Friday, June 30, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 17

The second day of the last sixteen and it was time for England against Ecuador. England were playing a different system with Rooney playing up front by himself. This is not the ideal system to get the best out of Rooney but England have had to adopt this system because of Owens injury.

This system seemed to be more balanced then previous games. I think this is mainly due to the fact that Carrick was holding midfielder in a 5 man midfield. This allowed Lampard and Gerrard to play their natural attacking game without having to worrying about defensive duties.

Rooney worked his socks off up front as he chased all the balls that were played to him. Most of the passing was inaccurate and Rooney was mainly restricted to chasing long balls. Lampard isn't having a great world cup, he seems to be trying too hard and always snatching at shots.

Beckham got the goal from a free kick. One of the best free kicks in the tournament so far.

Overall it was a solid performance (apart from the Ecuador chance where it hit the bar). But not the best England performance by far.


How can I finish my post without mentioning the Holland vs. Portugal match. What a match. It showed some of the bad parts of football. Some bad refereeing decisions. But most of all it highlighted the play acting that has become part of the game. I have talked about this before. It seems that FIFA is more interested in clamping down on bad challenges and time wasting. However when it comes to CHEATING it is a very low priority. Players need to be deterred from diving. At the moment players will try to cheat and get a free kick because they know that there will be no punishment if they are caught diving. FIFA said that divers were supposed to get a yellow card but I don't think I have seen a yellow card being produced for diving in any game. There have been a number of instances when the referee has told a player to get to his feet after diving. If they are telling the player to get to his feet surely the referee feels the player is trying to buy a free kick and there fore should yellow card him.

Anyway the game was very tense and Portugal played well with less players than Holland for most of the match.

There was a very nice moment near the end of the game when two plays from Holland and Portugal who had been red carded (van Bronckhurst and Deco) were discussing the game and the refereeing while sitting on some stairs in the stadium.

I think people need to start reducing the pressure on referees and increase the pressure on players to behave in the correct manner.


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