The World Cup Thread! [please use spoiler tags!!!]

#2
The World Cup Thread!

I cant believe I didnt see one here!

My Greeks ( well, Im half Greek ) Just got outclassed by South Korea. Dissapointing, but not surprised.

Messi and Argentina about to kickoff against Nigeria. Rooting for Argentina here in the best interest of Greece.


Later today USA plays England. Cant wait for this one. I have a feeling people here in the states ( mainly ESPN ) are overrating USA big time. I hope Im wrong, but I could see England crushing us today.
 
#3
I made one yesterday. It's like 2 below this.

also re: today's match I won't be surprised by a win or a draw, not because I think we're good but if there's one squad that's more consistently overrated than the US it's England. We've had good showings in past cups against much better teams than them. Hell in 2006 we were the only team that played and didn't lose to Italy.
 
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#6
USA with an extremely lucky goal to escape with the 1-1 tie. They did hold their own all game long in midfield against favored UK to make it possible they may now get on a roll in the tourney. Next up for the Yanks is Slovenia and how they do against them will tell a lot going forward in this World Cup. I would guess Slovenia will be favored - at least I'm sure Beno Udrih will tell you they are:)
 
#7
USA with an extremely lucky goal to escape with the 1-1 tie. They did hold their own all game long in midfield against favored UK to make it possible they may now get on a roll in the tourney. Next up for the Yanks is Slovenia and how they do against them will tell a lot going forward in this World Cup. I would guess Slovenia will be favored - at least I'm sure Beno Udrih will tell you they are:)

Slovenia ranks about 12 spots below USA in the world rankings. US will be expected to take all 3 points.

The most interesting thing will be how the US plays as a favorite. Unlike the England game where the US could sit back, defend, and try and counterattack, Slovenia will do the same to the US. Slovenia beat Russia to qualify by putting 10 men behind the ball, playing good defense, and scoring on the counter. It remains to be seen if the US can break down an organized defense and score real offensive goals within the framework of an actual offense (rather than long balls and counter attacks). I think we can, no one knows. Just ask France, breaking down a solid defense can be harder than you think.
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#8
I watched 89 minutes and 30 seconds of live play. Unfortunately, I missed about 30 seconds - anybody want to guess what happened in those 30 seconds? :rolleyes:

I just don't get soccer, although I am rooting for the USA. I can't see much strategy; I don't like how quickly possession changes without any seeming rhyme or reason; it just seems like way too much running around without anything to show for it.
 
#9
Well, VF, you watched 89 mins and 30 sec. more than I did.
I agree with you about soccer...I have nothing against it, just don't care for it.

Would I be happy if the US does well...OF COURSE!!..but I won't be watching it.

GO USA!
 
#10
I watched 89 minutes and 30 seconds of live play. Unfortunately, I missed about 30 seconds - anybody want to guess what happened in those 30 seconds? :rolleyes:

I just don't get soccer, although I am rooting for the USA. I can't see much strategy; I don't like how quickly possession changes without any seeming rhyme or reason; it just seems like way too much running around without anything to show for it.
I understand that. My only suggestion is to give it another chance. There was not much noticeable strategy yesterday. Usually, all of the strategy is done by the superior team. Unless you have two highly skilled teams or teams that just try and outscore you and are allergic to defense (think Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, England, Argentina for the former, South Africa, Nigeria, Chile, Honduras, Serbia for the latter), the game usually takes a familiar script: underdog team with less talent plays a very defensive game plan hoping not to get exposed by better athletes and skill. The underdog tries to defend like hell for 90 minutes, and then, when the superior team gets frustrated and commits more men to the attack, the underdog tries to surprise them by playing a long ball over the top to set up a quick counterattack. It is not pretty, but usually the only way an underdog stays in the game. In this strategy, the underdog usually doesn't have the ball and plays long periods of defense. It is the better team's job to come up with some noticeable strategy to crack the defense and score goals.

US held their end of the bargain- they defended like hell for about 86 minutes (certainly not the first 4). The US plan was simple (and something American fans usually get behind- like Miracle on Ice). Be the plucky underdog, defend as one, take your chances when they come, and show that 11 (5 for hockey) hard-nosed guys playing together can beat 11 stars with different agendas. The tie was more impressive given how quickly we fell behind. The natural inclination would be to "chase the game" (i.e. give up your defensive gameplan and try and get the goal back). US did that in 2006 against the Czech Republic when they gave up an early goal, and ended up getting badly exploited and losing 3-0. Yesterday, they kept their game plan and it paid.

But you are right- the game had no seeming strategy. That falls on England (and it is why they are being lampooned in their press [aside from the goalie error] today). They had no real gameplan for how to break down the US defense, which was shocking. They have so much more talent than us, but they never really put any passes together. the one goal they scored was an example of the kind of creativity they could/should have had all game. Instead, they seemed to get complacent up 1-0, and panicky tied 1-1. In the end, they were resorting to pumping crosses into the box and hoping for the best (soccer for the desperate).

That is why the next two US games will be so interesting. It will fall on the US to come up with the creativity and the game plan to win the game. Algeria/Slovenia will sit back, defend, and play the underdog role. The US has historically not done well as the "superior team." We don't have a lot of creative players that can generate real offense, but we do have lots of gritty, hard nosed defenders. Winning the next two games will depend more on the offensive skills of Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Buddle, Findley, and Jose Torres.

Anyway, hope the explanation is helpful. It really can be a fun game to watch, but certainly not for everyone. I think if you grew up with seemingly more organized sports (baseball, football, basketball), where possession is well defined, yesterday's game was very painful. But again, I think that was more England's utter lack of preparation and execution than anything else.

Try taking in the Germany/Australia game today, or Serbia/Ghana. Both should be more organized. Also, any game involving Brazil, Argentina, or Spain, even if they are playing heavy underdogs. If you watch a team like that, it is pretty clear how soccer should be played, and how an underdog should be dispatched. Spain crushed Poland 6-0 last week. England (on paper) should have won 3-0 yesterday. England is just too fickle to capitalize on their immense talent.
 
#11
I understand that. My only suggestion is to give it another chance. There was not much noticeable strategy yesterday. Usually, all of the strategy is done by the superior team. Unless you have two highly skilled teams or teams that just try and outscore you and are allergic to defense (think Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, England, Argentina for the former, South Africa, Nigeria, Chile, Honduras, Serbia for the latter), the game usually takes a familiar script: underdog team with less talent plays a very defensive game plan hoping not to get exposed by better athletes and skill. The underdog tries to defend like hell for 90 minutes, and then, when the superior team gets frustrated and commits more men to the attack, the underdog tries to surprise them by playing a long ball over the top to set up a quick counterattack. It is not pretty, but usually the only way an underdog stays in the game. In this strategy, the underdog usually doesn't have the ball and plays long periods of defense. It is the better team's job to come up with some noticeable strategy to crack the defense and score goals.

US held their end of the bargain- they defended like hell for about 86 minutes (certainly not the first 4). The US plan was simple (and something American fans usually get behind- like Miracle on Ice). Be the plucky underdog, defend as one, take your chances when they come, and show that 11 (5 for hockey) hard-nosed guys playing together can beat 11 stars with different agendas. The tie was more impressive given how quickly we fell behind. The natural inclination would be to "chase the game" (i.e. give up your defensive gameplan and try and get the goal back). US did that in 2006 against the Czech Republic when they gave up an early goal, and ended up getting badly exploited and losing 3-0. Yesterday, they kept their game plan and it paid.

But you are right- the game had no seeming strategy. That falls on England (and it is why they are being lampooned in their press [aside from the goalie error] today). They had no real gameplan for how to break down the US defense, which was shocking. They have so much more talent than us, but they never really put any passes together. the one goal they scored was an example of the kind of creativity they could/should have had all game. Instead, they seemed to get complacent up 1-0, and panicky tied 1-1. In the end, they were resorting to pumping crosses into the box and hoping for the best (soccer for the desperate).

That is why the next two US games will be so interesting. It will fall on the US to come up with the creativity and the game plan to win the game. Algeria/Slovenia will sit back, defend, and play the underdog role. The US has historically not done well as the "superior team." We don't have a lot of creative players that can generate real offense, but we do have lots of gritty, hard nosed defenders. Winning the next two games will depend more on the offensive skills of Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Buddle, Findley, and Jose Torres.

Anyway, hope the explanation is helpful. It really can be a fun game to watch, but certainly not for everyone. I think if you grew up with seemingly more organized sports (baseball, football, basketball), where possession is well defined, yesterday's game was very painful. But again, I think that was more England's utter lack of preparation and execution than anything else.

Try taking in the Germany/Australia game today, or Serbia/Ghana. Both should be more organized. Also, any game involving Brazil, Argentina, or Spain, even if they are playing heavy underdogs. If you watch a team like that, it is pretty clear how soccer should be played, and how an underdog should be dispatched. Spain crushed Poland 6-0 last week. England (on paper) should have won 3-0 yesterday. England is just too fickle to capitalize on their immense talent.
Great breakdown and evaluation of the game. I agree with you nearly 100% about the US v. England game and soccer in general. Obviously we were the underdogs and England had the more skilled individual players. You're right, for most of the game, especially the second half we played "pack it in on defense and counter on offense" gameplan, but there were moments especially the last 8-10 minutes of the game where we actually had some controlled posession and offensive build up, just couldn't net a result. Altidore should have finished two times at the net in that game. First, on Donovans cross in the first half. Jozy just plain missed the header, he has to put that in the net. And second on his run in the second half where he beat his man around the corner and went for the near post and Green deflected it off the post. He should have either finished that or laid that off back post to a teammate coming on. Either way, you take the result if you're the US. We have a shot at coming out 1st in the group which would be amazing.

Like Rain Man said, If you don't usually watch soccer, take in a Spain match. IMO they play the most beautiful brand of soccer out there. Probably the most talented team, along with Brazil and a handful of others. Skilled with the ball, offensively creative, possesion oriented, and they know how to finish an attack.
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#12
I understand that. My only suggestion is to give it another chance. There was not much noticeable strategy yesterday. Usually, all of the strategy is done by the superior team. Unless you have two highly skilled teams or teams that just try and outscore you and are allergic to defense (think Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, England, Argentina for the former, South Africa, Nigeria, Chile, Honduras, Serbia for the latter), the game usually takes a familiar script: underdog team with less talent plays a very defensive game plan hoping not to get exposed by better athletes and skill. The underdog tries to defend like hell for 90 minutes, and then, when the superior team gets frustrated and commits more men to the attack, the underdog tries to surprise them by playing a long ball over the top to set up a quick counterattack. It is not pretty, but usually the only way an underdog stays in the game. In this strategy, the underdog usually doesn't have the ball and plays long periods of defense. It is the better team's job to come up with some noticeable strategy to crack the defense and score goals.

US held their end of the bargain- they defended like hell for about 86 minutes (certainly not the first 4). The US plan was simple (and something American fans usually get behind- like Miracle on Ice). Be the plucky underdog, defend as one, take your chances when they come, and show that 11 (5 for hockey) hard-nosed guys playing together can beat 11 stars with different agendas. The tie was more impressive given how quickly we fell behind. The natural inclination would be to "chase the game" (i.e. give up your defensive gameplan and try and get the goal back). US did that in 2006 against the Czech Republic when they gave up an early goal, and ended up getting badly exploited and losing 3-0. Yesterday, they kept their game plan and it paid.

But you are right- the game had no seeming strategy. That falls on England (and it is why they are being lampooned in their press [aside from the goalie error] today). They had no real gameplan for how to break down the US defense, which was shocking. They have so much more talent than us, but they never really put any passes together. the one goal they scored was an example of the kind of creativity they could/should have had all game. Instead, they seemed to get complacent up 1-0, and panicky tied 1-1. In the end, they were resorting to pumping crosses into the box and hoping for the best (soccer for the desperate).

That is why the next two US games will be so interesting. It will fall on the US to come up with the creativity and the game plan to win the game. Algeria/Slovenia will sit back, defend, and play the underdog role. The US has historically not done well as the "superior team." We don't have a lot of creative players that can generate real offense, but we do have lots of gritty, hard nosed defenders. Winning the next two games will depend more on the offensive skills of Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Buddle, Findley, and Jose Torres.

Anyway, hope the explanation is helpful. It really can be a fun game to watch, but certainly not for everyone. I think if you grew up with seemingly more organized sports (baseball, football, basketball), where possession is well defined, yesterday's game was very painful. But again, I think that was more England's utter lack of preparation and execution than anything else.

Try taking in the Germany/Australia game today, or Serbia/Ghana. Both should be more organized. Also, any game involving Brazil, Argentina, or Spain, even if they are playing heavy underdogs. If you watch a team like that, it is pretty clear how soccer should be played, and how an underdog should be dispatched. Spain crushed Poland 6-0 last week. England (on paper) should have won 3-0 yesterday. England is just too fickle to capitalize on their immense talent.
Thank you for the feedback. I really do appreciate it.

I've been a sports fan all my life and besides cricket, which I think is the world's longest practical joke being played on the rest of the world by the British, I think soccer is about the only game for which I simply cannot understand the excitement...

I'll keep watching, however. I recently started to appreciate rugby after watching Cal compete for the championship. My oldest granddaughter - she's 6 1/2 - just joined a soccer league so I suppose I'll have to learn something about the game.

:)

P.S. And I am getting ready to watch the Germany-Australia matchup.
 
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#13
VF I admire your tenacity to keep watching. I seem to remember these same conversations 4 years ago. Most people would have long given up.

Go Deutschland!!!
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
#14
I played soccer for about 11 years when I was growing up (through high school) but have never been able to watch it on TV. Still don't. I like watching the little kids play (when my 7-year-old is playing) but that is it.
 

piksi

Hall of Famer
#15
In order to win a game you have to play to win - not play not to lose.

We played like wussies and we lost deservedly. We will be home on the 23rd of June.
 
#16
In order to win a game you have to play to win - not play not to lose.

We played like wussies and we lost deservedly. We will be home on the 23rd of June.

Lost? We tied and earned a point most thought we had no chance at. Sometimes if you play to win, you lose resoundingly. Especially in the first game of a round robin, against a heavily favored team, there is no reason to play aggressively. Earning a point puts us in great shape.

How many times in recent years did Musselman/Theus/Natt try and run with the Suns even though we were clearly outmanned and couldn't play that game? And how many times did it work? We have more 120-96 losses to the Suns in the last 5 years than I care to remember. We probably would have had a better chance trying knock them on their butts, slow the game down, play defense, make it a half court game and try to win ugly. Think Pat Riley's Knicks. When you are outgunned, try and make the other team gun shy being playing a dull, defensive, hardnosed style. That was what team USA did against England yesterday, and it got them a result few expected.

When you are outgunned you have to be smart about the fights you pick. The same strategy beat #1 Spain last year 2-0, and almost beat Brazil in the Confed Cup Finals (3-2 loss).
 
#17
Lost? We tied and earned a point most thought we had no chance at. Sometimes if you play to win, you lose resoundingly. Especially in the first game of a round robin, against a heavily favored team, there is no reason to play aggressively. Earning a point puts us in great shape.

How many times in recent years did Musselman/Theus/Natt try and run with the Suns even though we were clearly outmanned and couldn't play that game? And how many times did it work? We have more 120-96 losses to the Suns in the last 5 years than I care to remember. We probably would have had a better chance trying knock them on their butts, slow the game down, play defense, make it a half court game and try to win ugly. Think Pat Riley's Knicks. When you are outgunned, try and make the other team gun shy being playing a dull, defensive, hardnosed style. That was what team USA did against England yesterday, and it got them a result few expected.

When you are outgunned you have to be smart about the fights you pick. The same strategy beat #1 Spain last year 2-0, and almost beat Brazil in the Confed Cup Finals (3-2 loss).
Don't worry Rain Man, I'm pretty sure Piksi is referring to Serbia when he says "we".
 
#18
Don't worry Rain Man, I'm pretty sure Piksi is referring to Serbia when he says "we".
Ah- that makes sense. Sorry, I am very much on the defensive about soccer in the US and didn't realize what he meant. I don't mind if people don't like soccer after giving it a shot, but I can't stand misinformation about the game.

That said, Serbia did play like a bunch of wussies and deserved to lose. Ghana is not the sort of crackerjack team you need to load the box up against. That defense was pretty ripe for the picking all during their qualifying campaign. Perhaps Serbia remembers that they gave up like 10 goals in three games last Cup :)
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#19
VF I admire your tenacity to keep watching. I seem to remember these same conversations 4 years ago. Most people would have long given up.

Go Deutschland!!!
After watching Germany defeat Australia, I think I can spot a good team when it's playing. They actually looked like they were a team, and not just a bunch of guys running around wearing the same uniforms.
 
#20
^Hopefully they save something for the elimination rounds as they have made a habit of hot starts and then bogging down into less creative offenses as the competition ramps up. Germany is always my hope once the USA goes down. They were diving a lot today though which isn't really cool.
 
#22
After watching Germany defeat Australia, I think I can spot a good team when it's playing. They actually looked like they were a team, and not just a bunch of guys running around wearing the same uniforms.
It is funny when you watch a good team, they always seem to be where the ball is going while the other team seems to be reacting and playing catch up.

I will say this though. It is much easier to see the stategy when you are at a game and can see the whole field and what players are doing without the ball. Kind of like basketball, it is easy to miss a lot of little things when watching on TV. Yet, those little things seem obvious when you are at the game.
 
#23
England is just too fickle to capitalize on their immense talent.
Fabio Capello's teams were never known for playing spectacular soccer, they were known for winning and England won't be an exception, I'm pretty sure they'll at least make a trip to the semi-finals.
Take for example A.C. Milan season 1993/94, when they won both Champions League and Italian League, they were literally loaded with talent (Desailly, Maldini, Baresi, Savicevic, Papin, Massaro etc.) but played some really unexciting soccer throughout the season, winning by very little margin against the most untalented (and talented) teams, somehow getting to Champions League finals against Barcelona.
Barcelona was the most talented and entertaining team in europe and they came to the finals as the huge favorites, so much favorites that their coach (Johan Cruijff nonetheless) got photographed celebrating the victory with a fake trophy in his hand the evening before the game.

But then...surprise! Barcelona gets crushed badly (4-0) in what probably is Capello's masterpiece. And please, make a favour to yourself, check out Savicevic's goal to close the game (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5DFoHFpa4g&feature=related).

I'm not saying that England is going to win it all, but I won't be surprised if they reach the finals plyaing some apparently bad soccer and then destroy more touted teams like Brazil or Argentina, just don't make statements after only one game.
 
#25
In order to win a game you have to play to win - not play not to lose.

We played like wussies and we lost deservedly. We will be home on the 23rd of June.
I still hope it was just a bad day, even though our tactics was terrible. I expect to see reaction from the players on Friday and who knows... Ghana beat us, maybe we beat Germans.

Italy is currently loosing to Paraguay, it's quite unexpected!
 
#26
Since we're talking soccer, I want to put in a plug for my favorite team and share a great video.

When the internet made it possible to really follow English soccer, I wanted to figure out which team was going to be 'my team'. As a Kings fan, it didn't seem right to root for England's equivalent of the Yankees or the Lakers, like Manchester United. I started following Fulham because Brian McBride played for them (he was known as Captain America when he was captain of the team). They now have Clint Dempsey, who scored the US goal against England.

Their manager, Roy Hodgson, is the soccer equivalent of Rick Adelman, and he has really improved the team. At the end of the 07-08 season they won their last 3 road games to avoid relegation (to a lower division) on the last day of the season. Then in 08-09 they finished 7th (out of 20) and thus qualified for the UEFA Cup tournament. (The UEFA Champions League takes the top 32 teams from the various European leagues, and the UEFA Cup takes over 100 of the next tier of teams -- like the NCAA basketball tournament and the NIT).

Fulham went all the way to the final in the UEFA Cup, much like Butler's run in the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, like Butler they lost in the final, but they beat several big time teams along the way. The quarter final was against Juventus of Italy, home and home. Juventus won 3-1 at home and scored an early goal in the game at Fulham, which meant they were ahead 4-1 on aggregate score. Fulham then scored 4 goals to win the game, and Clint Dempsey's game winner was voted the goal of the year by Fulham fans:

Dempsey's goal against Juventus


The commentator's reaction cracks me up every time. The pass to Dempsey was made by Dickson Etuhu, who's playing for Nigeria in the World Cup, and Fulham's goalie is Australia's Mark Schwarzer, who's better than he showed against Germany.
 
#29
I still hope it was just a bad day, even though our tactics was terrible. I expect to see reaction from the players on Friday and who knows... Ghana beat us, maybe we beat Germans.

Italy is currently loosing to Paraguay, it's quite unexpected!
Never! :D Seriously, if Germany plays like they did against the Aussies -who, if I'm quite honest, were pretty terrible- then we'll remain undefeated in the group, Ballack or no Ballack (never couold stand that guy anyway). Müller surprised me a lot, I did watch quite a bit of Bayern München this year and he never struck me as *that* good. Mesut Özil was less of a surprise. Always liked him and since he's currently playing for my favourite team, I was prepared for the awesomeness. The only thing to criticise for me was that we didn't capitalise on some of the opportunities the Aussies presented us with.

All in all, I have to say that I find the quality of the matches to be a bit disappointing. Most of the games didn't really excite me at all (i watched slovakia-new zealand, which just finished, while reading the forums and playing poker) and pretty much all of the favourites have stumbled. I'm still holding out hope for Brasil and Spain, but so far it's not been good.
 
#30
Are the Vuvuzela's driving you crazy?

I was basically tolerating them until Portugal-Ivory Coast match which ended in a horrible viewing nil-nil tie. The constant buzz-like sound of billions of swaming bees completely dominated the TV "action." The whole affair was so utterly boring and frustrating I fell asleep right before half time and only awoke seconds before end of the game. Now, I look forward to Brasil-North Korea in about half hour. But only if I can't stand it. Otherwise, it's out to mow the lawn - geezz!

Everything you ever wanted (or didn't want to know) about Vuvuzela: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/africa/10312794.stm