Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mas Copa Del Mundo

Full disclosure: this post is going to be entirely about the World Cup. Sorry, but I'm obsessed right now. I will be publishing posts on some recent Supreme Court cases, my housesitting experiences with my dogg Sophie (who is a cat), and a crackpot theoretical discussion on evolution and my broken finger. But for now, it's Cup.

First things first: I would be remiss if I didn't give big ups to The Man, Ronaldo, for getting his 2 goals to tie the all-time World Cup goal scoring record of Der Bomber, Gerd Muller, at 14. Klose (9) may eventually pass him but until then congrats to the big man. I've been joking around, calling him Fatty, and a little more seriously suggesting that Robinho should be in there instead of him, but I have been a Ronaldo fan for several years so I'm glad he got his 2. And I'm glad he got them in the first round, so they can have a clear conscience when they start Robinho against France or Spain in the Quarterfinals.

I'm writing this update as I watch Germany dominate Sweden in the first match of the elimination rounds. Things just aren't going Sweden's way today (2 unwarranted yellows equaling an unwarranted red to Lucic; Larrson shanks a PK), but it's not all bad luck. Germany look very good. They've officially moved into a tie with Spain for #3 in my power rankings. If Argentina beat Mexico this afternoon, the quarterfinal match between them should be the match of the Cup so far. Hopefully it will end better for los Gauchos than the 1990 Final did.

Since my last update, there have been quite a few games but they were either match # 2 of *yawn* Group G and *yawn* Group H, or they were the third matches, which often suck because teams are either eliminated already or have advanced already and are trying to rest or protect players. So, I won't recap them all but a few are worthy of mention:

Germany vs Ecuador
- how much do stamps cost in Ecuador? It can't be that much because Ecuador had no problem mailing this one in. We'll see how good they are against a tough English squad tomorrow (Owen's injury is the best thing that ever happened to England). Have we seen the last of the wrestling mask? That would be the most disappointing early death of a funny sports thing, since the "Who's Your Daddy" chant from Yankees fans to Pedro didn't make it beyond 2 months.
Portugal vs Mexico - a lovely tribute to Greg Louganis.
Argentina vs Netherlands - you know you're watching too much World Cup when every analyst agrees that a game is boring and disappointed, and you're absolutely riveted by the 90 minutes of midfield passing. I'm losing it.
USA vs Ghana - First of all, I told you so, John L. 2nd of all, that penalty kick was total bullshit. 3rd of all, it doesn't matter because the US wouldn't have advanced anyways and honestly they didn't deserve to advance. They just didn't play well in their 3 matches. There was some scrappy play against Italy and a gorgeous goal by Dempsey in this match, but the rest of their effort was crap. 4 shots on goal in 3 matches is pathetic.
Switzerland vs S. Korea - Switzerland hasn't conceded a goal yet. They should be able to beat Ukraine and they definitely have a shot at beating Italy and making it to the Semifinals. No way they beat Germany or Argentina, though.

VTK Current Power Rankings:
1. Argentina
2. Brazil
3. Spain (tie)
3. Germany (tie)
5. Holland
6. England (tie)
6. Portugal (tie)
8. Italy
9. Ecuador
10. Ivory Coast
11. France
12. Switzerland
13. Mexico (tie)
13. Ghana (tie)
15. Sweden
16. Czech Republic
17. South Korea
18. Australia
19. Ukraine
20. Angola
21. Croatia
22. USA
23. Paraguay
24. Trinidad & Tobago
25. Tunisia (tie)
25. Serbia/Montenegro (tie)
25. Poland (tie)
28. Japan
29. Iran
30. Costa Rica
31. Togo
32. Saudi Arabia

Si se puede, Gauchos!!


Dan said...

whoa. it's halftime of the Argentina Mexico game right now and I am very nervous. By far, the best half that Mexico has played in the World Cup. They are everywhere, totally stifling Argentina's midfield development and forward attack. Scaloni is a huge downgrade from Burdisso at right back too. He should have been where Marquez scored from and he's turning the ball over constantly on the right. Sub in Coloccini? If they're still tied at 75 - 80 minutes, bring in Tevez? They do not seem like that same team that deftly made its way through the Group of Death. Heinze was lucky not to get a red card at the end of the half. Argentina is lucky to be tied right now. Hopefully they can make some mental adjustments at half time and start playing the free flowing, dominating midfield ball that has them # 1 in my power rankings. ugh. we'll see...

Dan said...

63rd minute - this game is insane. The crowd is awesome. both sides.

Dan said...

93:00 - holy shit.

Dan said...

incredible match. Scaloni is sucking more by the minute. Riquelme is exhausted. Tevez in at 75 (like I predicted) and Messi in at 80. Great moves. Crespo and Saviola were out of gas. Aimar was a good sub as well.

Mexico finally showing why FIFA had them ranked # 4 in the world.

game on ...

Dan said...

I don't know if I'll see the cat for the rest of the week. I'm trying to think when was the last time I screamed like that over a sporting event. And by myself (aside from Sophie) no less. fucking fantastic goal. just brilliant. almost identical to the Joe Cole goal except it was in OT.

game on again ...

Dan said...

wow wow wow. Hands down the match of the Cup so far (sorry Sweden v T&T and Ivory Coast v Holland - you are a distant tie for 2nd). I have to say that I could not have been more impressed with the effort put forth by Mexico. Challenging every ball, showing great vision, toughness, and fitness against a super dangerous Argentinian team. Borgetti, like all the greats, changes the tone of a game tremendously. Mexico matched Argentina in every aspect of the game and basically lost because of one unbelievable goal. Speaking of which, was it Crespo, was it Saviola, was it Riquelme, was it Tevez, was it Messi? No. It was Maxi Rodriguez who is now tied for second in goals scored.

I also want to give maximum props to Boca Juniors keeper Abbondanzieri, who started the Cup as the major question mark for this Argentine team, and has been great in 4 matches, only giving up 2 goals - to Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and to Barcelona's Rafael Marquez. Not fucking bad. Not fucking bad at all. Sick save on the second half Borgetti strike.

Also, it was an absolute pleasure to hear this game called by John Harkes and JP Dellacamera, and not by the unforgiveably horrendous Dave O'Brien and Marcela Balboa. They are so fucking bad and they call almost all of the big games. O'Brien doesn't know how to call the sport and Balboa, well, he's just wrong. He's wrong. always. about everything.

So, Argentina advances to face Germany. I don't see the Gauchos winning this next one. They have to be absolutely exhausted after this one. I guess I'm talking specifically about Riquelme, who is critical to their success. Like Ballack, Ronaldinho, Zidane, the offense runs through him, and it clearly suffered at the end of the match when his passes were just not as crisp. He played 90 against Holland and just played 120 against Mexico. He's supposed to be sharp for another 90 Friday against a dominant German defense? They'll need him. The strikers and Cambiasso/Aimar should all be good. I really hope Burdisso can come back because Klose and the boys will tear Scaloni apart. If Argentina is fresh for the match against Germany, it should be fantastic.

Happy Birthday Riquelme, Happy Birthday Messi.

scoutie said...

freak that cat out at your own risk, man. she's a loose cannon.

Dan said...

That cat is my dog.

I painted her light blue and white. I think she likes it. Or she's all hopped up on catnip, cheese, and the basement. I just threw a bunch of cheese and catnip in the basement. She loves her Fun Uncle Dan.

Dan said...

the English hate the Argentines. I think it's either because of the Hand Of God goal or because they feel guilty about kicking Argentina's ass in the Faulkland Islands War. Anyways, with this bias in mind, here is a great article about the match:,,1805669,00.html

they know their football.