Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sportszilla's World Cup Awards
By Imtiaz Mussa

It’s time for me to dish out the World Cup awards. I have seen all 64 matches and the results are in.

Best Game: Argentina vs. Mexico (June 24)
In a World Cup that was mostly defensive, the Argentina/Mexico match was extremely wide open and the game winning goal by Maxi Rodriguez was spectacular.
Runners Up: France vs. Italy (July 9), Tunisia vs. Saudi Arabia (June 14)

Worst Game: Switzerland vs. Ukraine (June 26)
The Swiss decided to forget about scoring and were obsessed with playing defense. Aside from their match against Saudi Arabia, the Ukrainians forgot how to score goals. It made for a dull game that went to penalties were the Swiss further embarrassed themselves.
Runners Up: Holland vs. Portugal (June 25), England vs. Portugal (July 1)

Best Goal: Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina vs. Mexico)
I should start by saying that the winger is right footed. He took the pass off his chest, nailed it with his left foot, and sent it over Oswaldo Sanchez and into the net. It came in extra time and proved to be the game winner as Argentina advanced to play Germany.
Runners Up: Philipp Lahm (June 9), Fabio Grosso (July 4)

Most Entertaining Team: Argentina
Since the real Brazil didn’t really show up this year, Argentina took over by playing some very attractive football. Their 6-0 thrashing of Serbia and Montenegro was an amazing display of offense. They way they passed the ball in that match was brilliant.
Runners Up: Germany, France

Least Entertaining Team: Switzerland
They were the epitomy of what this World Cup stood for as they were constantly playing defense. Granted they didn’t allow a goal but that doesn’t help when you can’t score.
Runners Up: Serbia and Montenegro, Paraguay

Best Manager: Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany)
Getting third place is a pretty good result for a man who many wanted gone before the World Cup started. He changed the German identity from one where they played defense and didn’t show emotion into a fun and entertaining squad that the German faithful could openly support.
Runners Up: Marcelo Lippi (Italy), Ratomir Dujkovic (Ghana)

Worst Manager: Sven Goran Eriksson (England)
This started with the decision to bring the untested Theo Walcott on the team and not even playing him when there was a striker crisis. Though they won Group B and advanced to the quarterfinals, England never played well.
Runners Up: Bruce Arena (United States), Pawel Janas (Poland)

Best Story: Inspired Italy
With the scandal going on in Italy, the Azzurri gave the nation something to make them forget about it. Despite the fact that nearly half the team could be on the move in the upcoming weeks pending the penalties given to those four clubs, they won it all. The also did it for former teammate Gianluca Pessotto who is currently in a hospital bed after attempting to commit suicide.
Runners Up: Ghana advancing, Oswaldo Sanchez playing after father’s death

Worst Story: The Referees
This World Cup set a record for yellow and red cards. FIFA wanted to cut down on the diving and shirt tugging and that’s fine but the referees took it too far. The flow of the game was disrupted leading to a boring match. Most of the penalty kicks given were an absolute joke and it cost certain teams the match and the chance to advance. The referees are supposed to been in the background to make sure nothing gets out of control, not come to the forefront with bold calls. FIFA has to consider making a movement toward full time officials.
Runners Up: The Excess Diving, Managers Getting Very Conservative, Togo’s Pay Demands

Breakout Star: Lukas Podolski (Germany)
The German forward who will be playing with Bayern Munich next season had a sensational tournament as he meshed well with Miroslav Klose. He had a fantastic tournament.
Runners Up: Lionel Messi (Argentina), Luis Valencia (Ecuador)

MVP: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
The Italian captain kept the entire defense organized throughout the World Cup. There were also times when he sparked the Italian offense as well. Simply put, he was brilliant.
Runners Up: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Zinedine Zidane (France)

LVP: Landon Donovan (United States)
When he packed his stuff to come to Germany, he forgot to bring his game with him. He certainly is the poster boy, the poster boy of a pathetic performance by the United States.
Runners Up: Mateja Kezman (Serbia and Montenegro), Ronaldinho (Brazil)

Sportszilla’s Best Team
Starters
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Defenders: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Fabio Grosso (Italy), John Terry (England)
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Zinedine Zidane (France), Patrick Vieira (France), Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Germany), Lukas Podolski (Germany)

Bench
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Portugal), Jens Lehmann (Germany)
Defenders: William Gallas (France), Ashley Cole (England), Lucas Neill (Australia), Ivan Hurtado (Ecuador)
Midfielders: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Luis Valencia (Ecuador), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Tranquillo Barnetta (Switzerland)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Argentina), Fernando Torres (Spain)

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