July 02, 2006

France stop the samba.: In this World Cup's biggest upset, France bundled out Brazil in a 1-0 quarterfinal win. What happened? Is France the new favorite? Next up: Portugal.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 09:53 AM - 43 comments

I think I might be France's biggest fan now. Anything to stop that smug git C Ronaldo from winning another game. Mates told me that Brazil was overrated, so based on that I am not too surprised about the France result. Could France be rounding into form?

posted by gspm at 10:10 AM on July 02, 2006

I would say France are definitely rounding into form. They got lucky to make it through the group stage, but in their two elimination games, I think they have looked great. I would give them as good a chance as any at winning this thing.

posted by holden at 10:27 AM on July 02, 2006

What happened is France has the gnarliest defense in the WC. I mentioned this in the last (deleted) thread, but I don't think that Spain and Brazil got more than 4 or 5 shots on goal between them. Makele is still decent but Vieira is still great and for me he was the man of the match. France needs, absolutely needs, Zizou to keep playing at the same level he did against Brazil for them to win it all. He is the key to them scoring goals. Without him they are almost helpless (Ribery is the only ray of hope). You see, other than Zidane's mastery on set pieces, France plays an unimaginative and boring long ball offense where they try to put the ball on Henry's head. Henry, when he isn't offside, tries to provoke fouls by covering his face in his hands and falling over the pitch. But on set pieces, and the ocasional counter-attack with Zidane at the reins and Vieira making a suprise sally, the French are scary because Henry is a great finisher. I think that if Zidane doesn't pull a hamstring or something against Portugal they should hammer the Portugese into submission like they did the Brazillians, with a dead ball goal created by Zidane. Still I have to question if he can keep this pace up for two more matches. I think he can't, that's why I pick the Germans to win on home advantage in the final over les blues.

posted by sic at 10:36 AM on July 02, 2006

I think France have the second best defence of the final four and that defence is stuck in front of a keeper as likely to make a howler as to pull off a great save. I suspect an Azzurri-Blues final would be fairly cagey, but it's my pick from these four, (not least because I have those two 1st and 3rd in the SpoFi confidence picks). I guess we find out how good Italy's defenders are on Tuesday, against a German side that has a lot of options going forward and a home crowd roaring them on.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:53 AM on July 02, 2006

Of the teams remaining, I think Germany has to be the clear favourite. And Italy the weakest of the four and the most fortunate to be there -- they got lucky in surviving their group, got a questionable penalty against Australia, and had the easiest (by far) knock-out round route. France + Portugal should be interesting, though.

posted by mkn at 12:09 PM on July 02, 2006

I think I might be France's biggest fan now. Anything to stop that smug git C Ronaldo from winning another game. Amen to that. I think that if I see one more dive from Ronaldo (or any other player from Portugal) I may well throw up. Everyone acts, but they disgrace the game taking it to a whole new level. Grabing your face when you got hit in the neck? Come on. I do think Germany is probably gonna take all home now, and I never thought I would say this but I hope France wins, at least against Portugal.

posted by NightingalesGone at 12:51 PM on July 02, 2006

In this World Cup's biggest upset, France bundled out Brazil... By far, I don't think was the biggest upset of this World Cup. First, check out SpoFi's own Confidence Pool to see how many slected France for a Top 6 finish before the cup began. OK, they sucked in group play and barely made it out, but their quality finally came through against an excellent Spain team and France looked strong heading into the Brazil game. Brazil, OTOH, were less than impressive in group play and were outplayed in large stretches of the game against Ghana. I've heard this "biggest upest" comment since yesterday and it's an opinion of which I strongly disagree.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:22 PM on July 02, 2006

Grabing your face when you got hit in the neck? Remember what Henry said after the Spain match? He grabbed his face because of the "general pain" he felt (from the non-existent elbow)... Pink card!

posted by sic at 01:28 PM on July 02, 2006

I thought that Italy had the best defense as well, until I saw France stifle Spain and Brazil back to back, two very potent offensive squads. Didn't Italy give up a goal to the US? They're still great defensively, but I think right now France is better. I also think that France-Portugal will be the most entertaining match of the last three.

posted by sic at 01:31 PM on July 02, 2006

Sorry...got trigger-happy and pulled before I was ready... I agree France appear to be the form team. Two things make me think they won't be winners: Germany at home and France's conservative approach. With Makelele and Viera holding things down they have plenty of opportunities to drop the reigns and let the boys run, but it hasn't happened. I don't see them changng much this late in the tournament and it could be their undoing. Zidane has been absolutely brilliant these last 2 games, moreso against Spain, I thought. Little Ribery is a revelation and Abidal and Malouda, 2 more players I never heard of, are very solid. For me, seeing players of whom you're completely unaware is one of the beauties of the World Cup. As small as the world is getting, we still have that. I think Germany will win it but I'll have no problem being happy for the French if their old boys pull it off.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:36 PM on July 02, 2006

Didn't Italy give up a goal to the US? That was the own goal, sic. Yes, if you look at the quality of teams France has shut down, they do seem to have the strongest defense. But like MrB said, with Barthez in goal...

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:40 PM on July 02, 2006

Agreed, Barthez is chaotic; but against Brazil I think he touched the ball maybe three times! The French defenders were absolutely dominating. Truth is, if it weren't for Zidane, this French team would be as unbearable to watch as the Italian team (usually) is. That long ball to Henry offense is really boring, although it does seem to win matches. I can't help but think that a Spain-Brazil match would have been far more exciting (despite Zidane)...

posted by sic at 01:50 PM on July 02, 2006

Euro 2006.

posted by charlatan at 02:04 PM on July 02, 2006

Nobody's giving Portugal a chance...again....

posted by Venicemenace at 02:18 PM on July 02, 2006

Nobody's giving Portugal a chance...again.... You might find a little more love if that punk, Cristianaldo, wasn't in the team.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 02:22 PM on July 02, 2006

Portugal will beat France 1-0.

posted by caselaw at 02:55 PM on July 02, 2006

Why does everyone hate Ronaldo so much? Because he complained about Rooney stomping on his teammate's gentials? Who the hell wouldn't do that? Rooney wouldn't have done the same if Figo had squeezed Beckham's balls? (Something he used to do in Real Madrid's locker room after practice anyway, or so I've heard)....

posted by sic at 03:46 PM on July 02, 2006

A lot of the hate existed for a long time before that incident. He just comes across as a smarmy arrogant dick that whines and cries at the slightest of fouls and isn't much of a team player. Not very endearing to the so-called "neutral fans" like me.

posted by mkn at 03:51 PM on July 02, 2006

I think France is the team to beat, with their experience and most excellant defense, they will be in the final. I am most impressed with their team play, their back six are playing incredibly well and the midfield is holding the ball and dictating play, well done, very well done. The offense will come alive against Portugal, maybe in the air, two headers in the back of the net and an Henry breakaway at the end of the game to win 3-0. The other game will be a classic, i think Italy will takeover in the second half and defeat the great hosts, 2-1. Then, France wins 2-0 in the final, with zidaine going out on top of the world, a great story for the frenchman.

posted by sauceysays at 04:00 PM on July 02, 2006

T&T 0-0 England, that was the biggest upset in this tournament. France 1-0 Brazil was an upset but Ghana beat themselves with a ridiculous high line offside trap strategy and the defending champs had a mediocre group stage. The big surprises to me from this tournament have been the poor performances of Ronaldinho, who showed none of the creativity and speed that he used to win the Champions League, and Lampard, who never saw a goal mouth he couldn't miss wide or high. England beat Portugal if he could have put in either of the short range sure things he had during the first 90 minutes. And, to a lesser degree, SGerrard though I'm not sure the blame isn't Ericksson's for stuffing four players who want to be in the center across the midfield line.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:42 PM on July 02, 2006

Italy v. Portugal in final is my prediction. Italy is tough to score on, despite injuries in the back four you will see just why Buffon is clearly the number one goalkeeper in the world. Klose, Ballack, Podolski and co. will be a dangerous foe, especially at home- but the Azzurri will win and piss everyone off as usual. Portugal will advance because the core has played together so long successfully- going back to teen years. They will want it more than France and also have Deco back. Ricardo, Deco and Ronaldo will be the difference.

posted by urall cloolis at 05:43 PM on July 02, 2006

Never bet against the host team. 2002 - Korea surprisingly makes the semi-finals. 1998 - France surprisingly wins it all. 1978 - Argentina wins it all. 1974 - West Germany finishes 2nd. 1966 - England wins it all. 1958 - Sweden finishes 2nd. 1950 - Brazil finishes 2nd. 1934 - Italy wins it all. 1930 - Uruguay wins it all. That's why I picked Germany as my #2 team (behind Brazil).

posted by grum@work at 05:55 PM on July 02, 2006

Bill, you mean Sweden v T&T, no?

posted by blarp at 07:36 PM on July 02, 2006

Probably ;)

posted by billsaysthis at 08:57 PM on July 02, 2006

Of the teams remaining, I think Germany has to be the clear favourite. I agree. Euro 2006. Nobody's giving Portugal a chance...again.... Hmmm..but Portugal were at home for Euro 2004. I've done SO well with my predictions lately (Mavs in 6 in the NBA Finals; U.S. over Ghana; ENG 2, POR 1; and BRA over GER in the WC final) but here goes: GER 1, ITA 0 (aet)--Two tough defenses; probably very few shots taken; should be a very KLOSE game--Miroslav with the GW. FRA 1, POR 0--Another stifling defensive game by Les Bleus; Oh Henry!--Thierry with the GW.

posted by curtangle at 09:08 PM on July 02, 2006

I agree with curtangle. Then France will win the final. Wish England had done better, though.

posted by Goyoucolts at 09:45 PM on July 02, 2006

France were terrific - they clearly wanted it more than Brazil. You could tell from the tackling and ball winning in the middle of the park. Gallas is a class act and shut down Ronaldo, while Makelele's position in front of central defence covered Ronaldinho, who was anonymous until the last 20 minutes when he realised he'd have to go deeper and wider to get the ball at his feet. I said a while ago that an ordinary team would win this WC, and the teams left are all very ordinary - no stand out strikers and Germany and Portugal having very shaky defences. The team with the ability to crack open the oposition just once will probably succeed - and I can't see this being either Portugal or Italy. John Terry wore Pauleta like a cheap suit in the quarter final and really, they have no-one else. Italy had trouble getting past Australia in open play. As noted above, if Zidane and Henry are on form, you have a good chance. I think in general Les Bleus have more talent and pace than Germany when it comes to the games where everything is at stake.

posted by owlhouse at 09:57 PM on July 02, 2006

Thierry Henry!!!!!!!!!!!!! The guys is so underrated all hes scored is like 3 goals in the cup so far. That is more than ourr shitty US team for three games.

posted by Big Dookie at 12:38 AM on July 03, 2006

I sometimes wonder if I'm watching the same World Cup as everyone else - Germany have a good defence? France are playing an England style long ball game? England drew with Trinny? No stand out strikers in the last four? Germany couldn't defend a sandcastle. Against Brasil (and I'll grant you I was drunk for that one), I saw France play a beautiful style of football with Ribery and Malouda making as many runs from wide positions with the ball at their feet as they hit long balls over the top to Henry - in fact, at the time, I believe what I said was "See! That's why you (England) lot are shit - you get the ball in your own third and Rio hits it 80 yards to... NO ONE! France are just walking it out nicely and spreading it around." I think someone else got the T&T Sweden thing (it was Sweden, wasn't it?). As for the no stand out strikers: Klose (the top German scorer in the Bundesliga last season) has scored five so far, and Podolski has scored three - as has Henry, who, even if you don't like him, has to be thought of as a "stand out" player (when he's not falling down). For what it's worth (which, in my case is about 90 if they do it), Germany will win, beating France late in the final (when Zizou's legs finally give up on him and long after Henry has confirmed that he's a bottler as he did in te European Cup final - he's very, very good, but he's not great and he never will be).

posted by JJ at 03:30 AM on July 03, 2006

France was great against Brazil, and it was wonderful to see Zidane in such good form - and Ribery as well. But I think their hands are going to be full with Portugal, and I don't think Figo will be denied. And love him or hate him - I think he's an embarrassment - Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of the top 3 or 4 players in the tournament so far and I expect him to be in top form. On the other side, I think Italy has been a revelation simply because they're NOT the using most cynical and negative game plan, as Italy is prone to do most of the time. In fact against the US I even saw multiple Azzuri forget to dive in the box! I think notwithstanding that however, Germany will have a hefty push from their hometown supporters and they are clearly on form regardless. So - Germany - Portugal, with Germany probably taking the trophy at the end.

posted by mikelbyl at 06:58 AM on July 03, 2006

This is going to sound bad, with my history of even-handed comments about Michael Flatley Ronaldo, but how exactly has he been one of the top three or four players in the tournament so far?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:09 AM on July 03, 2006

He can do stepovers. Onthe same basis, Joe Cole is the top player of the tournament - he does them even when there's no one near him to do them at. England were lucky he wasn't on the pitch to take a penalty at the end. He'd still be stepping over it now.

posted by JJ at 07:53 AM on July 03, 2006

Maybe we could ditch penalties and go straight to a stepover competition. The Brazilians would have had Denilson in their squad for sure then.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:09 AM on July 03, 2006

Ronaldo has some flashy moves on the ball, but I have YET to see anyone one of his dances result in his gaining an advantage on a defender. I could be mistaken, but his fancy footwork all for show. I have seen Aaron Lennon blow past more defenders in his limited use role for England, than C. Ronaldo has in his starter's role all tournament. Denilson, same bs. I can't stand that crap. It looks great, but ultimately does absolutely nothing.

posted by psmealey at 09:01 AM on July 03, 2006

The only player who seems to make it actually wrongfoot defenders is the real Ronaldo. But he's 48 stone now, so it doesn't work quite as well as it used to.

posted by JJ at 09:11 AM on July 03, 2006

Well...looking at France, they have to be the favorite to advance on their half of the bracket. France v. Germany anyone? Or will it be France v. Italy?

posted by chemwizBsquared at 09:20 AM on July 03, 2006

they (Italy)got lucky in surviving their group with two seperate 2-0 victories and the ill-fated tie against the US, Italy were anything but lucky to advance. They were in a little lucky to not go to penalties against Australia, but up until this point Buffon has still only allowed one goal, and that was off an Azzuri boot. It may take a little more work to shut out Germany but Italy are looking the favorites to take it all for me.

posted by Ricardo at 09:22 AM on July 03, 2006

I'm with the Beatles. Ronaldo isn't even the best drummer in the band. He looks marginally less silly than Denilson, who would have tried a step over while taking a throw-in, if he could, but even Shep Messing has worked out that Ronaldo's tricks "look pretty, but achieve nothing."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:33 AM on July 03, 2006

Never really watched soccer before, but seeing several World Cup matches has been fascinating. However, riddle me this: When a player of the opposite team is writhing on the ground, the team with the ball will purposely kick it out of bounds to stop play. Yet these same noble players will roll on the ground like wussies when they barely get touched. On one hand they show mercy to the opponent, but on the other hand they try for an unfair advantage. I don't get it.

posted by whitedog65 at 10:22 AM on July 03, 2006

When a player of the opposite team is writhing on the ground, the team with the ball will purposely kick it out of bounds to stop play. This is considered gentlemanly play, though is not codified in the rule book anywhere. Arsenal once gave Sheffield Utd a replay of a match in 1999 because Arsenal scored the winning goal after a SheffU player went down the team was expecting Arsenal to put it into touch. Wenger and the other manager (Bruce?) decreed that it was the right thing to do replay the match, which Arsenal won, if memory serves. One thing that bothered me about the ENG-POR match was that the the Portugal players seemed to be taking dives (among other reasons) to breakup England runs at the Portugal goal. It made it justifiable for England to start ignoring these dives. That's the problem with cheating, once you start down that road, it ruins the game for everyone.

posted by psmealey at 11:46 AM on July 03, 2006

Maybe we could ditch penalties and go straight to a stepover competition. Michael Flatley would make the Cup his own.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:17 PM on July 03, 2006

Thierry Henry!!!!!!!!!!!!! The guys is so underrated all hes scored is like 3 goals in the cup so far. Don't follow football much do you Big Dookie? Henry is one of the most highly regarded players in the world, deservedly so. He's caught some flack in this WC for his hands on the face dive against Spain, deservedly so, but I don't think anyone's ever said he isn't great. In case you miscontrued my earlier comments, let me make it clear, I think he is one of the best finishers in the world. I also think he's a whiner and a pussy for diving in the WC.

posted by sic at 02:35 PM on July 03, 2006

How about that Italian defense today? Germany stands straight for 118 minutes and then collapse. Klinsmann--staying or the new USA coach? I'm not picking them, mind you, but I'm rooting for Italy Sunday.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:03 PM on July 04, 2006

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