Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group C Day 1

ROM 0-0 FRA - France without Zidane is Senegal. France without Henry is (insert African Federation ranked lower than Senegal). Makelele is still too much quality for Romania. Nobody was ever going to score.

NED 3-0 ITA - History will remember this as the worst destruction (to date) in Italy's history. The Dutch certainly played well enough to trounce the Italians. To take this match simply as that would be to ignore the dubious breakthrough and subsequent ripple effect. Granted Sneijder's goal was magic but, does that happen in a nil-nil match? Do the Italians expose themselves at the back by pressing as they did? Nonetheless, the Italians had plenty of time and chances to pull back the game, but they didn't take their chances.

They're an aging team, to boot. Without Cannavaro to marshal the team, Italy's biggest sin will prove to be that they have not replenished the back line. Panucci, at 35, is still out there. Materazzi is 34. If Cannavaro were available, he'd be another 34 year old at the back. Zambrotta, the baby of the bunch at 31, will bring down the average age of Milan's back line next season. Had he wanted to, they would have let Maldini play. The 3/4 Milan midfield isn't much younger.

Milan never saw it coming and crashed hard with its geezer set. Italy have learned nothing from this and are set to mimic Milan's crash.

The holders will be in action on Tuesday. While they may even be a little better (on paper) this time around, everybody sees them coming. The Swedes, meanwhile, will see what they can get from Ibra.

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