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k-punk
11-12-2005, 08:11 PM
Is anyone else infuriated by the inanity of pundits' 'predictions' for the world cup finals? What, for instance, is the fucking point in predicting that Brazil will win, as all four of the pundits in the Times do today. Well, really sticking out your necks there boys. And, alongside the predictable talking down of England's chances with the requisite resentful glee (which that miserable misanthropist Brian Glanville has made a whole fucking career out of), here we go: the final four to be made up of Brazil, Argentina, Italy and France or something equally moronically canonical. Have people got no memory? The one thing that you can say for sure about the world cup is that it doesn't go to plan... yeh, the winners come from a farily small predictable group (usually a previous winner or the home nation)... but when it comes to the last four, there are always rogue elements... Can I remind folk that the last four in 2002 were Brazil, Germany, Turkey and South Korea? This isn't that unusual, actually...

And might I also point out that although pundits ALWAYS say Brazil will win, they have only done so twice in the last 35 years. They have only one once in Europe in the history of the competition. So I think I'm on safe ground to say that they won't be winning this year.

Diggedy Derek
11-12-2005, 08:29 PM
Yeah, totally agree. Brazil aren't even that good really. They were pretty average when they won the last world cup I reckon- Ronaldinho was average, Ronaldo was fat and scored a couple of tap ins, Rivaldo was probably their best forward. Personally, I'd rather Italy or Argentina won than Brazil.

I don't think England will win either, though, I don't think England are tough enough.

martin
12-12-2005, 10:01 AM
Ah yes, the beloved fucking Brazil, well, you gotta support them ain't you, I mean, world's greatest team ever, sound of the carnival, like being blown by an angel watching them, the beautiful game, what, you some sort of freak?

I detest Brazil and I'm looking forward to them being humiliated. Fuck the Dutch too. I'm afraid I would have supported England but I've got this long-running Paraguay fetish I can't explain, and I think them and Sweden are going to go through.

3underscore
12-12-2005, 01:32 PM
Right - I reckon I want to bet on Costa Rica to beat Germany in the opener. Maybe double it with Wanchope to score.

Isn't going to be quite as good as the last world cup, when 9-1 on Senegal to beat France paid me up for the whole tournament in the pub.

Rambler
12-12-2005, 02:04 PM
I thought Joe Lovejoy in yesterday's (Sunday's) Times was the most moronic of the four - in his headlining article he screams that anything less than an England win will be a major failure, then in the box below he doesn't even rate England as semi-finallists.

ie: "although I have built up a realistic and considered expectation of how England will do through professionally analysing and reporting on international football for many years, the only way England can succeed is if, against the odds, they greatly exceed all those expectations"

jenks
12-12-2005, 03:07 PM
no mention of the germans - yes their squad is not a great one but, like the italians, they are great tournament specialists - not for them the samba stars and flashy tricks but the grinding one -nils and bursting of balloons of those who have snuck under the radar to get to the semis.

the point is that there is no really good european team - which is why we really should have won the euros in 2004 - lots of teams that are either too old or too young - the czechs are ok but not what they once were, the dutch are their usual mix of brilliance and petulence - the money should be on which one of the dutch will storm out/be sent packing from training camp. spain - perpetual under performers, italy - for the first time in twenty years i am not going to bet on the to win cos they can't score when it matters and they have started to leak goals. france - hmmm maybe, they've started to look better recently but they don't have that ability to play as a team like they had 10 years ago

in south america it's only brazil and argentina isn't it? argentina have spent the last two years looking like champs only to get suckered into a cup match against england in a friendly. And brazil - well it's sucha cliche to pick them - i wonder if it has as much to do with the fact ath we know so many of them now - see them in champs league matches, even in the prem - we accord them this mystique but they can look pretty wooden in defence (liked the point made a week or so ago about ronaldinho - he does his tricks in places where it hurts - too true)

i'm still going for England because if not now then never - we have a very good 10 (left sided midfield still up for grabs - don't see ledley holding down the midfield maestro job full time) and if we can play as a team i think we might hold it together to do anybody

final four? england . germany. argentina. ghana - i know it's still very canonical but i think maybe when you get to the finals the canon is pretty much made

as for glanville - it used to be the italians he loved - i suppose he realised that we ahve all the best central defenders and has now moved on to brasil as a way of flaggelating england

carlos
12-12-2005, 05:13 PM
i was born in chile and we didn't qualify :(

i wouldn't bet against brazil. they might have only won it twice in 35 years ( or twice in 12 ;) ) but they have consistently made it to the semis since 1970. and so have the germans. and the germans are playing at home. so i'm going out on a limb and predicting a Germany - Brazil final

k-punk
12-12-2005, 09:28 PM
I thought Joe Lovejoy in yesterday's (Sunday's) Times was the most moronic of the four - in his headlining article he screams that anything less than an England win will be a major failure, then in the box below he doesn't even rate England as semi-finallists.

ie: "although I have built up a realistic and considered expectation of how England will do through professionally analysing and reporting on international football for many years, the only way England can succeed is if, against the odds, they greatly exceed all those expectations"

Yeh that PRECISELY sums up everything English sportspeople are up against - and footballers more than anyone else. We don't expect you to do very well... but if you don't massively exceed our expectations you will have failed. No wonder they have an 'in built loser attitude' as Mark E S put it so long ago..

k-punk
12-12-2005, 09:43 PM
no mention of the germans - yes their squad is not a great one but, like the italians, they are great tournament specialists - not for them the samba stars and flashy tricks but the grinding one -nils and bursting of balloons of those who have snuck under the radar to get to the semis.

Germany have a fantastic record of qualifying for the final; not so clever at winning it. When you put together the amount of times they have made the final with the amount of times a home side has done so, you'd have to say they're odds on for the final.

Since 62:

Home side made the final 66, 74, 78, 98. (Exceptions: 70 and 86 with Mexico, who were no-hopers, ditto USA 94; 82, Spain, perennial under-achievers [just WHY are they seeded this time, does anyone know?]; the other two occasions, 90 and 02, the hosts made the semi-final)

Germany: final 66, 74, 82, 86, 90, 02.



i'm still going for England because if not now then never - we have a very good 10 (left sided midfield still up for grabs - don't see ledley holding down the midfield maestro job full time) and if we can play as a team i think we might hold it together to do anybody

think this is OTM.. it's the best chance we've had since 70 (and since a European side has never won outside Europe 70 wasn't a great chance really)... moreover, it's Northern Europe so it'll be as close to home for England as it's possible to be... plus we really have got a good side, a side so good that there really is no reason why we shouldn't win.... Rooney rightly gets all the plaudits, but Owen is a fantastically consistent striker... is there anyone else in the world so reliable as him?


final four? england . germany. argentina. ghana - i know it's still very canonical but i think maybe when you get to the finals the canon is pretty much made

Going for England is counter-canonical, and Ghana won't be in many pundits final four I'll wager...


as for glanville - it used to be the italians he loved - i suppose he realised that we ahve all the best central defenders and has now moved on to brasil as a way of flaggelating england

lol

k-punk
12-12-2005, 09:54 PM
Ah yes, the beloved fucking Brazil, well, you gotta support them ain't you, I mean, world's greatest team ever, sound of the carnival, like being blown by an angel watching them, the beautiful game, what, you some sort of freak?

I detest Brazil and I'm looking forward to them being humiliated.

Bravo! Thought I was the only one...

samba fascism I call it...

Greatest moment in world history: Italy 3 - Brazil 2 in 82....

Between 70 and 94 They Who Must Be Admired never looked like winning, despite commentators creaming over them every time they managed to kick a ball straight ('look at the skiiiiiiiilllllllll, the Latin rythmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm'). they were possibly the most boring team to win a world cup in 94 (like, imagine Germany if they actually won instead of coming runner-up). They were poor in 98, and justly beaten in the final by a French side with vastly more flair, invention and talent. And Derek's right, they were very average last time. Of all the overrated Brazillians, Ronaldo is probably numero uno...

Is Roberto Carlos playing this time? If so can I have a pound for every time commentators talk about his fackin free kicks --- he's scored about three in his whole, long career y'know.

carlos
12-12-2005, 10:16 PM
Bravo! Thought I was the only one...


no- all of Argentina agrees with you on that...

overrated or not- brazil finds a way to win. you win 2 world cups in 3 tries, and you might get overrated a bit.

did anybody watch the 2004 copa america? adriano's last gasp goal to tie and then the win in extra time?

k-punk
12-12-2005, 10:45 PM
no- all of Argentina agrees with you on that...

Hurrah!


overrated or not- brazil finds a way to win. you win 2 world cups in 3 tries, and you might get overrated a bit.


Yeh, but Brazil were never more overrated in Britain than between 70 and 94, when they were winning nothing. Last time they won in Europe: nearly 50 years ago.

don_quixote
12-12-2005, 11:25 PM
spain were seeded under the fifa criteria of ranking for seeds, namely:

world cup record:
2 parts record at world cup 2002 (quarter final)
1 part record at world cup 1998 (group stage)

fifa rankings:
1 part fifa ranking 2005
1 part fifa ranking 2004
1 part fifa ranking 2003

which left:
brazil - 31.7 - 32 - 64
england - 26 - 24.7 - 51
spain - 21.7 - 28.3 - 50
germany - 29.3 - 20 - 49
mexico - 21.3 - 26 - 47
france - 16 - 30 - 46
argentina - 15 - 29 - 44
italy - 21.3 - 23 - 44
usa - 19.3 - 23.3 - 43
holland - 9.7 - 28.7 - 38

so in effect, spain are third seeds

don_quixote
12-12-2005, 11:26 PM
if ronaldinho wasnt in the form of his life at the moment i think people wouldn't be backing brazil so heavily.

bun-u
13-12-2005, 10:10 AM
I fancy Argentina to win, though they've got (another) tough group to start with. Italy will do well too and England may do also but I see Sven as a liability at tournaments and injuries to anyone except centre halves will cause problems.

martin
13-12-2005, 10:22 AM
They were poor in 98, and justly beaten in the final by a French side with vastly more flair, invention and talent.

Hence another tantrum by these pundits - beating their breasts and concocting ludicrous conspiracy theories regarding Ronaldo's convulsive fit, mmm, very fishy, France must have fixed this etc etc

Sometimes it can be fun seeing them make arses of themselves. When Spain crashed out in '98, the whining was delightful - apparently they 'deserved' to go through, despite the fact they hadn't been able to beat Nigeria or Paraguay. Spain stuck 6 goals past Bulgaria on the last game, while Paraguay breezed past a Nigeria B-squad and went through instead. To watch Bob Wilson frothing with disapproval, you'd think he'd just uncovered some masonic conspiracy, rather than Spain just being too complacent too early on.

Was there some sort of similar paranoid muttering about Korea in 2002? I can't remember now

don_quixote
13-12-2005, 10:39 AM
yeah, there was muttering about referee decisions as both spain and italy crashed out to south korea.

favourite moment was cassano scoring against bulgaria and italy turning the game around, only to find they were out by default as sweden and denmark were drawing 2-2, which left countless italians shouting conspiracy (as well as italian-sympathetic media commentators)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40302000/jpg/_40302935_cassano300.jpg
http://soccer-europe.com/Graphics/Caps/Euro2004/Cassano.jpg
http://www.bighead.cn/uploadimg/cassano_cry2_in_euro2004_italy_knockout.jpg
http://www.aleefranz.com/nazionale/euro2004/partite/italiabulgaria/cassanozambr--310x210.jpg

meanwhile...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40302000/jpg/_40302867_deden300_getty.jpg

3underscore
13-12-2005, 10:57 AM
i'm still going for England because if not now then never - we have a very good 10 (left sided midfield still up for grabs - don't see ledley holding down the midfield maestro job full time) and if we can play as a team i think we might hold it together to do anybody


I agree with some of the sentiment, but would argue that England are very much short of getting the correct eleven on the pitch

The midfield needs sorted. Gerrard and Lampard can't play in the middle together. They need a defensive midfielder otherwise they are in trouble. I can't see who this would be, but King and Carrick would be taken apart by the likes of Ronadinhio and Relimque (sp).

Left Midfield needs solved (as you note)

There is a certain approach of picking the best ten players and forcing them into a formation. This isn't really the best way - some aspect of playing a not-as-good teamplayer is needed. This especially applies to Left Midfield, where an average left footed player would release Ashley Cole, but Steven Gerrard would cause problems for the team.

Cover for Rooney. Almost impossible, but losing Rooney and that spark cost England any hope of Euro 2004

There are a lot of ego's in the England squad which may make things difficult. At times, I have been all for dropping David Beckham, but I do believe he should be relieved of the captaincy.

England have a strong team and a reasonable squad. Whether they will have sufficient will to win the tournament, or be able to hold their form over the required number of games, remains questionable.

Rambler
13-12-2005, 12:54 PM
favourite moment was cassano scoring against bulgaria and italy turning the game around, only to find they were out by default as sweden and denmark were drawing 2-2, which left countless italians shouting conspiracy (as well as italian-sympathetic media commentators)

I was in Italy at the time; the soundscape of cheers, followed by agonized silence, followed by angry young men jumping on their scooters to go home in a huff was all the commentary you needed.

dominic
13-12-2005, 02:04 PM
i've got my money on trinidad and tobago

DigitalDjigit
13-12-2005, 07:21 PM
What about Ukraine? They tore through their (tough) qualifying group. Their group in the WC shouldn't be any trouble. Then they probably face Korea which should be no problem. In the round of eight they either face Brazil or whoever beats Brazil (could be either of Italy, USA or Czechs) though.

k-punk
13-12-2005, 07:47 PM
What about Ukraine? They tore through their (tough) qualifying group. Their group in the WC shouldn't be any trouble. Then they probably face Korea which should be no problem. In the round of eight they either face Brazil or whoever beats Brazil (could be either of Italy, USA or Czechs) though.

Sounds like a good tip, that...

k-punk
13-12-2005, 07:54 PM
I agree with some of the sentiment, but would argue that England are very much short of getting the correct eleven on the pitch
[list]
The midfield needs sorted. Gerrard and Lampard can't play in the middle together. They need a defensive midfielder otherwise they are in trouble. I can't see who this would be, but King and Carrick would be taken apart by the likes of Ronadinhio and Relimque (sp).



I'd give Carrick or King a go; King got roasted by commentators after the Argentina game but (a) he was up against the very best (b) he's likely to improve and (c) even then the Argentines only managed one goal (and that with England lacking their two first choice full backs)

Scott Parker is another worth considering (if his career survived Sunday's horror challenge).

The broader point would be that teams often only emerge in the tournament itself ---- injuries and all other kinds of contingencies can suddenly produce a team/ formation etc.

There'll be at least one fringe player who'll make it into the squad and make his name; there usually is.

carlos
13-12-2005, 09:01 PM
i was trying to look through lists of Euro, Copa America and World Cup winners to see if some patterns emerge. then i noticed that nobody in europe could figure out Greece in Euro 2004 and they didn't even qualify for the world cup

is anybody here predicting an all euro semifinal? cause i can't say i would be too excited to see that... it might even give my old dad a heart attack

alo
14-12-2005, 10:22 AM
I've got to say, i think the nerves /boyish excitement will kick in hard after the tinsel is cleared away this year.

Yep, no doubt about it, England are looking go-- No, lets not even say it less a jinx is hereby forthcoming. We get jittery and all self concious when we are expected to do really well. Lets just hope Sven keeps his useless coaching manual behind in England, particularly the section about Substitions.

I agree with the thoughts upthread; there is a tendency to lump together the best individual players England have at their disposal, in the vain hope the team plays well as a unit. Thats why Gerrard and Lampard play off each other like a couple of pissed Aunts doing the macarena at a wedding reception.
Gerrard should perhaps play in front of the back four because he's robust in the tackle, good at the long pass to release the front two quickly, and have Lampard behind Rooney and Owen, rather than a flat midfield of four? As it is, the midfield is crowded, and we tend to attack edging the ball up to the opposition box only to run out of space with which to create anything. I reckon England are much more deadly on a quick break: Imagine Rooney bearing down on you one on one from 35 yards out?

Other than that, (re sentiment above) lets hope Brazil don't win it again, i fancy the USA to go further than predicted if they get out of that group for some reason, Argentina, Ukraine, and possibly Ghana to do well.

Always of some peripheral interest is watching the shambolic peformance of ITV's punditry team. Always fun, although slightly comi-tragic when Gazza could hardly string two words together that time. I mean, Ally McCoist and Andy Townsend for fucks sake, they're only one level up from Sky's uber, super-shit punditry purgatory. ;)

!

mind_philip
14-12-2005, 12:37 PM
I think people rightly fancy Brazil because they have the two best attacking midfielders in the world both playing in something approaching the form of their lives (Kaka and Ronaldinho) in addition to a wealth of reliable strikers (Ronaldo may not be the player he once was, but I hope that 'over-rated' slight wasn't directed at his younger self - up until his injury at Inter he was the equal of any striker you care to name). They also have a defence of increased reliability (and a very talented keeper in Dida) and Emerson should be fit this time to anchor the defence, and if he's good enough for to play the most boring defensive role for the most boring defensive team in the world (Juve) I'd say he's probably going to do alright.

I know I'll never understand the mentality that would rather see an English player labour the ball up the field rather than watch Ronaldinho skin some lunging defender for the Nth time, but the knee-jerk annoyance at appreciating flair and individuality does seem the exact equal of the knee-jerk dismissal of English chances. Lampard and Gerrard are both excellent players, but seem to do nothing more than confuse each other when they play in the same team. Large stretches of the game against Argentina saw England have virtually no posession, a situation that they cannot assume will go as unpunished as it did by the wasteful Crespo and company - a last minute goal is no good if you're 3-0 down.

I see England as reliable quarter finalists, but don't see enough quality in the squad to say that I'd be confident putting money on them if they came up against any other major European team - there's not enough separation to say that any one of England, Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain or Portugal are better than any other. Finishing second in the group and meeting Germany in round 2 would see a potential early exit.

red_shift
14-12-2005, 04:31 PM
mind_philip's right about both Brazil and England there (though I rate England's chances of getting beyond the QFs higher than he does). Re. Brazil, m_p doesn't mention Adriano, who probably should start ahead of Ronaldo these days. Given how many of their best players are with European teams, the fact that the tournament is in Germany shouldn't really be a problem.

Re. England: m_p's also right to point out their lack of possession in the Argentina game. There were periods at 2-1 where they couldn't get close to the ball, and you could argue that the comeback was precipitated, at least in part, by the welter of late Argentinian substitutions. England's big problem in their current make-up is that they seem unable to retain the ball and spend a lot of time either chasing or sitting back, inviting the opposition on (sometimes defending way too deep). If you check the possession stats for Euro 2004, you'll see that the only game where they managed 50% possession was against Croatia. In the q-f it was 61-39 in Portugal's favour. The stats for the world cup 2002 q-f vs Brazil were similar, and less forgivable. Another similar game was the 3-0 win vs Denmark is r2 of the 2002 world cup.

That these three were such different games might suggest I'm making too much out of a coincidence, but the fact remains that England don't dominate football matches at big tournaments, whether through having acheived a comfort zone early (Denmark, Croatia), taking an early lead and inviting the opposition on (Argentina in 2002, France, Portugal), or failing to grasp the initiative in games up for grabs (Sweden, Nigeria, Brazil, all in 2002). This seems just odd given the surfeit of talent they have in the midfield. Maybe it's the coach ..? Certainly it's a combination of never really having found a way to properly accommodate those talents, and having in both Beckham and Gerrard two players who, when things aren't going well, want to do Absolutely Everything Themselves, often counter-productively. And the recent problems with Lampard and Gerrard sharing the middle are well documented.

Possible solutions: on the left, if Ashely Cole gets fit and retains his form, he and Joe Cole would be my choice, with a proper holding midfielder (Parker?) next to Lampard or Gerrard in the centre. Given that Liverpool's recent run of form seems to have coincided with Benitez moving Gerrard more to the right, would it be totally unthinkable to - and stay with me now - drop Beckham?

Contra m_p, I could easily see England overcoming Germany in the second round - in fact, even given their weaknesses, I could see them beating pretty much any of the European teams. None of them, save possibly Ukraine and Holland, are coming into the tournament on convincing form. And none of them have Rooney and Owen. Brazil and Argentina look like the teams to beat, and England have already shown that they can beat one of them.

They could win it.

And having a typically Scottish deep fried chip on each shoulder, you can't imagine how much I'd hate that.

k-punk
14-12-2005, 06:03 PM
I know I'll never understand the mentality that would rather see an English player labour the ball up the field rather than watch Ronaldinho skin some lunging defender for the Nth time,

yeh, but come on who actually thinks that? The dominant hack position is that England are carthorses, they'll never compete with the silky slick Latinos...Certainly, I'd rather see a fast, effective premiership-style passing side than neat, prissy S American triangles going nowhere. But the reality is that the England team now are massively technically improved from what they once were, and that Rooney is as good as anyone in the world. And there's no more reliable striker anywhere than Owen.


but the knee-jerk annoyance at appreciating flair and individuality does seem the exact equal of the knee-jerk dismissal of English chances. Lampard and Gerrard are both excellent players, but seem to do nothing more than confuse each other when they play in the same team.

I think Gerrard is incredibly over-rated actually. He can be brilliant, but his constant desire to play the killer ball means that his distribution can be wasteful.


I see England as reliable quarter finalists, but don't see enough quality in the squad to say that I'd be confident putting money on them if they came up against any other major European team - there's not enough separation to say that any one of England, Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain or Portugal are better than any other. Finishing second in the group and meeting Germany in round 2 would see a potential early exit.

But all of this is reversible... it's not as if you could be confident in putting money on Italy, Germany, Holland, Portugal or (ha!) Spain to go any further. Certainly, Germany apart, the recent record would suggest that England are better than those teams. (And Germany, perennial lucksters that they are, managed to get to the final last time without playing one major world team). Germany I worry about, not because they are better than England, but because of the high statistical probability that the home team will reach at least the semi-final.

It should also be borne in mind that the best team doesn't always, or even usually, win tournaments. Would anyone say that Greece were the best team in Euro 2004?

jenks
14-12-2005, 07:28 PM
It should also be borne in mind that the best team doesn't always, or even usually, win tournaments. Would anyone say that Greece were the best team in Euro 2004?

no.

i still think we can play with all three in the middle - if they stick to their jobs - gerrard at the back - lamps up front - beckahm on the right ( remember that neville will be back in the side - bex is a different player with the tash behind him - good defensive protection and nice overlaps)

think i would like to see how well wright-philipps for chelsea but like the idea of his pace on the left, always find joe cole a bit of a show pony, would have said play ashley cole in midfield and bridge in left defence but what's happened to bridge? for all my blinkered love of spurs i don't think carrick is up to it for a full 90 and ledley is rock solid in the middle of defence but no midfielder. i think sven's answer could well be hargreaves.

kpunk's point about owen is dead right - he never lets the side down - he is a big match player who just needs the ball played ahead of him - defenders do not like it when he runs at them. and rooney is developing that approach where he can take games by the scruff of the neck and bend them to his will.

the worry is the squad - we ended up with people like danny mills filling in in the past - much like england's cricket team (and rugby team) if we can keep the main 11 together we'll have a decent chance but once we start having to replace players (particularly upfront) then maybe we'll be in trouble - unless we play australia in the final

k-punk
14-12-2005, 08:21 PM
( remember that neville will be back in the side - bex is a different player with the tash behind him - good defensive protection and nice overlaps)

That's quite right. Another thing that has to be borne in mind about the Argentina game was that it was won in spite of England lacking their two first choice full backs.


think i would like to see how well wright-philipps for chelsea but like the idea of his pace on the left, always find joe cole a bit of a show pony, would have said play ashley cole in midfield and bridge in left defence but what's happened to bridge? for all my blinkered love of spurs i don't think carrick is up to it for a full 90 and ledley is rock solid in the middle of defence but no midfielder. i think sven's answer could well be hargreaves.

Hargreaves is not as bad as is sometimes suggested. He's none too spectacular, but he hardly ever loses the ball and he's very tenacious when out of possession.


kpunk's point about owen is dead right - he never lets the side down - he is a big match player who just needs the ball played ahead of him - defenders do not like it when he runs at them.

The Argentines call him 'the killer of Argentina'... with good reason given his record agains them.


the worry is the squad - we ended up with people like danny mills filling in in the past - much like england's cricket team (and rugby team) if we can keep the main 11 together we'll have a decent chance but once we start having to replace players (particularly upfront) then maybe we'll be in trouble - unless we play australia in the final

Yeh, it's a worry, particularly at full-back... and obv Rooney is irreplaceable...

alo
14-12-2005, 09:04 PM
and obv Rooney is irreplaceable...

Theres always Heskey. ;)

jenks
14-12-2005, 09:08 PM
Theres always Heskey. ;)

Surely Crouch is the new Heskey :eek:

don_quixote
14-12-2005, 09:56 PM
please, peter crouch's performances in an england jersey have been, whilst not remarkable, very competent for the job we expect him to do. although to suggest he's a match for rooney isnt really comparing like to like.

jenks
14-12-2005, 10:17 PM
Heskey was competent but the point is surely that he was not an international player of substance...
and neither is Crouch

both can do decent jobs for their clubs but i wouldn't want either of them starting for England. The last roll of the dice maybe but no more

mind_philip
15-12-2005, 12:05 AM
yeh, but come on who actually thinks that? The dominant hack position is that England are carthorses, they'll never compete with the silky slick Latinos...Certainly, I'd rather see a fast, effective premiership-style passing side than neat, prissy S American triangles going nowhere.

Mark, surely you accept that the idea of Brazilians passing the ball uselessly among themselves is as invalid as the idea of England as a bunch of Dave Basset inspired hoof machined. Ronaldinho is arguably one of the most direct and relentless attackers the game has ever seen, and pace and movement typify virtually every player in the squad, from Belletti to Robinho, to Adriano, who I somehow forgot to mention last time.


I think Gerrard is incredibly over-rated actually. He can be brilliant, but his constant desire to play the killer ball means that his distribution can be wasteful.

Personally I think this is the result of too many years playing with Owen's pace as the only outlet at Liverpool, and a diagonal ball over the top being the only likely source of a goal.


But all of this is reversible... it's not as if you could be confident in putting money on Italy, Germany, Holland, Portugal or (ha!) Spain to go any further. Certainly, Germany apart, the recent record would suggest that England are better than those teams. (And Germany, perennial lucksters that they are, managed to get to the final last time without playing one major world team). Germany I worry about, not because they are better than England, but because of the high statistical probability that the home team will reach at least the semi-final.

This was sort of my point. I don't see that (Rooney aside) England have any claim to greater form than the Dutch, the Spanish or the Italians. The Germans will be under-rated by many, but they have several young players like Lahm and Schweinsteiger who could perform given the right home support and the stewardship of an on-form Ballack.


It should also be borne in mind that the best team doesn't always, or even usually, win tournaments. Would anyone say that Greece were the best team in Euro 2004?

Obviously true, but you wouldn't want to rely on not being the best team in the competition as your route to victory...

k-punk
15-12-2005, 12:35 AM
please, peter crouch's performances in an england jersey have been, whilst not remarkable, very competent for the job we expect him to do. although to suggest he's a match for rooney isnt really comparing like to like.

Yeh he's not half as bad as his rep would have us believe.... and at least he can stand up, which is more than Heskey could manage.... And he's got a couple of goals already this season for Liverpool, which puts him in line to outdo Heskey's career average of about 9 a season...

k-punk
15-12-2005, 12:45 AM
Mark, surely you accept that the idea of Brazilians passing the ball uselessly among themselves is as invalid as the idea of England as a bunch of Dave Basset inspired hoof machined. Ronaldinho is arguably one of the most direct and relentless attackers the game has ever seen, and pace and movement typify virtually every player in the squad, from Belletti to Robinho, to Adriano, who I somehow forgot to mention last time.

I'm not rational about Brazil, I admit it. I just hate them.



Personally I think this is the result of too many years playing with Owen's pace as the only outlet at Liverpool, and a diagonal ball over the top being the only likely source of a goal.

Maybe so, but that's all the worse then, if he's so headless chicken stupid that he can't adjust to the fact that like er things have changed now... :)


This was sort of my point. I don't see that (Rooney aside) England have any claim to greater form than the Dutch, the Spanish or the Italians.

Rooney aside is a big aside though... One other thing to note is that England's record against the very big world sides over the last 6 or 7 years is very good... Time was, England would never beat the likes of Argentina, Germany or Italy, but that's no longer the case...



Obviously true, but you wouldn't want to rely on not being the best team in the competition as your route to victory...

lol, though that was a bit of a non sequitur in my post above.... not really a point about England but a point about the silliness of making predictions on the basis of how good a team is on paper... things just don't work out that way... and in tournament football, it certainly is better to be lucky than good...

3underscore
15-12-2005, 09:09 AM
think i would like to see how well wright-philipps for chelsea but like the idea of his pace on the left, always find joe cole a bit of a show pony,

Wright-Phillips is a no-go on the left wing. Having watched him play for about five seasons before Chelsea chose to rest him at great expense for a few years, Shaun clearly favours the right wing. Originally he was played in several positions at City (including centre forward, believe it or not), and he was always noticably more effective on the Right Wing. Worth watching his games at Chelsea, he will noticably fade out if he switches with Robben / Duff on the left.

I do think he is worth the run on the right for the World Cup. How it fits with Beckham is another thing, but his style really does cause teams problems. Especially in the group stage, he is good for causing lower teams significant problems. Sadly, his chances of a first choice role went (like many others) when he took the money and moved to Chelsea.

labrat
15-12-2005, 01:42 PM
im no football fan but apparently word is on the streets of Manchester.....Rooney = over.

3underscore
15-12-2005, 01:53 PM
im no football fan but apparently word is on the streets of Manchester.....Rooney = over.

I think his performance last night, amongst many others this season, would counter that. And that's from a City supporter!

tom pr
18-12-2005, 12:22 AM
i still think we can play with all three in the middle - if they stick to their jobs - gerrard at the back - lamps up front - beckahm on the right
that's the problem though - gerrard is never disciplined enough when asked to play as the defensive part of the midfield - he's constantly striving to play like he does for liverpool; running the show, shooting or playing a killer ball at every opportunity..and he can't get away with doing that when hes alongside lampard who's doing the exact same thing (and rightfully so, he's england's top scorer over the last year surely?)

beckham was far more mature and disciplined than gerrard when asked to play the defensive part of the midfield, but his passing game suffered, as he was constantly overlooking gerrard and lampard to try long balls out to owen and wright-phillips, neither of whom are going to win you many knock downs high up the pitch.

if gerrard can't grow up and stick to the defensive role he's been allocated (perhaps he needs an international coach with a stronger personality to sort that part of his game out, but its pointless to discuss as sven is going nowhere), i'd honestly play king. we looked far more organised in the poland game with him playing there, and it meant lampard had to track back a lot less, and thus could concentrate on attacking.


think i would like to see how well wright-philipps for chelsea but like the idea of his pace on the left, always find joe cole a bit of a show pony, would have said play ashley cole in midfield and bridge in left defence but what's happened to bridge?
disagree - have a season ticket at stamford bridge and cole has been our best player all year - he's stronger, harder working and more disciplined than he's ever been. wright-phillips, for all his pace and crossing/shooting ability has been a bit disappointing when hes played - he's a real wee fighter though, which i like. ;)

baboon2004
09-01-2006, 05:40 PM
[QUOTE=k-punk]
Greatest moment in world history: Italy 3 - Brazil 2 in 82....

Between 70 and 94 They Who Must Be Admired never looked like winning, despite commentators creaming over them every time they managed to kick a ball straight ('look at the skiiiiiiiilllllllll, the Latin rythmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm'). they were possibly the most boring team to win a world cup in 94 (like, imagine Germany if they actually won instead of coming runner-up). They were poor in 98, and justly beaten in the final by a French side with vastly more flair, invention and talent. And Derek's right, they were very average last time. Of all the overrated Brazillians, Ronaldo is probably numero uno...[QUOTE]

What utter rubbish. For the most part. 1982's Brazil was a sublime team (along with the France team of that era), for my money better than the Pele-helmed vintage... and as for 1998's French winners having flair, invention and talent?!?! Aside from Zidane, they were the most piss-poor excuse for a World Cup winning team I've ever seen, squeezing past Paraguay (in extra time), Italy (on penalties after a 0-0) and the titans of Croatia to reach the final.

Granted, the Brazil of 2002 were pretty ordinary too apart from Rivaldo (the big cheat), but anyone who denies that watching Zico, Socrates, Ronaldinho and the like is anything but a privilege really is being anti-canonical for the sake of it.

But I agree with all who pinpoint this year as England's true chance for glory. With Owen and Rooney (surely the world's most watchable, and thus best, player behind Ronaldinho) as the dream strike force, and an embarassment of riches in central defence and central midfield, all we have to make sure is that the team ignores Sven's rubbish tactics and we can overcome our curse of being shit and negative for the second half of any match that really matters. A habit which of course was wonderfully overturned in that match vs Argentina.

Except that one didn't matter.

baboon2004
09-01-2006, 05:44 PM
Oh, and all the Crouch-bashing is ridiculous, as people on here have said. He's been pretty good every time I've seen him play for England; certainly outplaying many of the bigger names recently.

k-punk
09-01-2006, 07:15 PM
Greatest moment in world history: Italy 3 - Brazil 2 in 82....

Between 70 and 94 They Who Must Be Admired never looked like winning, despite commentators creaming over them every time they managed to kick a ball straight ('look at the skiiiiiiiilllllllll, the Latin rythmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm'). they were possibly the most boring team to win a world cup in 94 (like, imagine Germany if they actually won instead of coming runner-up). They were poor in 98, and justly beaten in the final by a French side with vastly more flair, invention and talent. And Derek's right, they were very average last time. Of all the overrated Brazillians, Ronaldo is probably numero uno...[QUOTE]

[QUOTE=baboon2004]What utter rubbish.

Not UTTER rubbish, even by your own account - you agree about 2002, say nothing about 94 (wisely); in fact the only thing you seem to disagree about is 98.


For the most part. 1982's Brazil was a sublime team (along with the France team of that era), for my money better than the Pele-helmed vintage...

Didn't deny that they were a good side. Made it all the sweeter when they were beaten by a better one.


and as for 1998's French winners having flair, invention and talent?!?!

what I said is that they had vastly more than the Brazil side of 98, which was certainly true...



Aside from Zidane, they were the most piss-poor excuse for a World Cup winning team I've ever seen, squeezing past Paraguay (in extra time), Italy (on penalties after a 0-0) and the titans of Croatia to reach the final.

Well, at least they did get through to the final, which they won, unlike the mighty Brazil team of 82. 'Asise from Zidane' is a big 'aside from', he was FAR better than anything Brazil had to offer; they also had flying full backs, Petit and Vieira were also outstanding.


Granted, the Brazil of 2002 were pretty ordinary too apart from Rivaldo (the big cheat), but anyone who denies that watching Zico, Socrates, Ronaldinho and the like is anything but a privilege really is being anti-canonical for the sake of it.


The Brazil of 2002 were majestic compared to the Brazil of 94. Sorry, I've never seen it with Brazil; yes they have had some good sides, but they have to do far less to impress people than any other team in the world.

redcrescent
09-01-2006, 10:11 PM
Talked to a Portuguese football nut in Lisbon yesterday and he had a theory I'd like to float here. This fellow said that, regardless of whom they field, Brazil would not win in 2006 because there's an established pattern that has held since Brazil's victory in Sweden '58. Ever since then, when the World Cup has been held outside Europe, no European team has won, and when the World Cup has been held in Europe, only European teams have won. I went through it mentally:

1962 host Chile, winners Brazil
1966 England, England
1970 Mexico, Brazil
1974 Germany, Germany
1978 Argentina, Argentina
1982 Spain, Italy
1986 Mexico, Argentina
1990 Italy, Germany
1994 USA, Brazil
1998 France, France
2002 Korea/Japan, Brazil
2006 Germany, ?

Obviously people (especially me) spend far too much time (and money, fuck!) on football and fill the space between football games talking nonsense about football. So inevitably you start imagining things. Anyway.

Unlikely as it is, I hope Mexico or one of the African teams makes it (in the absence of my admired Nigeria, my money's on the Ivory Coast). I also hope Spain, that eternal underachiever, make a respectable exit this time. Please not Germany, as we're neighbors and we wouldn't hear the end of it -- Austria are so bad they can only play in a competition if they host it.

England certainly have the potential to win. I'd like to see Owen come back in good shape, in my mind a truly top-class striker (so sad to see Real Madrid let go of him so quickly), but for me England's real strength is the back four, especially the formidable John Terry.
The goalkeeper position is a wholly different affair. Not a decent man in sight.

It'll probably be Brazil, though.

Btw, I find the Budweiser sponsorship of the tournament scandalous. How the Germans allowed this is a mystery to me, at least they could've gotten the really good stuff from the Czech Republic.

redcrescent
09-01-2006, 10:30 PM
The Germans will be under-rated by many, but they have several young players like Lahm and Schweinsteiger who could perform given the right home support and the stewardship of an on-form Ballack.
Not to forget Lukas Podolski up front, a notch above Klose, Kuranyi and Asamoah I think.
The Germans have done a lot of good work in the absence of qualification matches. They have some good young defenders in addition to Lahm, like Hinkel, Friedrich or Mertesacker. Bernd Schneider was incredible in midfield in 2002, but he may be too old this time. Still good off the bench though.

k-punk
09-01-2006, 10:59 PM
Excepting 1998, the last time Germany didn't qualify for a final held in Europe was 1958.

mind_philip
10-01-2006, 01:39 AM
For me, there wasn't much to choose between the Zidane of '98 and the Rivaldo of '98. Until the final, it would have been difficult to suggest that ZZ was having a great tournament.

Likewise, I'm not really feeling the hatred of Brazil '94, this was a team led by Romario after all, and if there's been a more potent striker than him in the last two decades, I'd love you to tell me who it is...

jenks
10-01-2006, 09:36 AM
For me, there wasn't much to choose between the Zidane of '98 and the Rivaldo of '98. Until the final, it would have been difficult to suggest that ZZ was having a great tournament.

Likewise, I'm not really feeling the hatred of Brazil '94, this was a team led by Romario after all, and if there's been a more potent striker than him in the last two decades, I'd love you to tell me who it is...

didn't zz spend part of the tournament suspended? seem to remember a stamping incident against the saudis

toto scillaci and kempes both were as potent in the tournaments they dominated and ronaldo put away 8 in the last. but overall probably agree romario is as pretty damn potent a striker as any over the last thirty years

don_quixote
24-01-2006, 05:15 PM
england to definitely make the semi final if not the final now.

not even going to bother cheering england victories if allardyce is made manager. i hate him with a passion.

jenks
25-01-2006, 10:05 AM
england to definitely make the semi final if not the final now.

not even going to bother cheering england victories if allardyce is made manager. i hate him with a passion.

it's just not going to happen - allardyce is a kind of mike basset like figure in my eyes. he has given the game nothing more than stringing 5 across the middle and that english 'quality' of graft

can't see any english manager doing the job - curbs? pearce? mclaren? none of em have done anything remarkable on the larger stage

redcrescent
26-01-2006, 06:46 PM
Guus Hiddink? What about it?

k-punk
26-01-2006, 08:33 PM
Guus Hiddink? What about it?

Him or Scolari, yeh. Otherwise we're back to the bad old days.... a minimal requirement must be EITHER some experience of managing an international side OR some success in the Champions League OR winning a championship. Winning something, anything (apart from promotion), actually...

don_quixote
27-01-2006, 11:15 AM
well i was chatting to my dad about it, and these english managers have an option - alec mcgleish (sp?) is going to get sacked from the rangers job. if any of them, ANY OF THEM, want any credibility they should go for that job and reestablish rangers as THE force in scotland. theyll get financial backing, will be able to overturn celtic who have a gordon strachan who doesnt really impress me as manager, and then go on and achieve in europe.

that's what martin o'neill did and look at the esteem he's held in now.

perhaps then they can come back an demand the top jobs in the premiership, which will still go to the most talented foreign managers because the top clubs dont want to take a risk with someone who hasnt won championships.

redcrescent
27-01-2006, 11:40 AM
If it was up to me I'd give Hiddink the gig. A top class coach, for sure. Not so convinced Scolari could adapt to coaching a non-Brazilian or non-Portuguese team (though he's done good work wherever he's gone).

Btw, England group for Euro 2008:

England
Croatia
Russia
Israel
Estonia
Macedonia
Andorra

Looks doable, I'd say.

withnail
31-01-2006, 05:24 AM
Watch out for Australia, they have a coach in Guus Hiddink who has taken both South Korea and Netherlands to the semi finals (I think) in the last 2 world cups. I know nothing about socc ... errr football, but the pundits here do go on about his tactical brilliance and his ability to get the best out of his team. The Football Federation here is offering him loads of dosh to entice him to stay after the world cup.

danny bwoy
05-02-2006, 02:42 AM
ok, this is how things are going to happen:

england will not be able to beat sweden in the group phase and consequently end up in second place, which means they'll face germany in the first knock-out game. and i'm afraid that will be the end of their campaign. ;)
germany have a realistic chance to get through to the final, but not because...

they have some good young defenders. the defence is definitely the weakest part of the current team (although mertesacker plays astonishingly solid for his age - forget about friedrich btw!), the quality of midfield (ballack, borowski, frings, deisler, schweinsteiger...) and attack (klose - if he comes back from injury, podolski, neuville, asamoah, kuranyi...) will be decisive.
final four prediction: germany, brazil, sweden and switzerland (trust me, they'll be the big surprise - anyone seen the play-offs against turkey?)
teams to watch: ivory coast, ukraine

it's a shame, though, that turkey didn't qualify - a knock-out clash against germany would have surely been an exciting event (especially here in berlin). i'll also miss denmark - have always enjoyed their world cup campaigns.

jenks
26-06-2006, 04:38 PM
I thought I would resurrect this thread to see how ildly optimistic (wrong) most of us were about how we thought it'd all turn out.

I'd almost bought that whole 'watch out for Ukraine' schtick. Still fancy Ghana to provide a genuine upset though

Rambler
26-06-2006, 06:38 PM
You don't fancy Ukraine to beat Swizerland and give Italy a fright in the quarters, Jenks?

Freakaholic
07-07-2006, 10:16 PM
Yeah, totally agree. Brazil aren't even that good really. They were pretty average when they won the last world cup I reckon- Ronaldinho was average, Ronaldo was fat and scored a couple of tap ins, Rivaldo was probably their best forward. Personally, I'd rather Italy or Argentina won than Brazil.

I don't think England will win either, though, I don't think England are tough enough.


my god..... could anyone be more right on, in december last year, even?

and i really thought, the whole tourney, that Argentina looked like the favorites. I billed the Germany Argentina game as the REAL final.

Never saw Italy / France coming, esp. not after the first round. But they do like like 2 of the strongest 4 teams.