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Thursday, June 29, 2006

6/29 World Cup of Coffee

Well, another off-day at the World Cup. Most of my soccer blogging has been done, as I just wrote a post below about conservative antipathy toward soccer. Tomorrow we will pick back up with previews and daily digests of the World Cup matches.

Meanwhile, a quick word about r.johnson's post on Landon Donovan. Is it right to blame him or is too much pressure being heaped upon him? r.johnson makes some excellent points about Donovan's strengths and weaknesses. I think Donovan plays with additional pressure and receives criticism when things don't go well due to an excellent 2002 tournament in which he scored goals . In addition, his decision to stay with MLS after two failed tests in Germany rather than trying again in Europe raises suspicion about his skill and ambition. After thinking this over, I agree with r. johnson about the limits of Donovan as an all-around player and suspect that he has been saddled with unrealistic expectations. But if Donovan wants to truly improve, I do think he needs to go to England--even if it's the second division.

In the meantime, how about that Argentina-Germany match on Friday? Could be a classic. But I'm reeeaallly looking forward to that Ukraine match (cough, cough). But to whet your appetite, here are 50 of the all-time greatest goals...

UPDATE: Just found this Bruce Arena post-WC assessment of Donovan:
He's not going to be an international soccer superstar unless he can bring his qualities to the World Cup stage. He wasn't able to do it this time around. I wouldn't rate his performance as poor, but he's got a ways to go. The next World Cup is the perfect time. He'll be the perfect age, but will he be there as a player? That will be interesting to see whether he has the fire over the next four years to do that.
In the same interview, Arena calls Eric Wynalda a lunatic...

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