Sunday, June 25, 2006

England’s World Cup Dilemma

This is what will happen if you bring too less strikers to Germany, Sven. England started the tournament with 4 strikers, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Peter Crouch and Theo Walcott. The effect of bringing too less strikers shows when England was having their first match. England strikers were unable to score against Paraguay. Michael Owen and Peter Crouch were playing terrible football. In the second match against Trinidad & Tobago, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch were once again playing terrible football. Only after Wayne Rooney came in, they play better football. In the match against Sweden, England strikers were unable to score too. What when wrong for England?

Peter Crouch is too tall and clumsy to become a forward. He’s terrible in handling the ball and always loses possession. His goalscoring record is bad. He’s able to score against Trinidad & Tobago after missing 100 of chances. He misses and scores one. Even the commentator said that it is likely that the ball hit his head and entered the goal instead of Crouch headed the ball in. On the other hand, Michael Owen got himself injured and will miss the entire tournament. He will not be taking further parts in the England World Cup team. He played in the first and second match but I didn’t even realize that he exists in the match. He barely touched the ball and had a few chances. He’s been playing way below par. Wayne Rooney is back from injury and is England only hope. He yet scores a goal but we expect more from him. He is strong and fast and that’s what makes him a good player. But with his injury, he may not be playing as well as he used to. Let’s hope he gets some goals banging. Theo Walcott is too young and will only play as a substitute. He’s just a backup player and we don’t know we what to expect from him. I heard that he’s good but is he good enough for the World Cup? Let’s hope he plays well in the World Cup… Where is Darren Bent? Where is Jermain Defoe when we need him? Sven, this is what will happened if you didn’t bring enough strikers.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dejected Koreans and Czechs

It is pitiful to see both of these teams crashed out of the World Cup. The South Koreans had two great matches and needed a win against Switzerland to enter the second round. Previously, they had beaten Togo and drew with France. In the match against Switzerland, they played dreadfully. Their defences were very clumsy. It is clear that their tactics wasn’t really working. They were playing long crosses upfront and the strikers were unable to head the ball because of tight marking by the Switzerland. They were not playing fast enough to zip pass the defence of the Swiss team. And it is clear that luck wasn’t on their side in that match. They had so many missed chances and it’s too bad that they were unable to score. The game ended 2-0 to Switzerland. Senderos scored the first goal for the Swiss team by a header. No Koreans are aware of the freekick cross and they paid the price. Frei scored the second goal for Switzerland. The Koreans thought he was offside but the referee said that the ball was kicked to Frei by a Korean player. You just got to pity them because they had just let in a suicide goal. But it’s not everything bad about the Koreans. The goalkeeper, Lee Woon-Jae was brilliant. Park Ji-Sung and Lee Chun-Soo were playing well too. It’s just that luck was not on their side.

I thought the Czechs will be a challenger for the World Cup. We must remember that Czech Republic is no.2 in the FIFA World Ranking. They played superbly in the Euro 2004 and were in the semi-finals. They had Petr Cech, one of the best goalkeepers in the world. But what when wrong? They played their first game very well. They killed off the Americans in the first game. But after the match, they lost all their top strikers as Jan Koller and Milan Baros were injured. In the second match, they were unable to find the net and Ghana were the better side. They lost 2-0. In a must-win game against Italy, they were unable to find the net again although Milan Baros played. The Italians send them home after winning them 2-0.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Red Devils of the East

South Korea might be the strongest Asian nation in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Their past records in the World Cup is strong as they were one of the semi-finalist 4 years ago. But anyway, some said that they are not as strong as they use to be. Actually it is quite true. So, the question is, will they be able to repeat or maybe improve what they had done in their homeland 4 years ago?

They were drawn into the same group as France and Switzerland. The other nation in the group is Togo. They had a chance as they had beaten Togo and France drew with Switzerland. Maybe they could get a draw game against France and win against Switzerland. You might not know whether they could repeat their wonderful record against big giant in the World Cup. They had beaten Portugal, Italy and Spain to advance into the semi-finals 4 years ago. I really hope they could repeat that again. That will add some spice to the wonderful game showing the world that an Asian nation is able to compete in world stage.

The Red Devils of the East are privilege to have a wonderful midfielder who is playing club football for the Red Devils of the West. Yes, I'm talking about Park Ji-Sung. This player catched the eye of Manchester United after his brilliant contribution for PSV in the European Champions League. The Man Utd player is full of energy and have great work rate. How about a player who got sacked by his Italian club because he scored a winning goal for South Korean against Italy in the World Cup 4 years ago? I'm talking about Ahn Jung-Hwan. It's is dumb and sad to know the reason why he was sacked from his old club Perugia. What Perugia had done was that they had shown the dark side of the game. Ahn is a great goalscorer for South Korea but he's still struggling in Europe. Currently, he's in a French club called Metz.

Another Korean player to watch is Lee Chun-Soo. Forget about his fancy hairstyle, he a one of the best playmaker South Korea had ever had. His goal against Togo shown us how a great dead ball shooter he is. His freekicks are deadly as Beckham's. The Korean fans are great. A lot of them appeared in the South Korea-Togo match. The supports are greatly needed and hope that it will infruences their game.

Japan is another Asian team but I don't think they will be able to reached the second round as they are in a very tough group so South Korea is my favour in the World Cup. South Korea, the Asians are chanting for you!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The First Battle

The first match of the FIFA World Cup tournament is Germany vs. Costa Rica. In my opinion, this game is a bit boring just because Germany dominated the game. The final score is Germany 4 Costa Rica 2. Even though it’s a high scoring game, I think this game is a one way battle and no matter what, Germany will not lose this game. The problem with Germany is they are simply unpredictable. Sometimes you think that the team is too youthful and inexperienced but the outcome is that they are still able to beat every single team that they are facing. It happened 4 years ago. Who would predict that they would reach the final in Japan/South Korea? Can they do it again? Seriously, I don’t think so.

Germany opened up the match in the 6th minute with a goal by left-back, Philipp Lahm. He’s phenomenon and he’s showed everyone what a defender can really do. He gets the ball and he tricked pass two defenders. He lifted up his head and marked his target. He shot and it’s a goal. It’s a true class goal. Later in the 12th minute, Costa Rica pulled back and leveled up the score with a goal by Paulo Wanchope. The German defence is terrible. All of them were standing so near the middle line when Costa Rica was having the ball. Costa Rica sneaked the ball passed two centrebacks to Paulo Wanchope. Some claimed that he was offside but I think he was kept inside by the right-back, Friedrich. He got the ball and it’s one on one against the keeper. He calmly shot the ball pass the keeper giving him no chance to save it. Miroslav Klose later scored a birthday goal. The ball is crossed on the right side by Bastian Schweinsteiger (I think). Miroslav Klose who was in the far corner stretched to tap in the ball pass the keeper, Porras. In the second half, Germany hit more goals as Miroslav Klose scored his second goal. He made a shot from inside the box and the ball was rebounded. Klose’s reaction was much faster as he picked his ball and shot it passed the keeper with no mercy. The second goal by Costa Rica was just stupid. It is a defensive error again. A Costa Rican (whoever he is) sneaked the ball through two German centrebacks to Paulo Wanchope. I think he was offside this time but the linesman didn’t rise up the flag. He shot the ball pass poor Lehmann who didn’t believe this was happening. The last goal from Germany was simply superb. It is such a true class goal that it may become the goal of the tournament. A freekick from the left side was give in the 87th minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger passed the ball to the middle. Torsten Frings who was about 30 meters away from goal kicked the ball ferociously to the goalmouth. The keeper had no chance. The ball flew pass him and it’s a fourth goal for Germany. The goal is so beautiful that if you watch it again and again, you will no gets bored with it.

Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Torsten Frings, Miroslav Klose, Bernd Schneider had the game of their life. Friedrich, Mertesacker and Metzelder were playing disastrously. Paulo Wanchope was playing some sneaky football. Costa Rica will struggle all the way throughout the competition if they continued playing like that.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Road To Germany

The FIFA World Cup starts today and 32 nations will be competing for the grand prize, the World Cup. Germany will be the host of the World Cup this year. The World Cup qualifiers are (in Group A) Germany, Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador, (in Group B), England, Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, (in Group C), Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro and Netherlands, (in Group D), Mexico, Iran, Angola and Portugal, (in Group E), Italy, Ghana, USA and Czech Republic, (in Group F), Brazil, Croatia, Australia and Japan, (in Group G), France, Switzerland, South Korea and Togo (and in Group H), Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Germany will be the hot favourites to win group A and the World Cup as they get the extra edge of playing in home grounds. They are probably the most successful European nation in the World Cup with three world titles to their name. With their previous World Cup record of reaching the final six times in the last 10 tournaments and winning the big prize 3 times speaks for itself. However, Germany will be putting faith in youngsters this time as a young and inexperienced team was picked. Jens Lehmann was promoted to the first eleven from the bench replacing Oliver Kahn. This will probably be their last World Cup. Michael Ballack will be the key player of Germany as he’s one of the best midfielder in the world as he will be holding on the squad members who are inexperienced and untested. In the defence, former Chelsea player, Robert Huth and several young defenders will be display while Miloslav Klose and Oliver Neuville will be in the attack. Players to watch are energetic Bastian Schweinsteiger and promising goal scorer Lukas Podolski (who score 10 times in 20 international appearances).

Expectations are high as England may get the chance to lift the World Cup again. They actually have the best squad this time to win the World Cup. In the defence, Paul Robinson will be in front of the goal while Gary Neville, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole will be defending the goal. In the bench, Wayne Bridge, Jamie Carragher, Sol Campbell, David James and Scott Carson (international under-21 keeper) will be waiting for a chance to play. So, England probably had the one of the best defence of the tournament. Captain, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole will be the most possible line-up in midfield. Reserve midfielders include promising Aaron Lennon, Michael Carrick, Jermaine Jenas, Owen Hargreaves and talented Stewart Downing. The midfield squad consists of both experience and young players. In the attack, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Peter Crouch and young Theo Walcott will be hitting on the opponents’ goal. Wayne Rooney is currently recovering from injury and Sven will most probably field Owen and Crouch up-front. Sven choice of choosing uncapped Theo Walcott (who hasn’t played a competitive match for his club, Arsenal yet) instead of Jermaine Defoe was confusing. Why choose an untested striker instead of a top England striker? England’s forward are not in good shape. Wayne Rooney is still recovering from injury and is likely to miss the group matches. Michael Owen just recovered from an injury and had not played for some time. Peter Crouch’s goal scoring record in Liverpool is disappointing and I think Gerrard as a midfielder score more goals than him. Theo Walcott is promising but inexperienced and untested. But no matter what, they had the best chance to lift the cup this year. Players to watch are Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Steven Gerrard.

Argentina will also be one of the favourites to lift the cup this time. The 2-times winner are back with a better squad after a shocked exit in the early stage 4 years ago. Manchester United player Gabriel Heinze is back from injury and will be a key player in the defence. In midfield, Juan Riquelme is the man that the team counts on as he had superb visions and outstanding passing ability. In up-front, Chelsea’s Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola are vital as they are the ones to count on to score goals for Argentina. Promising young forwards, Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez will be supporting Crespo and Saviola. Players to watch are Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez.

The Dutch team looks back to their best as they will try to erase the horror of not even qualified for the World Cup 4 years ago. The Netherlands came back stronger than ever and will try to beat the jinx of falling apart in the final. The 2-time first runners-up are in Germany to try to their limits to lift the cup. Their team squad is pretty strong this time. Manchester United goalkeeper, Edwin van der Sar will be their goalkeeper for the Dutch team and in the defence, Giovanni van Bronckhorst will play a vital role. Mark van Bommel will be the key defensive midfielder while Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder will lead the attack from the midfield. Ruud van Nistelrooy (known as the scoring machine) and Rafael van der Vaart will be hitting on the opponent’s goal for Holland. Captain Philip Cocu will be providing the anchor for this team. Players to watch are Arjen Robben, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Rafael van der Vaart.

Portugal have perhaps their best chance of challenging for the World Cup. The likes of Rui Costa, Joao Pinto and Jorge Costa have now been replaced. Youngsters such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Tiago and Deco make Portugal’s future looks bright. With inspirational veteran Luis Figo in the team, I am ready to see how far this team can go. In the defence, Chelsea duo Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho and behind them Ricardo as the goalkeeper will make sure no nonsense is made. In midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo’s fancy footworks and speed will be every defender’s nightmare. With Barcelona’s Deco and Inter’s Luis Figo they make a perfect attacking squad. In up-front, Pauleta smashing goal ability makes him top scorer in the European World Cup qualifications. Players to watch are Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Three-time champion, Italy are back to overcome the shock defeat to South Korea in the World Cup 4 years ago. The Azzurri are looking forward to win their fourth World Cup. I don’t know how far Italy can go this year. The team is filled with mostly newbies and only a few experience players are in the team. In front of the goal stand Gianluigi Buffon as usual while Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta will be holding back the defence. In the midfield, no nonsense Gennaro Gattuso and Daniele De Rossi are key midfielders and Alberto Gilardino and Luca Toni are playing up-front. Established players in the team include Francesco Totti, Gianluca Zambrotta and Filippo Inzaghi. Players to watch in this team are Alberto Gilardino and Luca Toni.

Czech Republic are making their debut in the World Cup as an individual team after splitting up from Slovakia some time ago. Believe me, they are strong than ever. 2 years ago, they prove everyone wrong and entered the semi-final of the European Championship. The Czechs are one of my pick to perform well in the World Cup or maybe win it. Chelsea’s Petr Cech is known as one of the best goalkeepers in the world will be stopping shots for Czech Republic. New Arsenal player, Tomas Rosicky will be playing an attacking role in the midfield and he’s good. Liverpool’s Vladimir Smicer is also in the team playing in the midfield. Their most established player is most probably Pavel Nedved who plays for Juventus in Italy. His awesome display of football had lead Juventus to success. Veteran Jan Koller will be playing up-front for the Czech team with most probably Aston Villa star, Milan Baros. Players to watch are Petr Cech, Milan Baros, Pavel Nedved and Tomas Rosicky.

Brazil are back with samba style to defend their title. Any team that can beat Brazil are good enough to win the World Cup. They are most probably known to be unbeatable in such a big tournament like this. The 5-time champion are looking forward to add another star to their jersey in Germany. Brazil are good in every area. They are incredible in the attack and are as hard as steel in the defence. AC Milan keeper Dida will be their keeper and he is helped by Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Cicinho and Lucio in the defence. In the midfield, Emerson, Kaka, Juninho Pernambucano, Ronaldinho and Gilberto Silva are well established players and will be holding on the midfield. The Brazillian forwards are everyone’s nightmare. With Ronaldo, Robinho and Adriano in the team, defenders of the opponent team will face a very tough job. Players to watch in this team are World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho, AC Milan star, Kaka, Inter Milan striker, Adriano and freekick specialist, Juninho Pernambucano.

The French team are back now to redeem themselves after their early surprise exit 4 years ago. The 1998 World Cup winner are back to prove that they are still one of the best nation in football. Either Mikael Landreau or Fabien Barthez will be their first eleven goalstopper. Eric Abidal, William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre, Lilian Thuram, Willy Sagnol and Pascal Chimbonda (from Wigan and is one of the best defender in EPL this season) will be helping the keeper in the defence. Patrick Viera, Claude Makelele, Frank Ribery (hailed as the new Zidane of France), Zinedine Zidane will be playing alongside in the midfield. Liverpool’s Djibril Cisse is unlucky to face an injury and is replace by Sidney Govou. Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Louis Saha will be hitting on the goals for France. Players to watch include Frank Ribery, Louis Saha and Pascal Chimbonda (if they get the chance to play).

Will this be the year of Spain? They had never won the World Cup or entered the semi-finals even though they are one of the strongest nation in football. The Spanish line-up is pretty interesting. As usual Iker Casillas of Real Madrid will be defending the goalmouth. Carlos Puyol, Michel Salgado and Carlos Marchena are playing in defence. Luis Garcia, Xabi Alonso, Joaquin, Francesc Fabregas and Xavi will playing in midfield position. In up-front, Raul, Fernando Torres and Jose Antonio Reyes will be hitting goals for Spain. Players to watch are Fernando Torres, Francesc Fabregas and Joaquin

Other players to watch from other nations are Park Ji-Sung and Lee Young Pyo from South Korea, Andrei Shevchenko from Ukraine, Pillippe Senderos from Switzerland, Tim Cahill from Australia, Shunsuke Nakamura from Japan, Dado Prso from Croatia, Landon Donovan from USA, Michael Essien from Ghana, Mateja Kezman from Serbia & Montenegro, Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure from Ivory Coast, Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Sweden, Roque Santa Cruz from Paraguay and Gregorz Rasiak from Poland.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

X-Men 3 Posted by Picasa

The Last Stand

The final X-Men movie, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand is probably about the fall of the mutants. In the story, humans have found and developed a ‘cure’ for the mutants who wish to be normal. But some mutants protested and say that their powers are gifts and not a disease. As usual, the mutants are splited into two communities; the X-Men (who wanted peace with the humans) and the Brotherhood of Mutants (who wanted a war on humans).

This movie is enjoyable but I’m quite disappointed because too many heroes died. I wasn’t saying that this movie is bad. The sound and visual effects are great but just that the plot of the story is not satisfying. I thought Cyclops or Scott Summer is one of the main characters in this movie but he died too early. And what is so sad is that he is killed by Jean Grey. Other than that, Professor X also died after trying to convince Jean Grey to return to X-Men. I think he’s more powerful than that and it’s a waste that he died so early. Jean Grey’ power is probably uncontrollable after she was assume to be dead in X2. Her power is taking control of her and Magneto is taking advantage of that.

Rogue gives up her powers by taking the mutant "cure" but as we see at the end there is some indication that this cure may not be permanent. And that's why she's back at the school again in the end of the show. Cyclops and Rogue are part of the elite group and it’s too bad that they are not in the final showdown. Actually, I like Gambit a lot but I think the character is not in the movie because his power is not big enough. In my opinion, X-Men will be only nice to watch when the five elite X-Men who are Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Rogue, and Jean Grey are present.

My favourite character in this movie is probably Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat).Her ability of going through walls fascinates me. Kitty possesses "phasing" abilities: She can pass through solid objects and can allow objects to pass through her (or other people that she is in contact with.). In this movie, a few new characters are introduces such as Archangel, Leech, Juggernaut and so on. Fiery battle in the ending of the movie between humans (with plastic weapons), X-Men (Storm, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine, Iceman, Beast and Colussus) against the brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Juggernaut, Pyro, Callisto, Arclight, Psylocke and Kid Omega) . Magneto is stab with multiple cure darts, rendering him human. In a park, Magneto, now simply an ordinary man, sits alone at a chessboard, looking tired and despondent. He reaches out, tentatively, holding his hand over a metal chess piece. It trembles slightly. It's an indication that the 'cure' is not permanent. The movie is totally different from the story from the comic as I found out in Wikipedia. I pretty much prefer the movie version.