Thursday, June 15, 2006

Soccer Fever - 2

FIFA World Cup Soccer Germany 2006.

The first matches of all the teams are over, across the eight groups. So my thoughts about the some of the teams, from what I have seen so far. And about whom I know (maybe limited)

Germany - Good so far. They seem to be well organized and have good coordination. Apart from Klose and Ballack, Schneider in the midfield is doing well. Great goals in the opening game, they were a joy to watch.

England - Beckham. More? Ok, that one wonderful goal scored against Paraguay. It was a free kick from medium range, which touched the Paraguay captain before heading into the nets. England team is fast, pretty fast. The midfield is strong with Beckham(seems to be in good form), Gerrard and Lampard. Defense is perhaps the best in this world cup. Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Campbell, Neville, Cole are amazing defenders and its not easy to get past the English defense. They have strong chances of winning.

Sweden - With Larsson, Lungberg and Ibramovic at forwards and midfield, they are quite strong, but they failed to score against Trinidad and Tobago. They are good contenders but dont seem to be the ones who can win the final.

Paraguay - A good team. Good attacking play. But can they make it?

Argentina - Wow. I think they played better than Brazil. I think they are being underrated and underestimated. The spotlight may be on Brazil, but these guys are playing really well. Riquelme is amazing on the midfield. They have a good midfield (sorin (a defender actually but like cafu, plays on the flanks), riquelme, aimar) and good strike (crespo, messi, saviola). They are strong contenders.

Holland - Very competitive. Total football. Joy to watch on the field. They may not be as strong as they were during France 1998 (amazing football from them during this world cup, they were my favs that time). Attack is good (Nistelrooy, Robben). Good goalkeeper (Van der Saar, who is the captain too, IIRC). No big names like the last time. No Bergkemp, no Kluivert (wondering why he has been left out), no Edgar Davids. They may go far.

Ivory Coast - A better team than what I had expected. Played very well against Argentina. And surprisingly, generally compared to the teams from Africa, these guys arent playing so rough. Drogba, the captain, is a lead striker for Chelsea in English Premier League. They may turn out to be the dark horse.

Portugal - Another dark horse. But they may get nervous. Or they may be chokers like Spain. I think they are playing in the world cup after a long time. They reached the finals of Euro 2004. Having a very good run since then. Figo and C Ronaldo are good.

Italy - Cannot say much about them, but they may spring a few surprises. Good team, but lack someone like Baggio or Maldini. Totti, Del Piero and Nesta are the stars this time.

Australia - Dark horses. Play rough but they have some good players like Viduka and Kewell.

Brazil - Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Lucio in the defense. Dida the goalkeeper. Ronaldinho, Kaka, Juninho in the midfield. (plus carlos and cafu who play all over the field). Adriano, Robinho and Ronaldo(somewhat disappointing) as strikers. Need I elaborate?

Croatia - Good fast attacking football. Well knit team.

France - A major disappointment. I found their game slow. I had higher hopes, since they are playing 6 of their players who won the world cup in 1998. They seemed to be disorganized. Drew 0-0 with Switzerland. Zidane is not what he was in 1998. Henry seems out of form.

Spain - Chokers historically. Can they make it this time? Chances dont seem to be high. But their 4-0 victory over Ukraine suggests otherwise. They start well, but choke later. Plus no one star to push them through.

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Its never necessary that the team with stars wins. Too many stars in the team, ego hassles and personal glory come in. Too less stars means less inspiration, and less talent/skill. If a team has around 2-3 stars and bignames, the other players are inspired.

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