Rights & Wrongs

Monday, July 10, 2006 | 1:09 pm

Well, my pre-final shots-in-the-dark pinged some actual events close to the bone, grazed a few, and completely missed the rest. Here's the hits, misses, and maybe's of my predictions.

tick Italy won.
tick France scored "first and early"
question mark France unlocked Italy's defense quite regularly, but still they kept out everything that wasn't a penalty.
cross Italy's varied strikeforce looked threatening in the first half (especially from corners), but really was a dead horse after that. Only 2 or 3 shots on goal? Maybe they thought that would be enough to beat Barthez.
tick Ref did a pretty good job and let them play. Post-quarter final refereeing has shown how bad the group stage officials were.
question mark The enigma that is Thierry Henry was blanked on the scoresheet, but had some moments of explosive brilliance, including a standout where he basically shrugged Cannavaro aside. Just couldn't pull the trigger effectively when he got there, and never seemed to trust in his teammates to finish it off for him.
tick Buffon was not beaten from distance, at least no distance greater than 12 yards.
cross In the end, it was decided not by one chance well taken, but by one chance poorly taken - Trezeguet's penalty.
tick As Eve commented, Zidane certainly had a "grand send-off"! I presume Materazzi will get the same reaction in France that C.Ronaldo can expect in England. I am counting this as a 'hit', cause it was one-hell of a hit!

And for those who followed the whole topsy-turvy ride of what was a pretty memorable World Cup, these lists of hits and misses will be interesting reading. Here is one Soccernet analysts list of The Best Players by position (not sure about Gattuso, but couldn't think of an alternative - Deco, Riquelme? Didn't see any of Torres)

Even more compelling, the list of The Worst Players by position can be found here (Kalac can count himself lucky he missed out on nomination, and I disagree with Adriano, but maybe he only looked effective cause he appeared at the right times in a Brazilian side that looked so awfully average).

And that was the World Cup that was! Now I get to start sweating over Manchester United's upcoming season, and how our strikers (Rooney, Saha and Ruud) may be affected by a rather dreary World Cup display, and the only form attacking player there (Ronaldo) may not be looking forward to playing in front of English crowds. Meanwhile, Chelsea spent millions of pounds, again.


At 11/7/06 1:24 am, Blogger Mkae said...


The World Cup is over.

What was there, like, 10,000 games? And it was Italy, France and Lithuania in the final game, right?

I obviously don't know much about the Cup, but I will miss the "hot babe in the stands" update on various web sites.


At 11/7/06 10:35 am, Blogger TheGirard said...

McBride should have been on the worst team. The only thing he did was put his face into an italian elbow. Ronaldinho did better than McBride IMO.

At 11/7/06 6:20 pm, Blogger Aussie-Askew said...

10,00 games, you must be thinking baseball Mkae!

We'll count you NOT amongst the 2.5 billion people that watched the final. :)

Big G -- what about Donavan and Reyna?

At 12/7/06 1:44 am, Blogger TheGirard said...

Donavan had flashes of brilliance, but he looked fragile. He looked like every time he was going to take a shot he was going to break. He did make a ton of runs and got some dribbling, neither of which McBride did.

Reyna - totally forgot about him. this is my first real experience watching futbol this closely. I don't get why he was really that revered. He looked old, slow and put everything wide. He seemed to give the ball away more than make a pass. He could be on the list as well.


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