World Cup Germany 2006, Part Three.

I’m about to go watch the US-Italy game with my dad. The US has to win this game to have a realistic chance of advancing, but defeating Italy is highly unlikely. All the same, our boys need our support, and lots of karma, luck, and superstition on their side–prayer’s probably going to be a wash with the Vatican being in Rome–so I’m bringing an American flag and George Washington bank to wave around. (I’m also brininging my AC Milan jersey and Juventus scarf in case things don’t go well for the US.)

[Updated at 12:53 PM CDT]

HOPE! Ghana 2-0 over the Czechs! Ghana made the Czechs look bad, which only reinforced my belief that our 3-0 loss to the Czechs was more a result of American horribleosity than Czech greatness. Fortunately, Ghana will be missing as many regular starters as we will for the game on Thursday. This group has truly been the “Group of Death.”

[Updated at 9:11 PM CDT]

US 1, Italy 1! More precisely, US 0, Italy +1 -1 = 0. Gotta hate those own-goals. That was the gutsiest, ballsiest performance I’ve ever seen from our men’s team. They go down by agoal, they come back, against Italy of all teams. McBride gets his face smashed in, he keeps playing (even though I would’ve liked to see Eddie Johnson come in for the last 20-30 minutes). We lose two guys to red cards, and attack even more than we had been doing already–Beasley’s goal that was called offside came after we were down to nine men. We could have won today, but I’ll take a draw, especially against Italy.

Everyone from front to back played brazillions of times better than they did on Monday. The defense was more solid, the midfield more creative, and the offense put some real pressure on the Italians. I think some of our players still haven’t played as well as they can: for instance, Beasley has the speed to tap the ball past the defense and win a footrace, but didn’t try it often enough. I also think more of our players need to take those 25, 30 yard shots a la Mastroeni’s and Reyna’s. If nothing else, it’ll draw defenders out and open up some space behind them.

Anyways, now there’s hope, thanks to our tie and Ghana’s win. We must beat Ghana on Thursday, and we need Italy to win. There are several other possible results of the Italy-CzechRepublic game which would put us in the second round, but they are highly unlikely. So on Thursday I’ll wear my Baggio #18 AC Milan jersey, my Juventus scarf, my American flag, and I’ll get out the Washington and Lincoln banks… Thursday could be a great day.

As for the referee, it’s like Eric Wynalda said after the game: “There are two types of ref: bad and worse.” Italy’s Daniele De Rossi deserved his red card. You throw an elbow and draw blood, you’re gone, period. Eddie Pope earned his red card by earning two yellows. Fine. But Mastroeni’s red was absurd; it should’ve been yellow. Totti’s yellow card five minutes into the game was garbage; I think that was a result of his reputation preceding him. The poor officiating had too great an effect on the game. That ref is done for this tournament.

In the other groups: Germany looks better now that they’ve decided to play some defense. England is getting by on being better than their opponents rather than playing better–but that won’t get them far in the next round. Argentina has been awesome, their second goal against Serbia and Montenegro was a classic. Holland has been okay. France looks old and tired.Spain looked great against the Ukraine; we’ll see if it keeps up.

Brazil put on a show against Croatia, like they usually do, but there’s a reason the Brazilians haven’t won every single World Cup: they aren’t beauty contests. You have to put the ball in the net, and they only did it once. They need goals.

Everyone was ripping on Ronaldo for his weight and his weak performance against Croatia. But I think a big part of the problem is the lineup; if Brazil wants him and Adriano on the field at the same time, they can’t have them both playing up on the front line. Ronaldo needs room to run at defenders; he should be starting his runs from 10 or 15 yards behind the front line. Put someone else up front with Adriano, like Robinho. Or bench Ronaldo. He can’t do as much playing all the way up.

Good tournament so far, let’s hope it stays that way. And pray for us on Thursday!

4 Responses to “World Cup Germany 2006, Part Three.”

  1. aabrock Says:
    June 17th, 2006 at 3:25 PM

Quick question….is there no offsides rule in the Italian league?

  1. VDV Says:
    June 17th, 2006 at 9:18 PM

There is.

The problem is that when a team has a man-advantage (as Italy and Ghana had today), the forwards smell blood, they creep up too far and they get caught offside… 11 times. Same thing happened to Ghana today (10 offsides to CZE’s 4).

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    June 18th, 2006 at 1:13 PM

This week’s painting project: the bedroom. Next week’s project: laying tile and laminate flooring. Oh, is there soccer going on? I may be done with home improvement in time for the final.

  1. VDV Says:
    June 18th, 2006 at 6:48 PM

You’re just bitter because your mom didn’t let you play anything in high school. Nyah.