Western Europe’s World Cup

Thierry Henry nets the game winner for France/AP

Four short years after Soccer proved to be more of worldwide game than many Europeans would give credit for, thanks to the Quarterfinal runs of Senegal and USA as well as the semifinal appearances of Turkey and South Korea, the football world has been turned back right side up. This World Cup, every nation that has reached the semifinals is a Western European nation, and suprisingly both England and Holland were not among the final four. Winning matches on European soil if you are not a European nation continues to be elusive. For all the hopes of other nations and some guilty fans in western Europe, this was not the World Cup for the breakthrough of a developing football nation be it an African power (such as Ghana or the Ivory Coast both of whom seemed to have boatloads of talent), the United States (whose disgraceful performance has been much discussed on this website) or South Korea. A World Cup on European soil is once again a European Championship two years early.

These European sides are different though incorporating the best of world football in their teams. Portugal has an unmistakable Brazilian influence, Germany has two African born players as well a manager who takes his knowledge of American sports and implements them on his squad, and France has far more black players than white players, as well as an attacking philosophy that bears little resemblance to the great French teams prior to the 1990s. France’s team also incorporates the influence of its neighbors since France’s top players make a living all over the continent in different leagues. National teams in so many ways are no longer simply products of the domestic environment.

But as has been the case so many times in the games history, Europe is impregnable as a force in the World Cup. The best of the game worldwide gravitate to play in Europe not just for the money but also for the experience. Germany 2006 has reinforced the European dominace of international football and has made a loud statement to aspiring nations, such as our own United States that our time has not yet come.

39 thoughts on “Western Europe’s World Cup”

  1. What a total pity. We have been denied passgae due to the argentine referee and his silly call against Rooney as well as missing an obvious penalty.

    Sven deserves his fate for benching young Aaron Lennon who had given us quite a spark in favor of an idiot like Jamie Carragher. I’m a merseysider myself but am tired of Carragher foolish mistakes at the back and his overall quality. Both Liverpool and England can do better.

  2. The Argentine offical who sought to refight the Falkland War today must be banned from further work with FIFA. This match was total rubbish.

  3. Wait until next world cup in south Africa. Both USA and Mexico under new coaches will make runs and do CONCACAF proud.

  4. Keep inmind that France was way down until they started actively recruiting and playing black players. After making the smifinals of the World Cup in 1986, France failed to qualify for either the 1990 or 1994 World Cup. Then with the overload of black players they won the World Cup in 1998 and the Euro 2000 title as well.

  5. Rooney didn’t do anything terribly foolish. The referee looking to get even with England for our recent dominace of Argentina went to his pocket and pulled red instead of yellow.

  6. Ronaldo should be suspended for the rest of the World Cup. He initiated the incident with Rooney and then sweet talked the Argentine ref who was looking for a way to cause England the game into pulling out a red card. Ronaldo is a disgrace to the game and when he returns to Man Yoo we should all give him a serenade he shall never forget.

  7. Youri Djorkaeff has left his side in the American minor league to watch France in the World Cup. Evidently he is unhappy with the firing of Mo Johnston, the former Scot star and his replacement by some american manager. Djorkaeff had claimed he had an ill family member to care for but turned up watching his former mates Zidane and Vierra beat Brazil! He has given up on your minor league, and so should you.

  8. I nominate Rio Ferdinand to be the new captain of England. His fierry play at the back means he’s material to be our skipper. Becks did a credible job but just got tired of the tabloids and the hooligans not appreaciating his skills.

  9. Owen Hargreaves who was the best player for England in this World Cup actually plays for Bayern Munich. Perhaps you need to get some of your players out of the EPL and beyond Real Madrid for them to devlop the savvy needed to compete with different styles of play. England was fortunate quarterfinalist and major dissapointment for the Football world.

    Poor Frank Lampard probably will need a confidence boost when he returns to the lions of Chelsea.

    I feel bad for Shaun Wright Phillips and Jermain Defoe both left off the squad by Sven. I think both could have helped England with sort of pace and finishing ability sorely lacking from everyone excepting Gerrard on the squad.

  10. What a suprise! The English fans are crying about their loss. They can’t just face the fact that they LOST! You LOST! You aren’t as great as you think. Get over it. Your team has horrible tactics. Except for Beckham, your kickers have no accuracy. You team speed cannot compete with other top notch teams in this competition. The only way that England can win is by playing ugly, and they showed that yesterday, and they STILL couldn’t win!

    Still, English players (with the exception of Beckham) are overrated. I think Beckham has a touch with free kicks. But Owen, sucked since he went to Real Madrid. Lampard had, what, the second most amount of shots next to Klose, yet he has NO goals! This English team isn’t as good as the 2002 or even, my personal favorite, the 1998 team.

    Still, ALL I heard the English say a few weeks ago was the England would NEVER lose to Portugal. Ha ha ha, don’t you like the fact that some ‘Yank’ actually predicted that you would lose that match. You must also love the fact that some ‘Yank’ said that France would do well. Out of the four teams that I said would make the semifinals, three of them actually have.

    I am wondering, do the English REALLY know as much about soccer as most people think? I am starting to wonder if they even know their sport at all. Anyone that REALLY follows soccer could tell you that this English squad didn’t have a chance.

    Still, I need to rub it in. Here we go….

    Anonymous said…
    Hey France boy, you are going to regret your picks against England.

    HA HA HA….next….

    We Are the Three Lions said…
    Do you know anything about Football? England will never lose to Portugal. I assure you we will kill them. Look at our defense today holding up against a constant attck from a good South American side, even with Rooney and Owen out.

    HA HA HA….next…

    Rafael said…
    France looks like a joke. The author of this site has picked them to win the World Cup? They are one of the worst sides out there!

    HA HA HA….ahh….that is enough :)

  11. Still, I think that we have seen the difference between teams that play well as ‘teams’ and teams that have eleven individual players that don’t play well as a team.

    Yes, I am a France fan, but I feel that France is the best ‘team’ out there. All the players know where all the other players are on the pitch. They play smart, they play as a team.

    England, on the other hand, plays like a bunch of individuals. They don’t play as a cohesive unit. Like I said in the past, England “plays like eleven players that are trying to get on the back page of the tabloids”. They don’t play well together. I think England is a one man show (Beckham), while France is a eleven man show (all eleven players playing as one).

  12. I stand corrected. Zidane’s return, Vierra’s resurgence, and Ribbery’s emergence have been enough to push France forward. I was wrong.

  13. Okay, I’m a lover of EPL Football (I love the passion from the fans) I love the way the game is played there but I have always felt that the same style would have difficulty prospering against other skillful European teams not to mention the So. American teams. BTW was I the only one who saw Rooney sticking his boot to the Portugal player’s groin? That’s a red card no matter where the referee is from! Rooney needs to be taught a lesson. His thug attitude may work in the EPL but as evidenced in the Portugal match, will not be tolerated by FIFA. Interesting, how England’s players tend to loose their composure and get sent off in big games… What a shame that such a talented team just can’t play at the level it is capable of. I guess I’m one of the few fans from the Latin American side who likes England…

  14. The EPL is the best league in the world. Very few people would argue otherwise. That is why all the toptalent from Africa, Asia and the USA gravitate towards our league.

    I have still not gotten over the injustice our boys suffered at the hands of the Argentine official and the desire of the Germans to see england defeated. Our squad was getting better and better every match and prior to the sending off we were getting the better of Portugal. It is difficult to sleep at night knowing the one thing you have wanted your enitre life was taken from you by an act reckless thievery. England shall never get over the injustice of 1 July 2006. Christian Ronaldo will not be safe if he returns to Man Yoo, so he’d better arrange a transfer or a loan.

  15. Very few would argue otherwise? Well, I think Serie A fans would disagree.

    Yes, talent from many countries gravitate to the EPL. But I don’t know if that has to do with play. I will give the EPL credit with one thing, they know how to sell and market. Maybe a player like Henry knows that he will make more money in England than in France, Spain or Italy.

    Still, Christian Ronaldo needs to watch himself? People are saying that his life might be in danger if he returns?

    Ok…but IT IS JUST A GAME! Hey, my favorite hockey team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961, but I don’t want to kill anyone because of it.

    There are so many other things in the world to worry about. Yet, it seems like people in England are more worried about the ability (or in this case, England’s lack of ability) to put a little ball in a huge net.

    If his life is really in danger…then a lot of people in England need to get a life.

  16. We have been robbed. We can all agree on that, and no life does not go on. This was our best chance to win the cup, and just like the every other world cup and the euros we fall short on penalties or by some fluke. We have a better team than France, Italy and Portugal. Germany is playing at home but we smashed them the last time we faced them.

    So many people in the international football community do not want England to win because of the so-called Hoolignaism and the knowledge that our nation is more advanced in football and more passionate in so many ways. It is convenient for them to exchange the championship between Brazil and a continental side excluding England for political purposes.

    Sven’s tactical blunderss didn’t help either. Let us hope McLaren does better, or dare I say has better luck.

  17. England had the most talent of any team in this World Cup but as the Zidane fan has mentioned above they did not play as a team.

    The lack of connectivity between the midfield and attacking players was as bad as the worst teams in the World Cup. England’s super talented midfield all had roles unfamiliar to them with their club sides. Gerrard who usually directs the liverpool attack was forced into a withdrawn forward role, Lampard was pushed inside and Cole wide. Only Cole really excelled, despite Gerrard’s two goals. Lampard’s world cup debut was a total bust. We saw a lot more spark from Aaron Lennon in limited playing time then in the entire tournament for Lampard.

    Why did Sven select Theo Wolcott over Heskey, Wright-Phillips or DeFoe? Why does England always have a problem with squad selection going back to the Robson days? Maybe England has too much talent to select a 23 man roster easily and too much individualism and selfishness to win a World Cup. England has always had personalities too large it seems to fit the team concept. I like Beckham and would except him from that but guys like Gary Linekar, Gazza and now Rooney are team and coach killers!

    You must play as a team. I watch Zidane, Vierra, Thurmam and Makelele. four old horses considered over the hill by most. they know each other so well that their teamwork becomes a thing of beauty. Vierra clears a ball from Brazil, and Zidane does some fancy footwork to hold the ball in midfield long enough for Vierra to make a daring run which draws a free kick and a yellow card in a dangerous area. That’s a team, and that’s knowing your mates. Zidane and Vierra knew what one and another would do in that situation, and always are on the same page. England’s players never have a any clue about one another and that is a total shame!

  18. I am still waiting to hear about this Argentine official. Rooney was stupid, but England was robbed on a missed hand ball in the box and Ronaldo’s acting. That having been said England terribly underachieved in this world cup.

  19. When will you England fans just admit you were defeated? Us Mexicanos don’t carry on about refs and conspiracies. We were not good enough, and that’s the end of the story. The same for you.

  20. Our manager really hurt our chances of passage into the later rounds by choosing a squad with so many unfit players and others who were too young to make an impact. He ignored several experienced players that could have made a difference and we have paid the price. The referee did not help us either, but that is a whole seperate issue.

  21. Carragher is a horror! One good Champions league campaign doesn’t make a great defender or penalty taker. Thank you Sven for causing our glory to go down the tubes.

  22. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize that Britt football fans were such cry babies. And I thought Argies were bad!

    Yes, you may have suffered officiating injustices, well guess what? You weren’t the only ones! You also benefited from some calls too. In the end, Portugal netted the ball in PK’s and England didn’t.

    To say that a person’s life is at risk over a game is just plain silly. Yes you can jeer and boo him, even slander him but to threaten his life! Just face it, Rooney got what he deserved, acting or not. Why would you kick someone like that. The replay doesn’t lie. The first thing we are taught in sports is don’t retaliate, you will be caught!

    Wayne Rooney is a talanted football player but not a very smart competitor. Basically his selfishness cost England dearly…

  23. Boy you Brits need to get a grip. Considering England hasn’t been to a final of a major competetion since 1966 you folks better look at how the FA does business and how you prepare for major events. England has far too much Football talent, more football talent than the 4 nations left in the World Cup to be constantly on the outside looking in. It has become fashionable in the UK media to bash Sven for everything from his player selection to tactics and to training routine, but the English Football player has a mindset issue that has hobbled him for several generations now. England’s long ball style doesn’t work anymore on the global stage and you guys aren’t structured or discipline enough to play a good team game through midfield. England needs to take a good long hard look at its FA before Euro 2008.

  24. Just saw on World Cup live that Torsten Frings has been suspended for today’s match. That is a big blow to Germany.

  25. McLaren is a fool to have made Terry the captain. A bloody fool. More of the same with our crew, lads.

  26. Italy wins today since Frings is suspended.

    He would have the responsibility of marking Totti.

  27. Lamm has had a bad first half, but Germany has still created some opportunities. What has Ballack been doing?

  28. The fact that we basically beat Italy should not be lost on anybody. The people on this website who attack US Soccer, the MLS and all our players should now realize we can beat anybody in the world. We are an elite team as demonstrated by the mere fact that Italy’s toughest game was against the USA.

  29. Sams Army, please get a grip on reality. We have lots of good talk on this site and you ruin it all with crazy comments.

  30. Sams…….You are just looney. I wish I could be as delusional as you but somehow I and the vast majority of other USA fans cannot be.

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