Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Spain 4 Ukraine 0

Here we go again. Spain - otherwise known as the Atlanta Braves of international soccer - has gone an built up ludicrous expectations again. Suddenly, it looks like, hey, this could be the year. The year. Finally. This could be Spain's big breakthrough, their rise from perennial tease lingering just behind the big boys to legit giant on the scene. Now is their time.

Right? Right? Right?

Maybe. Yeah, they seem stacked, particularly as long as David Villa remains in the starting lineup ahead of the aging Raul. They don't seem to have any glaring weakness. But then, they never really do. Hence the years of disappointment. One thing is for sure, though: If ever they were going to choose a moment to break through at last, now would seem to be it. Ukraine was considered their biggest rival in this weak group, and Tunisia and Saudi Arabia should provide little resistance in upcoming group play. The Spaniards' hand definitely appears to be stacked.

Which means their inevitable demise looms as possibly their most disappointing ever, right?

As for the Ukrainians, they shouldn't panic just yet. The best thing that happened to them today was Tunisia's late, late equalizer against the Saudis, which keeps Ukraine only a point behind in the standings with a seemingly legit shot to beat each. Or so you would think. It's possible Adrii Shevchenko hasn't fully recovered from injury if his quiet performance today is any indication. If that's the case, they could be in trouble.


Blogger Bill-DC said...

No knock at you but many other members of various media refer to Raul as aging.

He's 28!

He made Real Madrid's roster at 17 in 1995. It just seems like he's been around forever.

Note to myself: I need to stay away from FIFA in game chat. I was in an argument with one guy who claims Australia will win the World Cup and Raul is over rated.
(Leading scorer in Champions League history, three CL's, four Liga titles)

I'm a huge fan of Spain's national team having seen them a couple times during my visits there. I'm not crowning them champs yet. I just want them to advance to the round of 16.

Atlanta Braves of World Cup soccer is correct.

7:06 PM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...

Yeah, I figured 'aging' may not be the right word, but he's battled a bad knee injury this past season and struggled at Real Madrid when he returned.

Also, I'm a big fan of David Villa. He's been awesome at Valencia and seems like a guy ready to peak while Raul (though only 28) seems past his prime.

If it was me, I'd stick with the hot, young guy and bring in Raul as a sub - just as today. But maye that's just me.

I do dig Spain's pinstripes.

I enjoy the Australia story too, but they're not winning the World Cup. They could maybe make the quarters, though.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Bill-DC said...

Raul's injury was pretty nasty, and he struggled but in time he will bounce back.

Agree on Villa, roll with the hot hand here. I looked at who was on the bench at the start of the game and was amazed. They are talented.

Maybe it's Spain's time to at least make the semi's but like the Washington Capitals teams in the '80's thru the mid '90's, they've always disappointed when it was on the line.

It was a beautiful game to watch yesterday though. I hope they can continue to play like that.

4:00 AM  

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