World Cup 2002 : LUSENET : Ajax USA : One Thread

This is the place to discuss the performances of Ajax players during the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. For Ajacieden John O'Brien (United States), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Pius Ikedia (Nigeria), Hatem Trabelsi (Tunisia) and Steven Pienaar (South-Africa), the Big Adventure is about to begin. On Friday, the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South-Korea kicks off. The special World Cup 2002 discussion thread in the Ajax USA discussion forum is your place to be from 31 May to 30 June. Discuss the performances of Ajax and former Ajax players here.

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2002


fuck you all you're all retards. what do you think your some kind of fortune teller or something

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2002

Is John O'Brien going to be playing the MLS All-Star game August 3rd?? I was just wondering because it said the U.S. National team will be playing but I know he'll be playing with Ajax. Anyone know? thanks!

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2002


No idea re Clarence. As far as Holland's Euro qualifier group, the Czech Republic is clearly the toughest opponent. If you'll recall, they outplayed the Oranje at Euro 2000 and only lost due to a weak penalty call. I still think the Oranje are better but the squad needs to take every game seriously. Hopefully, the failure to qualify for the WC was a big wake-up call.

Austria are weak, Holland should win easily in Holland and I would expect a win in Austria (a draw at worst). But the Oranje need to take them seriously nonetheless.

-- Anonymous, July 03, 2002

Thanks Bill.

Albeit it doesn't seem to be impossible to qualify in that group,I think that Austria and Czech Republic are sort of "pain in the ass" teams (more isarel and cyprus if you want my opinion.....)

Damn let's qualify guys !!!

Edgar Davids is now a Roma player....Hope he'll get well there.

Anyone knows where Clarence Seedorf will play next year ?? Is the catalan rumor true ???

Thank you and bye.

-- Anonymous, July 03, 2002

Morning Betrand

The Euro 2004 group consists of Holland, Czech Republic, Moldova, Belarus, and Austria.

Information on Oranje can be found, in English, on the official KNVB web-site.

-- Anonymous, July 03, 2002

I don't think the world cup was weak, just because so many big teams had early exits. I thought it was exciting. I was thinking, i can't wait for the first world cup game, Senegal vs. France. And then Senegal wins, and i am thinking what just happened?? who are these guys? The upsets and early exits made it more interesting for me, but then again, it wasn't my team going home. And there was still some good soccer played.

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2002

It made me laugh when I was reading a website from the beginning of the W.C. and some guy said he didn't care who won as along as it wasn't Germany or Brazil. How weird...or what crappy luck. Anyways, I was happy for Brazil partly because I've always been a huge Ronaldo fan since I was 6, and after the last World Cup in France, I'm glad he scored 2 goals in the final game. Anyways, after waking up for all World Cup games pretty much, I was just wondering if it's easy to see games in Europe in the U.S. I need some soccer to watch, everybody says watch MLS, but in my opinion MLS is not the greatest soccer, just an opinion. So if anyone can help me or just tell me where I could find some info on how to see games in the U.S. on'd be greatly appreciated. Well, I must be going. Bye for now. -Kelly

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2002

What is the oranje qualification group for the portuguese Euro 2004 ?? What we can get here in france is just the french one (which with israel, cyprus, malta and friends seems to be the hardest ever seen.........)

I really hope that they will go further to the final tournament.... I wanna see 'em play...i wanna see my Ruudz, Patrickz, Royz, Markz, Clarencez....gulp !! Can't wait to see what's gonna happen !!!!

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2002

I read comments from the great Johan Cruyff about his views on the recent World Cup, were he states that the tournament was a disaster, (I agree about this) and that the winners Brazil played anti- football. JC is quoted as saying the Brazil's victory was due to mistakes by Germany and not good team play. The difference was Brazil had the 2 best players Rivaldo and Ronaldo according to Johan. He goes on to say that he hopes and prays that Holland never plays in this fashion. Again I agree.

I thought all along that the tournament was weak after seeing the big sides crash out. Regardless of the circumstances FIFA & UEFA need to act on getting a world calendar together so "burnout" or whatever does not happen. This WC was flawed no doubt about it. Seedings must be accurate, better refs, and linesman, (Please learn that even is on not off!) are a must also.

Still I cannot say that there was one high quality match, and for me this is hard to believe. Oh well the cup is over until another 4 years, and for that I say Thank God. Holland could have made some noise but they somehow blew it.


-- Anonymous, July 02, 2002

So, Brazil... Kind of an anti-climax, I must say. We already knew it was gonna be an anti-climax before the final. A spectacular tournament, with a very 'ordinary' final, between two teams that definitely were not the best.

I didn't even watch the final. I was at this outdoor rock festival in The Hague.

There's nothing 'Brazilian' about this Brazilian team. I don't like their play. They didn't impress me at all, thoughout the tournament. Same goes for Germany.

Spain would have deserved it, but they went out thanks to some idiot holding a flag in his hand. Brazil could have been eliminated but Belgium's goal was disallowed because of some some idiot from the same category.

It was great to see Korea and Turkey thank the crowd, by the way. Those countries made this tournament enjoyable. Brazil and Germany surely didn't.

-- Anonymous, July 01, 2002


My prediction was a 1-0 win for argentina over the Italians.

-- Anonymous, June 30, 2002

Hmm. I'm really not sure about the result of the final game. Im thinking maybe Brazil 1 and Germany 0. I'm thinking possibly an early goal and then they defend. But who knows...I'm probably completely wrong.

Now that the World Cup is almost to an end..what teams were everybody's favorites for winning.or just your favorite teams??

U.S., Ireland, England, and Brazil were mine ---Later on in the W.C. I started to like Germany and Spain. But my fav four teams were the ones listed above.

Ok, well bye for now! -Kelly

-- Anonymous, June 30, 2002

LOL Ray - who knows you could well be right.

Would recommend to you the conspiracy theory piece posted onto Ajax- Mania English forum.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2002

My prediction....

Nil-nil at regulation. Then Collina awards a controversial penalty to Brasil in extra time. Rivaldo the jester takes the shot, a powerful one at that......Whack ! The ball is miraculously blocked by kahn, the ball jetted off his gloves and right up against the cross bar, bounces down right on the goal line, then back up and against the underneath of the cross bar...back and forth....and then, incredibly, the ball explodes right in front of Kahn's face and temporarily blinds him! Meanwhile, everyone in the stadia, including the players, were stunned with the motion of the ball and the explosion. The players just stood there in awe of the bizzare event. Pieces of the exploded ball fell behind the goal line; and on that merit, Collina decides to award the winning goal to Brasil. so, Brasil wins the world cup !

Much to the dismay of the DFB, who went for a lawsuit and eventually won millions of DM against Adidas, the ballmaker.

But not to be outdone, the Italians pursued the courts against FIFA & the WC organising committee against conspiracy theories and ....won the case in the Hague's world court !

So the footballing world is in total turmoil. The decision now lies whether to replay the ITA-KOR match or strip the Brasilians and give the trophy directly to the much-suffered Azzuris.

But the Spaniards still do have a plan that might foil everyone's expectations........

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2002

OK its prediction time for the final. For what it is worth I believe that Germany will score first, but the Ronnie Biggs boys will come back in the second half to win 2-1. Anybody that knows me and my predictions, now will realise that a German win is a cert ;-(

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2002


I agree, 3rd place games are a waste of time (Holland played in first gear in the 1998 3rd place game). They're pointless. If they keep them the winner should qualify automatically for the next WC (as should the finalists). It will never happen though, Blatter needs the votes from the non European/Latin American football federations to stay in power, and doing this would reduce the spots for these continents in the finals (this year being a potentially rare exception with S. Korea in with a shot).

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

So I guess it's Brazil/Germany. I think Brazil's going to win it. As long as Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Rinaldinho(sp..i didn't feel like checking how to spell his name)play as well as they have been the whole W.C. Also, Cafu and Roberto Carlos play a good game I think it will be Brazil who wins. I feel bad for Ballack though, poor guy he's scored the two goals to make Germany advance this far and can't play the biggest game of his life, but I guess the foul was needed. Without Ballack I think that Kahn, Neuville, and Frings need to have a good game. I don't think I'm going to wake up for the Korea/Turkey game. I don't know for some reason I just don't feel like watching that one. I've watched every game since round 16 started and I think this is going to be the first one I miss. Unless someone convinces me otherwise to watch the game, I'm going to get more than 4 hours of sleep in a long time. Bye for now! -Kelly

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2002

I have no idea Rudy - but would suggest, as a lot of the WC has been a bit of a joke and FIFA live in fantasy land, that I wouldnt be surprised if they utilised the Cinderella Theory ;-)

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2002

Quick question chaps....

If two or more players are tied for the "Golden Boot" at the end of the WC do they share it?

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2002

Sorry about this but the one good thing about Spain's departure is that we will no longer get the wonderful sight of Camacho's sweaty armpits. My God, this man is in terrible need of a deodorant contract or something soon!

Let's be honest Spain was really screwed here. Poor Jaoquin misses the penalty after having a very strong match. I loved his hard running at defenders. At least the Dutch have another Semi-Finalist in coach Guus Hiddink. It will also be interesting to see if he returns to hated PSV.

Shit Germany and Shit Brazil to meet in the Final of a rather poor World Cup.


-- Anonymous, June 24, 2002

I agree. I hope the refs will not play a big part in the semi-finals. I think I'm going to stay up for the Germany/Korea game. I'm hoping it will be a good game, but I want Germany to win. Soon we'll see. Bye for now.

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2002

The refs are horrible in the WC.But teams must not blame the refs because they suck(f.e. Italy,Argentina e.t.c.)...Anyway,congratulations USA!!!Senegal is out(in the last match they sucked big time),and Turkey to the semifinals(are we fucking kidding????)...

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2002

It is so easy to blame the refs in competitions. The game has quickened considerably over the years and the ref has to rely more and more on the lino. The lino is equally important as he sees events from a different angle and as such can see things that the ref hasnt a hope in hell of seeing through a ruck of players. The standards of the lino's are incredibly bad as witnessed by the majority of games at the ArenA. If analysed their percentage of poor to good decisions in a game would I bet be a lot higher than the refs. These refs/linos are meant to be the creme de la creme and as such just think what would have happened if refs that belong to the Stevie Wonder School had been officiating. These problems have been going on for many a year (our dear friends the Krauts would probably point to 1966) and I for one cannot see any way of improving the situation without destroying the flow of the game.

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2002

Menno, You have a couple of your facts confused. JOB's handball was against Mexico and officiated by Melo Perreria from Portugal. The USA handball against Germany was committed by Frings and Mr. Dallas from Scotland was in charge of this match. Although both refs are obviously European.

The Frings handball may have been a harsh as he did not play the ball with his hand, but I could see someone giving a penalty and perhaps even sending him off as the offence happened on the goal-line.

Regarding Italy's claims against Croatia I think they have little to complain about on one call the other was a poor decision by the assistant referee and not Mr. Poll. I did not see the Russia Japan game done by Mr. Merk of Germany so I will take your word for it. The Dutch ref's effort in the Senegal-Uraguay game were rather poor from what I have read as he handed out cars like a blackjack dealer. The same could be said of Mr. Nieto of Spain in the Germany-Cameroon match. His perfromance was surely forgettable.

The Jamaican ref in the Brazil-Belgium game I consider to be a 3rd world, so no matter what he was poor too as you stated.

All I have to say is how about the poor job by the 3rd world refs for Spain-against Korea? A disgrace would be one of many negative words to associate that debacle.

Also I think I noted awhile ago that in most World Cups there is always many poor jobs by the referees. Its not easy for the refs from all over the globe as you and I have noted. I guess it just not the 3rd world guys.

By the way the guy you liked in the opening match from the UAE was the same man who took charge of the 98 Semi-Final between Holland- Brazil. The guy who did a horrible injustice to Van Hooijdonk and the Dutch by giving him yellow for diving when he was clearly pulled down in the box by a stupid Aldiar. After that game Guus Hiddink was heavily fined by FIFA for his post-match review of his handling of this match. How about 94 for Holland against the same the same Brazil this time in the Qfinal? Another 3rd world act with the bullshit offside rule blatantly not being applied not once but twice.

Sorry for the ranting but these 2 games are personal.

Anyway, I have read that FIFA are very unhappy with the refs especially those from 3rd world countries so they know things must change.

Oh well let's hope for 2 good semi's with no notice of the refs.



-- Anonymous, June 24, 2002

Interesting little fact: I remember Rich Savare writing that the referees from the Third World countries are simply not good enough. There's an interesting editorial about the refereeing in today's de Volkskrant. Below the article, the most remarkable mistakes are summed up. It's interesting to note that most of the biggest blunders were actually made by referees from the 'First World'.

Italy two goals against Croatia were disallowed by Mr Poll (England), Toda's jiu-jitsu kick against Russia was not seen by Mr Merk (Germany), Mr Wegereef (Holland) gave no less than three dubious penalties during Senegal vs Uruguay, Belgium's goal against Brazil was disallowed by Mr Prendergast (Jamaica) and John O'Brien's hand- ball against Germany was overlooked by Mr Dallas (Scotland).

Seems like it's not only the Africans and Asians who are screwing up... Prsonally, the best referee I've seen all tournament was from the United Arab Emirates (opening game Senegal vs France).

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2002

World Cup Editorial: USA Displayed World Class

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2002

I stayed up for the Spain game. It's really upsetting to see Spain totally dominate the whole game and lose at 4 in the morning. First off, I haven't been impressed by the officialing this World Cup. At the end of the game the ball was clearly still in, once again taking away a goal. All the offsides calls were close, I dunno if they truly were or not but a lot of calls were made that I wasn't impressed with. I actually don't want Korea. I dont mind Germany, Senegal, or Brazil to win. I think Korea has gotten too many lucky breaks. Their game against Portugal, got to play a man up. During the Italy game, once again play a man up for a bad call in sudden death. And then against Spain, some bad calls were made that could've affected the game. I'm not saying Korea doesn't deserve to make it this far, I just feel that they had it a little easier with calls going their way all througout the W.C. Well, I got to go to my cousins graduation. Goodbye.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2002

I hope South-Korea will win the World Cup, but well... it has to end some time, hasn't it? I don't expect them to beat Brazil (but did we expect them to beat Portugal, Italy and Spain...?)

Looking at the big ones, I really hoped France, Argentina and Portugal would lose. They did, which was nice. Then, I started rooting for the England and - to a lesser extent - Spain. But they're gone now.

You know what my 'fear' is? That this spectacularly surprising tournament will end with a very 'ordinary' final: Brazil vs Germany. In that case, I'll be supporting Germany. Which may sound weird for a Dutchie, cos they've always been our #1 enemies, but there is no German I hate so much as I hate Rivaldo and Robert 'Blah-blah-blah' Carlos. So er... (am I really saying this): viel Erfolg, Deutschland! (but not as long as Senegal and Korea are still in the race...)

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2002


Guus for world champion....I think he'll get the status of living god in Korea. Leading em to the semi is really a huge achievement (going to semi seems to be usual now for him, and his team will face BRAZIL like in 98).

Good luck to them they're so refreshing.

Can't wait to see what's goin' to happen....

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2002

Well, it really feels like the World Cup is over. I know that's crazy, but that's how it feels. My team, and my 'second' team, are both out. I don't much care one way or t'other where it goes from here. F*ck it, I'm rooting for Senegal. :-P

BTW, my hat goes off to Rudy, who's first post to this forum laid out a quite reasonable prediction for the final four. Shocking to think that none of those teams (Italy, Argentina, Portugal, France) came CLOSE to the final game. Who could've predicted that? Not me, and not Rudy.

Ah well, it's a bittersweet day. But the USA played a great tourney, and I'm extremely proud of them, and very confident for our future.

Bah. Heck with it. Bring on the 2002-2003 Season. Let's get a back-to- back Double, with a fine run through the Champions League to boot. Come on Ajax, Come on Ajax!!!

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Hey everyone-

Even though I'm only 14 years old, I've been watchin world cup since '94. This World Cup definitely has been a lot less predictable than the others. Going into this World Cup my favorite teams were U.S. because that's where I live, and then Brazil, Ireland, and England. Ireland gave a good fight this World Cup. Tough loss against Spain, but their P.K. were not what they needed to be. Brazil and England. I thought England would win after Brazil having to play one man down with about 30 mins left in the game. I think the final game will be Brazil vs. Germany.

Anyways, on the U.S. play. John O'Brien I think played amazing all throughout the W.C. The U.S. and all Ajax fans should be proud of his performances this W.C.

I got to go now, bye!

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Hello Everyone,

As I have followed the US national time very close now for about 15 years, I am so pissed of by the coach. Why didn't Areana start Stewart for Mastroeni and Beasly or/and Wolff on the left side. The partnership of Wolff and Mathis got us to this point over the last 3 years.

I just don't understand this guy sometimes, or maybe it's just me? But having sculped such a wonderful path (Poland not incl.) getting to this point, why not make thoses changes.

F--- !!!!!!

I know that Johnny O will read this when he gets home to LA. Stick your neck out brother!

Cya Dudes!!!


-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

What can be said after today's match? I think Oliver Kahn showed why he the World's # 1 keeper. Overall a great run by the USA.

Oh by the way, I read on one of the many soccer webpages that I read (Sorry cannot remember which one) that JOB is being pursued by Louis Van Gaal and Barca. I guess we will see as rumors and speculation within the transfer market will certainly start to heat up.



P.S. Love the anti-Italia stuff. For what it is worth, I think Totti got what he deserved as he is known to fall and thrown himself all over the place. The referee could have been closer to the play, but tough shit. You cheat it will cathc up with you.

Finally once again it must be said that the officiating has been a joke. Most of the 3rd world refs are not up to par plain and simple.

What happened to the FIFA declaration that shirt pulling would cease?

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Kind of a sad day: 'my' teams (England and the U.S.) are on their way home. For England, that's a really sad thing. Bill and Rudy already made their comments.

As far as the United States are concerned...

No sadness on this forum! I want to see big smiles only :-)

Hats off to the team. They beat one of the favourite's for the World Cup (Portugal) are the only team to have notched a good result against the hosts (South-Korea), they eliminated one of the dark horses according to the global football press (Mexico) and gave Germany a very, very hard time. And now? Now it's over. But who had expected them to reach this far?

Deep, deep respect for Bruce Arena and his men (what a good gang it is!) for this fine achievement. U.S.A., you got yourselved at least one new fan in Europe ("moi") and hopefully many thousands at home. Thank you for entertaining us the way you did.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Sincere commiseartions to Bill and the other England supporters.

England had a very good tournament.

Sven's got them playing "Scandinavian" football, tight at the back, niggly in midfield, ruthless up front when there's a mistake. Not pretty, but very effective.

I was just on the phone to my sister in the UK, and the knives are out. The radio chat shows are abuzz with "Sven doesn't know what he's doing" e.t.c. I think unlike Bill, some of the public (particularly the bandwagon jumpers) don't realise how incredibly well the team performed, given the quality of the team available to Sven.

The red card was a joke (like the Thierry Henry sending off from the same ref), and it killed the game. It meant England were oblidged to attack (which they can't) and Brazil to defend (which they can't).

I wouldn't be suprised to see video replays available to referees in future tournaments after the number of bad calls we've had.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Well the fun is over, and already nobody is immune from being the scapgoat. Instead of just realising that England were just not good enough a whitch-hunt is undertaken. However, what I cannot understand is why when England were struggling to make an impression with a certain type of player we just substituted them with the same type of player instead of bringing on the likes of Joe Cole who can run at and past players with the ball. Also i believe it shows how much we missed Gerrard. Everybody seems to assume that when a team goes down to 10 men, that they are there for the taking. However, it doesnot always work that way - just ask FC Twente !!!! So our oddessy is over - and now it is over to you USA.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Of course, I'm supporting England (c'mon lads!! not over yet!!), but it must be said that the Man In Black (red, actually) did it again... The red card for Ronaldinho was a joke. Absolutely ridiculous that he got sent off for that. What the hell's wrong with those referees on this tournament?? Never seen 'em so bad.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

Just back from Lima,Peru so I can't really gauge the excitement about the USA in the states, except thru CNN or USA Today tomorrow( McPaper is received 1 day late in Peru).Excitement about Brazil , definitely.About Mexico getting knocked out by the USA, definitely.I am happy to report that there were a few bleary eyed Yanks in the crowd at a Larcomar pub.Larcomar is a huge mall in the Miraflores section of Lima and is right on the ocean. It was a great setting setting to watch the USA beat Mexico. Dearest Jessica was by my side, the sun was rising over the Pacific and the salt air was cool and fantastic.Jessi is Peruvian and even she rooted for the States.She made an even dozen at the Pub. A convert from the land of Cubillas and Solano? I am still working on it. In any event. GO ENGLAND(!!!) in the early match and GO USA(!!!) in the night(day?)cap.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2002

As someone else said, Italy lost because they still have not learned that once you get into the later rounds with the better teams, you will not win playing negative football.

For all the whining about the supposedly bad refereeing, the penalty at the beginning of the game was a legitimate call. Not one, but TWO Italian defenders actually picked up their man and threw him to the ground on that play.

As far as Totti goes - I hear he's been asked to join the Olympic diving team. The diving coach says that with his consistent 9.9 performances, Italy is sure to bring home the gold.

On the dive that got him sent off, I watched the replay a couple of times. Depending on the angle it looked like there was either no contact or there may have been very slight contact with the outside of his foot.

If there was contact, he certainly could have gone on. It certainly wasn't enough to warrant the overexaggerated swan dive he made looking for a penalty kick.

The fact that he tried to fool the referee several times earlier in the game - there was one incident shown on local tv where got pushed in the chest (not very hard - the usual way that they do) and clutched his head and screamed like he had been hit with a club - may have influenced the referee to see his performance as a dive rather than a legitimate foul. It's like the boy who cried wolf.

Maybe one of these days Italy will learn that if they want to progress at the higher levels they will have to play a different style of football - but from all their excuse-making in the wake of their defeat, it doesn't look like they will learn anything anytime soon.

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2002

Italians hated Trap for not calling Roberto Baggio at the W.C...Now they hate him even more...Some say they lost because of the referee...One word:"BULLSHIT"...They lost because they couldn't play attacking football even against Korea for God's sake!!!Unbelievable...

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2002

One question for Mr Maccaroni and his Pizza Azzurri team... If you have so many great players to your availability and so much talent in the side, why don't you just try to play football and win, rather than destroying in your attempt not to lose? I think that's a very inferior and destructive football philosophy. It's absolutely hilarious that South Korea threw them in their frying pan and turned this team into a tasty Pizza Catenaccio. With extra anchovy, gheghe.

Arrivederci. The only ones who will miss Italy are the people working in the Korean wet-look hair gel industry.

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2002

RE: Italian whingeing....

From the World Cup "Diary":

"Giovanni Trapattoni was furious that his Italy team were eliminated, especially after an offside flag denied Damiano Tommasi what would have been a golden-goal winner. "These linesmen are incapable," he fumed. However, those with a historical bent will recall that the last two times Italy won the World Cup they were waved on their way by obliging linesmen. In 1982 Italy scraped through their group with three draws but, if a Roger Milla goal had not been ruled out for offside, Cameroon would have taken their place. In the first round in 1938 the Italians were on the rack for virtually 90 minutes with Norway's Arne Brustad seeing a goal disallowed for offside. Italy won 2-1 in extra-time and the rest is karma."

"Six of one, half a dozen of the other" if you ask me........

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2002

Rich - while it must be noted that some of the heavyweights at this WC did not make it because their celebrated offense couldn't penetrate the tight, disclipined defenses of their foes, I would not put South Korea in this category. There is an unmistakable Dutch influence on this team; they attack, use the flanks and put constant pressure against their opponents. Against Italy, they were not swarming forward foolishly. Rather, they "weighted" their opponents and build their attack intelligiently. Kinda like, they knew their limitations and attacked with what they can/what they could do. There's patience on this team. Pretty smart.

And as for the Italians, oh well. THe Perugia incident with Han is completely emotional. A cheap shot and a true reflection of the mentality of some certain people, what can I say ??

So much has been cried over the Ecuadorian referee but let's not forget two golden chances that Italy failed to score after the Korean equalizer. Vierri's non-existing right foot miss in front of an open goal was inexcusable. Tomassi's ( I think that's his name, the bearded , primitive looking guy) clear shot at goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Both squandered chances. And no mention about them in the Italian press, except themes of robbery, scandal, conspiracy and whatever.

Italy, how do you plead ??!!

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2002

Do you know that the korean player who scored the victorious golden goal (Han) has been fired from his club (Peruggia)....The italian motivations is not to promote a player who broke italian dreams.... It's really pitiful...Not so amazing when done by those dutch- pussiful-euro2000-winners italians i think...

Red card you spaghettoni eaterz !!!!

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2002

In response to Bill Bryden's question to the reaction here in the States, here's an example. I live in Oklahoma City, the armpit of america, where the only sport anybody wants to discuss ever is Oklahoma Sooners football, year round. You'll get the occasional baseball, NBA, or NHL call to the sports talk station, but if you mention the word "soccer" you usually get cut off. Today from 9am to Noon the entire show was about the world cup and the game on friday. Has the US gone ape shit for football, no, but they're paying attention, giving it some proper coverage, even in OKC. If we lose Fri, it's over for 4 more years, we win, and the the tidal wave of bandwagon fans will be ridiculous. Will it last, no,but it's nice for a little wile anyways. Here's to greeting the bandwagonerrs on Friday!!!!

LET'S GO U.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO U.S.A.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 19, 2002


I'm pleased about Italy too, especially as a Dutchman has coached the Korean's to play so well. On the catenaccio....don't you think that the teams that have been winning are the ones holding back and breaking fast? The US appear to be great exponents of the "counter".

When I look at the stats for many of the games it's the guys with 35% of the possession that seem to be winning. (Holland v. Eire also comes to mind).

I'm hoping this isn't a general trend that translates into general football philosophy post WC.

-- Anonymous, June 19, 2002

A couple of thoughts.

1. As someone earlier noted it was a nice punch by JOB. Perhaps he learned this from Grim? I would like to know what his thoughts about this situation are.

2. Denmark went out meekly after playing decent in the 1ts Round. Their demise was simple. How can you win when you have no creativity in the center of the park. Tofting and Gravesen were a disgrace. Their Dutch based players were the teams top players Tomasson Ex- Feyenoord now Ac Milan bound, and PSV winger Rommedahl.

3. Sweden is exactly like Denmark as they too had no brains in the midfield. However the Southampton player Svennson had the move of the tournament with a tremendous dance and turn on the ball firing unluckily off the post in extra time. Brilliant stuff. Maybe Zlatan taught him this move?

4. So happy about Italy. As I stated before although I am proud to be an Italian/American, I was very happy to see Italia go out. All through the years they seem to get lucky with their results, and play that ultra-consertative catenaccio. Very damaging and unattractive to the eyes. Their players who are hailed as Gods, always bitch, moan, and complain are too highly thought of. They think their League Serie A is the best. It is not. They have been cheated they say, I say you get what you deserve. Totti cheats and gets the Red Ticket. The Azzuri is gone I say Ciao!


-- Anonymous, June 19, 2002

Ajax World.

The US beating Mexico has become very old now for the States. For the last 5 years we have played 6 times, with only 1 lose. But I do feel our luck is going to run out against the Kraut's ;-).

Thanks for the save Johnny O'


-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Oh poor little Zidane!!!The opponents should be careful not to hurt him...Nobody was careful not to hurt DIEGO MARADONA,why should they be careful with the hair of Diego's balls named Zidane?If he had played against Senegal,he would have suffered the same as the rest of the French team(I am not talking about their legs.I am talking about the pain in the a**,after gettin' f*****)

Sorry for my language...

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

It sounds like its a shame for the players & coaches that their achievement isnot more widely heralded.

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002


I saw the Denmark - Uruguay match and was totally impressed with their (Danes) attacking style. But of course against France & England, they - how should I say it - "played to their potential" against technically superior foes. But that's ok in WC, I guess, instead of the suicide style by Korea & japan.

Did anyone notice how "gentlemanly" Denmark approached Zidane ? They were careful not to hurt him. God forbid, had Zidane played against Senegal; the Senegales would have ripped his legs apart.

By reputation, Uruguay were ackonwledged to be the dirtiest team, but at this World Cup Senegal outshone them in this department.

Oh, how I wish Sweden had beaten them. Zlatan, you had your chance (ableit only 15 minutes)....just too bad.

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Reyna - Wolff - McBride nil ! O'Brien - Lewis - Donovan ....two nil !!!!!

Awesome result; somewhat nervous USA showing though. Troubling was that they couldn't keep ball possesion and kept giving the Mexicans too many chances to score...which they didin't.

To be frank, just an unlucky day for Mexico.

And Bill, Stateside, (unless you're hispanic) the average traffic jam still creates more passion than the football result.

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Bill, people here are starting to get excited. Then again, many of my friends are soccer fans so my view may be skewed. It's really too bad that the time zone is not conducive to more Americans watching.

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Whats the excitement level like in the States - is it high or is the general populace still more interested in say the inter-league baseball games ?

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Well done USA!!!Kinda lucky,but with balls and accuracy...Now let's see what will happen against the big bad wolf...

PS:I think i found Grimm's replacement...John O'Brien!!!! ;-) LOL!

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

well done again team USA - another great performance .. claudio reyna and john obrien did well in midfield, with mcbride fantastic up front again .. i think the portuguese ref had a bad game - missed a huge handball in the box, eddie lewis was flykicked, and cobi jones was hacked down, kneed in the arse and then received a full set of studs down his calf, which then produced a mexican goal kick?! .. ah well, usa deserved to win and move into the quarters in a world cup where almost everyone has doubted them

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Welcome to the quarter-finals USA !!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

Just a quick observation on how strange in yesterday's game between Ireland & Spain that the Dutch problems with penalties surfaced again with(Matty)Holland missing. Is there a curse on the name Holland and penalties ?

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2002

I was telling you about Senegal...Diouf humiliates every fucking opponent,and Camarra and Buba Diop kill the goalkeepers...Let's see if they can make it through the next round too... PS:Zlatan finally got time to play...I was watching the game,and i had this feeling that Zlatan would be the man of the match...He did a fantastic effort,but the goalkeeper saved his shot...The really dissapointing part was when he was alone with the keeper and lost the control of the ball...

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2002

Congrats to all our English members. A quite impressive victory over Denmark, although I must say that Denmark have displayed quite a negative tactical philosophy so far. They usually try to notch a sneaky goal - and then hold on to it. A guy like Jon-Dahl Tomasson is the perfect player in such a 'system of patience': he doesn't seem to be spectacularly talented, but in a system based on counter- attacking, he sure is one of those Gerd Müller-type strikers who always seems to be in the right spot for close range finishes and rebounds.

That's how Denmark beat Uruguay and France. Today, England were aggressive from the start, took a well-deserved 2-0 lead, thereby forcing the Danes to play a completely different game than they're used to. If they have to attack and score the goals, Denmark is actually a team with a lot of limitations - so it showed.

It seems like England have got their sh#t together at the right point in the tournament. Will they finally be able to reach the final and - who knows - bring the World Cup back home to England? I sure hope so, but - if my information is correct - they're up against the winner of Belgium vs Brazil in the quarter finals. England vs Brazil in the quarter finals... it's a little bit too early for such a fantastic game, I suppose.

I must admit I'm hardly interested in Sunday's couple of second round games. It's all about U.S.A. vs Mexico, @ 8:30 AM on Monday morning Dutch time!! That's gonna be one hell of a game. Mexico is one of the best sides in the tournament so far. I must say they've been a pleasant surprise and I think they're of higher technical quality than the U.S. They have better skills, so the Americans will have to show some alternative qualities: fighting spirit, team spirit and determination may be the keys to victory. I'll be watching the game with Jim's brother Bill here in Amsterdam. I'll bring the 'Old Glory' Jim sent me to O'Reilly's pub near Dam Square, which is where we'll be watching the game.

C'mon U.S.A.!!

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2002

Tony Sanneh is the rechts back, #22. Frankie Hejduk plays at links back. Eddie Lewis is a more natural left-sided , and left-footed, midfielder.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

So, Rich suggests Lewis at left back and Berhalter in the centre, whereas Ben says: Bruce, ol' chap, please do not play Lewis. Ben also mentioned Llamosa. I remember his performance as a substitute against Portugal, which I thought was excellent. If I remember it correctly he replaced Eddy Pope and did well.

So: I'd go for Llamosa in the starting line-up. BTW: is Frankie Hejduk a left back? I thought he was the right back, with Sanneh playing on the left? Or am I mistaking?

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

I find it wonderfully ironic that Korea's performance today benefitted the USA. The Korean fans must be swearing into their kimchi ; given the "Anybody but America" feeling at all US matches.Burn a few more flags or root so heartily against the US and the US just might beat Mexico.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

Crap effort by the USA. The kind of match which occurs when one side is angry after being embarassed two matches in a row and the other is both flat and over-confident.hard to imagine though that the USA could ever be over confident of a result in WC play. The way the US plays defense, Mexico must be licking their chops about now. With any luck, Agoos' injury will be non-life threatening but serious enough to keep him out of the next match.

In answer to Menno's question, Bruce Arena's smartest move,IMHO, would be to start Pablo Mastroeni at defensive midfield and drop JOB to left back. JOB can still join the rush and, of course, he knows something about the position.If Arena has any hope of winning, he should NOT,IMHO,play with David Regis as the starter at left back. Also,Mastroeni will help bolster the central defense against a side with Cuatehmoc Blanco and the en fuego Jared Borgetti.

Regardless of whether Agoos is fit,I would substitute Gregg Berhalter or Carlos Llamosa for him.Berhalter has played in physical leagues in the Netherlands and England. Llamosa is Colombian born and used to the style of play of South and Central American sides.Playing Agoos ,especially sub-100% , against a physical side like Mexico and it could get really ugly.I mean, Agoos was fit before the knock he took today. And, he was the weakest link.Play him hurt and the scorekeepers may need a computer or abacus to tally the goals.

As for my good friend Ray's comments about Korea, I would agree that the side has grit and talent.However, I think Hiddink's comments about the USA after the US v Portugal match were garbage. I think the player's celebration of their goal against the USA was garbage. I guess the Hypocrites have forgotten how US boxer Roy Jones was screwed out of a Gold medal at the Seoul Olympics.I guess the word hypocrite doesn't exist in the Korean language.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

I am really, really glad I'm not a Portugese fan...

I mean, how pathetic it is to lose the match, knowing that Poland gifted them with a two goal early lead, in the other match ??

And the red cards...shame.

But, this comment will be one-sided if I had not mention the true grit and talent (yes, really !) of the South Koreans. I really like this Korean team. Hats off to Guus.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

Oh yeah... Agoos must go indeed. He's America's Jan van Halst - or worse. Ben, Rich: who should replace him? Does Arena have some other good defender? In fact, two new defenders are required, since Frankie Hejduk is suspended for the Mexico game.

Due to Hejduk's suspension, Agoos spot in the team is pretty much guaranteed... Which is not good. There's a fair chance that he'll personally lose the game for the U.S...

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

World Cup final 2002:

U.S.A. vs Japan

*LOL* Absolutely f#cking great. I won't miss Mr Batistuta, Mr Zidane and Mr Figo for one single friggin' second.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

Well... as far as the U.S. is concerned: fell into the second round ass backwards, thanks to another great performance by South-Korea. What the heck: we're in the second round, with a nice little derby against Mexico coming up. Must be a game loaded with rivalry, especially to them, of course.

As to Rich's comments: I'm as amazed as you are, but I don't think this is a bad thing for football. Actually, I think this is the best thing that's happened to the game in a long time. This is what makes it fun. The big clubs and the F.A.'s of major soccer countries are the ones with most influence with UEFA and FIFA. The big guys are the ones that came up with the new Champions League and World Cup formats in the first place. If you're good, you got an awful load of games to play - that's true. But then again: the big turned football into what it is right now - and they're finally paying the price for it.

The whole structure of international football is based on what the superpowers (the Real Madrids and Man-U's, the managers of the Figo's and Zidanes) have demanded. They pushed to UEFA to introduce the poule system in the European Champions Cup, so that the chance of getting knocked out by a small-timer was reduced to almost zero. They wanted to make the Champions League bigger and bigger, so that Barcelona could play in the Champions League, even if they aren'tt he champions of Spain. All this was a lobby by the BIG ones, who aer in it for the money - not the small ones.

Also: they really shouldn't give us sh#t about all those games being too exhausting. I mean: the good teams are supposed to have the quality to let the ball do the work. The weaker teams have to make up for theit lack of quality by working their balls of. Football is not such an exhausting game if you're extremely talented.

I find the developments extremely funny, and very, very healthy for the game. Portugal really shouldn't dare to come up with silly excuses. They lost to the U.S.A. and South-Korea. Time to shut up and go home - simple as that.

By the way: what kind of crappy opposition did those silly Portugese face during qualification? Must have been a true bunch of girlies that allowed Portugal to qualify in the first place...

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

My God is the world of football a mess! No France, (No goals scored?) no Argentina, now no more Portugal.

Of course no Holland after qualification either. I think this proves that the big teams have been bothered by the number of games they play during the year.

Certainly this is not good for the sport. FIFA, UEFA, all of the above need to look at this mess, as real quality sides are gone from the competition already.

Think about it.

By the way I was disappointed to see Italy luck out once again, and advance. Also Arena must get rid of Agoos after his shit displays.




-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

Turkey went to the next round.And i was about to believe that they wouldn't make it.Fuck!Anyway...Congratulations neighbours...You are still bastards though...

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2002

The World Cup diary so far...

So the first round of WC2002 comes closer to the end, we've witnessed high drama never before seen at any other world cups; a feast for journalists.

But, I still think France 98 produced better excitement, on the pitch.

There were memorable matches: Uruguay v Senegal. S.Africa v Spain. USA v Portugal.

There was great comedy: Germany v Saudi Arabia (!)

The upsets alone are bordering on the bizzare. There's an incurring theme here. The headline so far still reads tight, disciplined defence prevailing over free flowing, attacking side.

Denmark v France. Sweden v Argentina. England v Argentina.

Even Brasil v Turkiye- Brasil relied on a dubious penalty for the full 3 points, tho no-one can argue that they deserved a victory.

Italy v mexico will be astonishing; for it will require the Azzuris to open up its game. And another potential upset looming. This smart Mexican side will counter-attack swiftly and might just give the Italians what they did to the Dutch in A'dam, during 1/2 final at Euro2000. (Why, oh why did I bring that up ??!!)

Still, there's plenty to hope for.

For the sake of Hiddink, I hope S. Korea makes it. A very simplistic approach would be to have the Koreans defend feverishly against the mightier Portugese. But that is not the Guus way, for he had already proclaimed of his team's readiness to take the game directly to the Portugese; meanwhile no one is forgetting the Asian side's relative lack of technical skills could easily backfire on them. It will be an intriguing match.

So, as we enter the third week of WC2002, the two traditional powerhouses of Brasil & Germany, who themselves shockingly struggled to qualify, are now favourites to reach the final.

At this World Cup, there are full of intrigues and cliches, of ironies and twists of fate.

And we haven't even talked about England yet !

But as my good friend Ben might tell you, I've been following Denmark closely, since the start of the tournament.

Ah, the excitement .......!!

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

Kudos to England for achieving what France, Argentina, Cameroon, and quite possibly one or two more heavyweights to be determined, didn't... a round of 16 birth. GO USA!!! Still, thru it all,I miss the rood en wit something terrible. Aside from news on team USA, I think I scan the player transfer wires more closely than any other soccer news at the moment.World Cup or no World Cup.

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

A sure sign of a team starting to do well is when fans from other clubs/countries start bitching about the team.

So from the postings today I feel safe to assume that England are now starting to roll.

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002 a big Dutch Football fan and let me say an Ajax fanatic here in in the Philippines where as our sports channel is dominated by english or english-enfluenced commentators that are always yapping about "England" as the best team and the Premiership is the best league around!England is good but i think they will not going to win the Cup.

Cant wait for the Champions only source of seeing Ajax in action...Damn those English Sporst channel...all they do is broadcast their boring Premiereship games every time!!! just wait when Ajax crush your ManU, Liverpool, and Arsenals!!!!

Oranje must win the World Cup in 2006 or else i will never be at peace hehehehe!

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

Well we cant tell if who among the the ajacied player that play right now at the kore-japan world cup will bw the best ajacied ever to play in the world cup...Sad to hear that holland not qualify in the world cup i would just prefer the the team of john o'brien is the most exciting team play right now in korea-japan..john o'brien is the graet ajacied player that playing in world cup2002..

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

Well Isabel

I think you are safe this time around, but I would start getting used to the idea of winning the World Cup as in four years time this team will reach its peak.

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

this just kinda makes me wonder though, if holland was happen to make, and would play at least a bit consistent, they might actually get rid of the title "the best team to never win the wolrd cup". i mean everbody else is messing up. i would put me money on the ....germans. it wasn't easy to say that you know, but you know how they are, everybody is else messes up, and then the germans win ( euro96) and everybody is like,.,... euh.. ok. but anyway, i hope sweden or something will win it. not engeland, if they do, they are never going to shut up about how good they are and that they invented socer blah blah. urgh

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

What a game...and Zlatan got to enter (if only a few minutes, but anyway).

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

Argies fucking up olé olé...

Argies fucking up olé olé...

:-D What a joke. If you see the Frenchies and the Argies screwing up... I would honestly rather not go in the first place. So Holland did not do too bad after all... ;-)

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2002

The Pub!!!!! Atlast, a game that I want to watch with others at the PUB 2nite. Starting time 11:30pm Pacific! Should have a few Boddington down by game time. Hope to watch the Argintine's get bet!

Cya Guys......JD

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

I've just finished playing with my calculator........

If Nigeria beat England 3-2, and Argentina beat Sweden 2-1, then the runner up spot in group F is a dead heat (both England and Sweden have 4 points, same goal difference, same goals scored, and a 1-1 tie when they played head-to-head). Which means it will be decided by a coin toss......

(Better keep the Volvo in the garage if you live in England)

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

This world cup is kinda crazy :

France (shame on me ...) is out with 0 goals at the counter (amazing you must admit...).

Senegal is qualified for the eighth finals.

Asian teams are pleasantly surprising.

And now I understand why Netherlands got stuck @ home...Ireland is a pretty good team, playing with the natural qualities of the irish playaz plus a good sense of technico-tactism....(and obviously with a lil' help of Louis "I'll feed ya all up with modern tactics" Van Gaal)

To finish i must say that i want Italy to lose asap.....They can't prevent from bothering my favourite nedy teams...(Champion's League 96,97 Euro 2000 8O( ) and their players are far from great...

So go Korea and Italy on a flight to Milan on the 10 th of June.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

I forgot to mention that I am hoping that Italy goes down. I am so sick of their defensive play, and negative attitudes over the years. All they do is bitch and complain to the refs. Although I am Italian American, all I want to say is Ciao to Italy, and Viva Mexico!

Its about time that luck runs out on Italy for a chance. Their attitude is let's defend and counter. Always the same. How many times can they get away with this? Hopefully they start to get what they deserve. Most of the Italian players are way overated anyway.

Finally of the Ajax playes at this World Cup on JOB has done anything. Pius Ikedia has looked good too in a reserve role, but has played little. I guess he will be a former Ajax player if news about him being on his way out is correct. For what its worth he is better then Wamberto.



-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

I don't think Zlatan is in the national team because of his season in Ajax. He is in the squad because of his great national team matches where he several times has been excellent as he has entered. Therefore it is a big surprise for me that he hasn't played one single minute yet in the WC. Hopefully he gets a chance against Argentina.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

Just a couple of things:

1. I cannot believe that France is out with no goals. Amazing! I have to say that it did not help to miss your 2 most creative players (Pires and Zidane) for all or most of the tournament. Still they were in a tough group, unlike 98 where they had a very easy ride. I knew going in the tourney that it would be difficult to beat Denmark for a 3rd straight time.

2. Cameroon gone also. The best African side will be missed too. Sad that they blew it. Shitty, negative, Ireland move on. Tough to play the Irish though. Just ask Holland. If Patrick only finished in the 3rd minute in Dublin. Oh the pain!

3. I still hope Portugal advances. They looked good against the slow and non-creative Poles. What a joke they were! Easy qualification group helped them just as said.

4. Too many matches for the so called big teams is a major factor. FIFA & UEFA must examine this. It is not good that quality teams do not progress. I know these teams lost and its a short tournament so results are everything but is Senegal better then France? USA better then Portugal? That is the beauty of the World Cup, but never, ever has there been such disarray at a World Cup Finals.

5. Finally to the Zlatan fans. Yes the Swedish coaches are crazy, but not for playing Zlatan, but for taking him to the World Cup. He does not belong after his shit season. Please get a clue people!

P.S. Oh yeah how can I forget, Agoos sucks! End of story.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

Version #2, Menno. (pronounced more like "aay-goose")

I suspect he is arguably the weakest link on the team.

But take nothing away from him; his fighting spirit (I hope) will bring the defense together !

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002

I think everyone can see which team plays TOTAL FOOTBALL in this World Cup...They come from Africa,and play for the first time in a W.C...I think you can easily guess... :-)

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2002


I've heard more of the feathered variety than the Hiddink variety so far.


-- Anonymous, June 10, 2002

Er... Forgive me for asking this silly question... How is 'Agoos' pronounced? I'm asking cos I've heard two different versions by Dutch play-by-play commentators. Even on the BBC, I heard both versions, although the English are supposed to be native speakers of the language...

Version 1: "a goose"

Version 2: "A-gus" (kind of similar to, pardon my French, "anus")

Which one's correct? Or are they both wrong?

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2002

Not sure if everyone got the "inside joke" about the South Korean celebrations after they scored against the US today. The players went to the corner flag and imitated ice skaters. The reason was that in the Winter Olympics a Korean (Kim Dong-Sung) won one of the short track races (1,500m) but after a protest from the American skater (Anton Ohno) who said he was obstructed, the race was overturned and the gave the gold medal to Ohno. Kim Dong-Sung (unfortunate name when you think about it) was disqualified. Seems that the locals hadn't forgotten!!!

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2002

Alright, there really wasn't more in it than a point today - and therefore, a good result! South Korea was pretty good, I must admit. Anyway: a point against Poland is enough to advance. This should be possible now they're already eliminated. They sucked big time against Portugal. The U.S. is gonna make it, I'll tell ya :-)

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2002

1-1...Those Korean guys are tougher than they look...

PS:GO COSTA RICAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!(Roland Gomez #9 OFI Crete F.C....Now you can understand why...) ;-)

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2002

Alright... coffee's being made...


-- Anonymous, June 10, 2002

And now this, from Nishlord:
but let's be honest here - watching the World Cup in the morning is like watching a porn film with your Mam. It's just not right.
And I must say I agree with him. :-/

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

Well OK, Zlatan was just a name on the team board with Sweden. Plus he's been put on the Ajax transfer list....So is he really top gun he's renowned to be ??? He's in the same team that Ljunberg and Larsson which are two of the Europe finest, that's a clue, but maybe he isn't that good.

For me the real satisfaction is John and Benny...The last played a magnificient match against Slovenia this morning (with a myriad of shots on frame, good rushes and passes) and John is not the least of the fantastic generation of the USA team, the goal he scored was kind lucky he really served the team with devotion.

Dealing with the A group, the french I am tells you that team France won't advance to the eight finals...Overwhelming the dannies with 2 goals is not the easy stuff (plus a guy named Jesper is in the team :O) )

Uruguay and Denmark will be the qualified teams....But Holland is still @ home >:-(


-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

Further Question Re Zlatan: Have his fans been living on the planet zod during the last year ? They seem to have a persecution complex whereby everybody, including in alphabetical order : Ajax Fans Co and his coaches Koeman and his coaches The Swedish national team coaches seem to have a downer on him. Have these fans asked themselves why so many people seem to have reservations over this guy. I will always be the first to say that he will be a good footballer one day - but only residents of the planet zod would say that during the last year he has lived up to his hype.

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

Who do you think will qualify foom group A. France really have a tough ask as Denmark has looked good and as for Uruguay they are up against a high-flying Senegal.and also both of them have to win by at least 2 goals . What do you think Menno? I sure hope france comes second that leaves the way open for the runners up in Group F . (Hopefully England)

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

Hi I wanna ask you, do you think there is some kind of a rift between Zlatan and the Swedish coaches? Otherwise why aren't the ba****** letting him play?

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

He deserves to play at least for 20 minutes...That's for sure...But he's not a better striker than Larsson YET(not even Allback in my opinion)...To be honest,we shouldn't even compare him with Larsson...But he needs more time to prove that he can offer to the team...

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

I really don't have a clue. I am still waiting for him. The swedish coaches have acted a bit strange lately, they said that the match against England where a tactical masterpiece (more or less). I wonder if Zlatan has upset them or something? He should at least get a chance to prove himself, I'm sure he will do as much good as Allback and Larsson has done.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Did some of you even see Sweden's previous games before the WC? Zlatan came onto the pitch in the last 30 minutes and almost always outshined Larsson and Allback. The majority of the swedish people wants him to play the last 30 minutes, the majority of the swedish press wants him to play the last 30 minutes... so why has he been benched so far in the WC? Probably because of the same [fuxing stupid] reason the coaches benched Anders Svensson for 60 minutes against England. Oh, in case you didn't know, when A.Svensson was substituted in against England, Sweden scored and controlled the game with great offensive force untill the final whistle.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Well.....what can I say....

As I've said I'm no England fan but they deserved the win. Tactically they (or Sven) out-thought the Argies. Solid at the back, fast on the break, Argentina couldn't break them down.

Congrats to the Limmeys on the board!


-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Not yet Ben - they certainly kept us on the edge of the seat - the premium lager seemed to help though. As the Koreans might say Fa Kin Su Pah !!!! Agree with your comments but would add to the roll of honour one Nicky Butt - although there appeared to be about three of him on the field. He was absolutely fantastic. I will bow to Sven's tactics this time, but my mind always goes back to what my father used to say about defending a lead :- (1) If you have the ball the other side cannot score, and (2) If you keep the ball in the opponents half, they again cannot score. What with the cliff-hanging Ajax season, I have aged about 10 years in the last few months. Bang goes the chance of me getting into the Club Med 18-30 resorts this summer.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

If you think about it,it is easy to say why Zlatan doesn't play much in both Ajax and the Swedish N.T...Both teams are of a very high level.Nothing like his previous team in the Swedish League...He is young and talented no doubt...So everyone that sees him doing his fancy dribbles e.t.c. e.t.c.,says "why the f*** doesn't he play?"...But coaches don't give a shit about dribbles e.t.c.,this is a sure thing...Zlatan isn't such a great scorer...But he is young,so he can BECOME a great scorer...The problem is,that his competition in Ajax(Machlas,Mido) and the N.T.(Allback,Larsson),are great strikers,so it is difficult for a young player that has A LOT to learn,to earn his place in the squad...

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Bill , Have your breathing and heart rate returned to normal? What a match!!! Kudos and a job well done to England ; though I could've done without the pressure cooker last 20-25 minutes.If ever there was a defense that epitomised the concept of" bend but don't break",the England defense did. England played with more guts on display than anything this side of the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan". Ferdinand and Campbell came up huge. I thought Sinclair played very well; especially in the 1st half.The tension of the full 90 ( or 93 if you count the two-halve total of three minutes of added time)is what makes footie the greatest game in the world.After the Yank's improbable 3-2 win,this is the one match that epitomises World Cup drama and flavor for me.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Sure, he could have been great then too, but as he is said to be a black horse in the Swedish national team I believe the coaches didn't even think of him from start. Hopefully he gets to play against Argentina, but we shouldn't count on it...

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

England ;-) Argies :-(

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Question : Are we saying that he wouldnt have been great in the other 70 minutes when the Nigerians were fresh ? Thought I might be cheeky and ask

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Sweden played a good game and deserved to win, but why ther f**k couldn't Zlatan play? He would have been great the last 20 miutes against the tired Nigerian defenders. F***ing looser coaches!

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Nigeria f****d up once again...Sad... About Zlatan...Everyone says he is one of the best in the Ajax training,but he is not the first choice for Koeman(i don't believe everything i hear,but Menno watched him in training and said the same thing,so it's ok...).Now many people say he is one of the best in the Swedish N.T. training too...Or that he is better than the other strikers of the team...But he doesn't get time to play again...Well,weird things if you ask me...

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Correction: of course Saudi-Arabia was the first team sure to go home after the first round. Nigeria's the second.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Sweden vs Nigeria 2-1, which means that Nigeria has become the first team sure to go home after the first round. Ajacied Pius Ikedia and former Ajacied Nwankwo Kanu were brought on for Nigeria in the 70th and 65th minute, respectively. Once again: zero seconds of playing time for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Swedish team.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

another great resource for the lighter side of the world cup is nishlord. check him out at: ''

greg Denver,CO

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Talking of funnies......

Various teams tactics explained:


-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Great f*****g one Jim

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

This is pretty good: (contains profanity, in case that upsets you...)

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002


I had the same thought. I think it's kinda tangerine, not bright orange, but still it's a departure from their traditional red.

Weird....they are nicknamed the "Red Devils" after all!


-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Nice job Menno with your views. It was a shocking result to say the least. Beasley, Sanneh, and JOB were all top class for me. The US normally doe not play that attack minded, at least not in the past. It was good coaching by Arena to jump all over the Portuguese backline right from the start. I guess it did work out well to catch Portugal in match # 1.

Vitor Baia had a nightmare in net. To think a few years back he was considered by many as # 1 in the world. He has been injured the past couple of seasons, and clearly has seen better days that is for sure.

Your point about the US not bitching and just playing is so true. I think they have an inferiority complex and feel that all they can do is work hard and play. The complaining we see today is a very bothersome aspect of the game that needs to be eliminated. Sergio Conceicao get your ass up from the pitch, and stop your crying man! Annoying little prick isn't he?

Finally, I have to say that this must be the biggest win in USA Soccer history and its not getting the coverage it deserves. Very sad in my eyes. Portugal is a very, very good team. I gave the USA no chance to be honest and they deserve much respect because they did play some good football at times. Goal # 3 was brilliantly done.

Agoos is scary in the back. Enough said on that subject. Frankie Hejduk was a suprise starter. He is not a technical player, but he does play with more fire then Regis so this move paid off too. Arena played his cards right on the day no doubt about it.

Enjoy the games.


-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Hi guys , I am from India and this is the first time i'm writing here.I wanna ask you that am i hallucinating or is Belgium wearing orange shirts instead of red?

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Hey Menno i agree with everything you said...Xcept one thing...An Oranje fan,can't be jealous... :-)

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Alright. I've been seriously "studying" the U.S. national team for the first time in my life. It was an unexpected pleasure on this historic day in U.S. football history. What a stunning game. This is a BIG result in international football. Congrats to all of you.

As I expected, the information Ben Bell and Rich Savare sent me was quite right: the defense is not the best part of Team U.S.A. Jeff Agoos is probably the weakest link, and I am not saying this because of his own goal. He works hard and seems to be a guy who'd fight 'til he dies die on the football pitch - which is great - but he never seems in control of the situation, like Danny Blind or Franco Baresi. Pope wins a lot of his duels, but allows his striker too much space. On a few occasions, Pauletta easily walked away from him, after which Pope was a few steps too late for the air duel. The best defender on the day was probably Sanneh. Also, Hejduk was okay. Ben and Rich did not mention him as a candidate for the line-up. Isn't he a regular in the team? He did well.

The part of the team I liked the best is most definitely midfield. It seems (and I'm not saying this because he's an Ajax player) that John O'Brien is the most talented guy in the team (technically, but especilly tactically; he's the smartest midfielder).

I liked the outer midfielders a lot: Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley. They are fast, they're sassy, they took on their opponents and worked their balls off. Impressive. They created a lot of space for McBride (good striker!) and Ernie Stewart, who kind of played as a shadow striker, from midfield. I thought Beasley was a true revelation.

Also, Coby Jones had an excellent performance as a substitute. He was exactly the guy the U.S. needed when Portugal was trying to equalize. Jones provided the U.S. with the creativity and the pace to be dangerous in counter-attack and to keep the ball upfront for a while. Good substitution by Bruce ArenA ;-)

The game itself? The first half blew me away. The Americans were all over the place. It seemed like they were playing with thirteen men. Portugal had a few header opprtunities, but the 3-0 score was fully deserved.

I knew that Portugal's 3-1 before the break was going to bring the U.S.A. in trouble, tho. A second Portugal goal was a matter of time; just too bad for Agoos that he was the one to score it. Ten minutes before and ten minutes after the 3-2, the U.S. were in trouble. The team could have collapsed in that period, but I have to say I was really impressed by the way they played in the final 10-15 minutes.

All of a sudden they turned calm again. Joe-Max Moore was important in holding on to the ball upfront. Once again: Arena chose the perfect moments to bring some 'fresh' forwards (Jones and Moore). Excellent coaching. The U.S.A. was actually the better team again in the final minutes of the game, which is odd. They kept possession in a really, really convincing way.

A great, great victory.

But I haven't made my biggest compliment yet. What I liked the best about Team U.S.A. is their attitude. They don't steal time, they don't dive, they don't ask for free kicks or yellow cards, they don't bother the referee - they just play, with two offensive wingers and two strikers, trying to win the game. And they work their nuts off.

This U.S. team is a positive bunch, and they play an 'open' game. Like Ireland, or Scotland, in a way. I loved it. If only we (Holland) had a few more players with such enthusiasm for their national team... Makes me jealous, kind of, even though Holland has more quality.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2002

Yeah John O'Brien and the rest of the US squad. Watching the game was so very exciting. To witness the US outplay Portugal was incredible. The US just dominated the first half and the pace of the young players Beasley and Donovan created problems for Portugal. Tony Sanneh also had the best game I have ever seen him play. If the Us beats Korea they are in the second round. That would be a rewarding accomplishment.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

I couldn't believe it! That USA would beat Portugal. Though I think that Portugal should have scored a few goals more with all the chances they had. This was exactly what USA needed, now they just have to beat Poland and they should andvance. I still think that Portugal will advance.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

For those who would like to enjoy the match again, I understand ESPN 2 is re-broadcasting USA v. Portugal at 3pm. One more interesting note on the USA-Portugal match, this was the first time the USA had scored three goals in a WC match since 1930. I must give kudos to the Ireland squad for a determined , gutsy, and hard-fought draw against Germany. Couldn't ask for any more dramatic day than one with two improbable results back to back. I LOVE THIS WORLD CUP STUFF!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Go USA and Johnny O!

The police came to my house at 2:40am, and asked us to keep the noise down. After every score I ran out back to yell GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

We here in the US that have followed our team knew one day the sleeping giant would wake. Watch out world!


-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Well done USA!I must say i didn't expect this result(of course i didn't expect the portuguese defence and goalie to fuck up this way,but it is not a lucky result).It is a good lesson about taking advantage of the enemy's mistakes...Well done J.O.B.! :-)

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002



Amazing result.....although I think the Portuguees goalie is in for some stick from the press.



PS are the Belgians rearing orange shirts or is it my imagination?

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Very much deserved ! Make sure you see the reruns, especially the goal of John and the last one of McBride were very nice.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Didnt see the game as my bank manager insists I still have to go to work - was the win deserved, or just lucky ?

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Quite simply , the biggest victory by the USA since the Rood,wit, en blau shocked the world by beating England 1:0 in Belo Horizonte, Brasil, during the 1950 World Cup .AMAZING!! I am speechless; almost.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Good performance, winning from Portugal is a major achievement.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

My God! The world upside down. Beautifull 3rd goal. Congratulations!

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

What the hell is going on!?!?!

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

John O'Brien just scored 1-0 against Portugal. How about that!

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002




-- Anonymous, June 05, 2002

Ok, I'm a little late, but here goes. England played well in the first half, but Sweden played horrible! I nearly left the english pub I sat at, in the second half, England didn't play as well as the first half, but Sweden woke up. England wouldn't have scored if Patrik Andersson hadn't been injured the day before.

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2002

I agree with Bertrand.

It's interesting. Guus Hiddink has been pretty much out of sight since he moved to South-Korea. The press never really wrote any signifcant articles about his work over there. Holland didn't really pay attention to what he was doing. But it seems like he's done some really great work, without someone at home noticing it. Four years ago, in France, South-Korea still was kind of a joke. Holland didn't even play well against them, but it was good enough for a 5-0. And now? They beat Poland in quite superior style. Hiddink has obviously been building something over there.

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2002

Well by now my own lil' pleasure is to see Korea succeed.... I mean they were really superior to the french team (that's not biased i'm french...Holland supporter but french) in the last friendly before WC....And now they beat Poland by 2-0 really really easily....Their way of playing is just fine and fresh... Thanks to whom ???

Luvya Guus ;-))

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2002

So, the U.S. vs Portugal game starts at 5:00 AM for the East Coast and at 2:00 AM for the West Coast... Jesus? Will you guys be watchin' it live?

Kick-off is at 11:00 AM for us, here in NL. Perfect time for a 1 hour and 45 minute coffee break, I say... :-) Any interesting stuff about the game in U.S. media?

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2002

Allo Everyone,

I just wish I could catch up on sleep. My wife has already put me in the guest bedroom so she can sleep. Sat/Sunday was intense, 10:30pm- 12:30am-2:30am...then sleep, taped last match Sunday, watched later that day.

Just wanted to thank the sched. maker to have the Asian group together 2nite so I sleep. Will check out the 4:30am game Tuesday, as POL - KOR in same group as USA.

Have been planning with my Father the USA game at 2am local time, followed by coffee/donuts and the 4:30am "Deutchland v. Irie"

Anyone in Orange County, CA should head over to the "British & Dominion Club" in Garden Grove for ENG v. Argentina at 4:30am. They expect a crowed of 300-400 people, and the tap is turned on at 4:30!!!! DRINK!!!!!!


-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

One thing is worst than this WC's referees....Dick Jol!!!They try harder and harder,but the Dickster is unbeatable...

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

I must say, watching a world cup without my team in it is a very relaxing experience! You can just have a good giggle.....

France messing up against a former colony was hilarious! Ireland putting up a good show was fun. The Germans winning 8-0...was...well...ok...since it was expected. England snatching a draw from victory was amusing. Rivaldo was the only annoying thing to date. (Time to stop this nonsense of having refs from all over the world...pick the best for God's sake!)

I still think England will fail to qualify. They haven't put together a convincing 90 minutes since the Munich game. The Swedes should have nicked it (England haven't beaten Sweden in 20 years by the way). England will make the agony take longer though...they're like the Scotts....they will have a mathematical chance by the time they play Nigeria, but a boring tie in the Sweden v. Argentina game will knock them out (You read it here first!!!). Cole and Mills are simply not International calibre defenders (although Cole could become one).

Given France's early screw up, the runners up spot in group F looks inviting now though.


-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

I agree with Geo's reamrks that the referees are pathetic. However I will go one further, and say that this is the case with not only this World Cup, but past one's as well.

How about Holland 4 years ago in the Semi-Final against Brazil were Aldair clearly pulls down Van Hooijdonk in the box? Why Aldair did this made no sense, but the 3rd world referee gives Pierre the yellow ticket for, diving?

Holland had no luck against the Brazilians in another classic 4 years before this time in the Quarterfinal were another 3rd world official could not understand the offside rule not once, but twice.

The real problem is FIFA who should never had such inexpereinced officials for these high level matches to begin with. At least in these two matches a ref from Spain or Italy would have been justified. Then again FIFA fucked up (sorry for the cursing) with the draws and seeding for the World Cup as well.

These are just 2 of many examples.

Best wishes everyone and enjoy the games.


P.S. I am pro-Holland so forgive me.

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

The referees in this WC are pathetic generally...

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

By the way: F#@K this Rivaldo guy, for making such a big scene in the last minute, when this Turkish guy got a little frustrated and kicked the ball against Rivaldo's leg from a yard or seven. That doesn't hurt! Gimme a break! But this Rivaldo creature went to the grass immediately, with his hands covering his face (as if he'd been hit in the face!). It was meant only to win time and to get the Turkish guy sent off (which happened).

My God... I hate that kind of crap. I tend to instinctively support countries such as Sweden, Denmark, England and Ireland. In general, I have more sympathy for those teams than for the 'latin' or 'hispanic' teams. When I see Rivaldo going down like that, screaming like a baby, I remember why. YUCK. Disgusting.

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

If Niccolo Macchiavelli were alive today, and tuned into the World Cup, he might now say that the means doesn't always justify the ends.Turkey deserved to get beat.They were out shot by ,I believe, 17 or 18 to 6. Brazil put a dozen shots on frame and looked the more consistently dangerous side. BUT(!!!), Turkey didn't deserve to be screwed out of a result by the referee. A card for shirt pulling was one thing. But, there was no excuse, especially when he was following the play, for the referee to award a penalty kick. Alpay's foul CLEARLY was outside the box. Adding to Bill's listing of Korean terms, I would add "One Dum Chum".That is Korean for poor referee's decision.

I must also say that the cards for shirt pulling should have gone both ways. Roberto Carlos, Cafu, and several other Brazilian players engaged in shirt pulling when Turkey counter-attacked and a Brazil defender was beaten in the process.

Finally, I have to agree with a point Menno made a few posts ago in this thread, this early morning World Cup stuff, especially when I see games like Brazil v Turkey or Paraguay v South Africa , is pretty cool.

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

Jeez... Turkey have a few reasons to be angry with that South-Korean referee, haven't they?

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002

Menno, what game did you watch?!

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2002

England were plain poor today but have a history of starting slowly in tournaments [especially drawing] they never really found their feet.Going 1-0 up was probably the worst thing that could happen as they laid back and just let sweden come at them.However i am quitely confident that England will still qualify top of the group as Argentina did not look to hot themselves today.A positive aspect of the Argentina game was the introduction of Pious Ikeda who with the little time he had on the pitch looked to be a natural at international level,good things in the future i hope!As for David Seaman there are potentialy 3 or 4 young goalkeepers who arguably are at the same level as him.Amongst these Christopher Kirkland,Paul Robinson Richard Wright and possibly even Stuart Taylor.These names just off the top of my head, but due to their youth are overlooked.

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2002


Havent made a study of the German porn industry from the 70's, so cannot comment on that one and iI will bow to your knowledge. However, whilst the other 2 goalkeepers (James & Martyn - ala Over Nigels Head) are very good I am convinced he is selected for his Arsenal partnership with Campbell & Cole (and Keown if selected).

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2002

Not so much a pro-England view as a disgusted view. Do not agree with Menno on the first half - thought England were poor, but Sweden were just flat - not the normal spirit - maybe the tiff on the training ground was more serious than everybody thought. Second half England were just not at the races - they were s**t and then they substituted their best forward for a mid-field player. The ball control and reliance on the long ball was stupid as the ball just ended up coming back straight away, but albet in a more controlled manner. Still I predicted a 1-1 draw in Rudy's WC Pool, picked up a couple of winners at yesterday's horse racing , acquired a brilliant Kinks album so the world isnot completely black. As a last point, people always ask me why do I support Ajax - I think by the type of football you have seen today, nobody should ever have to ask again. As I say not very pro.

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2002

Disappointing result for England, obviously. They played such an excellent first half and should have wrapped it up by half-time. But what happened during the break? Did someone put some high quality Dutch marihuana in their tea cups, or something? England SUCKED in the second half, especially in defese. They simply gave Sweden the space and the time to get back into the game. Still, the equalizer came pretty much out of nowhere, but after scoring it the Swedes had the chances to grab an unlikely victory (Larsson's last minute chance... phew...).

England should have easily won this one. They can only blame themselves for allowing Sweden to come back. Not a good result, with Argentina coming up. If they lose that one, they're in trouble.

Now, let's hear from Bill for the pro-England view and from Rudy for the anti-England view... ;-)

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2002

Quite a lot Ajax and former Ajax action today...

Argentina vs Nigeria (1-0): former Ajacied Nwankwo Kanu in the starting line-up for Nigeria. He was replaced after 48 minutes by Ajax right winger Pius Ikedia.

Paraguay vs South Africa (2-2): Aaron Mokoena (still having a contract with Ajax, but playing for 'satellite club' Germinal beerschot Antwerp) played the full 90 minutes for South-Africa. Former Ajax striker Benni McCarthy was in the team, but was replaced in th 77th (with a yellow card in his pocket). Steven Pienaar remained on the bench.

Right now: Sweden vs England. Zlatan not in the Sweden line- up. Allbäck and Larsson are the strikers of choice.

By the way: questions for the Brits. Is there really no better goalkeeper in England than Dave Seaman? He's probably playing his 234th World Cup game for England, but I really think he's nothing special... (Also, he looks like a German porn actor from the early 70s...)

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2002

It is nice to see Morten Olsen coach his side to a W in the first match. Definitely feels odd to read the group A standings. France and Uruguay looking up at Senegal and Denmark? never would've believed it.One more thing, rumour has it that the keeper's goals against average is even higher than the daily out(barrels) of the Saudi oil indusrty. Any truth to this;-))!

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2002

I really liked what Senegal did.Now i wanted Cameroon to win,but the Irish played better in the second half(even though the only thing they know is lobs and headers).And now...poor Saudi Arabia...

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2002

YEAH!! Holland scored!!

For Ireland... ;-)

Now watching Denmark vs Uruguay. Over here in Holland, there's a game on TV at 8:30 AM, the next one at 11:00 AM and one at 2:30 PM. I must say it's kind of cool, a nice football game in the morning. No beer and crisps, but coffee and eggs. As Monty Python used to say: and now for something completely different!

Im starting to like it, I must say.

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2002


Senegal win 1-0!

The picks in my pool are of to a bad start! Oh well I know I'm not alone!

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2002


Senegal taking the lead against France (29' goal by Bouba Diop)...

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2002

A quick update on Hatem Trabelsi and the Tunisian team, taken from

Hatem Trabelsi and Tunisia won their last test-game, preparing for the World Cup. In Kashiwara, Japan, Tunisia finally managed to put an end to a string of poor results. Cerezo Osake, from the Japanese second class, was beaten 3-0.

Tunisia had an excellent qualification campaign and was one of the first teams to qualify. However, since the North-Africans arrived in Japan, results in friendly's have been remarkably bad. A game against Denmark was lost, as well as two games against Japanese club teams.

This win might be an inspiration for the Tunisians. They play their first World Cup game on Wednesday, 05 June, against Russia.

(BTW: Russia is one of the teams I expect to do surprisingly well. And South Africa.)

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2002

Menno, here are some answers for you. First, the USA has always played a very defensive, holding style of play, mostly for lack of world class physical skills. We now have much more physical skill, with Landon Donovan (probably with Leverkusen next year), DeMarcus Beasley, John O'Brien (Ajax), Claudio Reyna (Sunderland), and Clint Mathis (Bayern, Parma, and Man. City are interested in his services). However, our two most dominating talents (Donovan and Beasley) are both only 20 years old, and make a lot of inexperienced mistakes. Whether to play less skilled veterans or more talented, but untested players is the real question at this point.

Our defensive midfielder, Chris Armas, is not fit and will miss the World Cup. Some have suggested replacing him with another (less talented) defensive-minded player, while others want to see captain Claudio Reyna (Sunderland) move from attacking midfield to defensive midfield, with either Donovan or Beasley moving in to attacking midfield. Here are the two possible lineups:


Mathis(MLS) McBride(MLS) Donovan(MLS)/Beasley(MLS) O'Brien(AJAX) Stewart(NAC Breda) Reyna(Sunderland) Regis(Metz) Agoos(MLS) Pope(MLS) Sanneh (Nurenburg) Friedel(Blackburn)/Keller(Tottenham Hotspurs)



Mathis(MLS) McBride(MLS) Reyna(Sunderland) O'Brien(AJAX) Stewart(NAC Breda) Mastroeni(MLS) Regis(Metz) Agoos(MLS) Pope(MLS) Sanneh (Nurenburg) Friedel(Blackburn)/Keller(Tottenham Hotspurs)

If Donovan or Beasley plays, expect a slightly more technical, wide open style of play. If it is Mastroeni, expect a more physical, cautious, and rough style of play.

The team's star players are probably Reyna, O'Brien, Friedel, Keller, Stewart, and Mathis. Friedel and Keller are an excellent pair in goal, and we're not sure who will start (my guess is Friedel). Either way, we'll have a world class GK. Our midfield is extremely strong as well. Reyna is very good on the ball, and really holds his own in the EPL. Edgar Davids had kind words for him after the recent friendly. We know O'Brien is a very talented player in space, and a very good tackler. He makes good choices with the ball. Stewart is a very capable goal scorer from the midfield. And with Donovan, Beasley, Mastroeni, and Eddie Lewis (Fulham), our midfield is world class as well. We are much stronger at midfield than Poland or Korea. At forward, Mathis could be the first well known American goal scorer on the world stage, whether he goes to Bayern or Parma or wherever. He's playing the World Cup to impress and get a big, fat contract from a top European side, so I expect a couple of goals in group play. Our other strikers are decent enough, but Mathis is the only real star.

The team's real weakness is clearly in defence. Tony Sanneh is our best on the back line, and he holds his own in the Bundisliga. Eddie Pope is solid as well. Both Regis and Agoos are aweful, so the left side of defence will be sorely tested. Regis is fast and talented, but he makes WAY too may stupid mistakes. Agoos is incredibly smart, is always in position, is tough and a good tackler. But Jeff Agoos is the team's greatest weakness. He is far, far to slow to survive against Figo, Rui Costa, or even Poland's Olisadebe. Not only is he slow running in a straight line, but his reactions are slow and he has trouble changing directions quickly. If the left of our defence holds up, we should get through the group. If it does not, we could finish 32nd again.

One last thought. If things don't work out at first, here's a more aggressive lineup that could maximize American talent: Friedel; O'Brien, Agoos, Pope, Sanneh; Beasley, Donovan, Reyna, Stewart; Mathis, Moore.

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

My Final 4 are: Argentina, France, Italy, Portugal.

I also like Cameroon and Spain to do well.

Holland belongs here. Sorry folks I cannot help it.

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

David - the England/South Korea game finished in a draw and not a defeat for South Korea.

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

Menno, sorry but I don't think USA can beat South Korea that easily :). Don't forget that South Korea is the host. They did well in their friendly matches(including one against England which they only lost 0-1), which means they are in a good form. And I also watched USA playing, they are not bad either. But considering the factor that South Korea is playing at home, it is probably the second strongest team in that group, or at least not the weakest team in the group.

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

Of course Menno we will see you again as we arenot ones to hold a grudge. We will put this one down to you being young and impressionable. However, we are still surprised you selected a team from the colonies as we thought you would want your interest to extend to at least the "last 16" games ;-)

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

Alright, so Bill never wants to see me again... ;-)

In the mean time, Ben Bell has sent me the answers to ALL my questions. According to Ben, this will probably the starting line-up for the first game against Portugal:

Friedel; Sanneh, Pope, Agoos, Regis; Donovan, Stewart, Reyna, O'Brien; McBride, Mathis.

On the bench: Meola (GK), Mastroeni (D), Vanney (D), Beasley (M), Wolff (F) and Moore (F).

Portugal will play with no more than two strikers. The guys to cover them should be Sanneh and Pope. They're supposed to be the best defenders; Regis the weakest (agreed?). This is Ben's info, so don't shoot the messenger :-)

Wasn't Joe-Max Moore the guy who scored the decisive goal of the qualification?

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

Oh how cruel can you get Menno - and there was me thinking Lesley, Ray, and I had done enough to convince you to support the Mother Country - Engerland !!!!!

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

Now Holland has screwed up, I will of course be supporting the United States, for the simple reason that it's my favourite country and the world and because I have more friends in America than in any other country outside Holland.

But I need some "starter's info". For example: what's 'our' usual starting line-up? What do 'we' play like (offensive/defensive, technical/physical? What's the best part of the team (defense/midfield/attack)? Who are the stars? Who suck?

Here's my thoughts on our chances in group D...

With four points there's a fair chance that you'll advance; with five or six points you're sure to advance. Normally, Portugal is the toughest opponent. South-Korea is the weakest one and therefore a 'must-win'. This makes the Poland game the crucial one. The one (or three) extra points required to advance must be grabbed against Poland.

I think it's a good thing that the Portugal game is the first one. We don't *have* to grab points against them. A defeat is not a disaster against portugal, especially cos it's the first game. The only surprise possible, is a pleasant surprise (= a point, or three).

Let's be realistic and assume we'll lose that one. Not a problem. At least, then we know exactly what to do: beating South-Korea on the 10th (if we don't, we're screwed).

After that one, the Poland game is the very last one in group D, so by that time we'll know exactly whether one point will be enough to advance. The schedule (the order in which the games are played) could not have been better than it is now.

The best scenario, however, would be to notch a point against Portugal, followed by the obligatory win over South-Korea. If that happens, a point against Poland will do in the last game.

By the way: where the hell are Suwon, Daejeon and Daegu? Are we based in South-Korea or Japan?

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2002

The world cup just won't be the same without Holland and all those ex-Ajax stars. I would like to see Denmark do well, as they have adopted the Ajax system (or so I heard anyway) because they are coached by Morten Olsen (one of the Laudrups is also involved, I have no idea which one though).

It would also be nice to see an African nation do well, maybe Cameroon or Nigeria. I take it Nwankwo Kanu, Finidi George and Sunday Oliseh are in the Nigeria squad (don't know about Babangida - what happened to him anyway???)

I guess Benni McCarthy will be playing for S. Africa... I think that's it for ex-Ajax players / coaches.

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2002

I disagree about the defensive midfield position. Reyna should play it. Simply put, the USA must get Landon Donovan or DeMarcus on the field. They don't have enough scorers as it is. Neither Reyna nor O'Brien is a real goal scoring threat. They need a fourth player to get down near the goal, to go with Mathis, McBride, and Stewart. Reyna should organize from the defensive midfield, with O'Brien and Stewart on the wings, and DMB or Donovan at attacking midfield. John O'Brien should NOT be taken off of the wing.

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2002

From ESPN:
Wide role would suit O'Brien just fine

For what it's worth, one prominent former U.S. National Team member sent me an e-mail stating a number of reasons why Mastroeni should be the team's defensive midfielder, and not Reyna or O'Brien. "You need a player at that position who defends for a living, not a playmaker who happens to be able to defend."

John O'Brien was last seen playing defensive midfielder next to Reyna against Holland and has said in the past hat he prefers playing in the center of the park several times, but he also revealed last week that playing on the outside in the U.S. system is much better than being a flank player on most teams.

"Being spread wide has advantages on this team," said the Ajax midfielder. "There is so much freedom given to me out there and room to roam that I have come to enjoy it. A lot of scoring opportunities seem to present themselves on the outside as opposed to the middle on this team."

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2002

I love this quote; it's our Quote of the Week:
28 May:
"He's their only player I can't figure. He is impossible to map. I can call Sven and tell him that he usually starts in the middle of the pitch, but I don't know. He can also stand on his head."
- Stuart Baxter, current England scout and former coach of Halmstad and AIK Stockholm, about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. England face Sweden in the first round of the World Cup on June 2.

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2002

My final four: Italy vs. Camaroon Brazil vs. Argentina

Brazil and Italy draw 1-1 in the championship game. Brazil wins 5-4 on penalty kicks.

I predict John O'Brien will advance with team USA, 2nd in Group D. O'Brien will not score, but will assist on two goals from corner kicks.

Zlatan and Sweden will also advance, 2nd in group F. Zlatan will not play much (Larsson and Alback will see most of the minutes), but he will find the net once.

Trabelsi and Ikedia will both finish last in their groups. Tunisia and Nigeria will not win any games, maybe not get any points.

Pienaar and S. Africa will surprise people. They will beat Slovenia, and although I have Paraguay through the group second, S. Africa has enough to win that game and slip into elimination play. Pienaar's play on the wing is important to this team, and although he will not find the net, he will control his section of the field effectively and give his team a chance toscore some goals.

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2002

Well, who do people think will do well in Japan?

My picks for the final four are:

Italy, Argentina, Portugal, and France

Argentina to beat Italy 2-0 in the final.

(Zlatan to score against England......;o))

-- Anonymous, May 27, 2002

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