Italia Campione del Mondo – part 4

Honestly I’m surprised myself about the accuracy of my forecasts regarding the Squadra Azzurra so far. (The good thing is, that I started to bet on them from the very beginning.) So here is my last one.

Of course Italy will win on sunday, otherwise I would have chosen another heading. And I’m happy they will face France instead of Portugal. Although “Les Bleus” have got several brilliant players, there are also lots of weak points, like Fabien Barthez, who reminds me more of a clown than a solid number 1. And don’t forget, it’s now the 7th game in a row for “Les Vieux”, which had to invest 100% and even more every time, and many of them are getting more and more tired like other teams before. Without the ingenuity of Zizou the game of France is very uninspired, Henry and others will starve in the Italian penalty area. So playing fast and directly ahead by the Italians looks promising, because this will be too much for the old and slow French defense.

To win the final definitely looks easier than the task before to beat the Germans on their home ground. Furthermore there is a funny Italian championship-statistic: since 1970 they stood in the finals every 12 years, which they alternately won and lost. 1994 they lost …


July 8, 2006 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

Italia Campione del Mondo – part 3

Ok, this will be a tough game tonight, although I was dreaming of this fixture at the beginning. The real funny thing is, that Germany will start as favourite, which would have been unbelievable at least one month ago. Why is it? Ok, they played really well. But then against the strong Argentines they have been the weaker team. And it seems to me that many players feel drained and appear to be tired due to their powerful and intensive way to play. And now one of the strongest Germans, Frings, is missing. Any change of the German showpiece so far, the strong defensive midfield, will make life not easier for the defense. So I’m expecting lots of challenges for the German defensive players, which will lead to mistakes as it happened before the tournament.

And what about my Azzurri? They played as always, very efficient and tactically superb. They improved from game to game and still have lots of reserves. Nobody knows how strong they are actually. The whole Squadra is very balanced with lots of very good players and tactical innovations on the bench. One striker (Toni), two strikers (Toni together with Gilardino) or even three (Inzaghi)? With Totti or Del Piero? Or both together or nobody at all? Everything will work and is possible. Together with the strongest defense this team is very difficult to figure out and play against.

So as long as the Italians stay disciplined and do not accept emotions from outside, it should be a clear win for Italy again, as always against Germany during championships.

July 4, 2006 at 7:53 am 3 comments

What a Comeback

Wow, that’s really a big surprise. After their first Games I’ve never expected to see France in the Semi-Finals. I was sure that Brasil will win today, although they, too, didn’t play very well. But looking on this Team with all this great players I see no passion in their game. They were just doing their job, that’s all. The Goal of France was symptomatic for that. Five french Player versus 3 Brasil defender and four other Brasil Player in the second row, just staying there, looking and doing nothing. What was that?

And Zidane has found his magic again. Maybe not that much he had earlier. But he made a good game and had some very good situations. I am really surprised how France found back again into the Game. I expect them to win again Portugal, although Portugal will have Deco back again. But I thing France has a better Flow at the moment. Portugal wasn’t playing really overwhelmingly. Ok, England made it’s best Match in this World Cup, so it was a hard fight for both teams. But nevertheless I think that France has played better than Portugal.

And England is out. I wrote after their second game that they won’t reach the semi-finals. And I was right. Both “ever-secret-favorites” Spain and England are out again. The Fate of the World Cup has it’s own rules. One of this rules is, that Germany wins all his Penalty-shoot-outs and England looses them all. That’s Football.

So it will be Germany vs Italy and France vs Portugal. The chances are high, that the Final will be Germany vs France. We will see.

July 1, 2006 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

Two Giants on the field

What a great Match. My Voice is still down because of all the shouting. This was never just a quarter-final. This was nearly a final. Two of the strongest teams were fighting each other. As a journalist wrote: “This World Cup will loose quality because one of the two strongest and best teams in the Match will have to go home”. And so it is. Argentinia was really good. I have to admit that. They had a really good strategy and they made it hard for Germany to come into their game. But it was obvious, that both teams were nervous in the beginning. Especially Germay. There must have been an enormous pressure on them: They were in the quarter-finals. And the quarters are always a little bit traumatic for Germany. And they were playing about one of the Top-Favs in this World Cup and one of the “Big Teams” they haven’t won against for years now. So they started very nervous and didn’t get rid of their nervous game until the second half.
But on the other side: The German defense really outdid themselfs. They became stronger and stronger every Match. Who thought after the Match against Costa Rica that this defense would stop Riquelme and the other great striker from Argentinia? But they made a superb game. Sure, the Argentinian defense was as good as the german or even better. And especially the argentinian midfield was superb. They stopped every rush of the germans. Klose and Podolski had nearly no chance in the first half to get the ball. But in the second half Germany was coming back. They were making pressure and finding back into their game, especially after argentinians goal. This german Team is so great, because it never stops to fight. Even if Ballack is injured, Frings will help out. And so on. And after Odonkor came in the German play become more offensive. He ist still very young hotspur, but I think he has it in himself to become a really great player. It was the correct decision of Klinsmann to take him along to the world cup.

And of Course Lehmann. He was great. The “Elfmeter-Crusher”. What a great performance. He showed that he is rightly the number One.

So, now Germany is in the semi Finals. And they have finally beaten one of the “Big Teams”. Who would have thought of that before the World Cup began? I don’t think anyone can say now, that they were only lucky ’til now, although luck is always an important factor in football. But it would be too little to describe Germany’s Play only that way. They have shown, that they can play and that they can fight and they don’t loose their nerves. And that’s great for such a young Team. They have enormous potential for the next years to boost themselfs.

Now Italy may come. Italy is a great Team. Their defense is an iron Curt. But after this Game of Germany I am sure they have the potential to beat them. It will surely be another great game. But Germany does not need to hide from anyone now.

July 1, 2006 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Italia Campione del Mondo – part 2

No fear at all this time, Italy will stand head and shoulders above Ukraine, which is the most easiest opponent at all to play against amongst all the remaining teams. Anyway, I don’t expect a clear win, Italy will try to conserve energy and avoid further colorful cards. Well, one more boring game, hopefully one of the sleeping strikers will finally explode. And I don’t mean Sheva. And the Azzurri affirm they want to play for Ex-Teammate Pessotto.

June 29, 2006 at 1:42 pm 1 comment

Didn’t expect this …

No, I don’t mean Brasil vs. Ghana, although I hoped that Ghana would win, and they should have. No, I mean, I didn’t expect that France would win against spain. I was sure, that Spain would win against France on the way to the match against Brasil, where they will kick Brasil out of the Game. They were, next to Argentinia and Germany, my Top-Favs. But this is football and everything can happen. So spain again did not reach the quarter finals. What a pity. And their group-games were so great. I was really expecting a lot from them. So my Favs are running out. And I fear that Brasil will do it again, although there is no magic in their game.

Watching this World Cup I realized that something strange has happend: Germany, the “Mannschaft”, has always played effective but nearly never really nice football. Many other Nations have played nice, but not always that effective football. Now Germany has started to play nice, really nice football (and is effective until now). But now all the other Teams have started to play “german style”: effective, but far away from nice. Look at Brasil. They have won 3:0. They have shot something about 6 times on the Ghanaian goal. 6 Chances in 90 Minutes and 3 goals. They didn’t play “Brasil style” but “german style”. Or England. I am still surprised how they have come so far. They are playing really boring. But they are in the quarter finals.

I hope the “new german style” will win against the “old german style” and Germany will kick Argentinia back to South America. Then in the semi-finals they will break Italys fortress and in the finals they will show Brasil what real magic is. Revanche for 2002.

June 27, 2006 at 9:20 pm 5 comments

Italia Campione del Mondo – part 1

Of course Italy seems to be the logical favourite today against Australia to reach the next round. However there are several circumstances which might make me anxious:

1. Guus Hiddink is coach of the Australians. He has been coach of South-Corea 4 years ago, the team which eliminated Italy that time in the quarters. However, it’s been not Hiddink, who eliminated Italy, it’s been the unpire somewhere from Ecuador or Venezuela, who has been suspended afterwards.

2. With Bresciano and Grella two players earn their money at Parma in the Serie A. 4 years ago the Corean goalgetter Ahn also played in Parma I believe. However he had to quit his engagement after the tournament. So I don’t believe, the two Australians want to meet Ahn’s fate and keep their jobs.

Although I’m expecting a game hard as bone, we will not see so many cards after yesterday’s experience in Nuremberg. Forza Italia!

June 26, 2006 at 9:38 am 2 comments

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