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Darrel Manson

FIFA World Cup '06

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For all of you not watching The Cup on ABC/ESPN: There is this great string of Addidas commercials woven into a story of two kids on a bare patch of ground behind a probable South American tenement. They choose up sides, calling out great stars of today who happen to play for Addidas sponsered club and national teams. You know, Sisse', Kaka, Oliver Kahn, Zidane, Beckham, Beckenbouwer. Beckenbouwer? So snorts the larger, chubby smartass of the two. But there he is, trotting out just like he did at the introduction before the great '74 Final against Nederland. Did I mention that that the kid who picked him is wearing a Klinsmann era German jersey? Later, in one of the three or four adverts cut from this short, the Germanophile's mom calls him home for chores or dinner. He makes a frustrated Latin swipe of the arm, picks up his ball (an official Addidas '06 World Cup model) and goes home with a grin. The camera pans a bare pitch with none of those stars. Any of you seen these on your home country feeds? They are in either Spanish or Portuguese.

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mrmando   

For all of you not watching The Cup on ABC/ESPN: There is this great string of Addidas commercials woven into a story of two kids on a bare patch of ground behind a probable South American tenement.

Yes, been watching these on huge projection screens with the sound way down (working in a cafeteria at Microsoft because I don't have an office). I think there are three spots. Really cool even for a novice like me who doesn't recognize the players. You can tell that it's archive footage of Beckenbouwer ... he looks a little grainier than the other players, but it's not bad.

I try to keep my head in my work and not get too distracted by the games. I know there's been a goal or a close shot when I hear the fans react. Microsoft is a very international place, and nearly every team seems to have some hardcore supporters. Smart of the company to show the games on campus; turns what might have been an entire day's absence into an extended lunch break, at least for some employees.

Edited by mrmando

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You can tell that it's archive footage of Beckenbouwer ... he looks a little grainier than the other players, but it's not bad.

He's also so skinny and his uniform is geeky by today's fashion standards. Gee, wish I could catch them at work. That's so cool. I'd have a hard time getting anything done though. Found a customer at the store who is also a Dutch rooter. He plays and he doesn't look or sound Dutch. Just likes their style. That was nice to hear.

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stu   

Germany's Klose is now the highest scorer of the tournament so far. If we can manage to avoid losing to Sweden tonight, then we meet Ecuador in the second round.

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I'm not sure that is a gift. I'm impressed with Ecuador. They won't be easy. I'm getting the sense that this might boil down to Germany against Brazil or Argentina.

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M. Leary   

Utterly, completely disappointing. I didn't think we would pull it off against Ghana, but it is awful to go out because of an obviously bad call by the ref.

And I would have kept cheering for Ghana in the second round if they didn't flop on the field every two minutes for the second half. That is good coaching but bad sportsmanship.

Edited by MLeary

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MattP   

And I would have kept cheering for Ghana in the second round if they didn't flop on the field every two minutes for the second half. That is good coaching but bad sportsmanship.

Like many Americans I've never been a big fan of "soccer" but have been giving it the ol' college try pulling for the US in the World Cup. The flopping you refer to (as well as the more regular "Oh I think I may have broken my ankle (did I draw a foul? Yes?) Well I think I'm ready to play again" performances) reminds me of what I don't like about the sport.

I know this game's been around alot longer than I have and enjoyed by alot of people, but you're telling me in all that time they haven't figured out a way to discourage that sort of obvious clock-draining? I think maybe they should have to play a man down while the guy's laying there on the field and encourage a Nascar "pit crew" mentality where the trainers bust out there to remove a guy who's injured as quickly as possible. Or course, I also think they should do away with offsides and let the cherry-picking (and high scoring games) begin! :D

Edited by popechild

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M. Leary   

Oddly enough, that is one of the problems with the American team. In the match against Ghana the foul count was Ghana 30 - 15 USA, which means the US should have spent twice as much time slowing down the game pace that Ghana did. But no such luck.

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Of the matches detirmined so far for the round of 16, the Portugal/Netherlands game looks pretty interesting. Sorry, Rich, I picked NED in the pool; that makes it pretty certain Portugal will win.

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Like many Americans I've never been a big fan of "soccer" but have been giving it the ol' college try pulling for the US in the World Cup. The flopping you refer to (as well as the more regular "Oh I think I may have broken my ankle (did I draw a foul? Yes?) Well I think I'm ready to play again" performances) reminds me of what I don't like about the sport.

That IS the way it looks, even to me at times. Particularly when it is the team I'm against that is doing the pratfalls. However, have you ever played the game? There ain't nothin' like a good kick in the shin when you and the kicker are both traveling towards each other at a good pace. Shin guards don't quite protect, even though one would be crazy to play without them at that level. Shins do wierd things to other parts of the body too. My nose is bent from having it collide with three shins in the space of three months in high school. Fearlessness of anything but the ball on a screaming drive itself was the only thing I had going for me as a goalie.

Darrell: I've been emotional in some of my picks, but in this game, I think Ned is the one to take. Did you see the Argentina game? I was about to slit my wrists with every dazzling run that Arg took down the field. Then a Dutch fullback would just pick the guy's pocket before he could set up a cross. Never seen such ballhandling on the part of defenders. Ever. Ned has no goal against it for the last 10 games before the Finals and one goal against courtesy of Cote d'Ivoire. They swarm the ball well. Those five yellow card offensive starters will be back to face Portugal. It'll be a good game and I think that Ned can give a good account of itself.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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I got that. My picks have not been much better than yours recently, though certainly started with a bang. I was just rationalizing. I really believe my rationalisation. I was just talking yesterday with a vendor who roots Argentina and he seemed to agree about the Dutch backfield.

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MattPage   

Well new fatherhood, and no TV licence mean that I've watched less of this world cup than any since 1982 (when I was just 7). To be honest though its been steadily deteriorating since 1990 when I was a teenager, and it was in Italy (so the games were on before my bedtime).

Anyway, I've only caught the equivalent of 2 England games, but despite teh naysayers who seem to dominate our country we're doing OK. I don't think we have ever qualified for the second round with a game to spare, and yet that got lost because of the naive expectation we'd beat T&T by about 5 goals. I thought we did well in a tough match where only one team wanted to win. Sweden was less positive, but with qualification assured and only a draw needed it wasn't going to be a great game. The two goals were pretty horrendous, but no other team will score goals like that, and it's easy to solve on the training pitch.

But the early stages mean very little, and there have been plenty of world cup winners who have taken a while to warm up. We're overdue a performance that matches our potential.

Ecuador will be tough, and unfortunatley everyone things we will thrash them. Never going to happen. If we squeeze by by the seat of our pants I'll be happy. I just hope the players can stay level headed and respect to oppo enough. Holland are apprantley looking very good, but then they usually underperform so there's still hope.

As for the other teams, I'll be cheering for South Korea. Not primarily because they might not knock out France, but because it would be the first time someone from all 6 continents would be present in the second round. IT's already the forst world cup to have reps from all 6 continents IIRC (at least in a long long time).

I think the socceroos are my scond favourite team, dunno why. I was gutted to miss them against Japan. If any game summed up the world cup as a whole I think it would be the clash of those two very different cultures and physicalities.

As for the cup itself, even without Owen I still reckon we can win it. I'm not as confident as we were with Owen, but Rooney is looking like he'll be back to normal soon.

If not us, I'd like to see someone other than the big 4 win it (Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Germany). I guess Holland are probably the next best bet, but I think I'll cheer Portugal and Spain whilst they are still in. I expect only European and S. American teams to be in the last 8.

Matt

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If not us, I'd like to see someone other than the big 4 win it (Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Germany). I guess Holland are probably the next best bet, but I think I'll cheer Portugal and Spain whilst they are still in. I expect only European and S. American teams to be in the last 8.

But that is most often the case, That is where the best game is played for a long time. The next best team that could upset the Euro/S.A. dominance is Mexico, the great underperformer of all time.

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Lots of nice matches this round. Not only the aforementioned Portugal/Netherlands, but also Argentina and Mexico could be good. And I think Brazil and Ghana could be interesting as well.

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WOWEEEEEE! That go ahead goal is precisely why I endure 0-0 ties in group play. That is the most beautiful thing i have seen in a long time. It drives me to tears for its beauty and for Sanchez' magnificent and heroic helplessness.

It could be Brazil/Germany, but I say that 1974 must be avenged now that I have seen the brackets. Ned over Germany.

One more thing. Klinsmann did a wonderfully nerdy Rowan Atkinson imitation celebrating the second goal from Podolski.

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To be followed by just about the worst. Yeah, my guys lost, but nobody could hit anybody with a cross, let alone put something in the net. Against Serbia Montenegro, their passing reminded me of Swedish or old Red Army team Hockey passing. Nothing like that against Portugal at all. Squib shots and pooches short of the receiver. Yecchh. And the hostilities. Van Basten content to polish his deer in the headlights look, rather than do anything or say anything. And Van Nistlerooi on the bench while Ned finishes the game with one sub to take. Ugly, ugly, ugly. I suspect that England will do fine against Portugal. Almost anyone receiving a yellow will be forced off the pitch.

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stu   

I suspect that England will do fine against Portugal. Almost anyone receiving a yellow will be forced off the pitch.

I'll bet we make it look like hard work, though -it's a talent we have. I just hope that by some miracle Ghana or France get through to the semi final, to save us getting hammered by Brazil or Spain.

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I'll bet we make it look like hard work, though -it's a talent we have. I just hope that by some miracle Ghana or France get through to the semi final, to save us getting hammered by Brazil or Spain.

I know what you mean. It used to drive me crazy until I stopped being concerned about England's success. How did they ever do it in '66 (the first Cup of which I was aware)?

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MattPage   
I'll bet we make it look like hard work, though -it's a talent we have. I just hope that by some miracle Ghana or France get through to the semi final, to save us getting hammered by Brazil or Spain.

I know what you mean. It used to drive me crazy until I stopped being concerned about England's success. How did they ever do it in '66 (the first Cup of which I was aware)?

We hosted it (and had a good team).

I was very pleased with how things turned out yesterday. I was quite worried about Ecuador, but in the end they offered little other than what we gave them, and were just another team that played to avoid losing, rather than trying to win.

Now we are through to the last 8 hopefully we will play against teams that think they can beat us, and there might be some interesting non-stifled games. And though we are still due a good performance it is starting to come together at the right time.

As for the Portugal Holland game - couldn't imagine a better scenario for us. Firstly, the dutch are always suceptible to a slip up for some reason. They often perform really well, and then bizarrely go out. I didn't fancy England being the team that did that though.

Portugal are a different propsect. Firstly, we have an additional motivation of revenge for getting put out of Euro 2004 on penalties against them. Seconldy we know we can beat them as we well and truly were robbed in that match, and they were at home. What's more both team have aged since then, but whereas we are coming towards our peak they are over the hill. Secondly, two players definitely suspended, hopefully Figo to join them after that head butt, and Christiano Ronaldo injured, with most of the survivors kept in check by potential suspensions if they get another yellow. It's time for REVENGE! (A Beckham penalty to win it - taken from a spot that is not loose turf lying on a bed of sand - would be sweet indeed).

Matt

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Yellow? No pun intended, but he deserved a red. He missed hard fouls early on by being otherwise engaged. Away from the ball. How can the one official on the field not follow the ball? Don't know if it would have made a difference. Either team would be crippled with such a load of yellows.

Matt: '66 was one I "heard" on the radio. Went to school that day, thinking it would be an ordinary day, but the whole school gathered around my brother's teacher's radio to listen. Being outside the room, I had no idea what language the play by play was. Merely that everyone seemed to know when a goal was scored and cheered loudly.

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MattPage   

I didn't see the match, but I do feel sorry for the refs. I mean they get told to clamp down on this, that and the other, and then when they do they get slated by the man who told them to do it in the first place. If they have been told to clamp down on time wasting then that is what he did. It's tough on the portugese player, but the ref only did to him what he did to two England players in our Ecuador match - book them for time wasting. But because he'd already comitted a foul it becomes a red, and then everyone sees...um...red.

Refs can't be expected to see everything, but the system is flawed. In rugby for example the touch judges run the whole line, not just one half, so you have 50% more eyes on the pitch, plus there's a fourth ref watching a camera in top matches. Also in rugby, you can be cited after the game at the top level, not sure whether that happens (in theory) or not, but certainly not much action seems to be taken after the matches.

Matt

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