Everything you need to know about the shebang in South Africa
La Liga Loca’s ‘Ladeez of Battlestar Galactica’ calendar - Cylon Boomer is next month’s model, yay! - says that July is almost upon us.
And that means the blog has been watching and droning on about football non-stop for some eleven months now. This might explain why LLL has even less of a clue than usual on what in jumping Josephine’s longjohns is going on in the wide, wide world of sport.
The blog thought that Spain’s footballing efforts against Switzerland and Honduras were quite good, whilst the performances against Chile and most recently of all, Portugal were a little like an average episode of CSI: it passes the time and entertains you in snatches with the occasional cool shot of a bullet going very slowly through a shoulder blade (ah, so that's what happened to Joan Capdevilla last night - ed.).
LLL senses that the good people of Madrid may agree. During Euro 2008, the singing/car horn tooting after each victory went on for days. On Tuesday night, it had all but stopped half-an-hour after the 1-0 win over Portugal, aside from the odd tool who decided to celebrate at 4.30 in the morning.
However, the sporting press don’t seem to follow this more modest vibe. The TV broadcasters of the Portugal clash spent 90 minutes shouting “Excellent Puyol! Excellent Busquets! Excellent Torres!” Every. Time. They. Did. Anything.
This is especially deluded in the case of the Liverpool striker who will surely be sent back to England forthwith branded with a big ‘damaged goods’ mark on his Fuenlabradan forehead, especially after Fernando Llorente’s fairly bright cameo appearance.
Marca have gone most nuts with the headline of “This is my Spain!”. “The reds get their rhythm and touch back that made them the best in the world!....The triumph of the masters!” continues the paper before declaring victory on Saturday in their editorial.
“Spain has everything. A beatable opponent but one we’ll have to be careful of in Paraguay and on top of everything else, a group of wonderful footballers capable of amazing the whole world.”
AS are just as nuts in their assessment of the 1-0 win against a team that barely bothered to attack with the paper happily going into stereotype mode with the headline “Bullfighters!”
“A good match, a good win and a good rival for the quarters,” smugs the paper’s editor Alfredo Relaño who puts Spain straight into a possible semi-final clash against Germany or Argentina where LLL expects La Selección to get their a**es handed to them unless they improve across the board over the next week.
Deeper inside the paper the wonderfully mad Tomás Roncero, who has been let loose in South Africa, writes that Spain has got back “its lyrics, its music, its prose, its verse, its tiki, its taka, its possession, its obsession...”
Even Luis Aragonés, who has been poking away at his former charges from the beginning of the tournament - as is his right Mr Marca Director, Eduardo Inda, who wrote a nasty, little editorial suggesting that the Euro 2008 winner “shuts up” - is a little chipper and notes that “the Spain we want to see was in the second half.
”How to deal with Cristiano Ronaldo’s - ahem - display in the Spain clash has left both Madridista papers in a bit of quandary. AS are less bent over Real Madrid’s spanking knee and so are happy to award the pouty-one zero points from three for his footballing stylings and snigger that he was “back to failing in a decisive game.”
Marca give him one point but did opine that the brave little Madrid soldier “walked alone with his eyes glazed and fury in his face.”
Ronaldo’s general hopelessness in the tournament gave Barcelona-based Sport a chance for a chuckle with Josep Maria Casanovas noting that the culé-for-life, product of La Masia and “great Barcelona signing, David Villa, had the Madrid star for breakfast in a spectacular manner before the eyes of the football world.”
But all the praise being thrown in Spain’s direction has got the blog genuinely thinking that it has lost the plot and has squashed its footballing compass.
Is it getting too old for this kind of (cough), as they say in Lethal Weapon?
Maybe La Furia Roja were back to their best? Maybe a final berth is in the bag?
Or maybe there are other voices in the wilderness who feel the same grumpy way as La Liga Loca?
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Game o' two 'alves
I think they played marginally better in the second half... I'm starting to realise what Del Bosque's problem is... that he needs two players to fill the gap Marcos Senna left, and he feels that is necessary against the top teams.
I think this brand of football is very much the way he played with Real Madrid, its less play the ball around the pitch, and more get on the score sheet... I don't know, he DID have Zidane and Ronaldo, (the Good one), when he tried that tactic last.
I'll be glad when the FCB players in the squad can go on holiday to recuperate before the new club season...
...the only problem with that is that since they make up most of the starting XI they'll have to lose to Paraguay.
Oh well, as long as my prediction of a Germany win against a Latin American nation in the final is correct then this World cup won't have been such a bore-fest full of hot-air TV commentators.
Spain doesn't look like a team capable of beating Germany or Argentina... it will be fun though watching Spain going against whoever makes it to the semifinals, just for the contrast in styles.
Spain weren't great,aside froma few flashes.Still don't see the point of Busquets(such an average player), and leaving Senna behind was a mistake as Javi Martinez is too inexperienced.Del Bosque should play Silva-Xabi Alonso-Xavi-Iniesta (from left to right) in midfield for the Paraguay game.
I don't get this general dislike for Busquets.. He was a rock out there, hardly put a foot wrong in the entire match and he even had his diving skills overshadowed by the classy Ronaldo..
And then people suggest playing Xabi out of position at DM when he has hardly been comfortable with the ball - notice how many times he had to lunge into a tackle to clear his own first touch yesterday? Recipe for disaster if you ask me..
Thankfully Capdevila rose out of his slumber and was found on the pitch yesterday. Maybe a few elbows before a match did the trick..
Oh, no no no...
Busquets is a winner, want him in any starting 11.
Ramos, Pique, Puyol, Capdevila
Torres, (Llorente?), Villa.
I like what Del Bosque is doing in the midfield, both Busquets and Xabi Alonso played very well and allowed the fullbacks to roam up the pitch while giving Xavi support and quickly recovering lost balls in the midfield. The manager should continue with the same game plan, perhaps starting with Llorente against Paraguay and allowing Torres to get some minutes at the end. If Spain are able to get a two goal lead taking off Villa for Silva or Navas would be a good idea.
It just feels like they're all banged up after a rough season. We'll see what happens on Saturday. Keeping Torres on the bench seems pretty obvious at this point at least. Thank-god everyone on the squad has great quality so that we don't have to depend on one lone guy to be amazing.
I've thought Spain were slowly but surely improving their game since the Swiss. Chile was a big boost in that Spain held a clean sheet in the first half despite a relentless attack and pressing defense. Their win against Portugal was actually a good game with Spain making chances and the squad showing more understanding. del Bosque throwing Llorente out there to replace Torres was actually brilliant, since Torres is still a little dull on the edges. But, Villa, man he's a razor at the moment. Sure, 4-2-3-1 may be more defensive in nature, but this way we get two holding midfielders and one of them is Xabi who's good with passing the ball.
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If Dunga is comfortable playing both Melo and G.Silva in central midfield instead of just one of them, then why cant Spain play a 2 man dm pivot?
I'm going back on what I initially said about xabi and busquets not being able to combine. The problem at the moment, is dare I say it, Xavi! To me Xavi was dropping way too deep. If he accepts that xabi and busquets are covering his arrse succesfully then he should get much further forward to possibly an attacking mid position. If he doesnt want to do that then play Cesc instead. Ouch.
I understand that xavi is apparently the heart of this midfield, but if he wants to squat around in the centre circle then the rest of the attack will be isolated unless the whole team is pushing forward.
Giovanni, you may be right about Xavi, come to think about it. If their goal against Portugal is any indication, hopefully Mr. Hernandez has realized his rearward worries are contrary, and we'll see him remaining further up the pitch against Paraguay.
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Xavi drops back only because Alonso doesn't fit the rythm of Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta midfield. Xavi passes short and goes around for a return, Alonso hits it long. Del Bosque was handed the midfield that annihilated Manchester United (and plays almost whole season together)... and he tore it apart. Just remember Iniesta dropping middle from the right wing to make up for Alonso's uncreativity
I just don't know what Xabi is for. The defensive bonus isn't a good tradeoff for the clear lack of fluidity.
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