Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chap's Thoughts on the World Cup: The Vuvuzela, Martin Tyler, and Watch Out for Chile!!

Today featured the biggest news of the first week of the World Cup: little Switzerland defeated mighty Spain, 1-0, in an upset that I don't think anyone saw coming. 

I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get insights into the Cup from Chappy, who understands the beautiful game better than anyone else I know.  Chappy's thoughts are re-printed below in their entirety -- I love the insights and particularly the heads-up to watch for Chile as a spoiler:

I love the World Cup, but after five or so days I'm starting to realize that the level of play is not on par with a regular EPL, La Liga or Seria A game. It is definitely below the level exhibited in a Champion's League match. I think there are a couple of reasons for this:

1 - These national teams assemble maybe three weeks before the Cup starts. During a year they might play between five to eight games for their country. They haven't had enough time together to gel as say a Manchester United or Real Madrid. They don't know the nuances of their teammates. This is one of the reasons for the low scoring games. The only country who looks like a real team is Germany.

2 - The players are worn out. The guys in the top leagues in Europe have already played 50 or 60 games this season. I think this has also contributed to so many players being injured.

Other thoughts:

1- I don't think the vuvuzelas should be banned but they are annoying as hell. Also, they are drowning out some of the fans' chants which -- as you know -- are always great to hear.

2- I like the U. S. squad - While our skill is not up to say Spain or the Dutch we have a true fighting spirit. The best thing about us was said by an Italian player something like "The States never give up, they always think they have a chance to win."

3- I think the U.S. will advance to the second round and if that occurs it looks like we might play Germany.

4- Brazil in this tournament is playing a different game. They have left behind their samba style and are playing more of a defensive game. This comes from their coach Dunga. He spent many years playing in the Italian League and I think the Italian style of play has rubbed off on him.

5- Spain is my pick to win it all.

6- Most interesting team is North Korea. No one knows anything about them or their players.

7- France is a mess and might not make it of the group stage.

8- Argentina's coach is Diego Maradonna- As great of a player he was he just as bad of a coach-plus he really might be crazy.

9- I love that ABC/ESPN are using the English announcers from Sky Sports instead of Americans who are just learning the game. Martin Tyler has been fantastic. He is the Al Michaels or Bob Costas of English Football.

10- Dark horse to advance in the tourney is Chile-Not much is being said about them. I saw them this morning and they look strong. I could seem them making a run to the quarter or semi-finals.

I could easily write another 10,000 words but don't want to bore you.

Chap's prediction that Spain will win it all was made prior to today's big upset.  Later in the day he sent me some follow-up thoughts, which I'll post tomorrow.

I think his analysis on Team USA is right-on: Tim Howard, in particular, is a battler

If we manage to get through the opening round, maybe we could shock the world and beat the Germans?  Of course, I'm still not sure I'm not rooting for Slovenia in Friday's game -- Ljubljana rocks and the people there would go crazy to beat the Yanks!

Many thanks John -- you are the futbol man!!

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