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The 'Boring' Old Guard
Deutsche Welle, June 29th, 2006 3:46PM

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While FIFA and German soccer marketing heads continue to pipe on and on about how this is the best World Cup ever, Deutsche Welle columnist Oliver Samson just doesn't agree, what with the lowest goals per game average (2.36) of any finals since Italia '90 and the highest number of yellow and red cards. Even though the many from the so-called "Old Guard" of world soccer has managed to make it to the last eight, Samson says the majority of the quarterfinalists have failed to excite. "England? Terrible. It's almost fitting that Captain David Beckham threw up on the pitch. Brazil? Smug to the point of apathy. Ukraine? In the World Cup because of a lucky draw." He goes on: Italy coasted past the Aussies on autopilot after a tough group phase, lucky to beat them on a pedigree-derived penalty call. France, for all its striking talent, plays with a 4-5-1 and wonders why it has difficulty scoring. Portugal, not really challenged in the first round, had to rely on skullduggery and cheap shots to leap past the frustrated Dutch, the tournaments most disappointing side, Samson says, along with the Czech Republic. That leaves Argentina and Germany, the most positive of the remaining teams. Many observers have pointed out what a shame it is these two must play each other tomorrow. Indeed, they are tied as the World Cup's top scorers with 10 each, and the only ones that have consistently shown imagination, dynamism and a willingness to attack.

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