|Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 02:11 pm: |
I should preface this by saying I am a *HUGE* US fan and want nothing but glory and success for them, but...
Today showed why it's one thing for Nike and Gatorade to proclaim that the US has arrived on the world stage, and it's entirely another thing after the whistle blows. The US played poorly but the Czechs need to be given credit for forcing them into bad decisions.
Frankly, the US' problem is they don't face enough stiff competition on a regular basis. The Gold Cup is a joke compared against the European or South American Championships, so that's not going to change unless the United States somehow floats across the ocean to join the European Union.
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|Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 06:35 pm: |
Yeah, I agree completely, Trent. I said as much on my blog today: http://www.vanderworld.blogspot.com.
Of course, there are two more games. But I thought the US curiously emotionless and leaderless. And in the second half, I didn't see much in the way of coaching adjustments.
|Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 07:54 pm: |
Yes, today's game was sad and somewhat embarassing. I didn't feel that way last World Cup--the guys then at least had some spirit and energy that kept them in the game even when down. Today, there was no chemistry, no inventiveness, no hunger on the field--at least not from the US. The Czechs looked solid and smooth and HUGE!
|Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 08:44 pm: |
I think the Czech Republic deserves a great deal of credit for the US' listless display. What happened when Donovan started one of his patented runs? He was cut down just outside the center circle for a harmless free kick. They did the same thing to Beasley. As soon as he started to juke they mowed him down. You could see that the Czechs knew who to stop and they stopped them quite well, which dispirted the team.
That's why I would have liked to have seen Johnson and Dempsey on the pitch to start. They're both X factors because I can't believe the European teams are scouting MLS talent.
And your comment on one-touch passing was spot on, Jeff--I said the same thing to the guy I watched the game with. However the US had enough troubles trapping today so one-touch passing was a bit beyond them. Let's hope they rebound against Italy.
But I'm not holding my breath.
|Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 01:29 am: |
I think you're absolutely right about the US not getting enough tough competition, Trent. They seem to lack confidence when they come up against an established European or South American side.
However, the Czechs have been one of the best teams in Europe over the past ten years or so and really seem to do the business when it comes to big competitions. There's no disgrace in losing to them, although I know that won't be much consolation. The way Italy played last night, it looks like it's going to get even tougher for the US. Angola looked pretty good too. It's a very tough group for you guys. But you never know...
|Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 01:44 am: |
I was disappointed with the US display. As you say in your log Trent, the main problem was in conceding the midfield to the Czechs, and in giving the ball away to cheaply.
But the good news is Italy are far from invincible. I felt we (Scotland) competed with them pretty well in the qualifiers. So your guys just need to roll their sleeves up and give it everything in the next game (and hope that Ghana are completely out of it by the time you meet them).
|Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 06:03 am: |
Crikey, looks like I'm suffering from world cup fatigue already!! I meant Ghana not Angola in the last post.
I never actually saw the US-Czech Rep game. Sounds as if the US played pretty bad. I agree with you though, Neil. Italy looked pretty good on the whole yesterday, but still looked vulnerable at times. It's a tough call for the US but by no means a forgone conclusion.
|Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 06:20 am: |
What are you guys talking about? They only lost by three!
Prediction: I doubt they'll win a game. It's not cool when the coach starts taking the players too task in the press conference. Doesn't make for team unity. Ghana looked pretty good, and Italy looked solid.
I'm just looking forward to Brazil today.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 04:31 am: |
Come on guys! A bit of reckless optimism's what you need (it adds a certain piquancy to the pain of defeat, no?) It's what the world cup is all about. You can win, I say. Win!
On the other hand.... the talk in Italy now is of avoiding a second round tie against Brazil, which is what would happen if Italy came second and Brazil won their group. So the Italians seem to be psyching themselves up for a big game against the US, and they don't want to leave anything hanging on the game against the mighty Czechs. So, well, I guess you could be right, Lucius.
But, hey, the Italians are pretty good at organising the odd catastrophe. Remember USA '94, a certain game between Italy and Ireland???? Never say never.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 05:29 am: |
Yeah, maybe you're right. I'm just sick of our media saying, This is the year, and then we come out and play like old ladies with gas. Actually, we would have lost the other day to a team of old ladies with gas.
Brazil is a team to avoid, though I didn't think they played particularly well. Ranaldo was a real anchor around their neck. I haven't seen Argentina, but frankly the Czechs played about as well as anyone I have seen, so maybe the US can rebound.
I'm up early to watch Spain-Ukraine. Still not awake.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 08:37 am: |
The only hope is that the Italians watched the US against the Czechs and come out lazy, and the US is hopped up and ready to play. Both conditions are required for the US to have a chance.
Anyone expecting the US to better their run in 2002 doesn't understand the tournament. The US record versus European teams in Europe is dreadful. After the draw it should have been apparent that 1) the US would be lucky to get out at all, and 2) they'd likely be facing Brazil in the second round.
Also the US needs to score first in order to have a fighting chance. Off the top of my head, I think the only time the US has ever been down in a World Cup game and managed to get a draw was against the Swiss in Detroit, 1994. Otherwise the team cannot break down a counter-attacking European side, as was ruthlessly demonstrated on Monday.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 10:37 am: |
"Anyone expecting the US to better their run in 2002 doesn't understand the tournament."
That sort of elitist statement, commonly heard at world cup time, is one reason casual fans like myself don't bother with soccer in non-world cup years, that and the fact that i don't like the sight of grown men rolling around feigning injury. I like the game, I have fair understanding of it, and I knew about the record v Europe in Europe. But i didn't realize how much stock to put in it, because I don't follow soccer year-round and don't keep up with the US team, thus their horrifying inepitude v the Czech came as a shock. I must not understand the tournament. Anyway, thanks for the lecture on the obvious but I submit it could have been delivered with more politesse.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 01:37 pm: |
Oops. My apology, I should have phrased it differently. My criticism was directed at the American sports journalists who unfairly raised the public's expectations for this team in this tournament--as you yourself said. A month back I saw it written in one paper that anything less than the quarterfinals would be a failure and that's just wrong. Personally, I thought it would be a terrific accomplishment for them to get out of the group even before Monday's debacle. But when the ESPN announcers are saying that hopefully the US can win their group in order to avoid meeting Brazil in the second round, how is the casual fan supposed to know any different?
My inadvertantly elitist statement was only to point out how tough the US' group is and that the likely reward for surviving would be facing the 5-time world champs in the second round. And since this has been the scenario since the draw last December, the optimism and raised expectations by the press heading into the tournament has been mystifying for me.
Sorry if I've at all spoiled your enjoyment of the tourney and please trust that wasn't my intent.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 01:42 pm: |
Not at all. Thanks for clarifying, I made an incorrect assumption for which I apologize.
|Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 04:44 am: |
though speaking of brazil, australia has to play them next. over here everyone talks about a draw being the best we can hope for. its funny cause it's true
|Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 05:22 am: |
The best you can hope for may be to be drawn and quartered. Though Australia did look right good against Mexico. Good luck
|Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 06:58 am: |
i thought they looked alright vs japan, as well. but you know, after 32 years of not being in the world cup, and having never scored a goal... it's probably time for someone to put the team in their place ;)