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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 07:22 am:   

The Argentines and the Germans going at it should be the game of the tourney thusfar....
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neil williamson
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 07:35 am:   

I'm nervous, though, Lucius. Every time we make these predictions it's a dull defensive stalemate or a blood-and-teeth armageddon that ends with five players on each side.

Here's hoping though. We're all leaving work en mass in about 10 minutes time to go to the nearest pub to enjoy it.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 08:19 am:   

Of all games to miss, I'm missing this one. It's enough to make me weep. And to think that Neil's probably on his second pint by now, and here's me sitting in front of a computer with a cup of coffee that looks and tastes like crude oil.

But I will see extended highlights later on tonight!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 08:26 am:   

Yes, Alastair, but you may have less to regret than Neil.

I hear ya, Neil, and it is defensive thusfar, though engaging.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 08:52 am:   

You could be right, Lucius, though I'm sure I'll make up for it tomorrow:-)

Following this game online, it looks like it's destined to go right down to the wire. Tevez sounds like he's being a real menace, though.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 08:57 am:   

Argentina is controlling the game, they've had the ball 70 percent of the time, but haven't had a shot, and Germany is triple teaming Tevez and seems satisfied to make counterattacks. Right now, though Arg is clearly a more skilled team, I say Germany is going to score first and probably win.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 08:58 am:   

And thusfar, Neil, I'd have to say you're dead on.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:13 am:   

Goal for Argentina! This might liven things up a little.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:17 am:   

Looks like I can make a break for the pub and see some live action myself. Hoorah!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:17 am:   

yes, but germany seems reticient to shoot...they have no rythm.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:19 am:   

Go, ALastair!
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Forrest Aguirre
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:28 am:   

Good grief! Germany just can't seem to put it in!
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 11:04 am:   

:-)
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neil w
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 11:27 am:   

Brendan - that just about sums it up.

Can't say I'm surprised by the result, and although it was tight all the way through, I really enjoyed it as a match. Fair enough to the Germans - they played well and held their nerve at the end. Argentina didn't make their control of the game count, and they paid the penalty.

Good drama!

Alastair - hope your beer was better than your coffee!
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 12:05 pm:   

you knew it was all over for argentina when it came to the penalty shots. that replacement goalie looked like he'd just been spotted by a truck that was gonna plow right into him.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 12:10 pm:   

Yes, shame Argentina's original goalie got hurt. It sort of leaves one with a "What if . . ." feeling.

Still, the second half was good entertainment. Definately the best of this World Cup so far.
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trent hergenrader
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 12:16 pm:   

Truly a great game. It wasn't non-stop action but it would be the perfect game to explain tactics to a beginner. Peckerman's use of defensive subs to sew up the game backfired with the late German goal. Why take off Riquelme? The world may never know...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 12:19 pm:   

Yup. Agreed on the second half. I'm with Neil--Argentina surrendered control to Germany, got passive, and that's where the match turned.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 12:22 pm:   

The goalie injury was key -- screwed up the substitution scheme.
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trent hergenrader
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 01:24 pm:   

Well, the keeper injury didn't help but that was the first sub of three. I thought they could have pulled off Crespo for Cambiasso (striker for midfielder) rather than for Riquelme, who the Germans had trouble with all afternoon. And I was surprised by Cruz going on instead of Messi as the Germans seemed less comfortable with a short, quick striker

I don't think the subs were the direct cause of the goal (as Marcelo Balboa seemed to suggest) but it certainly didn't help them in the extra time.

I can't believe Pekerman quit after the game as he did a great job with this team. No shame in the way they played in any of their 5 games and only losing in PKs to the hosts.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 01:49 pm:   

Yeah, I agree. Wish we could have seen Mezzi....
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 02:55 pm:   

Neil - the Beer trounced the coffee big time! Liquid gold against crude oil! There's only one winner!

And guys, you're right as can be. Why no Messi! It's arguable that Pekerman was doing the right thing under the circumstances, but why why why no Messi? It just didn't seem to chime in with the kind of football that Pekerman has introduced to this world cup (a kind of football almost like pre-war football, with all the short passing and dazzling skills and speed, and the total emphasis on scoring goals). Personally, I feel he's created a similar kind of revolution in football as the Dutch did in the 1990s with their "Total Football" approach. Has anyone else been under the impression that all the other teams in the WC are trying emulate what Argentina have been doing? Or is it just my imagination?

So, what about Italy-Ukraine? Italy, without a doubt, were impressive. And, finally, my man Toni has done the business. I thought Totti, after a slow start, was exceptional. He did some stuff that we've only really seen with the Arg so far.

But I have to say this: the Ukraine in the second half were marvellous. They did what too few teams are doing in this world cup. They totally went for it. They cast aside their fears and said, "if we can't beat them, then at least we'll make a go of it". And so they did. It was because of them that Italy were able to open out and flaunt their stuff. The Ukraine made Italy look good. Good on 'em.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 05:10 pm:   

And, with blood running high, I'm going to lay it down for tomorrow's games:

I think England will beat Portugal. We've seen the best that Portugal have to offer, and it's OK. Pretty good, pretty strong (Figo is great), but they've reached their limit, whereas England have been bad, much worse than they are, and I reckon they'll step up another level in the face of serious opposition. The individual brilliance of England's players that we've already seen in Beckham, Gerrard and Joe Cole will, I feel, start to form a more solid unit now that they've reacheed the latter stages.

And, France? They've had us fooled all along! They're going to beat Brazil or, at least, match them. And win in the end? Depends on Ribery. He's their inspiration. If he does his thing, France can win.

But I'd like to see an England v Brazil semi-final. That would be more interesting, more of a clash of footballing cultures than, say, Brazil v Portugal.

But France? They seem somehow big and overpowering, like they were against Spain. Could they, against all expectation, reach the final?

I think what I'm saying is that England and France will play each other in the semi.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 05:37 pm:   

You could be right, but I'm going England-Brazil. Brazil-Portugal would have that colonialist thing. France-Brazil should be a good match, but Brazil's been coming on, too....
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 09:49 am:   

Watching the Portuguese swooning all over the pitch is just not that entertaining.
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Luís
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 09:10 pm:   

Figo is good, but the team has proven itself quite capable without him (without most of the main players, actually) in the match against Mexico. It's new players like Cristiano Ronaldo (who is insanely talented), Maniche, Pauleta and Miguel that you'll be hearing about in the future.

Today's game wasn't bad, but I think it could've been better. Players were being overly cautious on both sides, and it appears that the temperature inside the stadium was a bit overwhelming too, which is probably why the second half lacked so much.
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neil w
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 02:32 am:   

I found Portugal frustrating, Luis. They had so much good possession, but they were so overly careful about the chances they made. They should have just gone for it as soon as they had the numerical advantage, but instead they passed the thing around the edge of England's box.

*sigh* Only four more games to go!
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Luís
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 06:28 pm:   

Neil: yeah, Scolari kept complaining about it during the game. Still, easier said than done, considering England had nine players defending and only Crouch out in the front for the counterattacks.
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neil williamson
Posted on Monday, July 03, 2006 - 01:31 am:   

And not forgetting that England were defending very well. Backs-to-the-wall heroics is stock in trade for British teams. As is "glorious defeat".

But still, Portugal need to be more direct, more assertive come the next game, because France sure as hell will be.

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