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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 03:30 pm:   

Friends, Romans, Marsupials, the second round!

So France, at last, have done the business. And they looked pretty good too. But Switzerland? I don't know, they seem the most unlikely of all the qualifiers and, frankly, I can't see much to admire in their style of play. But they made it through, and won their group, so fair enough.

Second round games are as follows:

Saturday
Germany v Sweden
Argentina v Mexico

Sunday
England v Ecuador
Portugal v Holland

Monday
Italy v Australia
Switzerland v Ukraine

Tuesday
Brazil v Ghana
Spain v France

These look like great games with a lot of uncertainty. The Swiss v Ukraine, Portugal v Holland, and Spain v France, these ones seem the most difficult to predict. But Ghana, too, have impressed. They could be very tricky for Brazil. Could be much tighter than people think, that one.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 04:09 pm:   

What floats my boat is a Spain-Brazil quarter. Don't you think Germany-Sweden might be competitive?
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 04:57 pm:   

You know, Sweden were the team I'd opted to support before the world cup started. I don't know why exactly, but I just liked the look of them. And Larsson, it has to be said, is the most admirable footballer in the world today.

However, I've found them uninspiring, perhaps because I was expecting too much of them having selected them as a surrogate team. And, truth be told, I think Germany are really on a roll. I'm expecting Germany to bulldoze Sweden aside, the way they did Ecuador, even though Ecuador were quite prepared to let that happen.

I'll lay it on the line here and say that I think Germany may end up winning the WC. It's too early to say, of course, but Germany look very much up to the task. And my beloved Sweden are, well, they're simply in the way of Germany's big rush towards glory.

The prospect of Brazil v Spain in the quarter is indeed a thing to look forward to. I can't recall these two having met in a world cup before. Has it happned? What a game that would (or will!) be.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 05:00 pm:   

Yeah, the Bosch look good, but they may have peaked too early whereas Brazil is just rounding into form. Maybe Sweden's been holding back......
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 05:25 pm:   

That's true. Brazil are preparing themselves for bigger and better things. It's visible.

And Sweden could be doing that too. But they need Ibrahimovic, their main man who wasn't playing against England. But he's not been in form these days either, and he's injured. If he's back against Germany then, definitely, Sweden have a chance. But they need this guy. He's arguably the next best footballer in the world after Ronaldinho.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 05:41 pm:   

Hmmm. Looks like Germany then. Because from what I hear there's no Ibrahmovic...
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 06:04 pm:   

That's a pity. I reckon Germany were/are odds on to win this anyway, but without Ibrahimovic the Swedes are seriously disadvantaged. With Larsson there, however, they're still dangerous. But I can't see anything other than a win for Germany. And Germany have been great so far, immensely entertaining. They deserve to go on.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 06:07 pm:   

Now these games, they can go to goal kicks if they tie?
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trent hergenrader
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 09:07 pm:   

Tied games go to two overtime periods of fifteen minutes each, followed by penalty kicks if the score is still level.

Who would have thought that in Sweden vs. Germany, it would be the Germans who are tipped as the attacking, creative team?

Germany to win it all seems a long shot. The Argies have been the form team (but may have peaked too early) and Brazil looks like they might just now be getting serious.

Spain vs. France? Yeah, I'll be sneaking out of work for that one... The good news is that I don't think the Spanish self-implosion device will go off for another round yet.
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 09:35 pm:   

i gotta agree with alistair, in that germany looked good. it wouldn't surprise me to find them in the final. that said, i've had my favourite as argentina...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 09:38 pm:   

Brazillllllll....lala lala lala lalaaaa.....
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 04:12 am:   

Brazil and Argentina definitely have an aura of being better than the rest. And it's so difficult to be convinced by Spain, given their tendency to implode. A big test for Germany today, but Sweden just seem to lack something in midfield and defense. But I'd like to see them prove me wrong.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 05:57 am:   

Yeah, I'm pulling for Sweden but don't have much hope. Basically I'm rooting for a Brazil-Argentina final, because I think that would be the best game.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 07:46 am:   

Looks like Ibrahimovic is going to play. There's hope...
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 08:14 am:   

I predict Brazil won't make it to the final :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 08:17 am:   

What's up with the Swedish defense? They're playing like...inflatable kangaroos. Timid, would be the word.

Hell of a prediction, Brendan. So you must thing Spain's going to beat them in the quarters. Can't see it myself.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 08:54 am:   

Well, even after that, there is still another team to beat. Maybe UK?

I mean, they still have a few games to win. I would like to see Ghana beat them :-)

Brendan
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neil w
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 10:42 am:   

Lucius - inflatable kangaroos with terminal punctures, I'm afraid. What a shame, I was so looking forward to that game, but it was no contest. Still, the Germans continue to look good so far.

Brendan - you *could* be right, but it'll take a surpeme effort to beat them. I think Ghana and Spain both have a chance of getting close to them though.

I can guarantee you one thing though - that the UK won't beat them. The UK doesn't have a football team. It's been that way since the first international football match. Any suggestions otherwise could foment revolution in some quarters. Seriously. :D
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 11:16 am:   

Yeah, what were the Swedes thinking, backing off like that? The best way to beat Germany would be to pressure their defense which I assume Argentina will do in spades.

And as far as beating Brazil, I agree with Alastair -- UK doesn't have a prayer. Spain seems the best hope, but if Ronaldo's back in form....un-uh!
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 11:08 pm:   

That is a big "if" Lucius....

Anyhow, Germany looked pretty good.

Brendan
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 11:30 pm:   

You do know Ronaldo scored two goals and had a number of great chances in their last game, don't you?
If Brazil gets past Spain, and I see no reason why they shoudn't, you can pencil them in for the final.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 09:20 am:   

If he can do nothing else beside kick well, Beckham can play for my side anytime.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 08:34 pm:   

yeah, have to say, that beckham goal was sweet. the game as a whole was a bit dull, though.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 09:22 pm:   

Well, yeah. Sucked. However the Port-Dutch game made up for it at least in fouls and bad reffing.

Go Aus!
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 11:05 pm:   

yeah, it's time for australia to exit the world cup now :-)
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 11:11 pm:   

Umm, missed the game. But R. is still not in the form he was in, and Brazil sort of counts on him too much, no?

Brendan
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 05:00 am:   

Looked pretty good to me, but then what do I know? But even off form, he's right good and he ran for 90 minutes.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 05:23 am:   

Countdown for Italy v Australia. This is a real intriguing encounter. The two have never met before. You wonder whether Italy can get away with playing defensively against the strength and determination of Australia, the way they might against a more subtle side like the Czech Rep. But Italy are better prepared than they were for the US game, which they took much too lightly. I reckon we could be in for another spate of red cards, though, specially if Australia decide to up the tempo and play it physical.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 05:37 am:   

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...Oy, oy, oy!

I can't express how much I'm pulling for Australia to pull the upset. Agreed about the red cards. Did you see the Portugal-Netherlands game? Jesus!
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 05:48 am:   

Would be nice for Australia to win, but it would be suprising.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 05:53 am:   

Italy could use a good surprise.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 05:54 am:   

Perhaps the Great Inflatable Kangaroo will hace something for 'em....
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 06:04 am:   

I was just reading, too, that Italy are on their longest run of being undefeated since the 1930s! Beating them is no easy task, that-s for sure.

I missed the Portugal-Holland game! Sounds like it was thriller for all the wrong (but highly entertaining) reasons. I'm hoping to see highlights of it tonight.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 06:20 am:   

In Italy they're saying that the Great Inflatable Kangaroo has been blown all out of proportion:-)
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 06:49 am:   

you can't knock that kangeroo ;)

anyhow, it'd certainly be cool if australia could pull the upset. i expect the game to be physical just because i figure australia are going to treat every game as if it's their last, and go all out.

the country is in a bit of a world cup thing since australia got there, you know. they win this and everyone'll go wild. shit, everyone went wild when they defeated japan.
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trent hergenrader
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 06:50 am:   

Italians on rollerskates! I fully expect the Italians to go down like a ton of bricks under the slightest touch and spend at least ten minutes rolling on the ground before the medical team comes out to perform CPR. Which of course brings the player up to full health in a matter of moments.

Get this, during the Portugal/Holland game I was trying to teach my in-laws what constituted a yellow card. NOT an easy task considering the circumstances.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 07:16 am:   

There's no doubt Italy will be using every trick in the book to try and beat Australia, and it'll be interesting to see how the ref deals with it.

I don't know if any of you saw or heard anything about the Italian coach blowing a fuse with the press yesterday. At one point he even said something along the lines of, if your going to be a bunch of bastards, I'll be a bastard too. Charming. So there seems to be a lot of nervousness and tension in the Italian camp which maybe Australia can exploit.
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neil williamson
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 07:56 am:   

I've got another sneaking feeling the Australians could do it against Italy. As always with these sorts of games, an early goal for Australia would be fantastic.
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 08:52 am:   

it's better if they don't concede an early goal, given australia's previous games. which at half time they haven't. so who knows.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 09:04 am:   

Italy has had some big chances, though. The Aussie goalkeeper has been sharp.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 09:54 am:   

Is it possible they didn't understand what happened in Sydney? They appeared to be celebrating. Or perhaps that's just the Aussie way. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 09:58 am:   

aw, man, that was raw. last minute penalty.

(though in all fairness, since they couldn't score against the ten man italy squad after the red card, perhaps italy deserved the win)
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neil w
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 09:59 am:   

Man, but that was a tough way to lose a game. A dodgy pen in the last min of injury time. Nae luck to the Aussies.
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:00 am:   

everyone on the telly crowd scenes is screaming bullshit out. heh. that's the australian way :-)
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:12 am:   

The penalty looked fair to me.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:16 am:   

They showed the Little Italy section of Sydney on the US feed -- that's why I was confused.
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neil w
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:54 am:   

Brendan - I guess the ref would agree with you, but for me Grosso saw handy body to trip over and duly did so. What disappoints me is if he'd only stayed on his feet he had a good chance of getting a shot in, and perhaps scoring a very good legitimate goal.

But as with all in football, it's open to interpretation. :D
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 11:31 am:   

Yeah, my interpretation was that the Australian player just sort of lay down in front of Grosso. On the other hand, I thought the call against Materazzi was suspect. Really though, the teams seemed pretty evenly matched.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 11:32 am:   

Now for Switzerland. If they win I can count on some heavy gunfire in my village (southern Switzerland).
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 12:22 pm:   

Lucius, the cheering crowd in Sydney were all Italians from Little Italy. Did you notice the Italian flags waving?
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 12:29 pm:   

Five posts upthread -- yes I did.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 12:42 pm:   

The Australia - Italy game was cruel! The sending off seemed harsh for sure and the more I see the replay of the pen, the more I'm convinced it wasn't one, although it looked it at the time. It's maybe one of those decisions where, no matter what the ref decided, there'd be debate either way. But it was a great effort by Australia all the same. And they'll be much missed. Their games have been great to watch.

What about Italy, though? Not exactly setting the world alight. They don't seem to have much of an idea what they're doing half the time, except when it comes to defending. Their midfield is very static. And it seems like the occasion is too much for Toni. He missed some great chances today.

Brendan -- a local derby between Italy and Switzerland would be great for adding a bit of spice to the quarter finals, eh?. Interesting, too, because of the "friendly" they played prior to the world cup, which wasn't very friendly at all really.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 12:45 pm:   

What is the deal with these refs -- haven't they heard of the concept of a happy medium. Last night 20 cards, tonight 0...

Amazing.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 02:38 pm:   

I don't think I've ever seen that before -- a team shut out on penalty kicks.
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Forrest Aguirre
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 02:42 pm:   

That was intense!

Am I the only person in the world who thinks that Ghana might just bump off Brazil in a surprise upset?
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Darren Speegle
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 03:08 pm:   

Forrest: Yes.:-) But it'd be bitchin' to see.
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Forrest Aguirre
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 04:06 pm:   

I had that lonely feeling. :-(
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 04:30 pm:   

lucius: yeah, norton street in sydney. that's about right for the cheering. there are strong italian communities down here, so all smiles in some parts.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 06:29 pm:   

Well, chances are there'll be some repercussions. :-)

Tomorrow's games should be good. Spain-France might be interesting. The French could take advantage of the Spanish bad luck...
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 01:58 am:   

The ref seemed to be favouring the Ukraine. Anyhow, Italy will beat them.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 06:43 am:   

How about this for news. It's being reported that former Juventus and Italy player, Gianluca Pessotto, now in the management staff at Juve, has attempted to commit suicide by jumping from his office window. He seems to have survived though.

Shockwaves all across Italy. God knows how it'll effect the world cup, but he's been a team mate of quite a few of the current crop of players. He played in France '98 and the 2000 Euro Championships. It's all very strange.

But back to today's games... Here's hoping Spain can hold their nerve.

And, Forrest, I'm with you! I reckon Ghana can spring a shock as well.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 06:46 am:   

I like Brazil, but I got a funny feeling about Spain-France. What kind of player is this guy who is not playing for France, Cisse? A striker?
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 07:02 am:   

I know what you mean about Spain-France. The more the game looms, the more it seem like France are somehow stronger.

Cisse is a striker, yes, who currently plays in the English Premiership with Liverpool. I haven't seen much of him myself, but I think he's pretty good, and very popular with the fans. What a blow for him to miss out on the finals.

I'd be happy seeing Brazil go through cause they're so great to watch. But I really like what I've seen of Ghana. I don't really know who I'm supporting in this game. Football, I suppose. It'd be great to see a goal-fest. But I think it's a tough one for Brazil.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 07:09 am:   

Thanks, Alastair. I'd like to have seen him.

I think Brazil's just been warming up, and Ghana's a bit scrambly on defense -- I figure B is going to have a fairly easy time, but I guess anything can happen...
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neil williamson
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 07:53 am:   

I'm getting increasingly nervous for Spain - my last, best hope for a new name on the cup. It feels like France are getting it together just at the right time.

Brazil could have a tough time of it with Ghana, but I think they'll be stronger from now on as well.

And Pessotto - I've been listening to the news of this today. The BBC of course have not mentioned suicide - just that he "fell from his balcony while working alone in his office". I remember him clearly as a player - and wasn't even aware that he'd retired from playing. Poor guy. This fixing scandal is obviously a serious business over there.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:01 am:   

If Spain doesn't take an early lead, the pressure may build on them...and build...and build. But like you, Neil, I'ld like to see Spain go through.

Essian's out? That makes it a chore for Ghana.
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neil williamson
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:07 am:   

So does Ronaldo scoring in the first 5 minutes! Ow!
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:09 am:   

Guess he's rounded into form.... :-)
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neil williamson
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:13 am:   

ooh...catty!
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:20 am:   

Well, I mean, three goals in the last two halves, that's sort of telling.
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neil williamson
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:26 am:   

As is the physique of good living proudly in display under the largest shirt they could find for him...
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neil williamson
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:30 am:   

But you're right, they always say that Brazil starts the World Cup at around 70% capacity and gradually get up to speed. It looks like Ronaldo is following this curve - his goals in the last game were very tidy indeed.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:46 am:   

There's an awful lot of yellow cards for Ghana so far. They'll be lucky to finish the game with 11 men at this rate.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:52 am:   

Brazil lucky not to have given up a goal. As the American feed is saying, they seem to play to the level of their opposition...
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:57 am:   

ghana's been good to watch so far. be a shame to see them go, but down two at half time, it seems like it's all over...
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 09:01 am:   

The second goal seemed offside too. No luck for Ghana.
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trent hergenrader
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 09:03 am:   

It's being reported that former Juventus and Italy player, Gianluca Pessotto, now in the management staff at Juve, has attempted to commit suicide by jumping from his office window.

I suppose any comments about diving would be in bad taste so I will refrain.

Cisse is a striker

Allegedly. He never really recovered from a horrible leg break last year and the most impressive part of his game has been missing the wide open goal. Henry and Trezeguet are much better strikers but don't play well together, I guess.

C'mon Spain!
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 09:26 am:   

If the coach gets a red card, as happened to the Ghana coach, does that rule him out for the next game (should Ghana win)...
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 01:54 pm:   

Well, Spain falls again....
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 02:16 pm:   

I suppose the only consolation is that France at least deserved to win. Spain played some nice football but just lacked the firepower. France maybe weren't exceptional, but they were good. Ribery was great in spells, and it was a nice goal from Zidane.

Still, though, it's sad to see Spain go out. Again.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 02:23 pm:   

Actually, maybe France were exceptional. Were they? Maybe I'm undervaluing them cause I was rooting for Spain.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 03:25 pm:   

Well, speaking as someone who expertise is nil, I thought France had the better of play in the first half, both before and after the penalty kick...So I guess i thought they were pretty good, but Spain didn't exactly bring it.
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trent hergenrader
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 06:26 pm:   

I love Spain and I'm indifferent to France but I agree with Lucius--France deserved to win. Spain played well in fits and spurts but I thought the French consistently made more dangerous chances. Spain only really created a bunch of half chances and benefitted from a silly (but legit) penalty.

Spain plays well but fades early. Brazil starts out stuttering but makes it to the final anyway. Where have I heard that before...? Oh yes, that's every World Cup for the last twenty years.

I have to say my passion for the tourney now wanes a bit with my two favs out--the US and Spain. I still have a soft spot for Germany (Hergenrader?) and I wouldn't mind seeing England shape up but neither make my heart ache like the two aforementioned ones. All the minnows have more or less been eliminated now that Ghana and Australia have fallen, except maybe the Ukraine. Portugal's never won anything either, have they?
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 06:44 pm:   

Yeah, I sort of think the UK is being discounted. Everybody's picking Portugal to go through, and the UK has played Uglee! But I got a feeling like the one I had before Spain-France. And like you, I'm not picking against Brazil, though I expect France to give 'em a game. I think they'll be in the final versus Germany or Argentina. Too bad that's a quarterfinal, because that should be a doozy.
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neil williamson
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 01:58 am:   

Didn't see the games yesterday (again!), but it really hurt me that Spain went out. Looks like I've got to pitch in with the Ukrainians and the Portuguese if we're to have a new name on that trophy. But it's interesting how all the traditionally strong teams have somehow muddled through to this stage, isn't it? Whether it's superior skill, or just experience of winning, the do manage to find the edge, don't they?

Bah!

Political sidebar: I know that the Celtic constituents of the UK often get shirty when the UK is referred to as "England". But in the case of the football, it IS correct (nay, vital!) to say "England", not "UK". Us Scots, along with the Welsh and the Northern Irish, have our own history of uglee football to be proud of!
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 07:11 am:   

Well, Ukraine is not going to beat Italy. They barely got by Switzerland - and I am not sure they would have if the ref had not been closing his eyes. So, I am for Italy.

Then I think Germany will beat Argentina, to give us Germany against Italy, which would be a good game.

I guess at this point it does look like Brazil will be up against either Italy, or Germany for the final. Probably Germany vs. Brazil for the final match.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 08:39 am:   

Given your previous estimation of Brazil, I think I'll go with Argentina over Germany. :-)

Neil, I think Ghana may get its name on a cup eventually, but this year...no new name, I'm afraid, unless it's the UK...:-).
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neil williamson
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 09:03 am:   

My heart says Argentina in that match, but the Germans have been playing uncommonly well this tournament, so it's totally up for grabs.

Lucius - I agree with you about an African team getting there eventually - although perhaps not for a few years yet.

If 'twere the UK, at least the engraver would have a quick job. Better than the Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia anyway.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 09:13 am:   

In a little game on my own topic, I picked a 2-2 game, with Argentina winning on penalty kicks.

Gonna be a tight one.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 09:14 am:   

Lucius - Yes, I am usually wrong in all my predictions! I am a good person to bet against. Still, I think Germany will win against both Argentina and Italy. The German team looks strong and they are playing on home turf, which is worth something.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 03:06 pm:   

Brendan -- all true. Like I said, I think it'll be tight.

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