10 September 2007

International round-up

  • England 3 - Israel 0. I'm not feeling the England love lately, and I had an elsewhere to be, so I didn't watch this one. (Remember how I said school was kicking my ass this semester? Still true.) Since I was absolutely convinced that England weren't going to qualify, though, this is kind of good to see. And it's especially good to see Michael Owen score again, especially when he doesn't break something immediately after doing so. A lot still depends on Russia, but this is fairly encouraging. I do wish I believed that Steve McClaren had even the slightest clue about what he was doing. I feel that as soon as Lampard's fit, he's back into the lineup, and that's just a bad plan for everyone.

  • Brazil 4 - United States 2. I did watch this one, and the score is flattering to the Brazilians, honestly. Their first goal was an own-goal, and the US was unlucky to concede a penalty while getting at least two penalty calls against Brazil denied. I thought the US played pretty well overall -- the usual striker problem continued, though. Dempsey's goal was solid, but Wolff should have done better. The midfield was pretty solid, I think, and by the midfield I mean "Michael Bradley." I think I've already talked too much here about my thoughts on him, but he was absolutely everywhere in this game, and totally unafraid to take on Ronaldinho or Kaka, which is great. Well, great for most of the game -- just like it happened in the Gold Cup semi, he made a bad tackle in the last few minutes and became a liability, conceding that penalty for Brazil's last goal. Feilhaber and Donovan disappeared for large parts of the game, which wasn't unexpected (especially for Donovan), but was a little disappointing. The defense seemed overwhelmed for a lot of the game -- there were a lot of panicky clearances -- but even with that, they did pretty well, the own-goal excepted. (Yeah, I'm still not an Onyewu believer. You need more than being massive to be a good defender.) And then there's Tim Howard. While I would have liked to see Chris Seitz get capped, this wouldn't be the ideal first game, and you've got to respect Tim Howard for playing with a dislocated finger. Pretty awesome. I mean, Brazil was Brazil, and I never thought the US was going to win. But they made a good strong showing, and it's nice to see them not get intimidated. (Also, dear Kaka, I don't think Jesus likes it when you claim an own-goal as yours. Shut up, darling.)

  • And finally, the Women's World Cup starts today in China. The US are the favorites here, and while they haven't gotten a ton of media coverage, the games are being shown live on ESPN/ESPN2 -- admittedly starting from 5:00 to 8:00 in the morning, but still. Also, they blog. The other team I'll be paying attention to is England. Unlike the men, the women aren't favorites here, and they definitely don't make $200,000 a week (or even a year). I can't pretend to know a whole lot about most of these players, but I am pretty much always pro-Rachel Yankey. Though not as much as I am pro-Kristine Lilly. Just saying.

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