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Speaker: KICK IT! The Highest Mountain, and an Ode to Robert Green

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  • Sacha,

    If Giovanni was being serious then I do apologise for making light of it

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15762 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I think he was, Sacha. I think the analogy with the All Blacks holds. Imagine if you were the one sitting in the Netherlands, translating the newspapers for all your Dutch friends, so they could celebrate their win over the All Blacks.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1276 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Actually, that would be their draw with the All Blacks, but you take the point?

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1276 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Aw, guys. Trash-talking is all fun and games till someone gets hurt. If my 8 year old and his Italian friend can watch the game and re-enact it afterwards without everything ending in tears, surely we can. No more mean talking.

    And Giovanni, please don't go - you'll just reinforce the terrible stereotypes. ("Ow, mamma, a New Zealander breathed on me, ow, ow").

    I'm working on explaining to my boys that every time "your" team wins, your vicarious and surely temporary joy is balanced by someone else's vicarious and surely temporary disappointment, somewhere else on the planet, possibly in the chair right next to you. It's yin/yang. Without the ebb of flow of the tides of fortune, the universe would be a monotonous moonscape of monotony. Like a vuvuzela orchestra.

    Plus, with a spot each of Italian and Danish ancestry, we have at least three dogs in this fight, not counting England and the US as well. We cannot lose! Right?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Doh, I missed a whole page while I was dithering in the comment box.

    I thought the Italians totally owned the ball, even if they couldn't quite get it in the goal. Our guys practically gift-wrapped the ball and gave it away every time it came near them. Thank god for the goalkeeper. And yeah, the Italian goal was a shoo-in (my four year old could have got that goal) but ours was a miraculous accident. I think we're even.

    Also, even if the Italian player dived to make it blatantly obvious, it was still a foul. Also, also, the NZ goal was kind of dodgy too. Also, also, also, wasn't the result fair enough? It's still an amazing result for NZ, and one we will celebrate for years to come.

    What Deborah said.

    Best of all, we're doing better than the Aussies.

    Especially this bit. Heh.

    But really, all of what Deborah said, including the bit about translation (an invisible and thankless task at the best of times, and for which I thank you, Giovanni).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm all right! Honest! Ironically I was in fact very keen to spend the day talking up the All Whites with you all. Less so to take part in a collaborative Stephen Jones column about those cheating Italians - but you should all feel free.

    That said

    "Ow, mamma, a New Zealander breathed on me, ow, ow"

    Rofflenui.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Without wishing to upset any Italians, I'd like to post the following, pinched from writer Pip Adam's twitter account:

    The Italian team visit Cape Town orphanage. "It's heartbreaking to see their sad little faces with no hope" said Jamal, age 6

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 638 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'd just like to say that Kyle Matthews knows his football punditry. Just saying.

    Actually my comment near the end of the NZ-Slovakia game was that it would be vastly improved if there was more body checking. Seriously, passing back and forth, back to D, back to goal tender. Do we need their warm up passing to happen in the middle of the game? Can't they do that beforehand?

    Needs a good forechecker there to put a couple of them on the ground, steal the ball crash the net.

    That might be just me however.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'd like to post the following, pinched from writer Pip Adam's twitter account:

    Er... Pip is a dear friend and I'm sure she wouldn't want to be accused of plagiarism, so let's say right away it's a rather older joke - a known associate of this fine blog was making it about the Socceroos just last week.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    There is a degree to which we should remember what the world cup is all about. The top teams in the world battling it out for Football supremacy. Of course New Zealand's achievements can't go unnoticed, but now I'm starting to think 'thank god Spain is back on track, and look at all those goals Portugal scored! (7!!!) If only England, Germany, Italy and France could stop imploding and play to their potential, we might have a decent spectacle to watch in the round of 16.'

    I'd love the All Whites' fairy tale to continue, but watching ESP v HON this morning reminded me of what quality looks like. I wonder how much we would have been thrashed by if ITA had a Villa on the field?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    But Italy is playing to its potential. That's the problem.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Congrats on passing 5000 Gio. You're in a league of... scrambles to see... not many ;-)

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And they said it shouldn't be done.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    a known associate of this fine blog was making it about the Socceroos just last week.

    Heh; I can assure you I plagiarised it too.

    And here’s something else to repeat. Now that every team has played 2 matches a table can be done of all teams to date.

    And look; we’re 21st equal at the World Cup. Equal with Italy too, and one place ahead of England.

    Enjoy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    it's a rather older joke - a known associate of this fine blog was making it about the Socceroos just last week.

    I had never heard it before and actually chortled out loud.

    (Righto, back to threadlurking. I know absolutely nothing about this sport and so I'm just vicariously basking in the glow of everyone else's wellbeing. Hooray for things! And stuff!)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    But Italy is playing to its potential. That's the problem.

    Thinking about this, and here's where I display my lack of true Football knowledge no doubt, it seems to me Italy is an excellent team of mid fielders and defenders, but lacks an expert dribbler and striker. Possibly similar to New Zealand?

    Are there any young talents in the squad who could be given a run?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm no expert, but my impression is that Smeltz is a reasonable striker. Top scorer in the Australian league. Having a better world cup than some top premier league goal scorers.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Are there any young talents in the squad who could be given a run?

    Nah. There's a young player who wasn't selected for being a bit of a troublemaker - Balotelli - and an older one who wasn't selected for having kicked the young one in the dying stages of the season - Totti. Other than that, that was the talent available. They are a willing group (10 shots v. Paraguay, 24 v. New Zealand, they do go forward) but badly lacking a good number 10 and a clinical finisher, for sure.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Smeltz is a very good poacher. Don’t expect to see him back in the A League next season.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I'm no expert, but my impression is that Smeltz is a reasonable striker. Top scorer in the Australian league. Having a better world cup than some top premier league goal scorers.

    Good at putting himself in a position to capitalise on a well placed aerial pass, but could he outwit three defenders on the dribble, then hammer one in off his left foot? Maybe in the A League, but I'll be well impressed if he does that against Paraguay.

    Go the Oratia Smurfs. Chortle.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Hollywood,

    Just a couple of random thoughts. The first fortnight of any World Cup is bound to throw up unexpected results. The nature of the tournament format dictates that the Big Guns seldom hit the ground running, firing on all six from the get go etc. That’s where teams like NZ have, albeit temporarily, the chance to defy the odds and cause the upsets. The teams harbouring hopes of actually winning the thing tend to be hitting a peak (of sorts) during the second round and beyond. The role of the minnow is to expose weaknesses and prime the opposition for greater challenges ahead.
    In terms of Smeltz and other NZ players getting exposure and picking up more prestigious contracts post-WC, that’ll undoubtedly happen but I think we have to be honest and say that only the quickest and most technically proficient will survive the cut and thrust of top flight club football longer-term. The biggest difference (for me) between the likes of the A-League and the Premiership or Serie A is pace. Not only the pace of individual players but speed of thought. The defenders Smeltz (for example) would come up against in the Premiership are unlikely to be as fazed by his poaching ability as your average A-League defender.
    I think there was an example in the Italy match yesterday: Leo Bertos is one of the quickest players in the A-League and that caused no end of problems for teams facing the Phoenix last year, yet we saw the big defender Chiellini not only concede a yard but actually turn and match Bertos for speed in a straight 30 metre sprint for the ball at one point. And he consistently defused situations by reading the game so much quicker as well, whereas our back three is far more reliant on scrambling, blocking, limbs-in-the-way type defending.
    The ability to play the game at pace is the biggest difference between being world-class and being a talented honest pro imo.

    Since May 2009 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Good at putting himself in a position to capitalise on a well placed aerial pass, but could he outwit three defenders on the dribble, then hammer one in off his left foot?

    Well, getting on the end of aerial long balls is pretty much an English striker's job, and very few strikers can beat three defenders on the trot and score; that's why Maradona was the greatest on the planet.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Maradona was the greatest on the planet.

    I haven't seen an Argentina game yet (yes yes, terrible, I know), but tonight's game against Greece should be good, at the convenient time of 6.15am. Argentina are some bookies' favourites, but not their own coach's?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    I'm quietly confident that the S Koreans will account for Nigeria and that Greece will lose (or at best draw) with Argentina.

    But what chance of two predictions coming right in consecutive games? probably none.

    As an aside on the radio sports news earlier this evening they were saying what Nigeria needed to do to go through rather than what S Korea needs to do (when S Korea is in a better position to go through). I realise that the Korean listenership is probably damn low but we do have a healthy Korean population in NZ of about 30,000. Do our media take these things into consideration? pfffft

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

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