Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spain early favourites?

Spain have been by far the most convincing team i've seen so far. The looked organised, tough and skillful, and played in a way that reminded me of us in the invincibles season. One could argue that they were playing against ten-men, but they dominated the first half as well, against a Ukranian team who are certainly no mugs.

Senna is a rock of a midfielder, physical yet willing to test the goalkeeper from range. Villa and Torres are the most exciting forward partnership i've seen: hungry, athletic, quick and, most importantly, able to score. I would love to see Torres - indeed all three of them -come to us, but a move may be out of the question after the world cup, given his price tag will be £30m+. Even if he is at Athletico, expect Real/Manure (even perhaps the Chavs just for the hell of it) to try and get him. Villa has been the best striker in La Liga this season, and it would be a surprise if he stayed at Valencia after the tournament.

Spain have a quality and depth in the squad. That Fabregas, Raul, and Reyes can all come on as subs is something England clearly can't boast. They would whip us if we played them.

The only black mark against Spain is their history - a series of underperformances even more spectacular than ours. But could this be their year?

I'd like to write a longer article but have got to get off to the game. Here's a couple of points I've noticed

1) pluckiness and heart outdone by sheer professionalism and skill. All four african nations lost, and I was rooting for them all. They're a breath of fresh air, and it took disciplined performances (Portugal), sendings off (south Korea), and the turning down of clear penalties (Italy) to get their opponents through. Croatia deserved more from their game against Brazil, but were toothless.

2) Rosicky. Please do not carried away. Ray stubbs quote: 'without getting carried away, he seems the complete player'. Er, how can you not get more carried away? It will take him at least six months to get used to the Premiership during which we'll hear endless - 'ooh, he's not as good as he was in the world cup' quotes. He will be a great player for us but give him time to adapt to the premiership, and to playing on the left-wing again. He was playing in the Fabregas, playmaker role against America, which he'll have fewer opportunities in for Arsenal.

3) Rooney's bloody foot. He's not match fit; he won't be. Can we end this farce? He's perhaps the only player in the world who could recover in this time and cause an impact, but don't count on it, and we have to rely on the fit players England already have if we realistically think England can get anywhere.

4) Hargreaves. I maintain he shouldn't be in the squad; but only as Sven continues to use him as a johnny-play-everywhere. If he was moulded to one position he might grow into it for England. As it is - he hasn't. He's the Flamini of the England squad, except he's no good at full-back.

5) Ronaldo. Is a tragedy. He was the greatest player in the world and now he's a overweight, mentally troubled has-been. It's always sad to see great players fall from grace, and his fall has been calamitous.

More thoughts later. I'm off to see England make, no doubt, hard work of T&T.


Anonymous said...

lol spain, u havin laugh- spain are over rated just like that cunt reyes of arsenal,& r nowhere in the class of teams like brasil,france & holland hahaha....

Anonymous said...

What looks different to me about Spain this time round is their confidence. And who can blame them? Best keeper, best defence, amazing strength in depth in midfield, plus two or three top-class strikers. I also like Argentina who look very efficient, despite - or more likely because - they've left out most of the stars.

France (re the comment above)look a disaster apart from the defence - and I'm a France fan destined for an unhappy three weeks. Thierry has never been able to play with Zidane but if Malouda is given a chance on the left things could improve.

More relevant to us: Ribery has been criticised a lot for that first game, but I thought he looked rather promising. Given the hype and his inexperience at this level, he was inevitably crippled with nerves so it's unrealistic to expect an accomplished performance. I'm delighted because ManU will probably forget about him, which just might give us a chance. I know Thierry wants us to sign him.

ManU look to be making shrewd buys: Torres, Petit ... Whereas Chelsea - wouldn't you just know it - are flashing the cash at the glittery Larm. Mourinho will faint. After that he'll hand in his notice.

What about the worst team? Not T&T or Angola or Togo, I'm happy to say - and didn't Abe work hard and do well? For me the US has looked the most lumbering, though as I'm the most anti-American person on the planet I'm probably biased.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it strange that England contains more Arsenal players that France? Quite unnatural. You would almost be forgiven for thinking Arsene has an English bias...

jobby said...

good article today. Lot of good points. Really think the Argentines should be favourites but we'll see. Should be a cracker of a game with Holland and Ivory Coast.