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Move over Muller.
June 27, 2006 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Brazilian striker Ronaldo is now "the most prolific scorer in World Cup history." Controversy surrounded him, literally, regarding his weight in the run-up to 2006 (not to mention a bit of competition from an heir apparent named Ronaldinho). But today is Ronaldo's day, and Brasilia's as well as they try to repeat 2002 and add a sixth star to their jerseys. (The list, updated to include Muller in 2nd, Juste Fontaine in 3rd, and fellow countryman Pele in 4th.)
posted by bardic (69 comments total)

 
And they played like sh*t.
posted by Pendragon at 10:45 AM on June 27, 2006


Get that man a pork knuckle, stat!
posted by dig_duggler at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2006


I agree, but Brasilian shit = 3-0 victories.

They're just fucking around, and that's what would scare the hell out of me if I had to play them. I mean, fat Ronaldo is still better than in-shape [insert your favorite striker's name here].
posted by bardic at 10:50 AM on June 27, 2006


i can't source the quote, but i once heard the brazilian national team described as "the Yankees it's okay to like". i love that description.
posted by the painkiller at 10:54 AM on June 27, 2006


Ronaldo was still sprinting around after 90 minutes and looking lively in a game already decided. The fat thing is completely overblown, probably a plot to lull opposition defenders into sneaking extra cheesecake themselves.

Juste Fontaine scored all 13 of his in the 1958 World Cup, and scored 30 in 21 internationals. Not shabby.
posted by Rumple at 10:58 AM on June 27, 2006


Well, I shouldn't really complain. I'm Dutch and our team also played like sh*t.
posted by Pendragon at 10:59 AM on June 27, 2006


I love watching Brazil play. They had one goal that came off something like 25 passes today. Damn.
posted by chunking express at 11:00 AM on June 27, 2006


They're just fucking around, and that's what would scare the hell out of me if I had to play them.

Yeah. But you know what (and man, am I sick of hearing the announcer say that phrase): even though I knew they were going to win from the get-go and I have no problem with that (I love watching Brazil play), and even though a lot of it was just plain luck, which there's no point bitching about, it still pisses me off that the referee felt obliged to help them along. That second goal was clearly offside, and he made a number of calls clearly motivated by the desperate need to see everybody's favorite team advance, and who cares about some no-name African team? The Ghanaians played brilliantly (better than the fabled Brazilians for much of the match) and deserved to have something better than a 3-0 loss to show for it. Even if they'd lost, they might well have felt better about a 2-1 game; I know I would.

And Ronaldo has won me over; I'd been calling him "that fat lazy fuck" until he scored two goals the other day, and then I shut up and went with the flow.
posted by languagehat at 11:05 AM on June 27, 2006


Yeah, Brazil hasn't even gotten going yet. I think the whole "Ronaldo is too chubby to be effective" was slightly overblown, but he did seem out of playing form the first couple games... just kinda walking around on the pitch.
posted by premortem at 11:08 AM on June 27, 2006


controversy literally surrounded him?
posted by jimmy at 11:14 AM on June 27, 2006


well i'll be damned. it did.

Rrronaldo...
posted by jimmy at 11:15 AM on June 27, 2006


There's an argument to be made for a slower Ronaldo anyways--on a team with ten different potential goal scorers, literally, a guy who's a bit slower and a bit bigger stands out as a nice, dependable target. And I agree that the fat stuff is unfair, but he is a different player than in previous World Cups. But he's also in the record books now, and I don't see anyone challenging him anytime soon (and you know he's going to score at least two or three more times, and the more he scores the more they advance the more he scores, etc.).

Anyways, I'm going to enjoy watching France get slaughtered in half an hour. Unless Spain chokes, which is what they're best at once they make it out of the first round.
posted by bardic at 11:15 AM on June 27, 2006


The way the ESPN covered Ronaldinho, you would have thought he emerged immaculate from the womb of a soccer ball. At least from ESPN's coverage, they've been ignoring Ronaldo up until today. All the while I've been sitting around, the world cup ignorant that I am going, "What the hell happened to Ronaldo?"

I'm anxious for another team to defeat Brazil, if only for the same reason I'm anxious to see the Yankees lose. I can't stand teams that are hyped up to be the lords of a game.
posted by Atreides at 11:15 AM on June 27, 2006


*I need to invest in a thesaurus.
posted by bardic at 11:16 AM on June 27, 2006


How are the Brazilians hyped up at all? To quote Tina Turner, they're simply the best. The Yankees? They haven't done much lately, and yet they get all the attention--that's the definition of hype.

Although I'll cop to wanting to see Brazil get beat, if only because it would be such a huge upset. Then again, we'd be deprived of some truly amazing football. They're fun to watch, and this is another reason why they're different than the Yankees.
posted by bardic at 11:19 AM on June 27, 2006


I can't stand teams that are hyped up to be the lords of a game.

If it were hype, I'd agree with you Atreides. Brasil is in a class all by themselves. They are that good.

I'd still like to see them loose though. As I have no dog in this fight, I'm rooting for all the underdogs.
posted by three blind mice at 11:24 AM on June 27, 2006


hmmm... don't believe the hype. ghana was good, but not an elite level team. they should be tested for the first time against Spain (who ought to beat France). The Argentina-Germany match will probably decide the winner of the other bracket.
posted by j-urb at 11:24 AM on June 27, 2006


if only because it would be such a huge upset.

France did in 1998, relatively handily, using a large and physical back line and some timely counterattacking. I think both the German and English teams have those capabilities and both have more than an outside shot at beating them if and/or when the time comes.
posted by psmealey at 11:27 AM on June 27, 2006


I don't mean to put a jinx on my favorite side (England), but since it has become so fashionable to say they don't have a chance in hell, why not? They have as decent a shot as anyone at this point... if they don't choke against Portugal (a distinct possibility).

I think Argentina has been imrpessive as hell so far (that winner against Mexico was gorgeous), but I don't think they match up very well against Brazil.

Btw, did anyone else read that bit in the NY Times Magazine section, where Ronaldihno went on and on about how the Brazillian mind sees possibilities on the football pitch that no other national mentality was capable of? This struck as a little bit creepy on a few levels. I hope he gets nutted by Thuram if they play France next week.
posted by psmealey at 11:33 AM on June 27, 2006


I'd just like to add my usual "it'll be a Brazil v Germany final" to this discussion so that I don't jinx any of the teams that I'd actually like to win this World Cup.
posted by ob at 11:38 AM on June 27, 2006


I think Germany does have a chance (probably doomed them, now). Germany vs England would be a sweet final.
posted by carter at 11:39 AM on June 27, 2006


Agree with you there OB. I'll be rooting (officially) for a Brazil V Germany final whilst being too scared to Jinx the team playing against France this afternoon. (C'mon, Xabi, spray that ball around!)
posted by Sk4n at 11:47 AM on June 27, 2006


The way the ESPN covered Ronaldinho, you would have thought he emerged immaculate from the womb of a soccer ball.

The France-Spain game is about to start, which should mean about two hours of the ESPN duo choking on Zidane's cock.
posted by underer at 11:47 AM on June 27, 2006


The British press call him "Fattigol".
posted by wfc123 at 11:53 AM on June 27, 2006


How are the Brazilians hyped up at all? To quote Tina Turner, they're simply the best. The Yankees? They haven't done much lately, and yet they get all the attention--that's the definition of hype.

The Yankees have won 26 World Series of 100 and played for the title 39 times total. Brazil has win 5 of 17 World Cup competitions and played for the Cup 7 times total.

Yankees: title 26% of the time, played for it 39% of the time
Brazil: title 29% of the time, played for it 41% of the time

Pretty similar, in my book.

And the Yankees haven't won a World Series in 6 years. Brazil went 8 years from 1994 to 2002. The Yankees longest drought without a series (other than the pre-Ruth gap) is 18 years -- 1978 to 1996. Brazil went 24 years -- 1970 to 1994.

Not like I like the Yankees. If the earth were to open up and swallow them and Yankee Stadium whole, I would have no problem with it. Especially Derek "Look at me totally misjudge the ball and still get a blow job from the announcers!" Jeter. And Pay-Rod.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Mariners fan still disgruntled about 2001.)
posted by dw at 12:01 PM on June 27, 2006


I think Germany does have a chance (probably doomed them, now).

They doomed themselves when they killed Bruno. Bad karma.
posted by homunculus at 12:07 PM on June 27, 2006


dw, you make the point yourself.

No one outside of NY likes the Yankees. (except the odd ex-pat NYer)

Almost everyone loves to watch Brazil.

They bring a certain grace and panache to the game that no one else does.

When Ronaldihno says that the Brazilian mind sees things on the pitch differently, he's not far from the truth. It probably has nothing to do with genetics, rather it seems to come from their culture - in particular their system of coaching and developing young players.

Their approach appears to be, first and foremost, "go out and have fun". They're fearless. They'll take risks that other players have ground out of them at early eages. They put on a show - and in the process, they can also win games.

It's almost like watching the Harlem Globetrotters.
posted by C.Batt at 12:14 PM on June 27, 2006


That's a terrible analogy. Brazil isn't the Yankees because a country can't just buy players from other countries and throw them together in the hopes that it'll just work. There are rules against that.

NY Yankees vs. Real Madrid, now that's more of an oranges to oranges comparison, but it's also only peripherally related to the thread, even if Ronaldo does play for RM (or did, anyway).
posted by clevershark at 12:18 PM on June 27, 2006


1:0 for Spain.
posted by sour cream at 12:26 PM on June 27, 2006


And the Yankees haven't won a World Series in 6 years. Brazil went 8 years from 1994 to 2002. The Yankees longest drought without a series (other than the pre-Ruth gap) is 18 years -- 1978 to 1996. Brazil went 24 years -- 1970 to 1994.

A more realistic view:

And the Yankees haven't won a World Series in 6 World Series. Brazil went two World Cups from 1994 to 2002. The Yankees longest drought without a series (other than the pre-Ruth gap) is 18 World Series -- 1978 to 1996. Brazil went six World Cups -- 1970 to 1994.

The WC is every four years so the only analogy of yours that holds up is percentage wise. Also, also keep in mind that Brazil is competing against the entire world, pre pre-qualifying onward, and thus have a much larger pool to defeat.
posted by jmd82 at 12:36 PM on June 27, 2006


Yeah, looks like Spain is going to win.

Languagehat about the Brazil - Ghana game: That second goal was clearly offside...

I'd say it was *barely* offside.
Keep in mind that the referees don't have the benefit of TV slow-mo replays, so there is always a little bit of inprecision involved in those calls. Essentially, it is almost impossible for the referees to catch an offside situation that close when they're not standing at the right height of the field.

Anyhow, I've watched quite a few games of this WC, and I was amazed at how good the referees were overall. Very often, I thought "how on earth did he see *that*?"
Also the quality of the games so far was very good overall. Teams that are said to be "best evar" (of their country) include Brazil, Argentina, Czech, Portugal, Ecuador, Switzerland and several others. They also said it about Poland, although Poland was a disappointment. Germany appears to the best since 1990 (when they last won the WC).
posted by sour cream at 12:37 PM on June 27, 2006


Yeah, looks like Spain is going to win.

Doh! 1:1

Allez les Bleus!!
posted by psmealey at 12:54 PM on June 27, 2006


Fuck. My cable just went out (storm of the century goin' on overhead in DC).

Updates appreciated!
posted by bardic at 12:58 PM on June 27, 2006


I love watching Brazil play. They had one goal that came off something like 25 passes today. Damn.

Then you should check the Argentina x Serbia and Montenegro game. Me and my friends were joking that it was like we were seeing a video-game match, they just passed the ball to each other like crazy and then scored goal after goal. That game was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

As for Brazil vs. Ghana, typical Brazil game. No matter how beautifully we attack, Brazil still has a mediocre defense line, and does lots of fumbled passes in the midfield. This is a constant in Brazilian soccer, and why we have so much difficulty with heavily technical opponents. We won because (1) Ghana also had these problems, and (2) Ghana strikers had bad aim and bad luck. Had they taken better shots at goal, they'd possibly have scored a couple of goals.

sour cream:
That's why the referee has two assistants, one in each field, that have the best possible angle to see offsides (they are on the laterals, so they get to see exactly the "offside line"). For them, half a meter (actual offside distance) is A LOT. That's why you don't usually see distances as large as this in a wrong offside judgement. For World Cup refereeing standards, half a meter IS an obvious offside.
posted by qvantamon at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2006


No one outside of NY likes the Yankees. (except the odd ex-pat NYer)

It hasn't always been that way. My father was a big Yankees fan in the 50s, back when the St. Louis Cardinals were the most western team in major league baseball and there were only 16 teams. Now, there are 12 teams west of St. Louis, so most everyone has a MLB team not named "Yankees" within a day's drive. And then came ESPN and the Yanks and the Sox....

That's a terrible analogy. Brazil isn't the Yankees because a country can't just buy players from other countries and throw them together in the hopes that it'll just work. There are rules against that.

True. One difference between baseball and soccer is that national teams in soccer are considered the best while club teams are the pinnacle in baseball. But if Arsenal went out and bought the best eleven in the world, would they be considered the best?

NY Yankees vs. Real Madrid, now that's more of an oranges to oranges comparison, but it's also only peripherally related to the thread, even if Ronaldo does play for RM (or did, anyway).

Yeah, this is pretty far along a derail, so I'll just say that the best analogue to the Yankees isn't Real but Man U.
posted by dw at 1:28 PM on June 27, 2006


Best analogue for the Brazilian football team is probably the Soviet Ice Hockey team. Not in terms of style, but in terms of dominance.
posted by psmealey at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2006


2:1 for France in the 83rd minute by Viera. Damn.
posted by sour cream at 1:38 PM on June 27, 2006


3:1.
France wins.
posted by sour cream at 1:47 PM on June 27, 2006


France/Brazil, eh? Very interesting match up... now that France seems to have overcome their goal-scoring troubles.
posted by psmealey at 1:49 PM on June 27, 2006


Wow. Sounds like one of the best matches so far (that I didn't get to furking see!).

So, was it because les bleus finally got their act together or because Spain choked yet again?
posted by bardic at 1:53 PM on June 27, 2006


I switched off the game. My two teams are Spain and England (my dad's English and my mum's Spanish) and I'm used to the heartbreak now. When one team goes out the other go out in the next match. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to support Brazil again...
posted by ob at 1:54 PM on June 27, 2006


NY Yankees vs. Real Madrid, now that's more of an oranges to oranges comparison

Not really because as far as I know, US leagues seem to be rigged cartels with no demotion so even when a team plays like shit year after year it still stays in its league and gets some guaranteed income.

Euro league football teams, on the other hand, get relegated from the primo leagues down to the crappy leagues if they play like shit for a few years running. Get demoted enough and they end up without any TV coverage or cash. It's more like natural selection.

If I am wrong about US major leagues please correct me.
posted by meehawl at 1:57 PM on June 27, 2006


If I counted correctly, six of the last eight teams are former world champions. In fact, all seven former world champions except Uruguay are in the quarter finals.
posted by sour cream at 1:57 PM on June 27, 2006


Yep sour cream only Ukraine and Portugal are in the quaters having never won a WC.
posted by ob at 2:04 PM on June 27, 2006


Sounds like one of the best matches so far

It was, and by the end I was delighted to see Zidane score and France advance. I'm a sucker for the "aging player grabbing one last moment of glory" story line. Brazil-France should be an amazing game, which Brazil will win; I hope the Ukrainians kick the Italians' asses so hard they're still sore in 2010; and of course I'm looking forward to the Argentine victory over the home team, despite all the unfair calls the refs can throw at them. (sour cream: Sure, the refs are good in general—they should be, this is the World Cup!—and the excess of cards is FIFA's fault, not theirs, but you have to admit there have been some egregious calls, Ivanov being only the worst offender.) As for England-Portugal, I have no dog in that fight; may the best Western European team win!

the best analogue to the Yankees isn't Real but Man U.

That's the analogy I always use.
posted by languagehat at 2:09 PM on June 27, 2006


sour cream:

Yeah. And Uruguay wasn't even in the cup (lost slot to Australia in the qualifying matches), so this makes these quarterfinals the...

Most predictable. Quarterfinals. Evah.

(please note that "Most Predictable" and "Quarterfinals" should be pronounced with a single syllable for effect).

Except that we also have Ukraine, which is in its first World Cup.
posted by qvantamon at 2:17 PM on June 27, 2006


Heh. And the Yankees and Man U are both owned by Americans as well.
posted by bardic at 2:20 PM on June 27, 2006


Most predictable. Quarterfinals. Evah.

Hmmm... Maybe this odd refereeing is finally starting to reap benefits. The powers that be were so angered by the appearance of South Korea, Turkey, USA and Senegal in the last World Cup's quarters, that they vowed never to let such a thing come to pass again. /conspiracy theory
posted by psmealey at 2:25 PM on June 27, 2006


Anyways, I'm going to enjoy watching France get slaughtered in half an hour. Unless Spain chokes, which is what they're best at once they make it out of the first round.
posted by bardic at 7:15 PM GMT on June 27 [+fave] [!]


Hey, you must be psychic (or perhaps seen Spain a few too many times at major tournament).

To be fair, I think France played better, although it was despicable to see Henry go down holding his face when Puyol barely brushed his shoulder. Typical Henry.
posted by afx237vi at 2:31 PM on June 27, 2006


Not really because as far as I know, US leagues seem to be rigged cartels with no demotion so even when a team plays like shit year after year it still stays in its league and gets some guaranteed income.

Well, sorta. You're right in the sense that they're cartels -- baseball has an exemption from federal antitrust laws, while the NFL is basically one big corporation with 32 divisions. But keep in mind that the way American sports leagues formed is completely different from the way European leagues did.

American leagues have always been run using a "franchise" model -- for a fee, a person can buy the rights to add a team in the league. The level of central control varies from sport to sport. Originally, baseball did consist of local clubs banding together, but by the time the National League had formed in 1876 you already were seeing the cabal-like structures in place to limit participation to just the teams approved by the other league owners.

By comparison, European leagues have run on a "club membership model" -- a local club, if they perform well enough and pay the right amount of cash, can earn promotion to a league. So, Languagehat can start Languagehat FC, join Metafilter Conference League Division 17, and eventually earn promotion through the ladder to the Metafilter Premiership. The league controls membership, but they're not responsible for expanding the league into the fertile TV land of North Podunkia -- someone will eventually start a team that can do just that and get promoted into the league (if they play well). (Though, do note that this model is relatively recent -- you once had to be "elected" into the FA or up a level in the league structure.)

It's odd in a way that the model you'd expect to see emerge in the US is the model that emerged in Europe and vice versa. For as much as Americans are averse to central control, they accept the MLB, NFL, and NBA's monopoly on their sports.

The promotion/relegation idea comes up every once in a while in the US (usually centering around the Kansas City Royals), but because the lower leagues are all farm clubs (at least in baseball's case), there's really nowhere for top-level teams to be relegated to.
posted by dw at 2:36 PM on June 27, 2006


Hey, let's Americanize the subject with baseball so people can relate!

I've never understood the hoopla surrounding Ronaldo. If you play as a striker in the best team in the world you are going to score goals, even if you're in a wheel chair. I'm not suggesting he isn't a mostly very competent poacher with the occasional dash of flair and power, but in terms of mastery of ballskills, Ronaldo doesn't hold a candle to Ronaldinho for mine.

Nevertheless, 15 goals is an achievement worthy of praise so good on him.

I hope Argentina, England, Brazil and Italy go through.
posted by peacay at 3:00 PM on June 27, 2006


I've never understood the hoopla surrounding Ronaldo. If you play as a striker in the best team in the world you are going to score goals, even if you're in a wheel chair.

That's silly. That assumes that the passing game will put the ball on your foot and give you lots of easy looks. And while that may be true, you still need to be in a position to get to the front, stay behind the trap, get the ball, and do something with it.

I'm not suggesting he isn't a mostly very competent poacher with the occasional dash of flair and power, but in terms of mastery of ballskills, Ronaldo doesn't hold a candle to Ronaldinho for mine.

Ronaldo would be a starting forward on every team in this tournament save Argentina. Yeah, he's lost a step or three, but he's 29, not 60. He's no longer brilliant, but he's still very, very good.

That said, I'd rather have Ronaldinho.
posted by dw at 3:20 PM on June 27, 2006


Woo Hoo. Les Bleus!! (anybody else hoping that Ronaldo mysteriously begins "not feeling well" and repeate '98?)

Seriously, its probably not gonna happen but, I would really like to see the Brazilians at least appear to be making an effort as oppose to giggling, laughing and patting each other on the back as they demolish their opponents.

We'll find out 30 years from now that the Brazilian team is actually a bunch of soccer-robots programmed to accidently make unforced errors every now and again as to not raise suspicions about their humanity.
posted by RobertFrost at 3:27 PM on June 27, 2006


The French suddenly decided to play well today. They really looked dangerous and I can't quite understand why it's taken them so long. Still, I think they will have a problem with the Brazilians, but only if the Brazilians don't play like they're having a Sunday afternoon kick-around in the park. That being said the French might revert back to the previous form they've been exhibiting. I think (I hope!) it'll be an interesting match...
posted by ob at 3:42 PM on June 27, 2006


ah, Ronaldo. you had to see him live, TV didn't really give you an idea. TV slowed him down, I don't know why. I've probably seen him play San Siro about 25-30 times, a couple times away games at Marassi. especially back in 1997-1998 nobody could stop him -- literally. the way he could just accelerate and run away with the ball, that zig-zag dance that made defenders look like crashtest dummies. and that shot, so powerful and amazingly precise. O fenomeno, a Futurist painting by Balla in a black and blue jersey. my father, who had seen Pele play at Maracana once upon a time, told me he never thought he'd see such speed, such skill in a player, until he saw the young Ronaldo.

none of you guys has seen Ronaldo's best play -- he didn't even score a goal that time. I was there, at Marassi, Sampdoria-Internazionale, when he barreled down the left side like a locomotive then suddendly steered right, and kept running just as fast but from left to right now, crossing the box, leaving Sampdoria's appalled defenders behind, one by one like bowling pins, and then a great big cannonball of a shot, right on target.
but the ball -- a freak accident -- hits the shin of one of the defenders he had left behind. and he misses. if I close my eyes I still see him, after eight years. I'll never see anything like that again in my life.

it's easy to make fun of Ronaldo's (El Gordo's) his big belly and triple chin now -- God knows I do, since that summer night when he escaped from Milan like a thief in the night to go play for Real -- but you have to remember he tore his right kneecap's tendon TWICE. once is usually more than enough to destroy a player's career. he was away from the game for almost two full years, and he clearly lacked the discipline to watch his diet then, and his metabolism just slowed down.

now he's fat, and he'll be thirty in two months. but he's still one hell of a player. and he just needs to find the right moment to show people why, not so many years ago, everybody called him The Phenomenon, and even the admen realized that his playing was, literally, superhuman.

I don't like the aura of inevitability that surrounds Brazil this year, and I hope they don't win. but still, with the exception of Maradona, he's the best player I've ever seen with my own eyes.

and last year I saw Ronaldinho play San Siro, too.
posted by matteo at 3:46 PM on June 27, 2006 [2 favorites]


A Brazil-Argentina final on European soil would be fantastic... most likely it will be a repeat of the last cup, but the quarters and semis look like they'll be epic battles, mostly of older experienced players. 2010 in S. Africa will be a new guard for so many teams.
posted by cell divide at 3:50 PM on June 27, 2006


psmealey, you're not the first to suggest that :)

On Ronaldo: just contrast the first two goals of today's matches. Ronaldo and Ribery both had to get round the keeper at the top of the box and then get it in before the defenders got back. But Ronaldo's was beautiful: he feinted, the keeper fell one way, he strolled past on the other side and slotted it. Ribery had to run three meters around the keeper to get past, good football but just not the same class.
posted by jacalata at 4:02 PM on June 27, 2006


Thanks matteo.
posted by peacay at 4:05 PM on June 27, 2006


Most predictable. Quarterfinals. Evah.

I hate it when announcers drag out pointless facts and statistics, but I think there's something to be said that the last non-European team to win the tournament in Europe was Brazil way back in '58. I think we'll see sort-of repeat on '98 where Brazil falls to the host country.
posted by Kronoss at 4:16 PM on June 27, 2006


I should probably add that my prejudices, emanating as a bit of hyperbole upthread, are probably due for the mostpart to the dearth of action we have available in general in this neck of the woods.

One may read about the hype surrounding particular teams/players but without decent snips of film (as an admittedly 2nd best to live action), it's easy to develop a skewed point of view. I'm envious both of good tv coverage (for anything beyond the world cup) and much moreso of being able to go and see games in Europe.
posted by peacay at 4:19 PM on June 27, 2006


I think we'll see sort-of repeat on '98 where Brazil falls to the host country.

Yeah, I love the hype and the intrigue of the early stages but in the end the WC is nothing if not predictable.
posted by ob at 4:27 PM on June 27, 2006


Brazil still has a mediocre defense line

Oh, please. That depends on what is your definition of "mediocre". Brazil has the best defense line in numbers of all 8 teams that are still alive. How the best defense can be mediocre you tell me. Plus, one of our backs (Lucio) has ZERO faults commited. Look, it's not zero yellow cards, it's zero faults! That's not only NOT mediocre, that is brilliant.

France has little chance against Brazil. However, I expect the game to be a beautiful farewell to Zidane, one of the best players of our time.
posted by nandop at 4:45 PM on June 27, 2006


Most teams would be happy to have Brazil's "mediocre" defense. Dida comes off the line a little too easily IMO, but they give up very few goals. It would be a nice, palatable narrative to say "Oh, great offense piss defense," but like nandop said, it's just not the case.
posted by bardic at 5:03 PM on June 27, 2006


Yeah, I love the hype and the intrigue of the early stages but in the end the WC is nothing if not predictable.

That may or may not be, but I sure do love watching these guys play this tournament. And Brazil really does make it the Beautiful Game.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:02 PM on June 27, 2006


I don't like the aura of inevitability that surrounds Brazil this year

I'm with you on that. Based on the press I've been reading all year, this the single-most arrogant Brazilian team in memory. Even as wonderful and gifted as Pele, Garrincha, Romario, Rivaldo all were, they always carried themselves with aplomb and humility. This team, not so much. That's never a good sign. Overconfidence has hurt them in the past. I think they'll be going down.

Then again, could be wishful thinking on my part. As much, like everyone else apparently, as I enjoy watching Brazil play, I have hardly ever rooted for them (save against Italy in 1994). I mean, what fun is that? It's much more of a delight to see the best get beaten than it is to watch them win. As they used to say in the days of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for US Steel.
posted by psmealey at 6:21 PM on June 27, 2006


I enjoyed France-Spain today. I had France to win, and everyone I work with thought I was crazy, but I knew.

Germany over Argentina, and Italy over Ukraine, on Friday. Germany-Argentina will be tight, I imagine, but I think Germany's got the momentum, the team's working great together. And, you know, home continent advantage.
posted by blacklite at 7:47 PM on June 27, 2006


I'm with Peacay; Ronaldinho is so much more impressive to watch than Ronaldo, despite Ronaldo's record number of goals. Incidentally, Ali Daei of Iran holds the record for most international goals scored by a male player (Mia Hamm holds the all time record). Too bad it didn't carry over to the World Cup and Iran turned in an absolutely abysmal, embarrassing performance. I have a cousin who spent the last few weeks with the Iranian team as a consultant, and he said the players were absolutely miserable and basically spent every night fighting among themselves in their hotel. The other players somehow blamed the captain -- Daei-- for the loss to Mexico and almost came to blows with him. That's probably why he didn't play in the match against Portugal. My cousin and I (and every other Iranian I've discussed this with) wish Iran never even made it to Germany for this World Cup. Sorry about the derail, but I had to vent.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:00 PM on June 27, 2006


Sorry about the derail

Derail? You're talking about the World Cup, not to mention providing information that's extremely interesting (to me, anyway) and that I probably wouldn't have found otherwise. So I, for one, thank you. (And my sympathies to the Iranian team. Better luck next time!)
posted by languagehat at 5:20 AM on June 28, 2006


Thanks, LH :). I sincerely hope they do better in 2010. Personally, I'd be happy if they made it past the preliminary round.
posted by Devils Slide at 3:27 PM on June 29, 2006


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