Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Story So Far

Ok, so, every team has played - time for a quick opinionated round up - any comments and or opinions gratefully received.

Individual Performance of the tournament so far: Tough one - lots of great players on show, but for biggest single influence on a match I might have to give it to Shaka Hislop for his heroics against Sweden. Honourable mentions for Rafael Marquez against Iran, Arjen Robben against Serbia and Montenegro and Rosicky (NOT Rosidzky!!!!) against the US.

Team Performance of the tournament so far: Again, hard not to plump for T&T, for their defying logic and bookmaking odds draw against Sweden - especially given that they played the second half with 10 men.

Best Team So Far: Argentina. Or Italy. Or the Czechs, or maybe Spain...It's too hard! Argentina are the only one of those three to have faced really stiff opposition though, so let's give it to them.

Worst Team So Far: Well, in the first half today the Saudis had this sown up, but they fought back and they fought back hard. Iran are ruled out because they looked quite good going forward. Angola did really well against the Portuguese, and Togo were the better side for 70 minutes against South Korea. The Ukraine took the heaviest beating, but they were a bit unlucky - a penalty that wasn't, the freekick deflection, getting no joy out of the linesman...All this means that the outstanding candidates for this award then are, and believe me - I get no pleasure from this: The United States of America. Yes, the fifth highest ranked team in the world surely gave us the least impressive display so far - painfully short of ideas going forward and, despite looking fairly well organised they did ship three goals. Must do better uncle Sam!

Turnaround of the Tournament So Far: The Aussies! Cor, they are quite good at sport as a nation aren't they!

Motty moment so far: The warning about crockery at the beginning on England Paraguay, which turned out to be deeply misplaced as this was the second most worth candidate for the:

USA 94 Memorial Dullsville Game of the Tournament So Far Award: France 0, Switzerland 0. Yes, just pipping England Paraguay, the Entent Banal (well done Guardian leader writer) saw some of the greatest players of our time, or indeed any time play really badly for 90 minutes. Here's hoping they improve...

The Andy Gray "What a Hit Son" Goal of the Tournament So Far: Torsten Frings, narrowly pipping Rosicky and Lahm.

The Brazil 1970 Goal That We've All Seen a Million Times Team Goal Of The Tournament So Far Award: Torres' goal today - lovely individual skill from Puyol, lovely interplay between him, Fabregas and Torres and a lovely hit.

The "The Ref's Had A Shocker" Award: The geezer what refereed our game against Paraguay - I'm fairly sure it's not narrow parochialism that leads me to pick him. He really did have a shocker.

The Jose Mourinho Memorial Managerial Sartorial Award: Otto Pfister (who of course wins the oo-er missus award too) for his stylish jeans, shirt open to the neck and map of Africa pendant combo.

There's more awards I could give, but perhaps I'll save them for the end of the second batch of games. BATCH! That's it! That's the noun I was looking for.