Thursday, May 18, 2006

Barcelona 2 Arsenal 1

Overall the game was exciting, I was particularly impressed by the way the teams were able to move the ball up the pitch. Ronaldinho and Henry didn't necessarily live up to the hype considering they each had their oppurtunities but their teammates stepped up to create an exciting match. I do wish Messi had played though.
As far as the Lehmann red card goes I don't think Hauge should have given it, I would have played the advantage for Barcelona. Also Hauge was completely fooled by Eboue's dive at the edge of the 18 which set up Sol Campbell's header off the Henry free kick. Larsson was definitely the crucial sub, and ultimately so much attacking flair was going to penetrate especially since the Arsenal back line was being pushed farther and farther back.

What does this mean in terms of my two teams at the WC (USA and ORANJE)?
Well it didn't mean too much for USA considering neither team had anyone who features in any of the Group E squads but we could face several of the featured players in the 2nd roud against Brazil (Gilberto Silva, Ronaldinho, Belletii, Edmilson). ORANJE however had Gio Van Bronckhorst and Marc Van Bommel starting for Barcelona and Ivorian opponents Eboue and Toure started for Arsenal. I have mixed feelings about Van Bommel, I like that he pushed forward at oppurtune moments but ultimately he was just a little inconsistant. He seemed a bit anonymous at times- there is still some questions about who will start in midfield with Cocu and Van Der Vaart but regardless of whether or not he or Landzaat starts against Serbia & Montenegro Van Bommel will get his chance. As far as Gio goes I think he played pretty decently, I mean I can't really say much since Gio is practically our only option at LB. I just hope he doesn't push up as far as he does for Barca, especially against a team like Argentina. I thought Eboue played a similar type game against Barca to which he will play against Holland. His famous runs were largely kept in check by Eto'o, and I expect Robben and Kuijt will keep Cote d'Ivoire largely in check on the flanks. Toure was pretty solid, I expect him to give Van Nistelrooij a tough time but I am still largely optimistic about the Dutch chances. Ruud will always score goals.

Other WC notes: Giuly should be on the French squad, no doubt about it. Its a shame Eto'o won't be there either. Also we saw a good bit of the Espana squad with Puyol, Iniesta, and Cesc all playing. I think Henry could be a disappointment in Germany much like he was in SK/Japan and Portugal.

Only three more weeks!


Blogger Newspaper Hack said...

The guys at The Guardian (on the podcast) said that the dive certainly should've been called, and that Arsenal just got beat by a better team. And, apparently, Henry's never scored a goal in a cup final.

Though I'm no fan of the Gunners, a little part of me dies every time a Spanish team beats an English team. And Ronaldinho should be banned by FIFA for simply being ugly. My eyes bleed every time I see that guy.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Yeah Ronaldinho looks a lot like Jar Jar Binks, but his beautiful football makes up for it in most cases.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous nico said...

The US got so incredibly screwed with our draw.

We have to play two TOUGH European teams, a solid African team and if we don't win our group, we'll likely face Brazil.


3:08 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

A diary from an SI writer who was in Paris for the final.

Thought you'd enjoy the reading.

3:26 PM  

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