Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Greece 0 v 2 Argentina

My heart sank when I saw Greece's line-up and realised Rehhagel had chosen only one attacking player – Samaras – which seemed to indicate that the German was more interested in stopping Argentina going forward than exploiting their weak defence. However, the tactic nearly paid off, with the boys (particularly Papastathopoulos) putting up an outstanding 2004-esque defensive display, but it wasn't enough. We were unlucky with the enforced substitutions – which not only meant we lost two of our better players, Torosidis and Katsouranis, but also that Rehhagel couldn't bring on more attacking options after the Argentineans went ahead. Ninis looked out of his depth. Ultimately, however, our downfall wasn't in this match against Argentina, but in the game with South Korea, where Rehhagel made some poor selections and the team played badly. Nevertheless, tonight's heroic performance and the victory over Nigeria means the boys can go home with their heads held high.


lastgreek said...

The Sultan never underestimated his opponents. He knew that if he were to take the city he must first wear down its defenders, attacking in wave after wave, allowing them no rest-

For nearly two hours, the barbarians hurled themselves against the Greek defense. . . .

PS: John Julius Norwich Byzantium: The Decline and Fall

John Akritas said...
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lastgreek said...
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lastgreek said...

A very interesting article by Harry Browne, lecturer in the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology, titled "Workers and Players." Here are some excerpts:

"France’s dishonor is complete,” said one newspaper headline. A thousand other headlines across France and the world said something similar. So why do I, as an Irish fan carrying seven months of ill-will toward the French for the way they qualified, feel so hollow inside?

For one there’s the creepily medieval evocation of ‘dishonor’. There’s the hysterical nationalism implicit and explicit in the outcry, with politicians from Sarkozy on (further) down getting involved. And finally there is the nature of the sin that brought the French debacle to its ignominious conclusion: not so much poor performances, as the fact that players stood up to management and showed solidarity and collective purpose when a comrade was victimized by that management.

This World Cup marks the first one for which FIFA has made payments directly to players’ clubs to compensate them for the time spent at the tournament. For many club fans this seems fair enough -- if we’re lucky enough to have top international players at our clubs, we know how costly World Cup fatigue will probably be for our teams’ performance next season. However, it underlines the fact that, highly paid though they may be, footballers are wage-slaves, effectively owned by the club to which they are contracted during the season.

In a twist on theatrical tradition, the French tragedy has been accompanied by an English farce. First ex-captain John Terry promised in a press conference that the England players were planning a clear-the-air meeting with their tough Italian manager, Fabio Capello. Then Terry’s colleagues revealed that, uh, no we weren’t, sorry for the misunderstanding there boss.

There is even a bedroom element to the farce, with players hinting that they’re getting horny in the “five-star prison” from which their wives and girlfriends are barred. Capello, with his halting English, plays the all-too-familiar role of the jumped-up Johnny Foreigner, stealing a muscular Schwarzenegger tagline to call Terry’s intervention a “big mistake”. Of course, at the first sign of success for the team, the myth of the strong manager returns with a vengeance.

Here's the link to the rest of the article: