Monday, September 10, 2007

Internationals and Qualifiers

Below please find notes from my friend Matt on this past weekend’s internationals. As usual, I agree with almost everything he says, and the things I don’t agree with (his summary of the USA/Brazil game) stems from the fact that I haven’t seen the match yet. I’ll catch it on my DVR in a day or two.

Other than the flood of internationals, the only other big football news from this weekend was that everyone’s favorite chubby center-forward, Ronaldo, will be hurt for at least another month. Apparently he has a bum knee. Whether the bad knee resulted from having to lug around an extra 25 pounds of Ronaldo is largely beside the point; sadly, we won’t see the big fella in the black and red for some time yet.

Finally, note that my friend says he can’t wait to see Brazil live. That’s because, as I said, we have tickets to the Brazil-Mexico match in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Wednesday night. We are both looking forward to it, and I will report back here to the fanatic after the game.


Just a quick note on this weekend’s internationals. Not that I could watch them, but apparently England looked impressive for once. At least for the first time under McClaren. I guess his job is safe until Wednesday. I’m glad to see that Owen scored. Hopefully this will be a sign of things to come for Newcastle.

The Italy v. France game was a bore, but good for Scotland, who are in second place in the group. They have a big game with France on weekend, and if they can pull out a win or even a draw, they will be sitting pretty. Unfortunately, Northern Ireland wasted a chance to put some distance between themselves and Spain after they lost to Latvia, and Spain failed to beat Iceland. Speaking of Spain, they are even a bigger disappointment than England. I think it could easily be argued that they have better players than the England squad, yet they always have a hard time qualifying for tournaments, and when they do qualify, if they get out of the group stage, they promptly get dispatched in the quarterfinals. I know they used the same old excuse about players from different regions of the country not getting along, but that is bullshit. If Iraq can win the Asian Cup with a team of Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis, then there isn’t any reason why a team of Basques, Catalans, and Catalonians can’t do better as well.

Then there was the USA/Brazil game, which can be looked at from two points of view if you support the USA. The pros include the fact that Dempsey had another great game, the Americans hung tough, they played tough by challenging the Brazilians, especially in midfield, the first goal against them was a joke, and they weren’t getting any of the calls (they should have had at least one penalty call go their way). On the con side, they still lost by 2 goals to a Brazil team that was on top gear, they were playing at home, and Bocanegra’s goal was a joke. It just happened to hit him and go in. All in all, I guess the US could be somewhat pleased with the result, but they are a long way from being in the elite of soccer nations. In any event, watching the game wet my appetite for Wednesday’s game. I can’t wait to see Brazil live!!!

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