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Gillian Rosh

World Cup 2014: Brazil, Here We Come!

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My friend said England is the Dallas Cowboys of international soccer.

 

Ballard, who seems to be the only person to know anything about soccer, was right though. What is the English style? Counterattacking, ball control, what? It seems they rely on luck.

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My friend said England is the Dallas Cowboys of international soccer.

 

I'm not sure what that means. The only thing I know about the Cowboys was that I was brought up to hate them. (My family were Rams fans. In the 70s. So, yeah...)

 

 

Ballard, who seems to be the only person to know anything about soccer, was right though. What is the English style? Counterattacking, ball control, what? It seems they rely on luck.

 

It used to be the infamous long ball. But, yeah, I don't know what it is anymore. Germany doesn't play the type of football they used to play in the 80s, which is good... they play a much more beautiful game now. But England doesn't seem to have moved into a specific style. I think you're right, they do tend to depend on luck. It seems like they have the right ingredients... it just doesn't come together.

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The manager isn't stupid, so I presume he must have an idea about it. But you don't hear them talking about it. Bad defense in the back, not getting Rooney the ball nearly enough, etc.

 

Dallas is always hyped every year as 'this is the time for Dallas' because they actually do have good players, but every year they do just enough to be mediocre because just heaving down the field doesn't win games. 

Edited by ganesh

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The France second goal dance was cute. Not enough goal dances.

 

 

The manager isn't stupid, so I presume he must have an idea about it. But you don't hear them talking about it. Bad defense in the back, not getting Rooney the ball nearly enough, etc.

 

Dallas is always hyped every year as 'this is the time for Dallas' because they actually do have good players, but every year they do just enough to be mediocre because just heaving down the field doesn't win games. 

 

They've had five managers since 2001 and some not so great ones either.

 

England gets a lot of hype in the anglophone world since I personally know a lot of England supporters outside of the UK. They do have decent players and they were a very strong team at one time, but not recently. I like Gerard, but it was a bit embarrassing to watch them do all those ineffective free kicks and corners.

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Wow France demolishing the Swiss, well done, and they missed a  penalty and a sure goal from the miss, should have been 4-0

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The Premiere League is easily among the finest football leagues in the world but there is quite an influx of foreign players there so it's hard to judge that, too. I mean, Belgium is absolutely riddled with top flight Premiere players. If I had to choose, I'd say that the Premiere League, La Liga and the Bundesliga were the top three football leagues in Europe but the players go between them all, there are Asian and African and South American players that flock to Europe because that's where the money is. 

 

But where is the current generation of English football stars? How is it that Holland seems to crank out a stunning amount of world class footballers with shocking regularity and England starts and stops? Hell, even when the Germans were completely rebuilding their entire foundation they somehow managed to get to the semi-finals with a team the country had no expectations for at all. (Or was it the quarters? I'm not sure.) That gets explained with 'Well, they're German. They're just built to do well.' I mean, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Spain have managed to put together generations of footballers that captured the imagination but England continues to struggle.

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They do have decent players and they were a very strong team at one time, but not recently.

 

When was that time though? Because they got knocked out by a so so Italy in the Euros, and wiped by Germany in WC2010. Everytime it's like "oh England, yeah that England team, we have to watch out for..." what exactly? They're slow, so you can beat them on a counter attack. They don't have a true #9, and Rooney can't do everything. They don't have a strong midfield where they can play possession and break a team down. 

 

I'm surprised the Swiss didn't push for a third goal. They aren't out, but -2 is better than -3.

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When was that time though? Because they got knocked out by a so so Italy in the Euros, and wiped by Germany in WC2010. Everytime it's like "oh England, yeah that England team, we have to watch out for..." what exactly? They're slow, so you can beat them on a counter attack. They don't have a true #9, and Rooney can't do everything. They don't have a strong midfield where they can play possession and break a team down. 

 

I'm surprised the Swiss didn't push for a third goal. They aren't out, but -2 is better than -3.

 

 

1966? Haha. England is a country that I have lived in and have a lot of friends from so I want to support it truly, but it's not a good team. I actually don't think most non-anglophones talk about England national team that way anymore. I know Europeans don't as much. England does live off it's reputation for having one of the best leagues in the world (which is mixed up with lots of nationalities) and it still manages to be #10 on the FIFA rankings.

 

I'm sorry to miss the second half of the Swiss-France game.

 

This weekend should be good. I'm looking forward to Germany vs Ghana and USA vs Portugal.

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I'm interested to see what, if anything, eventually comes of the incident with Pereira from the Uruguayan team in terms of rules re: head injuries. If you didn't see it, he took a knee to the temple and was knocked out cold on the pitch. When he eventually got up, the doctors on the sideline were signaling for a substitution, but he waved them off and insisted on continuing to play. He seemed to recover after a bit, but immediately after the incident, he looked unsteady and unfocused. It doesn't seem like players should be allowed to judge for themselves whether or not they are able to continue play after something like that.

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I have to admit that the best part of watching World Cup for me, is watching the fans in the stands.  I wish I could have been there yesterday, rockin' it out with the Ivory Coast fans.

I was fortunate to be working in South Africa in 2010 during the Cup and went to the Ghana-Serbia match and I can say from experience that African fans are the best in the world, bar none! They are never jaded, and the enthusaism and joy they show just spills out on to everyone there. I sat near a huge swath of Ghanaian fans in 2010, and they were amazing and very entertaining...They fly in with their own huge drums and gourd shakers, and I love when they show the fans supporting the African teams. My dream is that some day a team like Ghana kicks ass, takes names, and wins the whole enchilada...hey, a girl can dream, cant she?

As for Cup prettiness, you guys can continue to fight over and share the Diegos, I'll just quietly wander off under the stands with Adam Kwarasey...

Edited by gingerella
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Landon Donovan needs some serious coaching when it comes to public speaking/tv commentating.  I know close to nothing about futbol, but I could have more lively and animated- I know he's a good player, but damn.

 

The English press is being merciless to Rooney.  Ouch.

 

I love all the goal celebratory dances.  It's hilarious and adorable.  I also love the passionate fans- their dances and makeup, and I'm glad the the tv cameras are covering that too.   I wish I could be in the stands to dance with them.  So many people seem so happy and positive and enthusiastic. 

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Rooney isn't the reason England went home. They're slow and don't have a philosophy. 

 

This USA would be great if it were 0-0 or 1-1 at the half. Of course they're playing better, *of course* they gave up a goal in the first 10 minutes. Ugh. 

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It's the group of death, and the USA has 4 points and held the best player in the world to one assist. Ok, they were leading with 30 seconds to go, but at the start of the WC, not only having to go into the Germany game must win, but also control their own destiny? I'll take that. They're +1, and they scored 4 goals in two WC games! Portugal is still -4.

 

Germany certainly isn't in a must win situation either and doesn't need to take any risks where someone important might be injured. 

 

USA is a young ish team that needs to learn how to close out big time games. If they can not shed the traditional fuck up in the first 5 minutes, and play that last 65' for a full 90'? That's a really good team. 

 

And they came from behind to take the lead. That never happens. 

 

This is a group with the 3rd best team, 4th best team with the best player, and the recently historical American soccer nemesis. I know I'm rationalizing and they should have closed it out and taken the win, but *everything* leading up to this game was "if USA can take a point, if they can hold of CR7, they have to score and can't hope for 0-0."

Edited by ganesh
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Going into the match, I would've been happy with a point. But to lose on the last touch....

 

Still, I wouldn't trade places with Ghana or Portugal.

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Donovan seem really monotone when giving his commentary, as if he does not want to be there.

Ghana/Portugal have a fighting chance f USA loses to Germany but if the USA wins, forget about it.

As for Cup prettiness, you guys can continue to fight over and share the Diegos, I'll just quietly wander off under the stands with Adam Kwarasey...

That seat is already taken.

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No offense against the analysis guys but I could come up with just as good. And I only played till the high school level. Not for anything either, why can't Julie Foudy get in the studio with any analysis. She's one of the elder states-people of American soccer with like 50 billion caps. Surely she has some insight?

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What a heartbreaker!  However, given we weren't given a chance in Hades to do well, I am taking it. 

 

I've really enjoyed the cup watching so far, teams that were supposed to be all that not finishing or making it.  Gives new meaning to why you play the game.

 

Also, I agree hats off to the CONCAF.

 

Finally, my own shallow dip in the pool of hotties, I will take Aleksandr Kerzhakov please.

Edited by hope4all

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A lot of people are talking on the radio today about how the USA choked, and that's fine. They have to learn how to close out a big time international match. But the fact is, you play three games, and how you do in those three determines whether you advance. If they advance then this really is a nonissue. What's important is when they're in this situation again that they do actually close it out. 
 

 

Edited by ganesh

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As someone hi has not traditionally supported the USA in football/soccer, I was impressed. I thought they played relatively well given their group and they had a couple of nice goals.

My love for the Dutch team continues though.

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They didn't choke.  I'd say they got caught off guard because they had all but shut down Ronaldo for the entire game and the one time they took their eye off him he pulled that out of his ass.  But from where I sat, once they got their shit together after halftime, they dominated the second half.  For a team no one expected to do squat, the fact that they are tied with arguably the best team in the tournament right now says a lot.

 

And no offense to anyone who's a fan, but Ronaldo did not impress me.  I've never seen him play before, but if that's what I'm supposed to judge him on, he didn't wow me.  The ass kissing from the commentators was irritating to say the least.  "Ronaldo NEVER misses a free kick."  Well, he did....twice.  "Ronaldo NEVER gets beaten by a defender."  Well, he did....for most of the game.  Ronaldo this, Ronaldo that....in fact at one point one of them pointed out that he was seemingly refusing to defend the US player he was supposed to be defending.  And his pouting whenever he was called off sides....seriously?

Not impressed.  

And at the end, with the "OMG HE'S SO FANTASTIC!!!"  Really?  Because what I saw was a guy who got lucky, essentially.  He'd been shut down for the entire game pretty much.  How nice of him to join us for the last 30 seconds.

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I'm not a fan of Ronaldo, I'll just say that up front. That being said, he wasn't at his best but that's part of the game. And, frankly, it's all too common in the World Cup anyway. Messi is another that gets a lot of hype and he did nothing in 2010. He's been pulling out the goals in a pinch thus far but he remains somewhat underwhelming.

 

All that being said, the stars of soccer don't necessarily have to control an entire game... they generally need just one moment to change everything.

 

Selfishly now? I hope the Germany/US game is the most boring, anemic tie that ever was. I'm totally fine with that. I don't need to see either team rip their guts out when a tie benefits the both of them.

 

Robben is in fine form this World Cup. The Dutch went about their business today and even after a scoreless first half they put two on the board in the second. Robben was a constant threat.

 

Spain... well look at that. They bring David Villa off the bench and he scores on a freaking trick shot. David Villa is one I love. I don't know why they didn't play him in at least the second game when hopes were still alive for Spain. I just don't get that move at all. Spain beat Australia 3-0 in a game that... really didn't matter. Alas.

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The weird thing about national teams is that they actually kind of suck compared to the pro teams. Messi needs capable players to distribute to in order to be Messi. Ronaldo needs people in the middle who can hold the ball long enough so he can get free and do his thing. Check out highlights of him this year.

 

One on one, Ronaldo is going to beat you more often than not. And he was one on one at the end. He was also creeping into the middle of the field a lot, whereas his wheelhouse is really the left sideline. But, no one was doing squat so he needed to take some shots. 

 

In terms of his free kicks, he's usually either scoring or just missing. They were in an incredibly humid environment, and long distance shots are just going to be problematic. The ball won't spin like you want and it's practically like a rock. 

 

Bottom line: this is like LeBron going 4-27 for the whole game and everyone saying 'LeBron always makes that shot. LeBron is off his game.' And then with the final shot, he drains a 3 pointer to win like nobody's business. 

The USA got 'beat' by the best player in the world, which basically amounted to him bailing his team out for a tie on the last play of the game. It sucks because there was only supposed to be 4 minutes extra, but then all of a sudden there were 5. But you know what? Play better USA. Why didn't they just have 6 people in the box? Why was Ronaldo unmarked at the end?

 

All that being said, the stars of soccer don't necessarily have to control an entire game... they generally need just one moment to change everything.

 

And this was basically what Messi did in the last game. Iran played well. Actually had some legit chances to score. You need your keeper to make 2 or 3 good saves in any given game. You need some possession, and you need to have players who can hold on. And then when it's the end of the game you get your Messi or CR7 the ball and ask them to do something great.

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Why aren't the US games on ABC? it was a weekend and Basketball was way later, instead infomercials... 

 

Meh I rather watch then on Univision, Both the Bra Vs. Ghana and Mex Vs Croatia were nice..

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Why aren't the US games on ABC? it was a weekend and Basketball was way later, instead infomercials... 

 

Meh I rather watch then on Univision, Both the Bra Vs. Ghana and Mex Vs Croatia were nice..

I may be wrong, but the going explanation I was given for why the World Cup is not on network TV is because there are virtually NO commercial breaks.

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I thought they were on ABC on the weekend? I watch on ESPN3 on my computer and I thought I heard one of the announcers said ABC.

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There have been games on ABC on the weekend, definitely. I don't remember which ones exactly. But it was a weird sort of ESPN-overlay; everything (commentators, studio, I think they even aired the abbreviated version of Sports Center) was exactly the same except which channel it was airing on.

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The Italy/Uruguay game was so frustrating for me, because I don't like either team.  Italy doesn't play an "honest" game to me and I can't stand Luis Suarez and both proved during this game just why I can't stand them.  Biting?  Seriously?  On the other hand, Italy wasn't playing to win and so deserved to lose.

 

I don't even know what to think.

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I like the Uruaguy team generally, but Suarez was out of line. I didn't really pay attention most of this game, but Italy did play badly. So easy to fall into bad habits.

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There is something very wrong with Suarez. He should be banned for life. Ahem, the ref should also be banned for life too. This was one of the worst matches I've ever watched. I absolutely hate the way Italy plays so I was hoping that Uruguay would win but after the biting incident I think Uruguay should forfeit the match.

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Biting?  Biting??  What is wrong with some people?  I was rooting for Uruguay but this guy just spoiled the goodwill for the rest of the team.  Soccer guys must be pretty nice overall, because if he had bitten a guy in any other sport, even golf, he'd still be unconscious.

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Italy doesn't play an "honest" game to me and I can't stand Luis Suarez and both proved during this game just why I can't stand them.  Biting?  Seriously?  On the other hand, Italy wasn't playing to win and so deserved to lose.

 

Italy played the historical "european" style in a match that they didn't have to win and got burned. Not that they needed to go all in, but they could have played defensively and countered at strategically. They wouldn't have lost if they went up 1-0. Uruguay needed the win, so they could have exploited that. 

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Biting. Seriously. That shit is supposed to get knocked out of you in pre-school. The only time I accept biting in competition is when horses are involved because that's what they do (and come on, the horse back in the day who used to bite his competitors in the stretch is kind of hilarious) but on a soccer pitch?! What. The. Fuck.

 

Way to cast your entire team in a bad light for that sort of shit move, Suarez.

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First bite he was suspended 7 games, second bite 10 games.. this time should be 13 games (official games with his team)

He may go and go for work at NBC for season 3 of Hannibal

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I texted my brother about it and he called back and wanted the details (he's in the middle of moving so he's not been able to have the games readily available yet.) He started howling when I told him the Italian player got sent off after getting bit. He was all 'Suarez is developing the best reputation in the World Cup. Remember, last time, he's the one who had the hand ball against Ghana..' and he goes into that story about how Ghana/Uruguay came down to penalties and now he bit an Italian and got that guy thrown off.

 

He's not a fan of Italy or of Suarez when it comes down to it. When I was telling him about the player trying to show the bite marks, he was all "If I had teeth marks on my arm I wouldn't leave the pitch! (He didn't know exactly where the bite was.) Hell, I'd make them call the police and be like 'That fucker just bit me! I'm not going anywhere!'" I flat out love talking World Cup with my brother. We have conversations like this all of the time when the games are going on.

 

Meanwhile... Costa Rica won the group!! Again quoting my brother... "If you had bet $10 on that before the games, you'd have... $1000 right now probably. No WAY anyone expected that to happen!"

 

Good for Costa Rica and, so far, I haven't seen any of them bite anybody so I feel doubly happy in feeling so good for them.

 

I love the ESPN pundits on the biting, though. Ruud van Nistelroy was at a complete loss. He was just disgusted but I loved Ballack's response. "Ban him. Fine him and then don't talk about it anymore. It's an embarrassment." He's so German. (I heart him so.)

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