Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Round of 16; my thoughts

Out of 32 teams that started the tournament, only 8 remain and if you haven't noticed 7 of them are the top seeds. Things might not look better, right? Not quite so, particulary the referees. In my opinion FIFA screwed it big time. Whatever it is they told the referees back fired and I hope that this trigger happy way of awarding cards and penalty for every touch will cease. It's killing the game and is clearly in favor of the bigger teams. I am sure Sepp Blatter is very happy that all the big guns are through to the next round. Anyways here are my thoughts on the teams that progressed.

  • Germany: One of the better sides of the second round although they were hardly troubled by a very poor Swedish side. I like the attacking duo of Klose and Podolski they are fast, strong and hardly miss so they will be a handful for any defense. Their midfield is good especially the great Ballack. Their weakest link is their defense, you just feel that they will concede goals against better teams. With the home advantage they can go all the way if they manage to defeat Argentina.
  • Argentina: Solid, balanced and very effective. With no clear weak point, this Argentinian team will be very difficult to defeat. Unfortunately for them they face Germany in the next round. An early final in my opinion and its very difficult to predict who will win.
  • England: Shite comes to mind. Yet another win and they managed to stumble into the next round. This English team reminds me of a tired boxer in the 12th round who is waiting for the knock-out punch. The problem is the punch never comes. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if they win it. Remember Italy in 1994 stumbled all the way to the final. Their next test is against Scolari's Portugal and they will get a massive boost if they go through.
  • Portugal: If they concentrate on playing football and not Kung-fu they can be a very entertaining side. Their match against Holland was a scandal by all means. They are lead by a very savvy coach and have quality players everywhere.
  • Italy: Cheats + a rock solid defense = can win it.
  • Ukraine: Spain must be trying to figure out how the team they demolished in their opening game is in the next round and they are not. Well, they won't last too long as Italy will take care of that, although I really hope they kick the cheats out.
  • Brazil: Unconvincing yet efficient and quite lucky. The Brazilian teams of Tele Santana are long gone and it would be naive to expect them to play the way they did in 1982 and 1986. These teams were magnificent to watch yet won nothing. The current Brazilian playing style lead them to 3 consecutive world cup finals and 2 wins, so they won't change it any time soon. Having said that they need to shape up and play like a team if they want to defeat France. Ghana exposed them many times and you know that if this was Henry out there he'd have buried all these chances. Brazil usually move into top gear at this stage so it will be interesting to see how they play.
  • France: I thought it was aurevoir Zizou but he proved me wrong. France are solid and very experienced. They will be extremely difficult to beat especially if they manage to keep on scoring as they've done recently.


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