Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

ENG v PAR (live)

Howdy all futbol nuts like me who get up at ~6am to watch a match from across the globe. At this second we're in the 81st minute and I'm somewhat impressed by England's pace to the game - it's the first game, so you expect some slowness but they have been gaining momentum in the attack. Problem is, they're incredibly inefficient. The attack seems to be get their middle or right midfielder or the defense to chip the ball up to Peter Crouch. At 6'7", Crouch that would seem the obvious target, but he just can't bring the ball down due to the pressure Paraguay is putting on him (and rightly so). Owen is chasing down all he can, but it looks as though he's better suited for the ground attack (read Rooney in on the attack instead of Crouch). However, with the Roons coming off a broken foot relatively recently, they won't rush him into any first round game. And England have a 1-0 lead, but only due to Beckham's fantastic free kick finding an unprepared Paraguan (mad props to whomever can tell me the correct spelling of that preparenthetical word) cabeza. Translation: England took the lead via an own goal. This is, by the way, is the most we've seen of Beckham. He's done some good ball work to bring it past the half line, but not much else other than crossing into Crouch. Overrated.
However, England's left mid is (now was...they just subbed him off, dang it) Joe Cole. His footwork and work ethic are absolutely incredible. He is the man of the match despite not converting his chances. He has been the one to create them more than anyone. And Ashley Cole in defense has brought it today - even coming up in the attack some. Lastly, I'm impressed by Paul Robinson, the England keeper. He has chased down potential corner kick balls to make them less worrisome throws and done a great job to be always in position. I believe it was Alaves who almost got the down angle on a horrible swat out by Robinson, who had only gotten a finger on a good Paraguay cross. Rob did a good job to chase that out and challenge the shot, which went high over the bar, like almost everything Paraguay has hit. They have flopped all over the pitch (yes, mostly you Alaves) and seem to think victory is getting one or more of your opponents to earn a yellow card. Not joga bonito, according to Eric Cantona.
But a win is a win and here in the 91st minute it's looking very much that way. Paraguay rushing the shots continually and they keep trying to work the crosses over the top (forgetting, clearly, their lack of height compared to England). Roque Santa Cruz (sp?) I believe is the big name other than Alaves for Paraguay and has done very little...
And it's now over. A good result for England to gain 3 points in what should be their group to lose now that I see how weak Paraguay end up being. But English fans deserve more in a game than for Marcelo Balboa to get to point out Bend it like Beckham has just been viewed in this stadium (note: I didn't see the goal live, but I'm sure he said it...color commentators are supposed to have dumb "sweet nothings" like the above to whisper to their American "itching ears" audience during games like soccer and baseball. Yes, Mariners commentators, I'm making fun of you too here--as an aside you make what has been some horrible years of watching Mariners "baseball" even worse.
Ok, off the soapbox now. Thanks to ABC I now know that this was the first World Cup game (allegedly) won 1-0 on an own goal. File that one away for the grandkids... I'm kind of disappointed I got up early for this. I know, I's just the first game and they're just settling in but I feel the hype of England just marching on. Sure, they have high expectations like always but why do I keep getting up early for them?? When was that Argentina v England match, France 98? Sorely disappointed there...Eng v Brasil was heartbreaking not because David Seaman gave up that catastrophe of a free kick to Ronaldinho for a goal but because England played like a lion with a newly extracted set of teeth. All roar, no bite. Man the dentures this year boys, if that's what it takes (not sure what that could/should/might mean but I think it sounds clever at 8am on a Saturday so don't call me on it later). I still want to see England progress and I'm pretty sure they will get to the second round. I'm equally as disappointed in Paraguay for their lack of punch, but at least I have Equador to clandestinely support as my South American team. Sure Brasil may win it, but they are old news - Nike sponsorship/over-marketed and all. Argentina could impress but they are completely unknown to me (and kind of in the same boat as England in that a perennial favorite but great at under-delivering). So I must get on to my day--skipping the snore of Sweden v Trinidad y Tobogo (hope I'm wrong there) and then seeing how the dark horse of the tournament - Ivory Coast - fare against the Argentinians. Fear the IC or however you say it in French as well.
Day 2 only 1/3 over!

posted by El Jefe @ 7:42 AM  3 comments


At 2:43 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy said...

Hola from Lima, Peru!

I thought the first of today's games, ENG-PAR, was the worst so far in this tournament. No real attacks, veru few goal scoring chances, many little fouls hindering the game's flow, a fiesta of bad passes.
With Owen still out of shape, Rooney still hurting, and Crouch reminding me of Robert Swift, they will have a tough time scoring goals. Only if Gerrard, Lampard and Beckham turn it up a notch. They didn't play very well today.

The second game (T'n'T-SWE) was fun to watch even though it ended in a usually boring nil-nil tie. Lots of chances right from the start, with the Sweds terrific duo Larsson/Ibra. T&T played very inspiring, showed heaart and passion especially after being down a man (bad call). They were better than Costa Rica, I thought.

The night cap (or early afternoon here) was also worth watching. I thought the Africans could get an upset here, but Argentina very disciplined, well organized, led by a superb Riquelme getting both assists. After being up by two, they shifted down a gear. Drogba & Co. played well, too, the goal came a little too late. Lots of one-touch football, very good for the eye.

cheers, Inka

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy said...

P.S: Don't mean to nitpick, but you mention a guy named 'Alaves' a couple of times in your post.
I believe you meant Nelson Valdez, he plays in Germany (Werder Bremen, next season in Dortmund). Roque Santa Cruz plays for Bayern, he was out with an injury (torn ACL in October) almost all of last season and just recently made his comeback.

Argentina is completely unknown to you? Why's that?

At 9:28 PM, Blogger El Jefe said...

Sorry about the incorrect 'Alaves' reference - yeah, it was Valdes who I meant to call out.
I guess there shouldn't be that much pressure on Roque with coming back from such a bad injury. Do you see Paraguay coming together better in the next games? It seems they have an easy group minus England.
I missed Trinidad vs Sweden but I have to agree with you about the ARG v IC game...I was really pulling for the African side and thought they might tie it up at the end. Argentina is unknown to me in the sense that they don't have all the media attention this year like in Cups past and so I've not gotten much of a chance to see them play (or many of their players in their respective clubs except for Crespo at Chelsea). Sure hoping to see Messi sometime this tournament. He's the other exception in that I've heard he's the next Maradona, but I'm sure that's the case almost every year for a new young talent.
How's Lima these days? Everything going smoothly with the elections? I spent a July down there 2 years ago so Peru has a special place in my heart (viva Machu Picchu!) and fond memories of the Copa America tournament - Si se puede!!


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