The Weekend: Live Commentary: WCQ & Friendlies

England vs. Belgium, Portugal vs. Turkey in friendly land.

The match to watch: Argentina vs. Ecuador. The men from Ecuador knotted a draw last time and they always play Messi & Co. tough.

Duty time?

34 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/02 at 9:50 AM

    Why the hell can’t Belgium put it all together on the international stage. They look masterful at times.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 9:51 AM

      Young, full of themselves.


    • They seem to be suffering from Dutch disease i.e too much internecine warfare.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 11:32 AM

      They also had the hardest qualifying group for 2012. Germany/Belgium/Turkey/Austria is tough sledding. First of all, you’re guaranteed to finish second at best, so you have to do a playoff. Then–Turkey and Austria are both pretty good.


      • Posted by narkid on 2012/06/02 at 4:27 PM

        turkey is pretty good???? they just beat portugal 3-1, in portugal. i just dont want people to think austria is on the same level as turkey, cause they are not, and this is coming from an armenian, so you know it has to be true. but an armenian did just knock la galaxy out of the cup.


  2. Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 9:52 AM

    And people wonder why Welbeck played over Chicharito in most important matches last year. He’s really good…


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/02 at 10:17 AM

      He’s good. Really good? Still in doubt. Welbeck has a lot of physical tools and can score on counter. Chicharito more out and out poacher and “space opener” at this point.

      Personally–since I don’t rate Sturridge–I would rather have Altidore, Gomez, Boyd than Welbeck, Defoe, Sturridge.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/02 at 10:29 AM

        Actually that’s not true. I’d have to consider the England triplet. Too strong.


      • Depends what role you have in mind and what system you want to employ.

        I cannot see Defoe starting, at all. He is merely an impact sub. I am still undecided on Welbeck, but I prefer his finishing ability that any of the US players you mention. But might agree with you re. hold up play. He still has a long way to go regarding playing the lone striker – I know Mr. Hodges on likes two up front, but in reality, the No.9 is going to be isolated for long periods of the game.


  3. Defensively, fairly happy with the first half, Hart has basically been a spectator. Although, I must admit, I did prefer the pressing style under Mr. Capello, rather than the retreating into two banks of four under Mr. Hodgson, but I guess we did not exactly keep clean sheets under the former manager. But I guess our goal ultimately came from our pressing / their personal error. Great finish, but not like we “created” it, we just took advantage, if that makes sense.

    A little concerned offensively. Not much being created by the midfield and without Rooney it is obviously going to be a problem. I understand why Milner is playing, Mr. Hodgson does not want to play with two out and out offensive wide midfielders, with Milner pinching in, again being cautious and pragmatic.

    But I think using a pacey winger will aid keeping Evra or Clichy at bay when we play France. It is a blessing that Sagna is out, and with M’Vila potentially out too, that helps us.

    Chamberlain has been a bright spark but he needs to realize that he does not have to “produce something” every time he has the ball. He needs to vary things.


    • Although if Belgium could play that killer pass in the final third, things might be different…


    • English midfield is pretty uninspiring at this point.

      I’m a professed Welbeck fan. Like his skill and overall soccer IQ is solid. He makes good decisions and combines well when he has another striker alongside him. Good touch around the goal as well as evidenced by his finish.


  4. Posted by Nelsonaoatl on 2012/06/02 at 10:40 AM

    Ecuadorans are not Bolivians. wtf?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/02 at 2:33 PM

      I may have messed that one up.


      • Posted by Nelsonaoatl on 2012/06/03 at 3:36 PM

        lol. in retrospect I’d rather it have been Bolivia losing. Ecuador are much better at home when they are playing two miles high. I lived walking distance from the stadium but was never able to attend a game. if they can utilize homefield advantage they may have a chance


  5. Here we go, some more pace in the side. Although would prefer if Milner came off.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 1:28 PM

      I’ve never understood why Milner and Barry are so relied upon, for club and country. Very blah players.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/02 at 2:34 PM

        Agree on Barry — though he is somewhat tidy with the ball. As for Milner–to me–he is an excellent defender and occasionally offers something going forward. Poor man’s Ji-Sung Park with his work rate. Need to have attacking chops on the opposite flank though.

        Can still not fathom how Adam Johnson doesn’t make this team. Must be an off-field (attitude, other) thing.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 4:06 PM

          Well, I think both players have their uses. I just see them as role players when frequently they’ve been asked to do much more.


  6. Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 4:05 PM

    Argentina executing a master class on Ecuador. Messi bringin’ it in a old-style #10 role.


  7. Posted by Union on 2012/06/02 at 8:41 PM

    Honest question. Does Gomez deserve all of this praise he is getting for his game against Brazil? Good game, no doubt. But this idea that he is now the obvious starter seems incredibly misplaced. I buy him as a good striker with a knack for finishing. His off the ball movement is decent when in the offensive zone, fairly poor when he has to track back and win back a ball. As a target striker he has the finesse, though not the power, to compete. But both Jozy and Boyd, IMO, are stronger options. I get that Herc has earned his place on the team, but everyone is talking about his performance against Brazil as though it was this coming out party. Not sure I buy it. Good, but not a guaranteed starting spot.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/02 at 10:37 PM



      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/06/03 at 7:40 AM

        I would look at it slightly differently. Jozy>Herc in hold-up game. Herc>Jozy at running off the shoulder of the D.

        Other than maybe pressing I don’t see what Boyd does better.


  8. Posted by Jared on 2012/06/03 at 12:33 PM

    We clearly got the best of the Brazil goalkeeper the other day as he just let in a terrible goal against Mexico. Dos Santos just hit a poor cross that floated in on the back post. Rafael didn’t even jump to try to save it.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/03 at 12:40 PM

      Instructive stats (perhaps unfairly truncated in the MEX-BRA case):

      One game Brazil won possession 52-48. In the other, Brazil won possession 58-42. Guess which game was the U.S. game and which game is the ongoing Mexico game.


      • Posted by mbw on 2012/06/03 at 12:47 PM

        The counterattack game Mexico’s playing (out of choice or necessity) actually works to their strengths pretty well. Both soft goals, though.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/03 at 12:41 PM

      And now 2-0. Either we or Mexico is getting a fluke defensive performance from Brazil and I don’t know which.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/03 at 1:44 PM

      Another big difference between the US and Mexico against Brazil is that Mexico doesn’t have a central defender who looks like he’s never played soccer before like Gooch did.


  9. Better late than never. I knew The Sun would not be able to resist:

    The petrol station patriotism has not started to surface yet. But it will. Especially if we get a result against France.


    • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/06/03 at 2:30 PM

      Oh God….


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/06/03 at 2:39 PM

      Isn’t that what being a fan is about? I hope I never reach the day where I just dismiss any chance of the US winning a game. Even if I cling to a fluke goal or a penalty shootout win after Howard stands on his head.


      • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/03 at 3:00 PM

        Did you read the list? It includes such ridiculous statements as “John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Phil Jones… (I could go on) would be automatic picks for MOST teams at the tournament.

        The same applies to Ashley Young, a player I’ve always liked.” That’s after stating that all the teams would love Hart, Cole, Rooney and Gerrard to be in their squad. Phil Jones would not be an automatic pick for pretty much any team at the tournament especially at right back because he’s not a good right back. John Terry is an oaf and with the exception of squads like Greece the teams try to play out of the back rather than lump it forward Gooch style.

        It also states that Germany and Holland will be just as worried about facing England as England should be of facing those teams. It’s the typical ridiculous English media that creates all the hype that then allows them after the tournament to call England a failure no matter what happens.


        • This is what I am talking about when I refer to the RedTops. And you have to realize who reads this and thinks it’s true, and fans like me who smirk at it. It’s tabloid sensationalism and hyperbole.

          Keep Calm & Carry On.


      • I am hoping for the best, and if you dig deep enough, you’ll find a little optimism. But I am also a realist when I look at our squad compared with Germany’s, Spain’s and Netherlands’ – especially given our injury situation and Rooney’s suspension.

        I would be very disappointed if we do not progress from the group stage. And it is not impossible to to put a few results together in the knock-out stages. Just saying the latter is unlikely.

        Come game time, I will be just as tense with excitement and enthusiasm as anybody else.



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