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Posts Tagged ‘paraguay’

Manchester City are spending once again and they are far from finished. They already signed David Silva and Yaya Toure and James Milner seems to be the next signing. Milner has made it clear that he wants to join Man City, all that’s left is for Man City to make their bid. They have also been in pursuit for troubled Inter striker Mario Balotelli. The only thing holding that up is the transfer fee; Man City saw their first bid declined so they must pony up and offer some more cash for the young striker. Mancini has also confirmed interest in Landon Donovan, whether or not that actually happens is unclear.

Once again, City have failed to address their defense. They are stocking up on midfielders and strikers but don’t seem too keen on improving their defense. Why? The only explanation I have is because they are stupid.

UPDATE: City have signed Lazio and Serbian left-back Aleksander Kolarov for a reported fee of £19 million. Mancini has locked up the 24 year old stalwart to a five year deal.

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario where City land Milner, Balotelli, and Donovan:

Goalkeeper: Shay Given; Joe Hart

Defense: Kolo Toure, Jerome Boateng, Wayne Bridge, Vincent Kompany, Aleksander Kolarov, Joleon Lescott, Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards

Midfield: Gareth Barry, Nigel De Jong, Adam Johnson, Stephen Ireland, David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner, Vladimir Weiss, Shaun Wright Philipps, Landon Donovan

Strikers: Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz, Mario Balotelli

Projected Starting XI:

Goalkeeper: Shay Given

Defense: Jerome Boateng, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Aleksander Kolarov

Midfield: Yaya Toure, David Silva, James Milner

Strikers: Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Mario Balotelli

That’s a pretty intimidating team, and the talent they have on the bench makes it even more intimidating. Mancini has a lot to play around with but I think there’s still work to be done. There are so many different formations Mancini can play around with; he has the talent and depth at the holding midfield position to field 2 defenders and experiment with a 2-4-4 / 2-5-3 variation. They need to trade some of those midfielders and some strikers namely Santa Cruz and make some upgrades in the defense. They also need to do something with Joe Hart, he’s too good to be a 2nd string goalkeeper. There is refining to be done to the say the least. All in all, Manchester City are definitely a team to watch out for and they will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

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"oh, really? shove it up your ass!"

June 20, 7:30am

Slovakia vs Paraguay

We have an interesting match up here with both of these teams vying for the 2nd spot in the group behind Italy. Slovakia is looking to make the most of their first world cup appearance by advancing to the next round, and in a relatively easy group they could end up doing so. They will almost definitely secure their spot in the 2nd round if they can defeat Paraguay. However, Paraguay will be no pushover with Roque Santa Cruz looking to bring his name back to prominence after a lackluster season with Manchester City. Unfortunately for Paraguay and Santa Cruz, I do not think they will advance to the next round. Slovakia is a strong squad and just a couple days ago held Cameroon to a 1-1 draw. They would have come away with a victory if it weren’t for a late equalizer. Look for Marek Hamsik to shine, he’s about to be a very rich boy once the tournament is over.

Final Score: 2-1

Key players to watch:

Slovakia- Marek Hamsik (midfielder, Napoli), Robert Vittek (forward, Lille), Martin Skrtel (defender, Liverpool), Marek Sapara (midfielder, Ankaragucu),
Paraguay- Roque Santa Cruz (forward, Manchester City), Oscar Cardozo (forward, Benfica), Crisitan Riveros (midfielder, Sunderland), Nelson Haedo Valdez (forward, Borussia Dortmund)

Italy vs New Zealand 10:00am

Marcello Lippi seems to be keen on challenging Diego Maradona for the “Senile Coach of the Year” award. Lippi has decided to leave Giuseppe “I’m a Guido” Rossi at home. I guess after winning a world cup and having a successor to your job already in line makes you do crazy things and not give a flying fuck about your current squad. But hey, he is fresh off a world cup title so what the hell do I know, eh? Regardless, New Zealand should pose as no threat for the Azzurri (why do I get a feeling they will threaten them and come away with at least a draw?) and the retirement home will be one step closer to the next round.

Final score: 2-1

Key players to watch:

Italy- Daniele De Rossi (midfielder, Roma), Andrea Pirlo (midfielder, AC Milan), Gianluigi Buffon (goalkeeper, Juventus), Giorgio Chiellieni (defender, Juventus), Alberto Gilardino (forward, Fiorentina)
New Zealand- Shane Smeltz (forward, Gold Coast United), Ryan Nelsen (defender, Blackburn), Chris Killen (forward, Middlesbrough), Ben Sigmund (defender, Wellington Phoenix)

Brazil vs Ivory Coast 2:30pm

This has the potential of being one of the best group matches in the entire tournament. Can the Elephants shock the world and slay the mighty Brazilians? Sure they can, but they won’t. They will give them a run for their money, though. I expect a high scoring, electrifying game that will have you on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes. In the end, Brazil will prove to be too strong, too fast, and just too damn good for the Elephants to handle.

Final score: 3-2

Key players to watch:

Brazil- Luis Fabiano (forward, Sevilla), Dani Alves (defender, Barcelona), Maicon (defender, Inter Milan), Kaka (midfielder, Real Madrid), Felipe Melo (midfielder, Juventus), Robinho (forward, Santos), Nilmar (forward, Villareal)
Ivory Coast- Didier Drogba (forward, Chelsea), Solomon Kalou (forward, Chelsea), Romaric (midfielder, Sevilla), Yaya Toure (midfielder, Barcelona), Didier Zokora (midfielder, Sevilla), Kolo Toure (defender, Manchester City), Emmanuel Eboue (defender, Arsenal)

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June 14, 7:30am

Netherlands vs Denmark

Alas, a match worth waking up for at 7:30 am. Netherlands should be atop Group E when all group matches are said and done, however, the question is who will be the 2nd team to advance? Quite frankly it will come down to Denmark and Cameroon. If Denmark can manage to squander a point from this match it will increase their chances of advancing greatly. Unfortunately, I can’t see them winning or coming out with a draw here. The Dutch should overpower the Danes and come out with a victory. Nevertheless, it should be an entertaining match, as the Oranje never fails to entertain.

Final score: 3-1

Key players to watch:

Netherlands- Wesley Sneijder (midfielder, Inter Milan), Rafael Van der Vaart (midfielder, Real Madrid), Arjen Robben (midfielder, Bayern Munich), Robin Van Persie (forward, Arsenal), Dirk Kuyt (forward, Liverpool)

Denmark- Nicklas Bendter (forward, Arsenal), Christian Poulsen (midfielder, Juventus), Daniel Agger (defender, Liverpool)

Japan vs Cameroon 10:00am

Cameroon should get off to a flying start as they face the lame duck of Group E. Japan do not have a very strong squad this time around and will find themselves overpowered by the Lions. Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o who will have to find his form if Cameroon wants any shot at advancing will spearhead Cameroon. Japan will lose this match but should be able to keep it relevant throughout the entire 90 minute period.

Final score: 1-0

Key players to watch:

Cameroon- Samuel Eto’o (forward, Inter Milan), Jean Makoun (midfielder, Lyon), Alex Song (midfielder, Arsenal)

Japan– Shinji Kagawa (midfielder, Borussia Dortmund), Shunsuke Nakamura (midfielder, Yokohama), Mitsuo Ogaswara (midfielder, Kashima)

Italy vs Paraguay 2:30pm

The defending world champions will trot forward an aging squad with little left in the gas tank. Marcello Lippi has barely tweaked the squad that won the cup 4 years ago. Unfortunately, that could end up hampering the Azzurri as the majority of the players are over the age of 30. Paraguay will be no push over and should present the Azzurri with a challenge. Italy is the favorite to win the group and Paraguay will battle Slovakia for the 2nd spot. Unfortunately for Paraguay they will be without striker Salvador Cabanas as he has not been able to fully recover from his tragic accident in time. Salvador was shot in the head at a bar in Mexico City back in January and has remarkably fought back. Nonetheless, Paraguay will still have options in attack with Roque Santa Cruz, Nelson Valdez and the in-form Oscar Cardozo. I expect this to be a close match with the Azzurri pulling away in the final minutes.

Final score: 2-1

Key players to watch:

Italy- Daniele De Rossi (midfielder, Roma), Gianluigi Buffon (goalkeeper, Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (defender, Juventus), Giuseppe Rossi (forward, Villareal), Giampaolo Pazzini (forward, Sampdoria)

Paraguay– Roque Santa Cruz (forward, Manchester City), Oscar Cardozo (forward, Benfica), Nelson Valdez (forward, Borussia Dortmund), Cristian Riveros (midfielder, Sunderland)

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