Friday, June 13, 2008

Fear the Oranje!!!

What a gripping display of soccer put forth today in both games. Hats off especially to The Netherlands for playing the type of soccer that turns simple games into magnificent spectacles of sport. Here on my thoughts on one of the best days of soccer I have seen in my life.

- The Dutch counter-attack is the most lethal i've ever seen. Two of their goals against Italy and three more today came courtesy of it. The attacking players on the team play so well together and with such an innate understanding of each other that each time The Oranje clear the ball on defense, I am expecting to see something spectacular.

- Ruud Van Nistelrooy played one of the best games i've ever seen a striker play today. Not only was he a constant threat to score, but he was also an excellent link for providing chances for the other attacking players on the team. His move to keep the ball in play and then set up Robben for his run on the second goal was one of the greatest moves I've ever seen. I also couldn't help but compare him to Henry in this game, in that they are both aging strikers who are still counted on greatly by their national teams. While one (Henry) was missing most of his chances and rarely linking up with teammates, RVN was constantly involved in the Dutch attack not only finishing chances but creating them as well. Ruud's stock is definitely rising, Henry's not so much.

- The Dutch defense is still catching a lot of flak, but i think a bigger concern in the Dutch midfield. Orlando Engelaar looked awful out there, and the 20 minute or so stretch of French pressure occurred when they dominated the midfield, not after Van Basten inserted Robben and Van Persie. Van Bronckhorst and Bouhlarouz were both excellent today, and should be able to hold their own. If the Dutch middlemen can control their mistakes, then Edwin Van Der Sar can do the rest. And honestly, with the way The Oranje is attacking right now, who really cares how their defense is playing?

- France looks like a team stuck between two generations. The old guys are too old and because Domenech doesn't trust his younger players, they don't have the confidence to make a difference when they come in. Domenech's decision making was ridiculous today. If you know you need to score goals, then why play with 2 defenders? And if you bring in Henry as the top striker, why not put in midfielder that can actually provide him some decent service. Then he decided to substitute the overwhelmed Gomis and the perenially dissapointing Anelka. If i was France, I'd start over with a new coach who supports the new generation of players. Its not 2000 any more, and these young kids have the talent to deserve a chance to make a difference.

- The officiating in the Italy-Romania game was absolutely terrible. I know Italy has gotten a lot of calls over the years and maybe things are balancing out, but to miss a simple off-sides call and then reward a dubious penalty in the 80th minute is completely unfair. Maybe it was karma helping Buffon make such an amazing save, but just to be safe lets hope that Steve from the Jerry Springer show doesn't call another game in this tournament.

- Its amazing how ordinary Italy can look with a solid back line. Cannavaro and Materazzi provide so much cover for the midfield and wingbacks that without them Italy gives us lots of chances even to teams with ordinary attackers like Romania.

- Romania may catch a break with The Netherlands resting their top players, but they have definitely earned it. Not only do they appear to be one of the best coached teams in the tournament, but they have shown that they can play solid defense while creating excellent scoring chances as well. If they meet Spain in the quarterfinals, they are going to give them one hell of a game.

And with that said i'm off to the bars. Hopefully the games tomorrow are just as good, because these past two days have given viewers some incredible theater. I'm also saying a special prayer for Netherlands to meet Spain at some point in this tournament because that game would have the potential to be an all-time classic. Until then, Young Sweezy is off to drink beer and remember an incredible day of soccer.

1 comment:

Young Knuckleballer said...

Just give them the cup now.