Anti Joga Bonito (Love All Football)

Celebrating club football and shining the light on incompetent and biased journos indulging in stereotyping and negativity.

Tag Archives: Russia

Czech yourself

Russia – Czech Republic, June 8, 2012 – 20h45 kick off; 4-1

After this convincing display, albeit against an opposition that is more intimidating in terms historical achievements than present might on the pitch, Russia will certainly climb up in most specialists’ and especially tourists’ rankings as potential favorites. It’s always so with wins with significant goal margins. But to be fair, they did show good command of the ball and potency in attack, so it is actually not unfair for them to inherit the status of favorites to qualify from this group. A quick review of their essential features as per this tournament’s key assessment criteria.

Russia

Ivan Denisov’s Hollywood future

Hollywood factor: Igor Denisov would be a great Russian baddie sidekick in a James Bond flick, but the problem is that the Russians have slipped down the bad guys’ pecking order.

Old/mean man kudos: With the singular exception of the youthful Dzagoev, the average age of the starting 11 is probably somewhere around 29 if not even 30, so there are many contenders for this role. Defender Aleksandr Anyukov looks the meanest though (see photo below).

French connection: There have not been many Russian players in Ligue 1. This is kind of surprising given the many lavish and luxurious facets of life in France. The low appeal of the hexagon may have to do with the high taxes, the absence of Russian owners, or simply the general lack of all round bling-bling status, though that may be changing rapidly as PSG prepares for another big splash this summer. But honestly, I don’t even feel like googling the players’ names, I am that unconvinced of finding anything (help is welcome as always).

Alan’s technique versus Petr’s physique (& hair)

New hype kid most touted to join the English Premier League: Alan Dzagoev – the very prospect of being able to lean on the simplicity of his first name for buddy-buddy post match interviews (for UK journos) places him above many on the shopping list for an early summer deal, not to mention his two great goals of the evening. If Roman doesn’t bite, don’t put it past Wenger to break the piggy bank (and try to definitely dispose of Arshavin in the process) for another promising quick-footed midfielder.

Czech Republic

Hollywood factor: Although already 31, Arsenal’s own Tomáš Rosický conserves a youthful insouciance that is quite endearing (for example his haircut suggests he is no more than 15 years old). If Arnold Schwarzenegger is ever tempted for a reprise in his classic role, for example in Terminator 5, I would recommend Rosický to play alongside the former guvna as an older version of John Connor (that other kid in Terminator 3 was completely out of his depth). But really, let’s face it, it’s all gone terribly wrong since Jan Koller retired from national service. (copyrighted pun by prince O of Subfoot.com fame)

Mean man in defence, Aleksandr Anyukov; the Czechs no longer have one like him. Where is Tomas Ujfalusi anyway?

Old/mean man kudos: High of his Champions League performance, it should be Cech but that soft fuzzy helmet is suggestive of a lingering fragility not suited to the big boots that come with this responsibility. Though not exactly old at 26, Petr Jiráček’s has a potential bad boy/rock star look that put him in contention for this role (as well as a move to AS Roma). However, overall the boys in white are light on this key factor especially prized by Roy Keane, so they won’t be his favorites to make it through the next round.

French connection: Bordeaux’s own Jaroslav “mini-Nedved” Plasil, the talented but typically underachieving midfielder (as per the now established tradition of post 1990’s initially promising Czech talent). Seriously, it’s all gone terribly wrong since Jan Koller left Monaco.

New hype kid most touted to join the English Premier League: On a serious note, the young 23-year old Václav Pilař, who impressed with Viktoria Plzen in this year’s Champions League group stages, and elegantly converted the only Czech goal of the evening, could be a good buy for someone with a slightly longer term vision then the average EPL chairman. I bet David Moyes could make him fit in well at Everton.

– – – –

Historic moment of the match: The very smooth 2nd goal chip by Roman Shirokov.

Roman chips over Cech for the 2nd goal of the night.

Hero of the game: Alan Dzagoev, and notably for his convincing 2nd goal and passionate but classic celebration.

Harry Redknapp’s quip of the game: He’s good that Roman Pavlyuchenko guy, we should try to buy him for next season.

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International Lull

Ah, what a relaxing feeling, a lightness of the mind and the heart. For once this international week-end has come with almost perfect timing for some much deserved rest for the nerves, as long as there are no injuries to important players. Any surprises? Well, let’s see:

  • In Group A, Germany crushed Kazakhstan. Azamat will be sad. Wa-wa-wee-wa. But seriously though, watch out for Belgium: 0-2 away against Austria may not sound like much, but the 3 points will be vital to them, and they have a side that is composed of some promising young players. Plus Hazard did not even play. For those who missed it, here is his 1st goal against Marseille from a few weeks ago in early March 2011.
  • Group B: Ireland beat Macedonia 2-1, while Armenia and Russia settled on an amicable goalless draw.
  • In Group C, Italy won more or less in the last minutes of the game against Slovenia, courtesy of Inter’s own Thiago Motta. I think Ronaldinho wants to play too, maybe they should offer him a passport too. Adriano could probably get one too, you should give it a go, Cesare. In the meantime, Serbia mounts a spirited fightback against plucky Northern Ireland in an empty stadium (merci Michel) to scoop up some much needed 3 points.
  • In Group D, Bosnia beat Romania 2-1; with Ibisevic and Dzeko on a good day, these guys might actually do something this time around. France managed 2 in order to squeeze the 3 points from Luxembourg. Albania won their first game ever (no, I’m messing around, hopefully not) with a clean 1-0 against not to be underestimated Belarus.
  • Holland made light of Hungary by 0-4 in the only game for Group E.
  • In Group F, Georgia beat Croatia 1-0; there’s an upset for ya. Dzienkuje.

    Dzienkuje!

    Israel got the 3 points by beating Latvia 2-1.

  • England beat Wales (sooo suprisingly) in Group G for Gerrard. Don’t they have a really good player that plays in the EPL for a team in red, who’s really on fire this season? No, I don’t mean Chris Evans. Switzerland managed another draw away against Bulgaria. Qualification is looking increasingly unlikely. Credit Suisse would be well advised to start pulling back those investment brochures and posters with Hitzfeld.
  • In Group H, the Viking standoff between Norway and Denmark ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Same in the game opposing Cyprus versus Iceland, except there it was even less exciting, nil-nil.
  • Cech and the Czechs are not what they used to be: potentially the best game on the bill over the weekend in this Group I, things kicked off to a nice start with Plasil’s 1st (a nice strike rebounding in from the post), which was cancelled out in the 2nd half by Villa, in a remarkably similar effort, taking him to a new record of Spain’s best ever scorer.