Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Let's Talk World Cup, Hot Shot, Why Not? Group A

So, here's Group A, for those who don't know:

Costa Rica

And let's just say this at the outset. No way does Germany get this group if they aren't the host team. This seems designed to guarantee that Germany advances. Of course, the seeding after #1 teams is "random", and I accept that.

But Jesus, this is a pretty straightforward draw. Germany's European companion is Poland? They get one of the least qualified South American teams, or one of the CONCACAF teams that basically advances on their strength of knocking people over.

Germany hasn't fielded a truly dynamic team in years and years. I hated Klinsman and Mattheus, but I admitted how fucking good they were. This current crop of German players (quote unquote German, by the by. I don't think a single one of their strikers was born within the borders of Deutschland). There was a time the US would gladly find a way to give a German citizen US citizenship (Tom Dooley, hang your head). I don't think there is a single player I'd go out of my way to add to the US roster on this current German squad. I think Ballack is overrated, especially in International play. Klose is easily marked. He's a garbage man, and I don't think he's any better at collecting garbage than McBride is. In Germany, it is the system.

Thing to watch: with Klinsman running the show, will diving at the slightest breath on the ear come back into fashion? No one dived liked Klinsman. Has he taught it to his marginally talented squad? They drew a good group to do it against, because:

The Rest of this Group is a bit Hacky.

OK, Poland isn't hacky. But they are tough and play physical. No stand out stars, no matter how hard you look. They play workmanlike soccer. If you know your college basketball, think of Wisconsin when they made their Final Four run. That's Poland Soccer. Slow the game down, bore the fuck out of the opponent, hope they manage a way to score. That's it. It ain't pretty, it isn't fun to watch, and only those stupid Polacks could find their games enjoyable. Also, they are working on a submarine with screen doors.

Costa Rica is the wild card here. They aren't very talented, but they have an aging superstar in Paulo Wanchope, and they play some seriously hacky soccer If they were in a group with say, France, I could almost guarantee that Henry wouldn't get out of the group. They hack, they swipe at ankles, and when they win the ball back, they feed Wanchope, who can finish, even now. Because Germany is the host country, I'm guessing those hacks will be called very closely. Otherwise, I like this team to win the group. I see them being a real threat to end up in second, playing very "physical matches". The only problem for them is that there are no real finesse teams in this group, aside from the Host Country, who has never played gentle on Defense. And again, Germany is the Host Country.

Ecuador will have fun and go home, quietly.

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