Tuesday, June 20, 2006

World Cup Miscellany

If performing dismally at the World Cup wasn't bad enough, England striker Michael Owen crumpled to the ground not a minute into the game against Sweden and was immediately stretchered off. With Owen now out, Rooney still healing and definitely not up to match fitness, Crouch still unpredictable and well . . . like Crouch, and Walcott firmly on the bench, it seems unlikely that England will make it to the quarter finals. But Rob Smyth over at the Guardian thinks that Owen's injury may actually be a good thing and says that they still have a fighting chance if Sven gets imaginative.

Two of the finest teams in the tournament meet Wednesday--of course, I'm talking about Argentina vs. Holland. Should be a brilliant game all-around and if you're an Argentina fan you know that one of the central figures of the squad is the moody, introspective Juan Roman Riquelme. Here's a nice profile of the talented tactician from the Guardian, and from the BBC a piece about Hernan Crespo urging his team to keep up the fancy. If there's any team that can dismantle the not-so-pretty-at-the-moment Brazilian juggernaut, it's got to be Argentina.

Anyone who watched the U.S.A. vs Italy game from last Saturday won't easily forget the brutal elbow to the eye that Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi delivered to Brian McBride. Who says football isn't a contact sport? Well, it looks like the young De Rossi has apologized to McBride and the two have made up. Just don't expect Azzurri coach Marcello Lippi to forgive and forget De Rossi just yet.

And Mexico and Portugal go at it tomorrow as well, though unfortunately Mexican striker Jared Borgetti is still nursing a hamstring injury and will miss the match. Mexico need the win to move on and coach La Volpe says to hell with everyone else, "we need to focus on ourselves" to do it. Well, okay then. I won't argue.

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