Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup Preview - Group C

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Day 1 of the World Cup wrapped up today with a couple of surprising results - but more on that a bit later. My man DJames emailed me to say that he actually met two big time soccer fans in the heart of Red Sox Nation - and they Americans! Imagine that - an American in New England, acknowledging that there is a summer time sporting event that doesn't include the Boston Red Sox. I'm impressed - before I get some smart assed comments...I know there are plenty of Bostonians that like soccer - the thing is they are all of European descent (by the way - "Pogue" knows that a statue of Portugal's all-time best player - Eusebio - sat outside the stadium in Foxboro). So for DJames...on to Group C - tagged by many to be the "Group of Death".

Holland - (ranked 3rd by FIFA) - Hup Hup Holland is the chant of those crazy Dutchmen (and pretty nice looking women) in the sea of orange. Their coach, former Dutch star, Marco Van Basten is bringing a new look side to Germany - younger, quicker, and much more explosive than some of the Dutch teams from recent years. Van Basten has put his faith in younger players - and leaving some of the more experienced guys off the team. The Dutch are solid - and have a pretty explosive, albeit young, groups of attackers. Arjen Robben will be the lynchpin of the Dutch offence - with Ruud Van Nistelrooy coming to Germany to prove that he is still one of the top strikers in the world - tell that to Sir Alex Ferguson. While few are picking the Dutch to win the group - I'm going with them to win the group. They have a good mix of experience and youth - and they are solid in goal. I'm going out on a limb to say that they will win all three games in the opening round.

(ranked 9th by FIFA) - they come into the tournament with an attitude. Their first round exit in the debaucle that was World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan didn't sit well with the team or their fans. They had a strong qualifying stage in the South American playdowns - and are solid top to bottom. There aren't many countries in the world that can put together a double threat of Hernan Crespo and Leo Messi up front, and these two should collect their share of goals - particularly with midfielder Juan Riquelme feeding them. The only concern I have about Argentina is that they haven't been playing very well leading up to the tournament - they have lost a few games they probably should have won. Still though, they make it to the round of 16 - where I think they will lose to...PORTUGAL! (Group D breakdown tomorrow).

Serbia & Montenegro (ranked 44th by FIFA) - they come into the tournament having won their group qualifier, beating out Spain and forcing the Spaniards to qualify in a knock out phase. Serbia & Montenegro's strength lies in their defence, they blanked a number of teams during the qualifying stage and will look to play it tight in Germany. The problem for them lies upfront - counting primarily and Mateja Kezman to provide the goals - I don't think he's quite ready to take on the big boys in the tournament. Controversy in the camp - Coach Ilija Petrovic upset the players and the fans by naming his son Dusan son to the team; the move drew a lot of criticism - prompting Dusan to withdraw.

Cote D'Ivoire (ranked 32nd by FIFA) - the Ivory Coast has everyone at the tournament talking - they might be the best African side at the tournament; unfortunately for them, they are in the toughest group. Led by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba - they can definately score goals. The problem for them is behind the ball - their defence is suspect and prone to give up plenty of chances; their goalie is also a bit of a wildcard. They will put up a good fight and scare a few teams in the group - but I think they wind up round 1 with only a tie against Serbia & Montenegro to show for it.

Winner - Holland, they storm out of the gate and win all three games.

2nd place - Argentina, they lose to Holland in game 3.

Key game in the group - the last game between Holland and Argentina. 1st place will likely be on the line in the game - I'll take the Dutch attackers and solid midfielders over a flashier, but more error-prone Argentine team.

Day 1 Wrap-up
The Germans, as expected, beat Costa Rica today. What was surprising about this one was the fact that the Costa Ricans were in it for most of the game - and managed to score two goals against Germany. In following the text updates on soccernet - the Germans weren't exactly world beaters out there today...with trouble lying ahead if their game doesn't pick up significantly.

I picked Ecuador and Poland to tie today - but I said Ecuador would shock people at the tournament. Yesterday I said if either of these sides managed a win today - they would likely be through - by virtue of today's surprising 2-0 win over Poland, Ecuador has pretty much booked themselves a place in the round of 16.

That's about it for tonight gang - DJames, I hope this one helps you out! Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - because its all about Portugal and the World Cup this month, we are featuring Portuguese music - fado

Locura - Marisza (you don't have to understand the language to understand her message - dudes, perfect night time music - your girl will love it).

E se voces
Nao tivesse o meu lado
Entanho nao avia fado
Nem fadistas como e sou

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Website Counter
Website Counter