Friday, June 23, 2017

World Cup Round Up, Week 1

By James Mundia

What We Know:

1)      The difference between Ivory Coast and Germany is a few touches:

The Germans clinical performance against Australia highlighted the damage they can do, but this writer feels that minus a lack of finishing ability, the Ivorians looked just as dangerous, though they’re ability to put the ball in the net is still yet to be seen. NB: Drogba wasn’t in the match until the seventieth minute bro.

2)      Bradley’s career and the future of US soccer lies in the Slovenia result.

Though they could tie or lose and still advance, a do or die attitude seems the most appropriate for a game against a team we are favored against. (By the way when was the last time THAT happened in a world cup?). Arena, and the entire team’s defensive nature against Italy in 2006, despite having a man advantage for a period, ended up being the first nail in the coffin on our chances on advancing. Ideally, Bradley, Boca, and Donovan will make it clear that nothing but 3 points is acceptable. Fortunately, Dempsey doesn’t need to be reminded of this often.

3)      Carlos Queiroz should be worried about more than casts:

In a move stolen from American baseball managers, it would seem that Queiroz is trying to take attention away from his side’s quizzical performance against Ivory Coast, by claiming that Drogba got special attention from FIFA in being cleared to play with his medical protective cast. Never mind the fact that the dude only played 24 minutes, I’d be more concerned about trying to rile up my team of starts that at times didn’t seem like they belonged on the same field as Côte d’Ivoire.

4)  Indomitable Lions? Not so much.

When you consider their talent, the home continent advantage, and their opponent, Cameroon’s loss to Japan was the poorest played match by a team in the tournament so far. Even more frustrating was their inability to press numbers forward with meaning against a team that was happy to defend for 70 minutes following their goal. Pathetic.

5)  Ties are OK

Soccer expert (what?) Colin Cowherd tried to say on SportsNation yesterday that the number of first round ties is irritating. I know this guy has a lot of sports to go over for his program, but he does know that everyone plays three matches right? The ties and close scorelines from the first set of games sets up some fascinating scenarios for the remainder of the first round, including one involving the US. Viewpoints like this demonstrate the double-edge sword of ESPN’s wall to wall coverage of the World Cup.

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