Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Derby match

So many players in the Swedish side have played in the Englsish and Scottish leagues that todays game will have the feel of a local clash about it. From our very own Fred, to Linderoth and Everton, to Alexandersson and Sheffield Wednesday, its a practically a Premiership game. The players will be accustomed to the tempo that we try (and usually fail) to impose on a game and both temas play similar solid styles with one of two flair players and I'm not convinced this bland approach will take either team past the quarter finals.

One interesting point is that since we will know the German score by kick off; will we purposefully try and avoid them by going hell for leather or allowing a loss? Whilst the media would never forgive this, along with the IN-GERLAND van drivers, surely its just a more extreme version of resting players for the second round? If it means we get Ecuador then I'm all for it.

I can't see this being a particularly open game, rested players and the similar styles will make sure of that. Ibrahimovic is out for them, but when I've seen him play at Ajaz, Juve or international level, I've never seen him live up to the hype bar 1 hooked goal (against Italy I think) in Euro 2004.

This gives Rooney and Owen a chance to gel and recover fitness and allows the Canuck/Kraut/Taff of Hargreaves to finally get a full 90 minutes. Win or lose, at some point we'll have to play a team far better than the Germans if we get to the quarters so maybe so much shouldn't be read into the 1st or 2nd place finish. And as for Frank the Tank, if he plays he gets a game to recover form and if he gets booked, it means we can play a more defensive midfielder next and a more advanced Gerrard, which if not in this tournament, is surely the way forward.

I'm intrigued about Hargreaves, but as my esteemed beer swilling arm chair overlord of the World Cup mate noted; can we expect much of Rooney if he is short of fitness and isn't the most naturally athletic player we have anyway? We then remembered the last time we slagged him off before he single handed spanked Boro in the FA Cup with a few awesome goals! TOnight is a 1-1 or a 1-0 to England for me.

Enjoy tonight; its the only World Cup game where the result doesn't matter!!

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