Sunday, 6 September 2009

International weekend part two- 05 September

OK continuing on from last time, two more games to talk about. Cyprus-Republic of Ireland in Group 8 and then the big game in Rosario, Argentina-Brasil.

Cyprus-Eire was a pretty decent game, both teams went for the result right from the start, Kevin Doyle scored early on, Cyprus got one back on the half hour mark through centre-half Marios Elia, and Ireland eventually got the winner through captain Robbie Keane in the last ten minutes.

If I'm
honest I didnt expect Ireland to win it in the end, recently they just haven't seemed like a team who can pull a result out of the bag when they really need it, underlined by the fact their last three qualifiers ended in 1-1 draws. However, in this game they showed good spirit and determination, and to be honest, that's what they need if they are going to make it to South Africa. The introduction of Aiden McGeady was key, also the influence of Robbie Keane really helped them find the winning goal.

OK well it's the other side I wanted to talk about. Cypriot football has advanced so much in the past few years, with Anorthosis reaching the Champions League group stages last year, and APOEL Nicosia doing the same this year. With their league currently thriving, I have high hopes for their national team. All but one of the Cypriot starting 11 on Saturday night, play for teams in the Cypriot league.

Although to be fair, Cyprus don't yet have the squad to compete with teams like the Republic of Ireland, but hopefully as the quality of their league improves, they can gather some proper talent and move forward from there. One of the star performers in the Cyprus squad was left winger Efstathios Aloneftis (pictured). Playing for Omonia Nicosia, the 26 year-old possesses some mean dribbling skills, and a really good cross. He's no spring chicken, but still young enough to do a job for the national side and he could be a useful player for most decent club sides.

Anyway this result kept the status quo in group 8, with Ireland still in second place, one point behind Italy and five ahead of third-placed Bulgaria.

Now onto the big one, Argentina-Brasil. A win in this game would cement a place in South Africa for Brasil and put pressure on Argentina, with Columbia and Ecuador creeping up only two points be
hind them. Brasil eventually came out to win 3-1, a Luisao header and two from Luis Fabiano, with Argentina replying with a wondergoal from Napoli midfielder Jesus Datolo.

A few things about this game, for those who watched it, HOW BAD WERE ARGENTINA'S DEFENCE?? Jesus I have honestly seen Partick Thistle defend more securely. The first goal saw Luisao offered a free header (to say it was a free header was an understatement actually, his marker was in a different timezone), the second had Maicon's shot spilled and then finished by Luis Fabiano, the only person to react at all, and the third saw the whole defence ripped apart by a Kaka pass, playing through Fabiano who finished well.

Why did they defend so bad? There are several explanations. Maybe Maradona doesn't know the first thing about defence, but possibly he just picked the wrong players. The centre-back pairing of Otamendi and Dominguez do play together for Velez Sarsfield, but they have only 4 international caps between them, compare this to the centre-back pairing for Brasil, Lucio and Luisao, who have amassed 120 international appearences. Easily could be the problem.

Argentina have some of the best attackers in the world with Messi, Aguero and Tevez, but without a proper spine they will struggle to have any success on the big stage, they may even struggle to make the World Cup in 2010.

Brasil on the other hand, were very impressive. Dunga has them playing some very nice football just now, with a great variety of strength and skill and a system that could beat anyone in the world, proven by their 100% record in their 15 games so far in this qualifying campaign. I am very sure by the time South Africa comes around, Dunga will have built a squad that will have a very very very good chance of winning the World Cup.

Ok well that's me for now. Might post a quick review of all of the qualifying groups soon... I might just wait until after Wednesday though.


Bruno Romani said...

I hope Maradona never leaves the job!

As for the blog, keep it up the nice work!

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