SHOULD have saved that goal, but he sure could have and many keepers would have. He was very slow reacting. He just doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the goal.

But overall, I'll echo the sentiments of others that have said they were proud today. The American team came out today and played their asses off. They played with as much heart as I've ever seen them play.

And I think some might be underestimating just how much Italy WILL NOT want to face Brazil in the first game of the next round. They're about the only team that would have that affect, but I think it will be a strong motivator.

MWM, you probably know this, but he was raising his hand calling for an offsides. Still a pretty dumb plan b/c he was the only one playing the offsides trap on that free kick. Yes, our achilles heel for quite some time has been defending the free kick against physically superior teams.

And yes, I wanted Pope subbed out at halftime too. He was obviously overmatched, and a red waiting to happen although the way he was given it was undeserved and unfair.

The Italians played such cowardly football today. Cowardly is the only word to describe it, their diving was beyond pathetic.

This is the most emotional that I've ever felt concerning a sporting event. I said it earlier but it bears repeating, I am so proud of the effort put in by our boys today. I can't help but wonder where this was on Monday, but I can't dwell on that, I am so frigging proud of them and their effort today against such adversity. LOL, I'm repeating myself, I know, but wow, what emotion I felt today from what they left on the pitch.

MWM
06-18-2006, 01:20 AM
I know that's what he was doing. I hate it. PLayers raise their hands 100 times a game. I can't imagine it has any influence on the ref. It's silly and everyone does it.

I agree on the emotion. I couldn't believe how emotional I was about this game. I was watching the game and pausing it as I was going outside to tend to the grill for our cookout today. When Beasley knowcked the ball in the goal, I jumped up and shouted as loud as I could. My daughter has never seen me show this kind of emotion while watching sports (I don't get that emotional watching the Reds), looked at me like I was from outer space. It was devastating when it was called off.

And I also agree on the cowardly play of the Italians. What an embarassment. And it pains me that I have to root for them next game. It will be almost as weird as actually rooting for Mexico to win (I could never, under ANY circumstances root for Iran).

MWM
06-18-2006, 01:23 AM
And I really liked what Dempsey brought to the game. I thought his swagger and fearlessness were needed. It's like he didn't even know, or didn't care, that the Italians were supposed to superior. Someone must have forgotten to tell him. I hope he sees some time against Ghana. But after watching the Ghana team play today, I almost think they're going to have to load up on defense.

And it REALLY hurts that Mastroeni won't be available. He's really needed.

WMR
06-18-2006, 01:25 AM
I know that's what he was doing. I hate it. PLayers raise their hands 100 times a game. I can't imagine it has any influence on the ref. It's silly and everyone does it.
I agree on the emotion. I couldn't believe how emotional I was about this game. I was watching the game and pausing it as I was going outside to tend to the grill for our cookout today. When Beasley knowcked the ball in the goal, I jumped up and shouted as loud as I could. My daughter has never seen me show this kind of emotion while watching sports (I don't get that emotional watching the Reds), looked at me like I was from outer space. It was devastating when it was called off.
And I also agree on the cowardly play of the Italians. What an embarassment. And it pains me that I have to root for them next game. It will be almost as weird as actually rooting for Mexico to win (I could never, under ANY circumstances root for Iran).

LOL, Yep, agreed on the hand-raising. Has it ever hurt anyone but the player raising the hand??

Yes, me too, and I think the taking away of the goal was lame as well. I've seen that same goal given so many times... I guess it can be considered the correct call, but I don't see that as enough obstruction to take a goal off the board. LOL, call that my American blinders if you must. I was jumping and yelling too. LOL I was a bundle of nerves the whole game.

Yes, rooting for Mexico is beyond weird, but I was wanting to see them beat Iran.

I can't imagine rooting for Italy their next game, but I will, because we need them to win. :)

WMR
06-18-2006, 01:27 AM
And I really liked what Dempsey brought to the game. I thought his swagger and fearlessness were needed. It's like he didn't even know, or didn't care, that the Italians were supposed to superior. Someone must have forgotten to tell him. I hope he sees some time against Ghana. But after watching the Ghana team play today, I almost think they're going to have to load up on defense.

And it REALLY hurts that Mastroeni won't be available. He's really needed.

Totally agreed on Dempsey, we could have used his swagger over DaMarcus Left-foot being put on the Right hand side vs. Czech Republic. Those cross-overs were sick.

Look for John O'Brien in place of Pablo. He brings an interesting element to the U.S. squad. Probably our most technically proficient player and a good tackler although his fitness is questionable. If he could give 60 minutes I'd be happy.

IslandRed
06-18-2006, 12:22 PM
They may only need a tie to advance, but it is likely they will need a victory to win the group. If that is the case, you'll see Italy go all out, as the second place team from our group will almost certainly meet Brazil in the round of 16.

Needless to say you don't want to face Brazil before the finals if you have designs on winning the whole shooting match like Italy does.

*Edit: Looking at the goal differential, it looks like Italy will almost certainly win the group with a tie. Unfortunately that kinda defeats my above point :)

No, you were right the first time. A draw between Italy and the Czechs leaves Italy in second if Ghana beats us. (I know, we're trying not to consider that possibility.) The games are at the same time so Italy has to prepare as if it needs a win to avoid Brazil.

reds1869
06-18-2006, 02:08 PM
FIFA just stated that the cards yesterday were deserved, and that this is the way they want games called. They also stated they have no problem with Australian players gambling on their own games and placing bets on which player would score first. Wow.

Outshined_One
06-18-2006, 04:39 PM
FIFA just stated that the cards yesterday were deserved, and that this is the way they want games called. They also stated they have no problem with Australian players gambling on their own games and placing bets on which player would score first. Wow.

That's just pathetic.

MWM
06-18-2006, 06:23 PM
France got jobed today as well. That ball was clearly in the goal and I don't see how it couldn't be seen on the field.

I think one of the overriding stories of this cup is going to be the officiating and the card happy refs. It's been beyond ridiculous.

MWM
06-18-2006, 06:28 PM
And Brazil looked very beatable today. I was really impressed with the Australian team. I can't believe they didn't get the ball in the goal. They had a wide open goal only to have their guy put it over the post and they had a one-on-one only to have their player seeimingly stop. That was a weird play. They definitely should have scored.

But that's the biggest difference between the teams who win consistenyl at the world cup and those who only make a good showing - finishing. That's that the American team lacks.

M2
06-18-2006, 08:40 PM
And I really liked what Dempsey brought to the game. I thought his swagger and fearlessness were needed. It's like he didn't even know, or didn't care, that the Italians were supposed to superior.

Dempsey is relentless. I get to see a fair amount of him since he plays for the Revs. He will run another team into the dirt. Convey did a real nice job on the other side as well.

Unfortunately, as much as I like Brian McBride, I think he might have cost the U.S. a win yesterday. He had two balls on his feet in the kill zone and he couldn't do anything with either one. It was all he could do to run into the play and he didn't have the leg left to make the kick. Eddie Johnson might have converted one of those. I can say with near surety that Dempsey's New England running partner, and spurious U.S. squad omission, Taylor Twellman would have buried one of those balls in the back of the net. That's what he does. McBride finishes best with his head and, with this team's running skills and the loaded ball they're using at the World Cup, what the U.S. squad needs is someone who can put some leg into the ball.

That was a great valiant effort by the U.S. Jimmy Conrad played great when he came in for Pope and Onyewu rebounded from his awful first game. Mastroeni was brilliant. Cherundolo did a great job of coming forward into the play. Keller earned a lot of redemption in the second half as well. Donovan disappeared a bit too much for my tastes and Reyna's driving me crazy with his safe, uninspired passing, but the effort was excellent. Hopefully Arena will dare to turn up the pressure on Ghana. Italy and the Czechs should both be playing for a win since Brazil looms for the second place finisher in Group E.

Caveat Emperor
06-19-2006, 05:03 AM
Dempsey is relentless. I get to see a fair amount of him since he plays for the Revs. He will run another team into the dirt. Convey did a real nice job on the other side as well.

Unfortunately, as much as I like Brian McBride, I think he might have cost the U.S. a win yesterday. He had two balls on his feet in the kill zone and he couldn't do anything with either one. It was all he could do to run into the play and he didn't have the leg left to make the kick. Eddie Johnson might have converted one of those. I can say with near surety that Dempsey's New England running partner, and spurious U.S. squad omission, Taylor Twellman would have buried one of those balls in the back of the net. That's what he does. McBride finishes best with his head and, with this team's running skills and the loaded ball they're using at the World Cup, what the U.S. squad needs is someone who can put some leg into the ball.

That was a great valiant effort by the U.S. Jimmy Conrad played great when he came in for Pope and Onyewu rebounded from his awful first game. Mastroeni was brilliant. Cherundolo did a great jog of coming forward into the play. Keller earned a lot of redemption in the second half as well. Donovan disappeared a bit too much for my tastes and Reyna's driving me crazy with his safe, uninspired passing, but the effort was excellent. Hopefully Arena will dare to turn up the pressure on Ghana. Italy and the Czechs should both be playing for a win since Brazil looms for the second place finisher in Group E.

I actually came away from watching the match with a newfound respect for Donovan. Due to the U.S. being on the man disadvantage, he had to spend more of his time in a center-midfielder role as opposed to his normal striker position. I thought he acquited himself extremely well on defensive help patrolling the area right around the edge of the box -- he forced several plays back to the outside and kept the middle area clear.

He literally left everything he had on the pitch -- I sincerely hope that he and the rest of the squad are ready for a battle with Ghana.

oneupper
06-19-2006, 09:45 AM
And Brazil looked very beatable today.


Brazil became a much different team once Robinho came in for Ronaldo (last half hour, IIRC). THAT was Brazil.

MWM
06-19-2006, 09:54 AM
I hear Ronaldo is considering coming to the US to play in a couple of years. I also heard Beckham all but plans on it in two years. I realize they won't be in their prime, but I'd love to see a few big names come play in the MLS. I've always been of the opinion that the MLS will not survive the long term and will never attract great players. But I'd love nothing more than the competition level to increase with some overseas talent. I doubt it will ever happen, but it would be fun if it did.

NJReds
06-19-2006, 10:14 AM
France got jobed today as well. That ball was clearly in the goal and I don't see how it couldn't be seen on the field.

I think one of the overriding stories of this cup is going to be the officiating and the card happy refs. It's been beyond ridiculous.

They need instant replay for goals in the World Cup (and in soccer in general). It would've taken 30 seconds to determine that play was a goal.

NJReds
06-19-2006, 10:38 AM
Hi Guys. Great Game, awful refs (the italians will have their beefs too).

The Yellow Card on Totti in the opening minutes was a mistake. The ref was card happy. But all of them have been card happy in this tourny, and that's what FIFA wants.

Both red cards called on the US, while questionable, shouldn't have happened. There was no need for either tackle, especially Mastroeni's. But a very gutty performance by the US overall.



The classifying possibilites, however, are not good. The US needs the Italians to win and they really only need to tie. Ghana plays a physical game and is not that good a side, but does make some brilliant plays at times. Won't be easy.

They're missing two very good players. If the US comes out with the same attitude and approach as they did v. Italy, then they can win the game.


Pope's red card might be a blessing in disguise. He hasn't been effective at all, IMO.

Agreed.

oneupper
06-19-2006, 12:45 PM
.

They're missing two very good players. If the US comes out with the same attitude and approach as they did v. Italy, then they can win the game.



Problem is, beating Ghana may not be enough to classify.
A tie between Italy and Czech classifies the Italians and the Czechs (if the US wins, of course). It would leave the US and Czechs with 4 points and the first tie breaker is the head to head.

NJReds
06-19-2006, 12:53 PM
Problem is, beating Ghana may not be enough to classify.
A tie between Italy and Czech classifies the Italians and the Czechs (if the US wins, of course). It would leave the US and Czechs with 4 points and the first tie breaker is the head to head.


True, but they can't control that.

I think Italy will handle the Czechs, but it might be wishful thinking.

Edit: I think the first tiebreaker is goal differential. The Czechs are +1; the US are -3, so almost no hope there. The second tiebreaker is goals scored. The third is head to head.

MWM
06-19-2006, 01:20 PM
I thought the first tie break was goal differential?

Caveat Emperor
06-19-2006, 01:56 PM
I thought the first tie break was goal differential?

I thought it was too..

Is there a scenario where the Czechs and the Americans move on to the next round? The Czechs have a +1 GD and the Italians have +2 GD while the Americans have a -3 GD. Say, if the Italians lose 3-0 and the Americans win 3-0, wouldn't that move Italy out and the US in as well?

This goal differential stuff might make play extermeyl interesting on Thursday, where the U.S. might have to press with a goal lead to try and make up lost points.

Outshined_One
06-19-2006, 04:15 PM
Problem is, beating Ghana may not be enough to classify.
A tie between Italy and Czech classifies the Italians and the Czechs (if the US wins, of course). It would leave the US and Czechs with 4 points and the first tie breaker is the head to head.

The problem is, those games are played at the same time. I don't think the Italians or Czechs want to leave it up to fate if they end up with a tie, especially with Brazil lurking for whoever ends up taking second place.

NJReds
06-19-2006, 04:23 PM
The problem is, those games are played at the same time. I don't think the Italians or Czechs want to leave it up to fate if they end up with a tie, especially with Brazil lurking for whoever ends up taking second place.

If they leave it up to a tie, and Ghana wins, the Czech's would be out.

The Czech's, Ghana and the US must play for a win. Italy could advance with a tie, but as you said, there is some incentive for avoiding Brazil.

WMR
06-19-2006, 08:51 PM
I actually came away from watching the match with a newfound respect for Donovan. Due to the U.S. being on the man disadvantage, he had to spend more of his time in a center-midfielder role as opposed to his normal striker position. I thought he acquited himself extremely well on defensive help patrolling the area right around the edge of the box -- he forced several plays back to the outside and kept the middle area clear.

He literally left everything he had on the pitch -- I sincerely hope that he and the rest of the squad are ready for a battle with Ghana.

There's the rub: Landon has been RARELY used as a second forward throughout his career and especially with the nats. He plays his best soccer as an Attacking Midfielder. In other words: A 4-1-2-1-2

Ideal Lineup:
Cherundolo Onyewu Conrad (w/ injuries/suspensions) Boca


Reyna

Dempsey Convey

Donovan

Brian McBride Eddie Johnson

The 4-5-1 has not allowed us to generate enough offense (Donovan as withdrawn forward paired w/ McBride). Donovan generally gets sucked too far upfield and stops being the catalyst and becomes the point man, where he is much less effective.

The sendings-off versus Italy forced him to take a bigger midfield role where he was simply class. Hopefully Bruce will take notice and actually come out to beat Ghana with something very close to the line-up I suggested b/c we need more offense.

And yes, the first tie-breaker is goal differential. We could advance with a tie between Italy and Czech if we beat Ghana by, I think 4?

All teams will play to win, but if word got to the Italians or Czechs say in the 75th minute that our current result was not in question and would help them one way or the other, they might pull into a defensive shell if the result would ensure their passage into the next round rather than try anything risky.

HOWEVER: NO ONE, I mean NO ONE, wants Brazil. (Except us, we'll take 'em!) LMAO

Nugget
06-19-2006, 09:54 PM
Just to confirm that the first tie breaker is goal differential then head to head.

From a neutral perspective the game between Italy and USA was not a good promotion for soccer. I agree that the Italians have probably had the worst performance of any team in the World Cup (the Australian commentators agree too). However, given the directives from FIFA the cards were justified, Italy probably should have had a few more because the current FIFA directive is that diving should be a yellow card. Tackles from behind are also meant to warrant an automatic yellow.

In general I must say that the standard of refereeing so far leaves a lot to be desired. Without Colina, Meier et al this current crop seem to be way out of their depth.

OUReds
06-20-2006, 12:02 AM
I'll never be convinced that the straight red on Mastroeni was anything but pure garbage. Yes he should have been more careful. Yes the ref was likely looking for an opportunity to equal things up. That doesn't justify a wretched call by the ref. In the EPL, I think it's 50/50 if that's even a yellow.

I also wonder about the offsides call on McBride. By the letter of the rule it is indeed offsides, but I can name many examples where with exact same play, the goal is allowed to stand (the last Blackburn-Liverpool match with Cisse replacing McBride come to mind).

Leaving aside the Italy match, given that we absolutely must have a win, I agree with WillyMo's lineup. It leaves the defense compromised, as Dempsy/Convey/Donovan can't compare with Beasley/Mastroeni/O'Brien when defending, but given that there are rumblings that O'Brien isn't match fit and how clear it is that Beasley can't play wrong footed opposite Convey, that lineup gives the best chance of winning.

The only alternative would be to slot O'Brien for Mastroeni to keep up the 4-5-1, but I think you must get Johnson on the field so the midfield can play balls to his feet and have him turn and run at people. It's the perfect compliment to McBride's skill in the air.

Betterread
06-20-2006, 01:04 AM
There's the rub: Landon has been RARELY used as a second forward throughout his career and especially with the nats. He plays his best soccer as an Attacking Midfielder. In other words: A 4-1-2-1-2

Ideal Lineup:
Cherundolo Onyewu Conrad (w/ injuries/suspensions) Boca


Reyna

Dempsey Convey

Donovan

Brian McBride Eddie Johnson

The 4-5-1 has not allowed us to generate enough offense (Donovan as withdrawn forward paired w/ McBride). Donovan generally gets sucked too far upfield and stops being the catalyst and becomes the point man, where he is much less effective.

The sendings-off versus Italy forced him to take a bigger midfield role where he was simply class. Hopefully Bruce will take notice and actually come out to beat Ghana with something very close to the line-up I suggested b/c we need more offense.

And yes, the first tie-breaker is goal differential. We could advance with a tie between Italy and Czech if we beat Ghana by, I think 4?

All teams will play to win, but if word got to the Italians or Czechs say in the 75th minute that our current result was not in question and would help them one way or the other, they might pull into a defensive shell if the result would ensure their passage into the next round rather than try anything risky.

HOWEVER: NO ONE, I mean NO ONE, wants Brazil. (Except us, we'll take 'em!) LMAO
Nice ideas - but the reason that we play a 4-5-1 is that we don't have 4 true midfielders to match up with Czech. Italy or Ghana. If we play a 4-4-2 with Onyewu left unprotected ....(wow, this guy is underwhelming - maybe he's young and will get better)Also, Johnson is hurt. Unless he gets better in the next few days, he won't make a difference, he is not the player he was during MLS (why didn't we carry Twellman on the team?)We have not had a good WC - even guys like Donovan and Reyna who I thought were stalwarts have disappointed. Can we find some magic against Ghana - I am hoping for it. So far, Mastroeni is the USA's best player, which was why the referee's red card was so harsh. If a guy is playing well, I thought the Refs typically gave him the benefit of the doubt (i.e. why would he mess a guy up if he's so good).

WMR
06-20-2006, 01:11 AM
Wow, some harsh criticism of Onyewu there. After 2nd viewing of the Italy-USA match, he was easily 2nd MOTM behind Donovan.

Johnson is hurt? How did he get hurt? He's barely seen the field. He's had probably our 2nd best shot attempt of the tournament behind Mastro's blast.

More like Pope unprotected: The guy was overmatched from the start, but Bruce loves his solid vets. Hmm, haven't seen that b/f in other sports.

The performance VS. Italy and a good effort VS. Ghana will make this a great WC for the US IMO.

Mastro's Red was the one I had the biggest problem with. Give the guy a yellow, AT MOST, but a straight red was so lame and undeserved.

WMR
06-20-2006, 01:16 AM
Nug, sounds like Mr. Harry Kewell has a colorful tongue. How are Aussies reacting to his potential suspension in the all-important match VS. Croatia?

Congrats, btw, on the comeback VS. Japan. And you guys gave Brazil everything they wanted and then some.

Speaking of the Selecao, they have been underwhelming, to say the least, but they've appeared a different side when Robinho takes the pitch. Wonder if they'll give him a run in their final match.

Betterread
06-20-2006, 01:22 AM
Onyewu can be analyzed and debated. What I saw is that he took Luca Toni out of the game by holding, grabbing and elbowing him constantly. While it was effective, it was a pretty cynical performance. Someone else might see a tough, physical defender - his comparison is a Sol Campbell (without Sol's offensive abilities - did I just say that??) I like defenders like Nesta.
Eddie Pope is past his prime and should not be starting for his country at the WC.
If I sound too critical, I'm sorry. I'm very disappointed in the US performance - we haven't even found the net in 180 minutes. I really hope the Ghana game will be a different story.

WMR
06-20-2006, 01:26 AM
Onyewu can be analyzed and debated. What I saw is that he took Luca Toni out of the game by holding, grabbing and elbowing him constantly. While it was effective, it was a pretty cynical performance. Someone else might see a tough, physical defender - his comparison is a Sol Campbell (without Sol's offensive abilities - did I just say that??) I like defenders like Nesta.
Eddie Pope is past his prime and should not be starting for his country at the WC.

LOL, hehehe, me too, too bad we don't have any that are close to being that good!!

I like Gooch because he's the best we got and he plays with the kind of bite that I like. LOL, Toni was giving as good as he got. Watch the replays of the Italian goal, Toni has Gooch in a bearhug, that alone should have disallowed the goal.

What really sucks is Cory Gibbs getting hurt. He would have relegated Pope to the bench where he belongs. (And I love Eddie for his career with the Nats, but the truth is plain to see.)

Betterread
06-20-2006, 01:31 AM
LOL, hehehe, me too, too bad we don't have any that are close to being that good!!

I like Gooch because he's the best we got and he plays with the kind of bite that I like. LOL, Toni was giving as good as he got. Watch the replays of the Italian goal, Toni has Gooch in a bearhug, that alone should have disallowed the goal.

What really sucks is Cory Gibbs getting hurt. He would have relegated Pope to the bench where he belongs. (And I love Eddie for his career with the Nats, but the truth is plain to see.)
I'll grant you the point that Onyewu is not intimidated, which bodes well for his future. He's also the prototypical big athletic defender you need.
I liked Gibbs too. The silver lining to bad tournament performances is a new squad and new starters.

WMR
06-20-2006, 01:40 AM
Don't discount Onyewu's ability for technical growth: I've seen him cross fields with ease and can actually make some insightful passes from time to time. I see both he and Clint Dempsey earning EPL offers after the WC.

I'm really thankful Gooch didn't draw that second yellow vs. Italy. Berhalter and Conrad VS. Ghana?? ::eek::

Nugget
06-20-2006, 02:50 AM
WMP everyone here is hoping Kewell doesn't get banned but most people think he was justified in his criticism. I mean the worst he supposedly said was that the guys performance was "f***ing s***". And most people would agree. The foul count was 29-9 against, I mean the Aussies were given two read cards due to collisions, and Viduka was basically taken out of the match by the referee. Supposedly Guus was almost sent into the stands by the fourth official for throwing his water bottle to the ground.

Good luck v Ghana and more importantly hope that the Czechs lose to the Italians.

OUReds
06-20-2006, 08:16 AM
Gooch is 24, he'll continue to improve. After his poor first cap against Mexico in Azteca, he was an absolute rock in the middle for the rest of qualifying. His marks didn't score a single goal that I can remember after his first cap. His staredown with Borghetti in the USA Mexico rematch in Columbus is one of the best moments of the USA Mexico rivalry.

With respect to your opinion, he is the best defender the US has right now, and is set to be their best defender ever. Watch the Italian breakaway right after the De Rossi red card. It is only Gooch's perfect positioning that prevents an easy goal. Unlike Pope or Mastroeni, he adjusted to how the game was being called, stopped grabbing, remained effective, and didn't get the card that would disqualify him for Ghana.

Rumors put him with either Middlesbrough or Reading in the EPL next season where his development should continue.

With regards to Eddie Johnson, he played 83 minutes in the final tune-up, and I haven't heard anything about him being injured. I have to assume it's just been Arena's decision to keep him out of the lineup

OUReds
06-20-2006, 08:55 AM
Looks like Kewell is cleared to play against Croatia on Thursday.

If they take 2nd in the group they would likely face Italy in the round of 16, which makes me a big Australia fan!

NJReds
06-20-2006, 04:28 PM
Bad news for England as Owen crawls off the field in the first minute of play. I didn't see the injury, but from what I've read, it sounds serious (knee).

reds1869
06-20-2006, 05:18 PM
Bad news for England as Owen crawls off the field in the first minute of play. I didn't see the injury, but from what I've read, it sounds serious (knee).

Figures that Rooney and Owen couldn't play at the same time. Huge blow to England.

NJReds
06-20-2006, 05:38 PM
Figures that Rooney and Owen couldn't play at the same time. Huge blow to England.

Bad news, indeed:


Owen injures knee after two minutes on field against Sweden

June 20, 2006

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) -- England striker Michael Owen was injured two minutes into the World Cup match against Sweden on Tuesday and taken off on a stretcher.

Owen's right knee buckled beneath him just after he had played the ball. He lay on the sideline clutching his leg while play continued. He was treated by doctors and then strapped to a stretcher and taken off the field.

He was replaced by Peter Crouch in the fourth minute, tying the fastest replacement in a World Cup match.

Owen returned last month from a broken foot sustained on Dec. 31. He had been replaced before the hour mark in England's opening two World Cup games.

England has already qualified for the second round and only needed a draw with Sweden to advance as Group B winner.

The substitution tied Italy's Alessandro Nesta coming out in the fourth minute against Austria in 1998, and England's Bryan Robson came out in the fourth against Morocco in 1986

Nugget
06-20-2006, 09:03 PM
Even with that setback England should make it through to the quarters as they play Ecuador who were pretty poor against Germany.

I'm still hoping the Czech Republic top the group so the Aussies could play them with Italy facing Brazil.

M2
06-21-2006, 12:30 PM
The noose just tightened around Mexico. They're down 2-1 to the Portugese, they missed a penalty kick, lost a man to a second yellow card and Angola just scored to take a 1-0 lead against Iran.

WMR
06-21-2006, 12:31 PM
Not to mention they're a bunch of diving hacks.

I REALLY hope they get Argentina if they do manage to advance. A team that is not only much more skilled than they are, but better at diving as well. lol

NJReds
06-21-2006, 12:34 PM
The noose just tightened around Mexico. They're down 2-1 to the Portugese, they missed a penalty kick, lost a man to a second yellow card and Angola just scored to take a 1-0 lead against Iran.

Good. I can't stand Mexico. One of the dirtiest teams on the planet.

Edit: and as I say that, Iran ties up the game, 1-1 :bang:

M2
06-21-2006, 12:47 PM
Good. I can't stand Mexico. One of the dirtiest teams on the planet.

Edit: and as I say that, Iran ties up the game, 1-1 :bang:

Yeah, looks like they're through.

On the bright side, that's the first non-European or South American team to make the knockout stages.

reds1869
06-21-2006, 01:07 PM
Argentina will obliterate the Mexicans.

OUReds
06-21-2006, 04:31 PM
They haven't broke through on the Dutch yet, but it's pretty clear that this Argentina squad is scary good.

M2
06-21-2006, 04:51 PM
They haven't broke through on the Dutch yet, but it's pretty clear that this Argentina squad is scary good.

They look great, though the Dutch are resting some pretty good players on the bench due to yellow cards, including Arjan Robben.

Nugget
06-21-2006, 07:10 PM
I don't think you can take much from the Netherlands Argentina game as they both really looked at it as a training match. Both Crespo and Robben were rested along with some other first teamers. I gather the Dutch are happy to play Portugal in the next round. Even so all ready for a very early start tomorrow morning.

halcyon
06-21-2006, 08:09 PM
NUREMBURG, Germany -- Perhaps there was some sort of communication gap. Perhaps something was lost in the dialect. Or perhaps there is no such thing as a bulletin board in the West African nation of Ghana.

Whatever the case, the Ghana Black Stars soccer team paraded into this city's Franken Stadium on Wednesday, the eve of its Group E showdown with the United States, beaming with confidence.

In the news conference before the team's final workout, coach Ratomir Dujkovic and captain Stephen Appiah seemingly spent as much time talking about Brazil, a potential second-round opponent, as they did the United States. And when they finally did get around to discussing the Americans, it was in a way only New York headline writers could appreciate.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=372018&root=worldcup&cc=5901&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1

Interesting article. I'm sure Arena won't fail to emphasize some of the quotes at this presser.

M2
06-21-2006, 09:08 PM
Talk about supplying motivation to your opponent. The U.S. doesn't seem to be a group of self-starters, but I'm guessing this will get their juices flowing.

MWM
06-21-2006, 09:09 PM
I can't believe I'm not going to be able to watch the US game tomorrow or have any means of recording it. That realy blows!

MWM
06-21-2006, 09:09 PM
ddp

Outshined_One
06-22-2006, 12:44 AM
I really do hope you guys were watching The Colbert Report tonight.

"The last time Ronaldo scored was when he got a Grand Slam at Denny's!"

OUReds
06-22-2006, 07:01 AM
I don't think you can take much from the Netherlands Argentina game as they both really looked at it as a training match. Both Crespo and Robben were rested along with some other first teamers. I gather the Dutch are happy to play Portugal in the next round. Even so all ready for a very early start tomorrow morning.

Yeah I wrote my message early in the match after a fine run of Argentine play. Afterwards everybody just. kinda. stopped. playing.

Clearly it was a conspiracy to make me look bad! :)

Thanks for Outshined the Colbert Report tip, have it TiVo'd as usual.

Here's hoping the stars and stripes can continue a fine run of sports results over the past few days!

OUReds
06-22-2006, 10:50 AM
I didn't see this lineup coming.

essentially the same 4-1-4-1 with Eddie Lewis replacing Mastroeni. Still no Johnson, only McBride up front.

Given the feeble offensive performance so far, I can't imagine why you stick with the same lineup structure. McBride just isn't enough alone up front to create pressure.

Ahh well. go USA!

/Edit: It's even stranger then that, it looks like Reyna is the defensive midfield with Lewis on the flank, beasley in the middle, if the ESPN formation is right.

Reds Fanatic
06-22-2006, 11:25 AM
Ghana takes a 1-0 lead 21 minutes in.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:27 AM
I'm not watching, but based on the matchtracker that I'm watching, it also sounds like Reyna is hurt.

Reds Fanatic
06-22-2006, 11:30 AM
I'm not watching, but based on the matchtracker that I'm watching, it also sounds like Reyna is hurt.
I am not able to watch but listening on XM Reyna was hurt on the play where they scored the goal.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 11:30 AM
I'm not watching, but based on the matchtracker that I'm watching, it also sounds like Reyna is hurt.
He's back, the US is sleepy... they just don't move the ball down the field very well.

Italy leads 1-0

Reds Fanatic
06-22-2006, 11:31 AM
Italy has a 1-0 lead 29 minutes in. A USA win and Italy win puts the US into the next round.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:32 AM
Seemed like the Czech's were getting the better of the play, but Italy nets the goal. They've also lost their best defender, Nesta, to a groin injury.

Edit: Oddly enough, it's Nesta's replacement, Materazzi, that scores the goal.

Reds Fanatic
06-22-2006, 11:41 AM
Reyna is coming out of the game now.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:44 AM
Ben Olsen in for Reyna.

What happened on the challenge that led to his injury? Was it a clean tackle, because it led to the goal being scored.

In any event, it's probably the end of Reyna's US career, unless the US can comeback and win this game.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 11:44 AM
Beasly breaks through and the US equalizes (Dempsy scores)

OUReds
06-22-2006, 11:45 AM
I was about to write a post about how Beasley has regressed into the stone age.

Nevermind

GOAAAAL

westofyou
06-22-2006, 11:45 AM
Ben Olsen in for Reyna.

What happened on the challenge that led to his injury? Was it a clean tackle, because it led to the goal being scored.

In any event, it's probably the end of Reyna's US career, unless the US can comeback and win this game.
It was a clean challenge, his legs were boxed in by other legs and the ball and his knee moved in a tad, with no give by the foot... he limped off in a grimace.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:47 AM
Sounds like Dempsey and Beasley are playing well.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! :beerme:

OUReds
06-22-2006, 11:48 AM
For those not watching, the penalty call was atrocious

westofyou
06-22-2006, 11:48 AM
Horrible call in the box, the refs are itching to be a part of it.

Reds Fanatic
06-22-2006, 11:49 AM
Penalty kick goal gives Ghana a 2-1 lead.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:49 AM
Horrible to give back the goal so quickly. Although the matchtracker that I read indicated at first that the foul was committed by Ghana.

Caveat Emperor
06-22-2006, 11:49 AM
I just can't watch the rest of this match -- I'm going to get too angry. What a horrible play down in the US's own corner to just pop the ball up in the middle. Pass the ball to the keeper, take the lost throw in -- ANYTHING but popping the ball up inside your own box.

Idiotic. The Americans deserve to lose to this no-name group from Ghana.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:53 AM
Well, I wouldn't call Ghana a no-name group. Essien and Appiah have acheived more success on the international level then anyone on the US squad.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:53 AM
The Czechs are down to 10 men, as Jan Polak gets two yellow cards in a span of 10 minutes.

reds1869
06-22-2006, 11:54 AM
The penalty call was atrocious. The refereeing in this entire Cup has been hideous. No way you give that call. Best officials in the world? I'm going to start sending 11 men off in every game and giving penalties for no-touches in thhe box just so I can go to the next World Cup. I am so angry right now. If we lose to better play, fine. But going out to the refs whistle is a terrible feeling.

Caveat Emperor
06-22-2006, 11:56 AM
Well, I wouldn't call Ghana a no-name group. Essien and Appiah have acheived more success on the international level then anyone on the US squad.

I meant "Ghana" is the no-name group -- I couldn't find Ghana on the map if you spotted me the lattitude and longitude.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 11:56 AM
Best officials in the world?

That's the problem. They don't take the best officials. They try to be representative.

That said, Merk is 'supposedly' the highest rated official in the tournament.

RadfordVA
06-22-2006, 12:06 PM
It was a bad call, but that's what onyewu gets for being so physical with his hands all the time. He has to know better when he is in the box alone with a ghana forward. THe ref was behind him and Im sure it looked like he threw him out of the way. Man I was so jacked after that goal what a letdown. And to those using match tracker, Beasley is not playing a good game, he is still not being agressive. He is passing back everytime he gets it except on the goal when the ball luckily bounced his way. Get Eddie in there now.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 12:07 PM
I meant "Ghana" is the no-name group -- I couldn't find Ghana on the map if you spotted me the lattitude and longitude.
Cameroon says hello... you are just getting a tast of why this is a freaking great sport and even greater event.

Anything goes, so many approaches, so many factors.

M2
06-22-2006, 12:08 PM
As horrid as the penalty kick call was, I actually think the U.S. is going to make a serious run in the second half.

I may be the only person who likes that Reyna's out of action, but I think it's going to create quicker transitions and strengthen the defense.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:09 PM
It was a bad call, but that's what onyewu gets for being so physical with his hands all the time. He has to know better when he is in the box alone with a ghana forward. THe ref was behind him and Im sure it looked like he threw him out of the way. Man I was so jacked after that goal what a letdown. And to those using match tracker, Beasley is not playing a good game, he is still not being agressive. He is passing back everytime he gets it except on the goal when the ball luckily bounced his way. Get Eddie in there now.

Ummmm.... HELLO?!?! He didn't use his hands, he was marking his man and the man dove and the ref bought it.

FIFA wants an African nation in the Final 16, simple as that. Foreign press all over the world are labelling that one of the worst PK calls in WC history.

Crap tactics yet again out of Bruce Arena. Managing like a scared man.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 12:09 PM
The USA should pound the box in the air, Kingston likes to be aggressive and chances of a mistake with McBride there to clean it up looks like a good percentage shot.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:10 PM
As horrid as the penalty kick call was, I actually think the U.S. is going to make a serious run in the second half.

I may be the only person who likes that Reyna's out of action, but I think it's going to create quicker transitions and strengthen the defense.

No I agree 100%. Reyna was moving like a dinosaur out there.

Watch the time wasting begin.

RadfordVA
06-22-2006, 12:13 PM
Ummmm.... HELLO?!?! He didn't use his hands, he was marking his man and the man dove and the ref bought it.



I didnt say he used his hands. He's developed a reputation by using his hands all the time and he def. used his arms and from the angle of the ref when its one on one in the box the ref had to make the call.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:13 PM
Wow Bruce still no Eddie Johnson, why don't you wake up. What are you waiting for????

Caveat Emperor
06-22-2006, 12:13 PM
Cameroon says hello... you are just getting a tast of why this is a freaking great sport and even greater event.

Anything goes, so many approaches, so many factors.

International competition turns me into a Jingoistic bastard.

It's a great sport that's held down by the obvious lack of respect countries show the world's last remaining superpower. The Ghana team should be honored to just be in the pitch with 11 authentic American citizens. :evil:

M2
06-22-2006, 12:14 PM
The USA should pound the box in the air, Kingston likes to be aggressive and chances of a mistake with McBride there to clean it up looks like a good percentage shot.

That's exactly what I wouldn't do. The strength of the U.S. team is that it can run and kick, it's not a good air team. It doesn't serve the ball well in the air, it doesn't finish all that well in the air.

The team scored, finally, when they leveraged their strengths and stopped trying to lob it over the top. Time to pin their ears back and go by defenders.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:15 PM
I didnt say he used his hands. He's developed a reputation by using his hands all the time and he def. used his arms and from the angle of the ref when its one on one in the box the ref had to make the call.

Yeah the ref 'had' to make the call, but not b/c of any foul that he thought he saw.

When the foreign press (London Times etc. etc.) is calling a penalty on the US one of the worst in WC history, you know it is. The foreign press never give the US props or support if they can avoid it.

Pathetic play by Bocanegra as well.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:23 PM
Finally Eddie Johnson at the 61st minute; should have been from the 1st

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:26 PM
The US has about 25 minutes here to make something happen. Boy that PK was a killer.

M2
06-22-2006, 12:29 PM
Lewis made a great run and it almost got the U.S. a goal. About 30 seconds later, Donovan once again played the ball like an alien object.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:29 PM
McBride hits the post...

OUReds
06-22-2006, 12:30 PM
In the world cup overall:

Beasley and Pope have been terrible.

Reyna, Donovan, and Bocanegra have been pedestrian, to be kind.

McBride's service has been poor, but he hasn't exactly covered himself in glory.

Arena's decisions have been strange to say the least. I'm not sure we ever played a 4-5-1 in qualifying, yet we break it out for the World Cup? even we we have to win to advance? Even after the Czech game?

It is even worse when you consider McBride's style of play meshes poorly with the current midfield's style of play.

I don't know what else to say. We simply played poorly, and don't deserve to advance.

I'd be perfectly happy if I never saw Beasley get another cap.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:32 PM
Meanwhile...Italy misses at least three golden opportunities to push the lead to 2-0.

Why do I have the feeling that if the US found a "miracle on grass" to take a 3-2 lead, that the Czech Rep. would magically find a tying goal?

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:37 PM
Convey for Lewis...15 minutes left.

No more subs for the US. It's looking bleak.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:43 PM
In the world cup overall:

Beasley and Pope have been terrible.

Reyna, Donovan, and Bocanegra have been pedestrian, to be kind.

McBride's service has been poor, but he hasn't exactly covered himself in glory.

Arena's decisions have been strange to say the least. I'm not sure we ever played a 4-5-1 in qualifying, yet we break it out for the World Cup? even we we have to win to advance? Even after the Czech game?

It is even worse when you consider McBride's style of play meshes poorly with the current midfield's style of play.

I don't know what else to say. We simply played poorly, and don't deserve to advance.

I'd be perfectly happy if I never saw Beasley get another cap.

Calling Arena's tactics strange is being kind. They have been horrible. If he was hoping to manage in the EPL, he's certainly squandered that opportunity in this WC.

Playing with the lone striker McBride up top was a doomed strategy from the start. There's a reason he plays with another forward at Fulham.

We don't deserve to advance after this performance. Amazing how the wheels fell off in so many different ways...

Not to mention the idiocy of O'Brien and Balboa.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 12:47 PM
I was trying to be kind to Arena, who I respect a lot, but you are right of course.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:48 PM
Italy puts the Czechs away; 2-0. If the US is frustrated at not advancing from the group of death, I'm sure the Czechs are feeling a bit ticked off, too.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 12:50 PM
Italy puts the Czechs away; 2-0. If the US is frustrated at not advancing from the group of death, I'm sure the Czechs are feeling a bit ticked off, too.
They had the classic old guys appearance, out like a bullet then pulled up lame.... it's like a night of drinking for me.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 12:52 PM
Aaaargh Shoot Donovan!!!!

M2
06-22-2006, 12:53 PM
Hard to describe how bad Donovan's been. He just ran past an open shot at the net to play the ball into the thick of the defense.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 12:53 PM
That steal in the box pretty much said it all for the US, no one wants to be the man. No one makes that extra step.

WMR
06-22-2006, 12:55 PM
I was trying to be kind to Arena, who I respect a lot, but you are right of course.

Hopefully this will at least lead to a complete housecleaning at US Soccer. From the player pool to the coaches to the administration. A lot of youngsters were not given a look at all by BA b/c Bruce favors his vets. Furthermore, playing DMB all 3 games, who has not been in form for club or country in over a year. Just inexplicably dumb. Bruce and JN would get along famously, I imagine.

Look at Holland. Their manager actually had some balls and didn't bring Edgar Davids and some other crafty vets. Went with youth. We went with the old guys, bad tactics, got some poor officiating along the way, and that is that.

Outshined_One
06-22-2006, 12:55 PM
Hard to describe how bad Donovan's been. He just ran past an open shot at the net to play the ball into the thick of the defense.

If the US had secretly given him bad plane tickets to Germany so that he wouldn't have made it to the World Cup, do you think it would have had any effect on the way the team has played?

I'd say no.

IslandRed
06-22-2006, 12:57 PM
Aaaargh Shoot Donovan!!!!

I was just about to post that... he had the lane and wasn't looking to shoot.

That's pretty much where the U.S. is lacking IMO relative to the elite teams, to the extent I know what I'm talking about as a casual fan. We hang in there during the run of play now, but when it comes to finishing, we don't have it.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:57 PM
I'm not sure what the expectation for the US was here? When I first saw the draw, I had no expectation of advancing. After getting hammered by the Czechs, I didn't even think today's game would mean anything.
The 1-1 tie v. Italy is one of the great performances for the US team in it's World Cup history. The 3-2 win over Portugal in 2002 is probably the crowning acheivement, along with the 2-1 win over Colombia in 1994.

I would've loved to see today's second half at 1-1; but bad PK calls (and bad officiating in general) are commonplace in soccer.


It was a huge mistake for US soccer to proclaim that they'd win a World Cup by 2010. There are huge teams that have never won a WC; Holland and Spain, for example. That was an unrealistic expectation, IMO.

What happens next? Does Arena stay? I'm thinking that Harkes may be in line for the head coaching position at some point (pure speculation on my part). But it might be too early for that.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 12:57 PM
I'm too angry to give an even headed assessment of Donovan at the moment, but it is pretty clear that the decision to come back to play against MLS quality opposition instead of fighting for his job in Germany was a poor one

OUReds
06-22-2006, 12:58 PM
It is rare enough to coach 2 WC cycles. After this performance there is zero chance Arena is back for another.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 12:58 PM
Stupid for a big time player like Appiah to get a "time wasting" yellow card. No excuse for that level of stupidity.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:00 PM
It doesn't matter, NJReds. It won't carry over and he did manage to waste some seconds off the clock.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:01 PM
Eric Wynalda: "Bruce Arena screwed up this WC for the US."

M2
06-22-2006, 01:02 PM
What happens next? Does Arena stay? I'm thinking that Harkes may be in line for the head coaching position at some point (pure speculation on my part). But it might be too early for that.

Arena goes. He's taken the national side as far as he can. IMO, it's time to find a foreign coach. I'm partial to the Dutch. If the U.S. really wants to do something radical I suggest Frank Rijkaard.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:02 PM
I'm not sure what the expectation for the US was here? When I first saw the draw, I had no expectation of advancing. After getting hammered by the Czechs, I didn't even think today's game would mean anything.
The 1-1 tie v. Italy is one of the great performances for the US team in it's World Cup history. The 3-2 win over Portugal in 2002 is probably the crowning acheivement, along with the 2-1 win over Colombia in 1994.

I would've loved to see today's second half at 1-1; but bad PK calls (and bad officiating in general) are commonplace in soccer.


It was a huge mistake for US soccer to proclaim that they'd win a World Cup by 2010. There are huge teams that have never won a WC; Holland and Spain, for example. That was an unrealistic expectation, IMO.

What happens next? Does Arena stay? I'm thinking that Harkes may be in line for the head coaching position at some point (pure speculation on my part). But it might be too early for that.

The expectation was competent managing. Play your best game and get beat, fine.

Bruce Arena did not put the US in a position to do that and the players did not step up.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 01:02 PM
Eric Wynalda: "Bruce Arena screwed up this WC for the US."

It hurts to hear, but Wynalda is spot on all his comments. I thought he was going to cuss Beasley out.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:06 PM
Someone needed to and he should have had his skinny butt on the bench before the 1st game. He was clearly not in form and he hasn't been in form for the past year. But inexplicably he is still used in all 3 games while Eddie Johnson is relegated to the bench.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 01:06 PM
It doesn't matter, NJReds. It won't carry over and he did manage to waste some seconds off the clock.

They clean the slate going into the next round? I wasn't aware of that.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:07 PM
Yup. Unless you draw your 2nd yellow, then you miss the next game. That's what Essien did. He will be unavailable for their game VS. the Brazilians.

They wouldn't beat Brazil anyway, but they'll REALLY struggle without Essien.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:09 PM
M2, say your farewells to Dempsey. He will be in Europe soon. That goal earned him a contract in Europe. (And his overall play, to be fair)

NJReds
06-22-2006, 01:09 PM
Okay then. I take back my criticism of Appiah.

This team could give Brazil fits if Brazil doesn't "kick it up a notch" in the next round.

oneupper
06-22-2006, 01:13 PM
Just read the comment on the game here...
Agree with just about everyone...

Bad officiating...yes... but LOST chances a TON for the US.
Donovan...ughhh...
Reyna...ughhh...

Team SLOW.

Rest of World is probably happy the US is gone. Blame Bush. (sorry for the poliltical reference...but its true).

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:15 PM
Yes, Brazil has been lackluster to this point, for sure. However, I heard that Parreira will start Ronaldo alongside Robinho in their match today. I think this will lead to goals for Brazil, and Ronaldo. In many ways, Ronaldo and Adriano are the same player. They occupy the same sort of role, but Ronaldo can at least create for others and play a 'Brazilian-style' of soccer. Interestingly, Adriano is the atypical Brazilian footballer. Not much of a passer or facilitator at all. He looks to boom goals with his mighty left foot. When 2 players attempt to occupy the same space and the same role, success is unlikely.

I think Robinho and Ronaldo will make Ronaldo look like a different player.

smith288
06-22-2006, 01:23 PM
In my laymens understanding of FIFA soccer... Our team sucks.

Yachtzee
06-22-2006, 01:25 PM
Arena goes. He's taken the national side as far as he can. IMO, it's time to find a foreign coach. I'm partial to the Dutch. If the U.S. really wants to do something radical I suggest Frank Rijkaard.

Juergen Klinsman? The media has been playing up his "American" connection.

reds1869
06-22-2006, 01:26 PM
This performance can only be summed up properly with a picture that's worth 1,000 words:


http://www.nlhs.com/images/hindenburg/big_hindenburg_explodes_over_lakehurst.jpg

NJReds
06-22-2006, 01:27 PM
In my laymens understanding of FIFA soccer... Our team sucks.

In laymans terms, we qualify out of a weak region and have no world class players.

M2
06-22-2006, 01:27 PM
M2, say your farewells to Dempsey. He will be in Europe soon. That goal earned him a contract in Europe. (And his overall play, to be fair)

No doubt. He took a star turn.

M2
06-22-2006, 01:33 PM
Theoretically, it should be fairly easy for the U.S. to recruit a foreign coach. The national soccer federation has money and it's not a bad country to live in I'm told.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:34 PM
In laymans terms, we qualify out of a weak region and have no world class players.

We have Landon Donovan!! And he's so good, he doesn't NEED to play in Europe to improve his skills. MLS is good enough for him. lol.

He doesn't have to worry about a European contract with disappearing acts like he had VS. Czech Republic and Ghana. Stay in MLS. And take off that armband.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 01:35 PM
Theoretically, it should be fairly easy for the U.S. to recruit a foreign coach. The national soccer federation has money and it's not a bad country to live in I'm told.
They got the MTV I hear.

reds1869
06-22-2006, 01:35 PM
Theoretically, it should be fairly easy for the U.S. to recruit a foreign coach. The national soccer federation has money and it's not a bad country to live in I'm told.

Guss Hiddink, anyone? We can surely pull him away from the Russians after he leaves Australia tomorrow. He is a master program builder.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 01:36 PM
We have Landon Donovan!! And he's so good, he doesn't NEED to play in Europe to improve his skills. MLS is good enough for him. lol.

He doesn't have to worry about a European contract with disappearing acts like he had VS. Czech Republic and Ghana. Stay in MLS. And take off that armband.
Imagine the sunshine they'll blow the skirt of the "real" first world class player the US has... it will be Kyle Rote Jr to the 100th power.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:37 PM
We need a foreign manager. We need some fresh ideas and someone who will turn over large portions of the player pool. I like the previously mentioned Dutch-manager suggestion.

I wonder if Big Phil will stay on with Portugal after this WC. He'd be a great manager for the U.S.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:38 PM
Imagine the sunshine they'll blow the skirt of the "real" first world class player the US has... it will be Kyle Rote Jr to the 100th power.

LOL, and don't forget, Kasey Keller is the best GK in the world.

M2
06-22-2006, 01:40 PM
The expectation was competent managing. Play your best game and get beat, fine.

Bruce Arena did not put the US in a position to do that and the players did not step up.

Good points.

Though I think it also goes to our national temperament. I don't think Americans mind losing if the team shows some scoring flair. It's losing when the national side only musters a single goal in three games (the own goal against Italy was a gift) that most likely rankles folks. We're a goal-oriented people.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:43 PM
Yep, I should have tempered that as being 'my' expectation. And most people who are more than casual fans.

Not a knock on casual, once every 4 years fans at all, b/c you're exactly right: The average American expects goals, scoring, and flair.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 01:43 PM
We need a foreign manager. We need some fresh ideas and someone who will turn over large portions of the player pool. I like the previously mentioned Dutch-manager suggestion.

I wonder if Big Phil will stay on with Portugal after this WC. He'd be a great manager for the U.S.


Scolari would be ideal certainly, but he'll be the single most sought after manager in the world. It is a bit of a pipe dream to think he'll come here. I like Klinsmann, and there are certainly many candidates. At the very least, in America, you don't have to worry too much about qualifying.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:45 PM
LOL, OUReds, we're America! Of course Big Phil will want to come here over everywhere else! ;) I'd love Klinsmann as well. There are lots of great options, we just need some fresh ideas.

Yachtzee
06-22-2006, 01:45 PM
In my laymens understanding of FIFA soccer... Our team sucks.

I don't know about that. They did qualify for the elite tournament in the world. There are a lot of teams that didn't make it that far.

It's kind of the the NCAA basketball tournament. UEFA (Europe) and CONMEBOL (South America) are the major conferences, like the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, etc. CONCACAF, the Asian and the African Federations are the mid-majors, like the Atlantic 10 and the MVC. And then there's Oceania, which is like the Patriot League, getting that 1/2 bid similar to the 64/65 play-in game. Just about all the teams that make it to the tournament had to beat some good teams just to get in.

I can remember the '80s and US Soccer up to '94, where the US team wasn't even expected to qualify. They got in in '94 because the host country gets an automatic bid. The team now is to the point where they seem to handle most of the CONCACAF competition, but they need to step it up a notch by playing more "major conference" teams from UEFA and CONMEBOL.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:49 PM
Excellent points, Yachtzee. Also, one thing that really hurt the US was not playing the Confederations Cup as well as Copa America (top-flite tournaments against teams like Brazil, Argentina, Holland, etc. etc.) We turned down an invitation to those tournaments, to our detriment.

We MUST play those tournaments. Beating up on Honduras does not improve our squad.

westofyou
06-22-2006, 01:50 PM
We MUST play those tournaments. Beating up on Honduras does not improve our squad.Except at dodging objects being thrown from the stands.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:51 PM
LMAO ahhh that is funny. Urine-bag-dodging... hmm, does that translate to any discernible skill on the pitch.

WMR
06-22-2006, 01:54 PM
Watching the replay of the 1st goal, WHAT was Reyna doing trying to dribble past a man out of the back. Sheesh, cardinal sin.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 01:58 PM
Watching the replay of the 1st goal, WHAT was Reyna doing trying to dribble past a man out of the back. Sheesh, cardinal sin.

The only proper response to that question would get one banned for profanity.

oneupper
06-22-2006, 01:58 PM
Watching the replay of the 1st goal, WHAT was Reyna doing trying to dribble past a man out of the back. Sheesh, cardinal sin.

I hate to say, but I think he went down more in shame than in pain....

WMR
06-22-2006, 02:00 PM
That was my first thought, Oneupper.

"I think the only thing he bruised there was his pride."

Man did he get stuck by that Ghanian. That's one of those challenges you just dream about.

M2
06-22-2006, 02:08 PM
Watching the replay of the 1st goal, WHAT was Reyna doing trying to dribble past a man out of the back. Sheesh, cardinal sin.

Waiting to make his millionth short backwards pass?

NJReds
06-22-2006, 02:09 PM
The average American expects goals, scoring, and flair.

Then they should watch Brazil.

Yachtzee
06-22-2006, 02:09 PM
Excellent points, Yachtzee. Also, one thing that really hurt the US was not playing the Confederations Cup as well as Copa America (top-flite tournaments against teams like Brazil, Argentina, Holland, etc. etc.) We turned down an invitation to those tournaments, to our detriment.

We MUST play those tournaments. Beating up on Honduras does not improve our squad.

Exactly. I'm not sure what the problem is really. If anyone would like to enlighten me as to why we don't, it would be welcome. The only reason I can think of is that here in the US we tend to view our own league championships as the be all and end all for our professional teams. Meanwhile, everyone else in the world takes these international competitions just as serious as league play.

M2
06-22-2006, 02:12 PM
Then they should watch Brazil.

I think we'd be happy to be Spain or the Netherlands. Bring a little danger to the table.

Watching a team in need of a collective Viagra just isn't going to wash with anyone.

NJReds
06-22-2006, 02:14 PM
I think we'd be happy to be Spain or the Netherlands. Bring a little danger to the table.

Watching a team in need of a collective Viagra just isn't going to wash with anyone.

I think most US fans would be thrilled w/Spain or the Netherlands.

I don't see that kind of talent anywhere, though.

WMR
06-22-2006, 02:16 PM
It did not factor into Bruce Arena's World Cup prep plans.

I hope--pray--that that will be one of the many changes instituted into US Soccer building towards South Africa 2010. Not playing those tournaments is stupid. So you get your lunch handed to you by Brazil. Who cares??? The team will improve. We need to play some good opposition so we get the FIFA ranking that we deserve.

OUReds
06-22-2006, 02:46 PM
Exactly. I'm not sure what the problem is really. If anyone would like to enlighten me as to why we don't, it would be welcome. The only reason I can think of is that here in the US we tend to view our own league championships as the be all and end all for our professional teams. Meanwhile, everyone else in the world takes these international competitions just as serious as league play.

You nailed it. Other football leagues are fall-spring affairs, with the major international competitions in the summer during their off seasons. The meat of the MLS season is during the summer, so US soccer has been reluctant to enter them and disrupt the heart of the MLS season.

WMR
06-22-2006, 03:52 PM
It is just before the England v Brazil match. Ronaldinho goes into the Brazilian changing room to find all his teammates looking a bit glum.


"What's up?" he asks.

"Well, we're having trouble getting motivated for this game. We know it's important but it's only England. They're sh*te and we can't be bothered."

Ronaldinho looks at them and says, "Well, I reckon I can beat them by myself-you lads go down the pub."

So Ronaldinho goes out to play England by himself and the rest of the Brazilian team go off for a few jars.

After a few pints they wonder how the game is going, so they get the landlord to put the teletext on. A big cheer goes up as the screen reads "Brazil 1 - England 0 (Ronaldinho 10 minutes)". He is beating England all by himself!

Anyway, a few pints later and the game is forgotten until someone remembers, "It must be full time now, let's see how he got on." They put the teletext on.

"Result from the Stadium 'Brazil 1 (Ronaldinho 10 minutes) - England 1 (Lampard 89 minutes)."

They can't believe it; he has single-handedly got a draw against England!!

They rush back to the Stadium to congratulate Ronaldinho. They find him in the dressing room, still in his gear, sitting with his head in his hands.

He refuses to look at them. "I've let you down, I've let you down."

"Don't be daft, you got a draw against England, all by yourself. And they only scored at the very, very end!"

"No, no, I have, I've let you down...I got sent off after 12 minutes."

jmcclain19
06-22-2006, 04:34 PM
After this morning's dismal US display, here is a bit of soccer humor good for a laugh

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YQjzuhUGlPM&search=gay%20referee

M2
06-22-2006, 05:30 PM
One thing that disappointed me about the U.S. is that it didn't attempt anything innovative. For instance, Onyewu can chuck a throw-in farther than just about anyone on the planet. If the opposition puts the ball out of bounds in the last 10-15 yards of their defensive end, Onyewu can throw the ball on net like it was a corner kick. He even did it once in today's game.

Why doesn't the U.S. use that weapon more often? Have Onyewu throw it nearside for a guy like McBride who can use his head and then run another player at the far side of the net. Throw, quick head pass, bam!, back of the net. It would put immense pressure on the opposing defense if the traditional safe out of bounds play were suddenly turned into a high percentage set piece.

Chip R
06-22-2006, 05:38 PM
Eric Wynalda: "Bruce Arena screwed up this WC for the US."

Wynalda was crucifying Arena on ESPN radio Saturday. Basically called him a Johnny Come Lately to soccer and called him a lacrosse guy. Now I don't know whether he's right or wrong or what personal beef he has with Arena but that was very harsh.

Outshined_One
06-22-2006, 05:53 PM
Wow, and I thought the officiating was bad in the US/Italy game. The Australia/Croatia game had such highlights like a Croatian player (Simunivic?) somehow managing to get three yellow cards, a horrible missed call in the box that should have been a PK for Croatia, and cards handed out like free candy.

oneupper
06-22-2006, 05:59 PM
Wow, and I thought the officiating was bad in the US/Italy game. The Australia/Croatia game had such highlights like a Croatian player (Simunivic?) somehow managing to get three yellow cards, a horrible missed call in the box that should have been a PK for Croatia, and cards handed out like free candy.

Yes...but what an exciting game.

MWM
06-22-2006, 06:03 PM
I just saw the replay of the PK awarded Ghana today and I couldn't believe what I saw. I wasn't able to watch the game and by reading the comments here onthe board I was expecting it to be a bad call, but I never would have imagined it was THAT bad. I have to agree that it's probably the worst World Cup PK call I've ever seen and I've seen A LOT of WC games. Just unreal. Not sure it would have mattered, but i still hate to see something so agregious.

Unfortunately, officiating is having too large a role in what's been a phenomenal world cup so far. The need more than one on the field and they really need to incorporate some kind of video technology into these games.

Nugget
06-22-2006, 08:02 PM
Guss Hiddink, anyone? We can surely pull him away from the Russians after he leaves Australia tomorrow. He is a master program builder.

Hey I didn't get too far through the thread before I saw this. I know you guys are sore and Merk is hopeless but :thumbdown

All I can say is we're through and bring on the Italians. There are a couple of divided loyalties in the office but woooohooo.

The big change will be Schwarzer in for Kalac and Bresciano in for Emerton.

dsmith421
06-22-2006, 08:21 PM
Theoretically, it should be fairly easy for the U.S. to recruit a foreign coach. The national soccer federation has money and it's not a bad country to live in I'm told.

Klinsmann already lives here, loves the US, is a relatively young, passionate guy, and has rubbed enough people the wrong way in the DFB that he won't be back.

He's my first choice. And my second and third.

M2
06-22-2006, 08:45 PM
Klinsmann already lives here, loves the US, is a relatively young, passionate guy, and has rubbed enough people the wrong way in the DFB that he won't be back.

He's my first choice. And my second and third.

I'm partial to the Dutch, but Klinsmann, though I despised him as a player, would be all right by me. Guaranteed, U.S. players would know how to flop.

reds1869
06-22-2006, 09:17 PM
Hey I didn't get too far through the thread before I saw this. I know you guys are sore and Merk is hopeless but :thumbdown

All I can say is we're through and bring on the Italians. There are a couple of divided loyalties in the office but woooohooo.

The big change will be Schwarzer in for Kalac and Bresciano in for Emerton.

What do you want me to say? Hiddink would be tremendous for the US and he's leaving the Socceroos one way or another. He's already shown he's a man loyal to money only, so it's not unrealistic to think he would shun Russia. At this point I don't care if we hire a mercenary...everyone else seems to be.

I meant no offense by the Aussies going home tomorrow part; I sincerely thought they would not advance.

Doc. Scott
06-22-2006, 09:49 PM
I'm partial to the Dutch, but Klinsmann, though I despised him as a player, would be all right by me. Guaranteed, U.S. players would know how to flop.

And that was the one thing I thought the US side deserved to be proud about. Our guys don't (or can't) flop like the Italians or even the Ghanans were doing. Maybe it's part of soccer, but as a very casual fan, I find it to be one of the most annoying aspects of watching a game.

Nugget
06-22-2006, 10:02 PM
What do you want me to say? Hiddink would be tremendous for the US and he's leaving the Socceroos one way or another. He's already shown he's a man loyal to money only, so it's not unrealistic to think he would shun Russia. At this point I don't care if we hire a mercenary...everyone else seems to be.

I meant no offense by the Aussies going home tomorrow part; I sincerely thought they would not advance.

That's what I was getting at, if you can get Hiddink he'd be great. Although I don't think he is one of those guys who goes back on his word so you'd probably have to wait a while. Some other dutch coaches around are Dick Advocaat (currently guiding the South Koreans) and Van Basten seems to be in the Hiddink mould as well.

I think the thing is that they bring a structure to the play and also are tactically more astute. I mean you saw it again today, after the first five minutes of the game against Croatia Hiddink made a tactical change because he felt Chipperfield could give more off the left flank than Emerton on the right. The one thing about Dutch football is that you need players who can fit into a number of positions on the field.

WMR
06-22-2006, 11:08 PM
Yes, Brazil has been lackluster to this point, for sure. However, I heard that Parreira will start Ronaldo alongside Robinho in their match today. I think this will lead to goals for Brazil, and Ronaldo. In many ways, Ronaldo and Adriano are the same player. They occupy the same sort of role, but Ronaldo can at least create for others and play a 'Brazilian-style' of soccer. Interestingly, Adriano is the atypical Brazilian footballer. Not much of a passer or facilitator at all. He looks to boom goals with his mighty left foot. When 2 players attempt to occupy the same space and the same role, success is unlikely.

I think Robinho and Ronaldo will make Ronaldo look like a different player.

Not to toot my own horn or anything. ;)

It was Japan, after all, but Ronaldo, undeniably, looked like a different player today. A bit out of form, but still one of, if not the most, lethal finishers in the world.

Without Essien, Ghana will get rolled if Perreira keeps Juninho, Robinho, and Gilberto Silva on the pitch.

savafan
06-23-2006, 03:04 AM
I can't get into soccer at all, but I can get into this.

http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/pgStory?contentId=5676192&pageNumber=1

NJReds
06-23-2006, 08:54 AM
Wynalda was crucifying Arena on ESPN radio Saturday. Basically called him a Johnny Come Lately to soccer and called him a lacrosse guy. Now I don't know whether he's right or wrong or what personal beef he has with Arena but that was very harsh.

Is US soccer in better shape now then in 1998, when Arena took over.

I think Wynalda should shut his trap. Arena was hailed after 2002, now he's a soccer idiot? Please. He's got a bit of Joe Torre disease, meaning that he shows a little too much loyalty to the veteran players that he had success w/in the past. But US soccer is light-years ahead of the travesty that was the 1998 World Cup.

That said, it's time for a change at the top. He's had a very long tenure for a national team soccer coach.

M2
06-23-2006, 04:14 PM
France just got screwed out of another goal.

M2
06-23-2006, 06:06 PM
So Asia's the first continent out of the tournament. The round of 16 features one team from Africa (Ghana), one from North America (Mexico), one from Oceania (Australia), three from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador) and ten from Europe (Germany, England, Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Ukraine). Croatia, Poland and the Czech Republic were the only Euro teams not to advance. Paraguay was the only South America team that missed the boat.

Here's both halves of the draw -

Half A:

Germany
Sweden
Argentina
Mexico
Italy
Australia
Switzerland
Ukraine

Half B (the loaded half of the draw):

England
Ecuador
Portugal
Netherlands
Brazil
Ghana
Spain
France

The round of 16 games, on paper, will be Germany-Sweden, Portugal-Netherlands and Spain-France.

Germany and Argentina could collide in the quarterfinals, which might be a game to get to the final seeing that the winner would get a relatively weak sister (Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Ukraine) in the semis.

Meanwhile, the quarters in the other half of the draw could be England-Netherlands and Brazil-Spain. Holy flying cats! That's "Clash of the Titans" material right there.

reds1869
06-23-2006, 08:00 PM
Argentina and Mexico will be a very fun game to watch. I talked to some Mexicans who think they have a legitimate shot. Are they crazy? Probably. But their team will take their best shot.

I'm cheering for Germany and England from here on out and can't quite decide which side of my family to go with if they meet up!

MWM
06-23-2006, 11:28 PM
Spain - Brazil could potentially be one of the best WC games we've seen in a while (I'm thinking Netherlands - Brazil in 1998 good).

WMR
06-24-2006, 03:03 AM
I'm telling you: Spain had better not overlook France. They looked a different squad with Trezeguet alongside Henry and they have many world-class players. Their overall WC has been poor, but they're the type of team that could put together a world-class effort in an important game like this.