25 May 2010
the ball is still round aka i love football/soccer/futbol more than anything
my friend, who knows not too much about the beautiful game, asked me to type him up a primer for this years world cup, so being the lazy sod that i am, i'm reposting it hear as well. its mostly a litany of names and mildly snotty opinions, but maybe people will get something out of it... here goes:
i've got my prejudices towards the spanish team, as it filled with barcelona players like xavi, iniesta, pique, and villa. torres and fabregas are brilliant as well.
brazil is always fun to watch, especially given the countries emphasis on playing 'beautifully' and how the method of the win matters as much as the win itself. while the team as a whole is a def to watch, particulars would be fabiano, kaka (if jesus shines down on him), silva, robinho, and nilmar. its sad that dunga didn't choose to include ronaldinho--esp given his form over the italian season, while not the old abso-redic-ball-juggling-insane-o-maestro of old, he's certainly back on track and performing brilliantly.
england, in my opinion, plays a brutish, physical, kick-the-ball-and-run style, which doesn't appeal to me so much. that said, rooney can be brilliant, is a total workhorse and if healthy should provide a great deal of fire to their game. also, i am really excited about their match against the USA on the 12 of june. it should bring out a rare bit of uber patriotism in me that would make mr wagstaff look like comrade wagstaff.
argentina should be interesting, if maradonna's bizarre world picks work out, they could be devestating. lots of big questions here--the biggest being, will messi turn it up and on for argentina like he does for barca? tevez and milito are also ones to watch.
france's stars are currently mired in a sea of underage prostitution scandals, and those that aren't don't excite me so much. Henry is old and probably on his way to the star retirement zone known as the MLS (though there was a last minute bid made over the weekend by West Ham, so who knows?) look out for ribery, malouda, anelka, diaby and anelka.
i hate italy and the way they play, so i pay them no mind. they are old and boring.
germany is always strong, though with no michael ballack who knows how strong they will be really? i find their football boorish, but look for them to mos def escape the group stage and probably make it to the quarters at least.
team USA USA USA--man they are always such a wild card, though i expect them to do much better than in 06. americans have been playing abroad lately, and donovan really stepped up his game with his showing at everton recently. dempsy has been a key player at fulham (though technically on such a team...). i'm a total kljestan fan and really think this could be the year for altidore and beasely to really show up and show off. its really too bad about charlie davies. the real concern is all the people without real top level, euro or international experience. i'll be watching the friendly against turkey this weekend to see whats what. if they make it to the finals, i will be wearing a ben franklin costume.
other people to look out for: forlan for uraguay, drogba for ivory coast, eto'o for cameroon, dos santos brothers and vela for mexico, meghni for algeria, ljubijankic for slovenia, essien for ghana, ronaldo for portugal (i will be booing everytime he touches the ball, so much hate (ps great band)), and sneijder, robben and van persie for holland (they will probably be a strong contender as well).