Olympic Soccer - Japan 2020 (2021) and Copa Libertadores

Discussion in 'Sports' started by CenterField, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

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    The only game I've caught so far is USA women's 6-1 demolition of New Zealand.
    No shortage of skill in that game. The perfect cross and one touch control and shot of the goal scorer in the USA's second goal was as good as anything I saw in the Euros.
    Despite losing their first game I can't see anyone stopping this team winning gold again.
     
  2. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Well, it was against New Zealand (and with two of the goals, goofy own goals)... so I'm not counting on a repeat gold medal yet. For one thing, Sweden seems to have our number...
    Sure, there are some skilled gals... I just can't believe how bad the goalies are. Can't the gals find a good goalie? Hope Solo was decent (although personalty-disordered).
     
  3. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    The refs are trying to keep the young impetuous guys under control. And it's the Olympic spirit; athletes shouldn't engage in unsportsmanlike conduct. When they do, they are more severely punished.
     
  4. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Meanwhile, in the Gold Cup, Canada just beat Costa Rica 2-0 (the game ended a few minutes ago; I only watched the last 5 minutes, and then the highlights) and will play the semifinal against Mexico this coming Thursday. This is not a surprising result; Costa Rica is a shadow of its former self (I don't actually know if they are full force or like us, resting players for the WC Qualifiers). Canada is depleted due to yellow card suspensions for the game against Mexico, who are heavy favorites. They lost two of their best players today, who got their second yellow card. Canada's first goal was beautiful. They almost scored another very beautiful one but it went above the crossbar. Their second goal came out of a big blunder by the Costa Rican defense.

    The other semifinal will be invited team Qatar, against the winner of United States Team B vs Jamaica, which will be played in about 50 minutes (I'm planning to watch). Of course while Mexico is full force, the USA brought a team without our star players who are all in Europe and who beat Mexico in the final of the Nations League. So whatever happens in the Gold Cup doesn't really reflect the current strength of the USMNT; our stars are being saved for the vastly more important World Cup Qualifiers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  5. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Reporting on the first 60 minutes of, so far, USA 0-0 Jamaica. What an entertaining game! Sure, these are not very good teams for someone who has just watched Copa America and the Euro, but they are evenly matched which makes for a good game. Lots of opportunities for both sides, hindered by either bad finishing or when the finishing was good, by good goalkeepers (both doing very well). It's wide open, impossible to know by this point who will win. The US has more possession but Jamaica makes better use of their rarer possessions so in terms of attempts to score, the teams are rather even.

    Zardes, a veteran of the USMNT (although still young at 29), very well known to us, is coming in now as a sub for Dike. In his prime he was an irregular player and I understand he's been prematurely losing skills despite his still youngish age, so I don't know what to expect from him tonight.

    OK, at 65 Gyasi (that's Zardes' first name) almost scored, again stopped by Jamaica's excellent goalie.

    US goalkeeper, 5 big saves so far, and 3 for the Jamaican goalie.

    @Talon are you watching this? Really good game.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  6. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Although Zardes has been a relatively prolific scorer in the MLS with 94 career goals, he has struggled to score for the USMNT, with only 13 goals in 7 years and 59 caps so an average of 2 goals per year and 0.22 per cap which is not great for a forward. No wonder he lost the starting position.

    10 minutes left in regulation, still no goal.

    US scores!!! 82:30!!! Go USA!!! Nice header by Hoppe!

    US with 11 attempts to 9 by Jamaica. 5 of ours on target including the goal, 6 of theirs on target.

    Hoppe immediately subbed out for a defender, to try to secure this 1-0 for another 6 minutes + stoppage time. Jamaica will be all pressure, now.

    Stoppage time 4 minutes.

    Jamaican goalie got injured, a head collision with a US player while trying to help the offense in a corner. Drew blood. Doesn't look concussed. Has recovered, with a head bandage now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  7. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Full time, USA 1-0.

    Semifinals Thursday 7 PM US vs. Qatar, and 9:30 PM Mexico vs. Canada.
     
  8. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Hey, Doc - I just saw your thread here and I did manage to catch a good part of the first half of the Jamaica game and our matches against Canada and Martinique. Jamaica put up a heckuva fight and I'm glad we got on the Canucks early because they dominated the latter part of the game. Qatar should be a good matchup on Thursday.

    As you know, it's not quite the same with Pulisic, McKennie and Reyna, et al, out, so I haven't been following the USMNT as closely and I just can't seem to get excited about Olympic soccer. I admit it's stupid because all of the athletes are professionals in a sense (and many of them from the USSR, East Germany, etc., were in the old days), but I've lost some interest in the Games since they allowed professionals to compete. I'll probably catch our women later in the tournament but I haven't watched a single game in Japan so far.
     
  9. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    OK, I had the displeasure of watching two games from the women's side of the tournament. Again, the lack of the most basic skills is disheartening.

    First, USA 0-0 Australia. Gosh, what a boring game! It was a comedy of errors. I do remember the USWNT of the past being *a lot* better than this pathetic side. Anyway, the 0-0 result would guarantee the USA's progression to the quarterfinals, and Australia's elimination. Still, Australia didn't even seem to be trying. So I paid attention to the following: at about 80 minutes, 10' left (plus stoppage) and with Australia on the brink of elimination, the Aussie gals kept passing the ball laterally on their side of the field for one freaking minute, no sense of urgency at all. At 85 minutes, same thing, another freaking minute of lateral passes with no attempt to progress. At 90 minutes, exactly same thing, another minute of lateral passes. The ref granted 4 minutes of stoppage time, and with freaking 92 minutes, another minute of lateral passes!!!

    I was picturing the following exchange. Australian coach: "Huh, girls, would you please attack? Time is running out and this result eliminates us." Girls: "Nah, we're good. It's hot and humid here, and there's Covid. We don't like Japan. We just want to finish this, and go home to Australia."

    So, a very anemic USWNT got to advance because their opponents seemed utterly uninterested in advancing... weird!

    OK, next, I watched Brazil 1-0 Zambia. Vastly more entertaining; although still a lot of missed passes and wasted balls, but at least these players from both teams did seem to have some ball skills and some athleticism... and both teams were trying hard to win the game.

    Brazil scored the lone goal from a free kick outside the box, when Andressa fired a bomb, with some real power, something we didn't see at all in the entire USA vs. Australia game. I think the miles-per-hour on that one shot by Brazil were probably more than the sum of the speed of all shots in the general direction of the goal produced by both Australia and the USA during their entire game.

    Zambia fought honorably. They were hindered by an early red card, one that was utterly incomprehensible. The young lady who was sent out shrugged her shoulders and stretched out her arms, palms up, looking at her coach, meaning "what the hell did I do to deserve this straight red???" The coach was puzzled, the commentators were puzzled... even the Brazilians were puzzled, no kidding! The Brazilian players looked at the whole thing with utter surprise! Anyway, for two thirds of the game Brazil played with a woman advantage but couldn't capitalize, beyond the fact that their goal came exactly from the foul that motivated the ref to throw out the Zambian girl (a foul that didn't even deserve a yellow, let alone a straight red). I guess the ref thought it was a last-woman foul that denied a scoring opportunity, forcing the red... but there was barely contact which was clearly unintentional; it's even disputable if there was a foul at all... and then, straight red??? Yes, there was a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity in that play, but that came from a violent collision between the striker and Zambia's #1 goalie (that one was maybe a foul), who ended up being subbed out in a stretcher after 14 minutes of medical assistance, so violent the collision was. The girl who got sent out? Not her fault at all. It's like the ref thought "OK, Brazil were denied here; I need to send someone out; oops, I can't send the goalie out because she's passed out and already being carried out in a stretcher, so, hey, I know what I'll do; I'll throw out this completely innocent girl, instead."

    That was a very poor decision that denied Zambia an opportunity to at least draw with Brazil.

    Anyway, all things considered, Brazil did play a bit better so other than the unfair woman advantage, I guess they deserved this narrow win. They advanced and will play Canada in the quarterfinals.

    The Netherlands crushed China 8-2, today. The game before, they drew with Brazil 3-3. They had already crushed the same Zambia that kept Brazil to this meager 1-0 victory, 10-3.

    So guess what, the way the bracket got organized, for the quarterfinals the United States will face... The Netherlands!!! A team that has scored no fewer than 21 goals in 3 games! Poor USWNT... there is no way our girls will win that game.

    We can see the incredible regression of the USWNT. Stars like Morgan, Rapinoe, and Lloyd are older, no longer as good, and they don't have the stamina to play for 90 minutes (both Rapinoe and Morgan got subbed out at half time (although Rapinoe was actually the only player showing some ball skills), and Lloyd was a sub who came in for the last 20 minutes and did nothing). The current goalie is a pale shadow of the former Hope Solo. The new generation doesn't seem to have anybody remotely as good as these four stars in their primes. Given the comedy of errors, sometimes our strikers got in front of the goal almost by accident, with an open goal ahead of them except for the opposing goalie... and *every* time they managed the weakest kick ever... with the ball gently rolling to the goalie's hands. Seems like our strikers need to eat a lot of beans, spinach, and steaks to see if they manage to put a bit more power into their kicks... unreal.

    Another interesting thing:

    Brazil's goalie is the fattest person I've ever seen playing for any team in an official tournament for professional players. Incredible! When I saw her, I thought "OK, maybe their #1 and #2 goalies got injured and they had to get this fat lady there; she must be a relative of some influent person in their federation, to have the #3 position."

    Uh, big (pun intended) mistake of mine. That goalie is actually quite good! She is probably indeed their #1. She produced some acrobatic saves, unlike the pitiful goalkeeping I've been seeing in this tournament, when I've been silly enough to watch one of the female games. She was also well-positioned and distributed the ball well when she had to return it to her peers, and was one of the best players of the game. A good goalie for a change... and very fat. Weird...

    Anyway, tomorrow early AM there will be more male games, which are much more entertaining, so I set three of them to be DVR'd and I'll report here once I finish watching them, tomorrow evening.
     
  10. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Oh wait, now I understand! Actually Australia were NOT eliminated with this result, due to the fact that there are only 3 groups of 4 teams, so the two best 3rd placed teams also advance. So Australia did advance, which explains why both teams were utterly uninterested... the 0-0 qualified both.

    So maybe there was some sort of unsportsmanlike agreement between them, as neither one seemed to be trying hard to win the game. New Zealand with 0 points and -8 goal difference were already out as 4th placed in that group, and the other 3rd placed team in another group, China, had a -11 goal differential, LOL. So as the Netherlands pounded and pounded China into a bloody mess, it rapidly became clear that the 0-0 would qualify both the USA and Australia, which fully explains the travesty I just watched.

    The reason I got confused, is that not following closely the women's tournament, I had assumed that they had the same setup of the men's one, which has 4 groups of 4, and only the top two advance.

    So maybe this result doesn't really reflect the full potential of the USWNT... maybe they just knew they didn't need to do anything in order to advance.

    So, we'll see what happens in the quarterfinals. Still, it does seem like Sweden and the Netherlands are the two best teams, so it's unlikely that the USWNT will be able to capture gold. Probably not even silver. Maybe bronze, if they are actually much better than what they showed, today. At this time I have no idea regarding their quality. They seem very mediocre to me, though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  11. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Quarterfinals for the female tournament, all games on Friday July 30:

    On one side of the bracket,

    Netherlands vs. USA
    Canada vs. Brazil

    On the other side,

    Great Britain vs. Australia
    Sweden vs. Japan

    --------

    Semifinals, August 2nd

    --------

    Bronze Medal match, August 5th
    Gold Medal match, August 5th
     
  12. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    USA vs. Australia is being compared by commentators, to The Disgrace of Gijon, the Germany 1-0 Austria in the World Cup of 1982 that qualified both teams, so neither one wanted the result to change.

    It's been called The Shame of Saitama.

    Wow... and not knowing the format of the tournament, I allowed myself to waste two hours of my life watching this travesty!!!

    Both teams should be sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee for this despicable display.

    Now I'm starting to think that the wimpy shots on goal were part of an agreement: "You don't score on us, we don't score on you."
     
  13. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Disgraceful - I'm glad I missed it. I may have to miss the rest of the Olympic tournament, too...

    BTW, I caught a rebroadcast of the second half of the USA-Jamaica game on FS1 this morning. I thought we played pretty sloppy and were too tentative in possession, but things got better after Zardes came in and our boys started dictating play from that point forward (for the most part). I'm with these guys - Berhalter should give Zardes the start tomorrow:

    Who will, and who should the USMNT start vs. Qatar?
    https://sbisoccer.com/2021/07/who-will-and-who-should-the-usmnt-start-vs-qatar

    I haven't had a chance to see Qatar play - have you?

    I hate to say it, but after watching the Jamaica game I'm a bit pessimistic about our B-Team's chances against a Mexico side that handed Honduras its glutes last weekend. I don't know what to expect against Qatar, but I do think we need to play with more tempo, precision and aggressiveness tomorrow night.
     
  14. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    No, I have no idea about Qatar. I just heard one of the commentators saying that they are good.
    Maybe we'll survive Qatar but there's no way we'll survive Mexico.
     
  15. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed the 3 on 3 basketball.
    I think it's a better fit for the Olympics than normal B-ball.
     
  16. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Olympic soccer today; I watched 3 games; all three moderately entertaining; two of them with a vast superior team that won easily (but they were still interesting to see, given some good plays): Brazil 3-1 Saudi Arabia with 2 goals by Richarlison (who now has 5 goals in 3 games), and Mexico 3-0 South Africa. Both predictable. Brazil hit the crossbar once, wasted some opportunities, Saudi Arabia's goal was a bit of a fluke as the guy who headed the ball in didn't seem to be trying; it was more like the ball hit his head and deflected into the goal, LOL. A more fitting result would have been Brazil 4-0. Same thing with the Mexico game: they also hit the crossbar and also missed some opportunities, should have been Mexico 4-0.

    Much more compelling because both teams risked elimination with an adverse result, was Spain vs. Argentina. Good game, both teams trying, some good plays, and the score was 1-1, which qualified Spain and eliminated Argentina because Egypt won 2-0 against Australia, so, this group featured Spain advancing in first place and Egypt in second. For the Brazil group, they finished first, and Ivory Coast advanced second after drawing with, and eliminating Germany 1-1.

    Quarters will feature Brazil vs. Egypt, and Spain vs. Ivory Coast.

    The Mexico group was won by Japan, with Mexico advancing in second place. Japan crushed France 4-0. The other group had South Korea advancing in first place (today they beat Honduras 6-0!) and the second place was New Zealand who drew with Romania 0-0 but advanced on goal differential.

    Quarters will feature Japan vs. New Zealand, and South Korea vs. Mexico.

    For the semis, the winners of Brazil vs. Egypt will face the winners of South Korea vs. Mexico.
    The winners of Japan vs. New Zealand will face the winners of Spain vs. Ivory Coast.

    Quarterfinals are Saturday the 31st, and Semis are Tuesday the 3rd. Bronze medal on the 6th and Gold medal on the 7th.

    -----------

    In the absence of my preferred national teams Italy and the United States, I'm rooting for Brazil, and against rivals Germany, Mexico, and Argentina. So I'm glad that of the three rivals, two were eliminated today (Germany and Argentina). Unfortunately the Mexicans are quite good, and the favorites for the Gold Medal. Hopefully the Brazilians will stop the Mexicans... but it won't be easy as I believe that this Mexican team is superior to the Brazilian team.

    Brazil has Richarlison and he does have the ability to win this tournament almost on his own... but Brazil also has some very bad players, like the horrible Carlinhos who can't do anything right and pretty much wastes all attacks that come from the left wing; I don't comprehend how he is the starter; I can't believe that in a soccer-crazy country of 220 million people, they can't find a better left winger who is under the age of 24.

    I think the Mexican team is more homogeneous; most of its players have caps for their senior national team (unlike Brazil) and they are likely to prevail.
     
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  17. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I haven't been following the Olympics very closely (I'm more of a Winter Olympics guy) but I did enjoy the Men's Sabre competition last weekend.
     
  18. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I just got through watching video of Qatar's games and I think we can take 'em:

    FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT QATAR
    JULY 27 2021
    https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/20...tar-match-history-preview-five-things-to-know

    My take: They're very opportunistic on offense (unlike Jamaica) but they're really sloppy on defense, so if we continue to play solid defense and can make them pay for their mistakes (a big if for us, unfortunately) we should win. Getting an early jump on them would be helpful (as always) - no one has forced them to play from behind and their lack of discipline on defense could turn into a major liability in that scenario.

    Nevertheless, Qatar is still a good team and it should be an entertaining game - I don't think it's going to be a grinder like the Jamaica and Canada matches. Thankfully, it's on at 7pm ET, too - I'm not the night owl I used to be. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  19. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    @CenterField - Enjoy the game tonight! I'll catch ya later...

    a2c045ac4e69e02594ac434e14d8b400.jpg
     
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  20. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    I'm watching. Good game so far. We almost scored at about 10 minutes!
     
  21. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Oh boy this is not looking good. They are very aggressive in offense. Our goalie is having to produce huge saves.
     
  22. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    30 minutes, Qatar 9 shots, USA 2. :(
     
  23. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Halftime, Qatar 13 shots, USA 3... We do have more possession but we're not making much of it, while Qatar is very dangerous in counters; it's a mini-miracle that we're not behind, yet.
     
  24. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    At 51 minutes we wasted a golden opportunity!!! Oh god, we should have scored!!! Our striker all by himself in front of their goalie, but their goalie saved it!

    Go USA!

    Things remained intense in the next two plays for us after this opportunity, and then Qatar countered and almost scored.

    This is turning into a very good game!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  25. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Uh oh, VAR reviewing a potential penalty kick for Qatar.

    I'm nervous... Suspense...

    This looks like a penalty to me.
     

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