Tag Archives: Australia

US focusing on 2022 World Cup bid

In the official report, that goes down as a Ronaldo-style laser into the back of the net

The United States withdrew its bid to host the 2018 World Cup in order to focus on the 2022 finals. That means two things. One, that Europe is guaranteed to host the 2018 World Cup (England, Russia, Netherlands/Belgium, and Spain/Portugal are the only remaining bidders). And two, that the US will likely get the 2022 World Cup, which is fantastic. Granted, the latter is only my speculation because I don’t think the US would withdraw unless it got Europe’s support. Then again, since Europe is now competing against itself, who knows if there was a deal made (I do think the US will support England for 2018, with the reverse being true for 2022).

So, what of 2022? The remaining bidders, other than the US, are Australia, Japan, Qatar, and South Korea. Of those, I think Japan and South Korea are longshots at best, simply because they hosted the World Cup in 2002. Australia may or may not have the stadiums (there are five with capacities over 45,000 and eight between 20,000 and 31,000). The weather will be fine, though, which is nice.

I figure Qatar will be the main competition, if only because of the money it has. The problem is the temperature, which is about 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), during the World Cup. That will necessitate covered stadiums, or very odd game times. Speaking of stadiums, there is only one 50,000 seat stadium in the country, while the others are either 20,000 or 25,000. I still think Qatar will be a serious bidder, but that the US will win out.

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The final friendly

Edson Buddle scores versus Australia

The United States defeated Australia by a score of 3-1 today in South Africa in the final friendly for both before the World Cup begins. The score, however, is not the big story. By the game’s very nature and its timing, the more important news is that nobody got hurt and US manager Bob Bradley appears to be set on a sort of depth chart. I’m rather disappointed that he didn’t use more substitutes – in particular, neither Landon Donovan nor Clint Dempsey should have played the full 90 minutes – but I am pleased that Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, and Herculez Gómez got playing time.

1. Tactics. The US looks like its going with a 4-4-2 base. I imagine that both Donovan and Dempsey will have a little more freedom to roam on the wings as both like to move into central positions. Dempsey looked dangerous whenever he got forward, much like last year’s Confederations Cup (in which he scored 3 goals). The problem remains the back four. As much as I love Jay DeMerit, I think he’s trying too hard. He’s moving too far out of position when he tracks his man out of the box (when the US is on defense). Oguchi Onyewu looked a bit awkward in the 30 minutes he played, though some of that can be attributed to the shoddy pitch. So how can the US protect the back four? It looks like Michael Bradley will have to be more of a defensive mid than usual, though his incredible fitness will allow him to push forward. In general, the midfielders, especially the central midfielders will have to help out and protect the defenders. With Buddle, Findley, and Gómez looking fine, the biggest problem is the defensive line.

2. Fitness. The US played well in the first half but lost steam in the second. That, boys and girls, is a fitness problem. Bradley is going to have to use his substitutes judiciously and I think Gómez is going to be a kind of supersub. The same can be said of José Francisco Torres and Stuart Holden (though both will probably play wide, which means not a lot of playing time since neither Donovan nor Dempsey will come off very often). Ominously, the team’s fitness isn’t likely to get a lot better in the next couple of days.

3. The pitch and environment. The pitch was awful. Players slipped all over the place and the ball jumped around (though some blame the ball). I really hope the other stadiums are better (the friendly was played in a non-World Cup venue, which made sense since only about 7,000 people were there) and last year’s Confederations Cup gives me hope: there were no turf issues then. That said, the environment was really good though the vuvuzelas are insanely annoying. For some odd reason, I don’t remember them being as annoying last year.

Are there any conclusions to be drawn from this match? I think the only safe thing to say is that the US strikeforce is better than I thought. All three strikers that played today played well. Other than that, there were no real surprises and what you see is what you get. I think Bradley will give Donovan and Dempsey a little more freedom against England in an effort to tie up the English wingers and force them to track back but other than that, the die is cast.

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World Cup 2010: Group D jerseys

On to Group D, which is a very colorful group of home jerseys.

Australia home jersey in the 2010 World Cup

Australia goes to South Africa in its traditional gold and green shirt. I’m not sure about the green shoulder pads but the simplicity is to be admired. It seems as though Nike is looking to simplify things with only a few strong lines in its jerseys (Brazil is an exception, but I’ll get to them later). Australia’s shirt works, for the most part, shoulder pads aside.

Germany home jersey for the 2010 World Cup

Germany’s home jersey is very, very traditional. There’s really nothing wrong with it, though the one stripe is somewhat interesting. Perhaps the one stripe is Adidas’s desperation move for at least one piece of flair. Fortunately, the German tradition means that Adidas can’t screw with them.

Ghana away jersey for the 2010 World Cup

Just to switch things up, I’m posting Ghana’s away jersey for the World Cup (the home jersey is white and very uninspired). I like Ghana’s away shirt (by Puma) even though it’s the same template as Algeria’s shirt (though without the awesome Desert Fox on the shoulder). In this case, the shoulder is empty but the red and gold stripes more than make up for it. I like the color scheme and think it will look fantastic on the pitch.

Serbia home jersey for the 2010 World Cup

This shirt vaguely recalls England’s from a few years ago, when it had a stylized Cross of St. George on the shoulder. In this case, the cross is off-centre and, once again, demonstrates Nike’s renewed commitment to clean lines. For that, the company should be commended. But back to Serbia. I like the colors and I like how the FA’s patch reflects the shirt’s design. I think that’s a rather subtle addition that gives the shirt some more character.

Until next time…

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