Last chance to vote. Italy or France?

I was hoping for a Portugal – Italy final. It would make things interesting here on The Drive. I’m glad that Portugal lost though, their flopping on the ground every time the ball was inside the box was a disgrace. I remember a few years back in the NHL some guy took a dive and flopped on the ice. The ref gave the opposing player a penalty. The guy on the ice then made a miraculous recovery, got up, and skated to the bench. From then on the opposing team could have cross-checked that player in the face and the ref would not have given another penalty. Thankfully on Wednesday’s game the Uruguayan ref got it right. He didn’t subcumb to the antics of the Portuguese.

No, really. Who is going to win the World Cup?

Okay, there’s a new poll running. Make your vote, leave a comment here if you’re brave and smart enough to back it up.

The poll is on the right-side of the page, near the bottom.

World Cup Disappointments

Despite being entertained overall and enjoying some matches, there have been some huge disappointments with this year’s world cup. Firstly, some of the referees have been terrible. Take the Ukraine – Tunisia match. Not only did Tunisia carry the bulk of the play, but with 25m left to play a Ukranian handled the ball in the box. No call. Then about 2 minutes later Shevkenkov tripped over himself in the box and was awarded a penalty. Ukraine wins 1-0. Then there was the Dutch-Portuguese game…. Not much needs to be said about that one.

Secondly, there have been some terrible performances from teams that you would expect better from. England comes to mind. They haven’t played one good game yet, and they are in the quarter-finals. Other under-performing teams include the Netherlands, France, and Sweden.

The biggest problem in mind is that there are too many teams in this competition. Here are some revised numbers for qualifiers:
Concacaf: let’s face it, all the teams suck except for Mexico. I guess concacaf needs to send two teams though.
Asia: they pretty much suck. Saudi Arabia? Iran? Japan? Give them two places, not four.
Concacaf and Asia can then play-off for one more spot.
Africa: poor bastards. In a continent that just can’t get it right, it’s not surprising that great talent often leads nowhere. Give them 3 teams because they need something to brighten their day. And they usually play entertaining football
South America: wow, check out that gap in talent between the top two teams and the bottom two. Maybe this year is an anomaly. Give them 3 places
Europe: Europe needs a shakeup. No-one in the world wants to see Croatia, Serbia and Ukraine play. I would suggest that placings are decided on wins and goals, not goal difference. Give Europe 12 places, and make them fight a bit harder to get in.
Host nation gets one team.

I guess that leaves just 24 teams. Perfect.

World Cup, Germany 2006 Poll Added

Check out the poll on the right, scroll to near the bottom. Show me what you got!

My pot-stirrers are Switzerland (I haven’t heard the outcome of their match with France earlier today). I think they can make it to the quarters. They’re young and gutsy from what I understand.

I’m going with the Netherlands, probably beating Argentina in the finals.
The Czechs may get to the finals instead of Argentina.
England has a great midfield but I’m betting that they have problems finding the back of the net.
If Netherlands doesn’t beat Brazil in the Semis, then Brazil wins the cup.