Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brazil Anticipation #4

Canada is playing Brazil in two days. In any other country in the world, you'd have been bombarded by media stories and your friends would be wetting themselves with excitement. Here? We're pretty sure the game won't even be on TV, though I'll be sure to provide a streaming link closer to game time, likely in Spanish or Portuguese.

Let's start today's anticipatory set with a look at how our neighbours (that's right, Yanks, suck on that 'u') to the south did in their high profile friendly:

England beats U.S., 2-0, in friendly match


Extraneous commas aside, that headline sums it up. If you read closely, you'll see the injured Landon Donovan taking a shit on the performance of his teammates. By all accounts, England was average while the Americans looked far from dangerous.
Beckham working hard? Now I've seen everything!

In fact, if you look at the lineup the U.S. fielded, and compare against Canada's best XI (unfair, maybe, but I won't let that stop me) you could make the case that any gap in quality between the sides is minimal.

In goal... Score one for the Americans. Canada's MLS keepers, Sutton and Onstad, could be described as steady, while Lars Hirschfeld has had a roller-coaster of a European career, but none match the pedigree of Tim Howard, who played against England. The U.S. has other options at this position as well.

Back line... The starters for the U.S. were Pearce, Onyewu, Bocanegra and Cherundolo. If you compare that with Stalteri, Hainault, McKenna and Brennan, it's little more than toss up. None of these players are world-beaters by any stretch.

Midfield... This is where it's really interesting. In a 4-4-2 against England, the Americans trotted out Clint Dempsey, Ricardo Clark, Michael Bradley, and DaMarcus Beasley. Canada doesn't favour the 4-4-2 these days, but imagine a midfield of (from L-R) Dwayne De Rosario, Atiba Hutchinson, Julian de Guzman and Tam Nsaliwa (I'm not sure Tam is a right-sided guy but I had to fit him in there). There is nobody on the American side with the talent of de Guzman, and I rate De Rosario pretty highly as well. One point to Canada.

Forwards... Re-tread is the word I'd use to describe both U.S. forwards from yesterday's match. Josh Wolff and Eddie Johnson have little to offer. This position could look quite different, not only in a few years, but even a few weeks. Donovan, while a pansy, is good, and Altidore is the future. Rob Friend is a beast and I'd rate him ahead of Johnson and Wolff, but the U.S. has more talent here.


It matters not, though, until we qualify for the Hex.


Oh yeah, Brazil! We'll be live blogging the thing, drinking, and otherwise enjoying ourselves. The fact that the CBC is presenting Soccer Day in Canada, but not showing Canada's highest profile friendly in years is a kick in the teeth, but with hockey running into and potentially past the start time, it would be a dangerous proposition anyway.

I'm not much for predictions, but I'll give one now: 3-1 Brazil. Leave your own in the comments. And don't forget Panama coming up on June 3rd. A bonus prediction: 2-0 Canada.

I'll be back Saturday, or sooner if any important news comes up (players dying, earthquake in Seattle, possible TV coverage).


And as a special treat, the first edition of "How you found me": a collection of some of the more interesting search strings that brought you here to this place.

Most people who are pointed this way by the search engines know what they are looking for. Many wanted info about the U23 qualifiers, or more obscure players like the Nakajima-Farran brothers and Dejan Jakovic.

Others ask some pretty honest, fundamental and existential questions:
  • 'what is an oot football' [I'd like to know myself]
  • 'haitians do good in canada?' [I'm not qualified to offer immigration advice]
  • 'how to live in mexico if canadian' [See above]
  • 'canada-guatemala life' [A typo, or an interesting social experiment?]
Some searchers are clearly in need of reference material, and have come to the wrong place:
  • 'edmonton montreal distance' [I can help you out here: to drive it's an even 4000 km]
  • 'distance between us virgin islands and st. lucia' [A bit out of my geography expertise and Google can't help you either]
  • 'bermuda u17 national squad trip to puerto rico' [We love our Concacaf footie, but that's a bit too obscure for my tastes]
  • 'name the mvp ihn 2007-2008 nfl super bowl. what was that super bowl.' [So many things are wrong about this one, but most of all it's the wrong sport]
  • 'updates of igor vrablic' [To be honest, I have no idea where you'll find an answer to this query. A good national teamer once, but not for a while]
A little bit from the North American scene:
  • 'schelotto, dive' [Not so strange, really. I'm just glad to see I'm not the only one that feels this way. Not sure whether this is meant as an imperative, or what]
  • 'kevin harmse fouls trade' [Does Kevin foul trade? Has he traded his fouls?]
  • 'Vancouver Whitecaps beat the Los Angeles Galaxy David Beckham notwithstanding' [A reader looking for a very specific type of match report]
Some requests are incomprehensible or bizarre:
  • 'bitch haiti' [This guy should talk to the 'haitians do good in canada?' guy]
  • 'trinidad chicken foot soup' [It's a real thing]
  • 'soccer boner' [To be fair, I did use that phrase once]
  • 'out of touch video clip (united nations' [Um, what? And close your brackets, please]
  • 'the show that I heard about everytime we touch at had soccer' [Never google drunk]
And the question we all want the answer to:

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