Breaking down the Friendlies
After watching about 1,000 hours of football yesterday, I now have a better idea about many of the teams in this summer’s World Cup. Here are the teams that impressed and distressed me during their friendlies, as well as links to the thoughts of both our happy and not-so-happy bloggers.
Impressed: Serbia and Montenegro. It looked very solid in its 1-0 win over Tunisia. The Serb defense is well organized and extremely physical. With a backline like that, I think it might just be able to get out of the Group of Death.
Distressed: Sweden. Losing 3-0 to Ireland isn’t a disgrace…if you are the Faeroe Islands. But Sweden should get a better result than that, even if it did play some domestic based players who aren’t in top game shape.
Impressed: Croatia. This has been my dark horse team for weeks now, but I’m afraid after beating Argentina 3-2 the Croatian horse is no longer dark. Should be a fun one when Croatia take on Brazil this summer.
Impressed: Ivory Coast. Sure the Elephants lost 3-2 to Spain, but boy do they play a fun style of football. I love watching a team that isn’t afraid to attack. I’m thinking that Argentina and Ivory Coast might combine for 10 goals when they meet this summer.
Distressed: Paraguay. For all their banter about deserving respect, Paraguay’s players didn’t show up at all in their 0-0 draw against Wales. I think that Paraguay is an average team at best.
Impressed: Italy. Wow, did the Azzurri ever take it to the Germans. The offense was firing on all cylinders despite missing Totti. When you put up 4 goals against Germany, you have a team that is dangerous.
Distressed: Germany. Absolutely a disgraceful performance against Italy. The defense didn’t look organized, Lehman played like a donkey in between the pipes and the forwards failed to show up. Germany is either playing possum or it is merely an average squad.
Distressed: Czech Republic. Up by two goals late in the game, a team with the number two ranking in the world should be able to shut things down. Instead, the Czechs let in a pair of last second goals by Turkey. Can’t let points slip away like that in the World Cup.
Impressed: Switzerland. Any team that beats Scotland (see Faeroe Islands) becomes an automatic favorite of mine.
Distressed: France. Memories of 2002 flashed through my mind during their 2-1 loss to Slovakia. The Old Guard looked old and guarded.
Impressed: Trinidad and Tobago. The Soca Warriors showed some good things in beating Iceland 2-0, including a Dwight Yorke who looks like he did about ten years ago. Look out England, here they come!
Distressed: England. The Three Lions controlled the second half but can it count on last second winners against teams that are better than Uruguay?
Distressed: Brazil. Beats Russia 1-0 in frigid conditions without some of its top players and we still aren’t impressed. Perhaps expectations are too high for the tournament favorites?