Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Brazil 3 Ghana 0



To hear Marcelo Balboa tell it, Brazil is a dysfunctional collection of loosely-knit stars who aren't really anything special.

Balboa actually said during this game that he didn't get the feeling that the Brazil players got along, at one point even accusing Adriano of refusing to pass to Ronaldo on a two-on-the-goalie break for what would have been a sure goal - except for the fact that Ronaldo very well may have been offsides. Balboa also said that Brazil played flowing, attractive soccer against Japan in the first round, but that they didn't look so pretty against the tougher sides of Croatia and Australia and that the Brazilian fans didn't like it.

At this point, Balboa actually said this: "Brazil played good, solid soccer and that's something the fans aren't used to."

Let me repeat the quote so that it truly sinks in:

"Brazil played good, solid soccer and that's something the fans aren't used to."

Wow. I'm speechless. It's a good thing my fingers are still functioning.

Granted, I know what Balboa was implying - that the tougher style of Croatia and Australia didn't allow Brazil to play its famously stylish soccer, but still, that has to be one of the most ridiculous sentences I've ever heard come out of another person's mouth.

Ah, I'm just giving Balboa a hard time. The guy actually cracks me up. I was particularly amused today when Dave O'Brien cited a list of some of the all-time World Cup upsets and Balboa sounded genuinely insulted that he didn't list USA over Colombia in 1994. Sure, that was a nice win for us, but I don't think it resonates in the hallowed annals of legendary soccer moments the way Balboa thinks it does. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

But Balboa has been strangely hard on the Brazilians in this tourney. Today he even said that Ronaldinho has produced for Barcelona but has been a disappointment with Brazil. Huh? Just because Ronaldinho hasn't scored - which isn't his role on this team - doesn't mean he's been a disappointment. In fact, as the midfield general, Ronaldinho has done a dandy job of keeping the machine humming nicely. Brazil doesn't need Ronaldinho to get his, and he understands this.

That said, Brazil didn't look all that great today. Ghana controlled much of the game and had their share of solid of chances. They represented themselves admirably, for sure. So perhaps the scariest thing about Brazil is that, even though they haven't always looked at full speed, they still won today 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 10-1 thus far. What can we expect when they, at last, supply a performance that leaves no doubt?

Or are we expecting too much? Has the bar been set too high?

Ronaldo scored in the fifth minute by making Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingston look silly. He's now the all-time leading World Cup goalscorer with 15. But I'm sure Balboa still isn't impressed in the slightest.

5 Comments:

Blogger Bill-DC said...

Please find a Spanish hottie and post it to ease the pain of yet another collapse by EspaƱa.

The old dog (France and Zidane)still have some bite in it after all. Don't know if there's anything left in the tank to beat Brazil though.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah..you're being harder on Balboa than he was on the Brazilians! I heard him say the same things you're talking about but I definitely hadn't interpreted them to be an insult to the team or even to the individual players mentioned. Brazil's a great team, but after watching them today you can't say they aren't at least a little over-rated...some of your past posts are a prime example of common Brazil hype.

On a different note, how about Zidane today...now that's a guy worthy of his reputation.

7:25 PM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...

Bill, Spanish hotties coming up.

Anonymous, I'm just being hard on Balboa. I like him. I didn't think he was insulting Brazil. I just find it funny how he keeps nagging at them like he was expecting them to have wings or something. They've outscored their opponents 10-1. Cut them some slack, right?

8:06 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

That 10-1 difference is the best goal differential of the teams in the quarterfinals, btw.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah that differential is impressive. I was at Stanford in 94, so maybe I'm a little biased...

This next match should be a doosey, I've got my recorder timed and ready

4:04 PM  

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