July 10, 2006

RaW Sport World Cup Choke Team

You have seen the RaW Sport Dream Team (below) – now it is time for the under–performers and underachievers. Many of these men came to Germany with lofty reputations, but in a tournament remarkable for few genuine stars, the world would fall apart for some. But who was the greatest choker on the world’s biggest stage? The team takes an attacking 3–4–3 formation.

Petr Cech – the Chelsea keeper had a chance to show the world how solid he really was. He crumbled.

Sammy Kuffour – picture the scene. You are an established centre back, in your country’s first ever world cup appearance, doing well against one of the pre tournament favourites with ten minutes to go, pushing for an equaliser, and then you masterfully play in Vincenzo Iaquinta to make it 2–0 Italy. Surprisingly, you don’t appear again.

Roberto Carlos – reputation and ego built on one free kick against France at Le Tornoi in 1997. Pretty shit ever since. (OK lets be fair – he has scored another free kick since. Against China) What did he actually add to the Brazil team?

Jamie Carragher – harsh on the lad, but he looked out of his depth at right–back against Sweden, and big Sol came on at centre back instead of the Liverpool man moving inside. That first penalty against Portugal was brilliant, but the second was disastrous. A choker under pressure.

Michael Ballack – World Cup in Germany’s back yard, and where was Ballack? Literally dominated in the semi by Pirlo and Gattuso. Brilliant in Japan four years ago and unlikely to be around again – Did the team depend on him too much?

Frank Lampard – disappointing throughout. And what the hell was that penalty against Portugal?

Ronaldinho – World’s greatest player? Pah! slips into midfield cos that’s where he was playing, dropping deep to be the playmaker despite being deadly in and around the box. Pity he was never there.

Zinedine Zidane (captain) – Zizou had a chance to make history with the world watching. Poor in the first two group games and banned for the third, Zidane pulled the French team kicking and screaming to the final. It was there he opened the scoring, and a second world title seemed to be his destiny; but a quite magnificent headbutt on Marco Materazzi means that his career ends in disgrace par excellence.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy – Speaks volumes that he was left on the bench in the Dutch team’s second round tie against Portugal. Why the long face?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Martin O’Neill described Ibrahimovic as ‘the most overrated player in the world’. On his displays in Germany, you have to agree. Admittedly he struggled with injury, but the Juve striker was utter bollocks. Wouldn’t surprise me if he was left to rot in Serie C with the Old Lady.

Thierry Henry – no choke team is complete without the world’s greatest big stage choker, Thierry Henry. Was doing okay in the final, but could not produce in the biggest game of his career. If I was him I’d blame it on Domenech. Or Zidane.

Coach – Only one man could do justice to this team. They would get so far – the quarters or the semis, have a chance of a lifetime, and then choke. Take a bow, Sven. Tactical ineptitude the world has never seen before. I’m surprised David James never came on up front.

- 4 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Allan Smith

    Slightly harsh on Henry and van Nistelrooy, I feel. With the latter, you get the feeling van Basten just plain doesn't like him – he must have really pissed him off to drop behind both Kuyt and Hesselink.

    Speaking of which, I'd have Kuyt in there. Apparently the stage was set for him to put himself in the shop window – the pound shop if he's lucky.

    Rooney, maybe?

    10 Jul 2006, 13:41

  2. i think it's stupid to remove zidane from the dream team just for the headbutt. he was magnificent against brazil (hardly kicking and screaming) i could forgive him anything after that.

    10 Jul 2006, 19:15

  3. Allan – Kuyt over Van Nistelrooy is a valid point – Dirk showed nothing of the form which has numerous Premiership clubs drooling over him. He fell flat on his face.

    Claire – i stand by my decision on Zidane. he was shocking in the group phase and one good performance does not change things for me. It is a travesty he got the golden ball.
    he had a chance for immortality in the final, but he will be remembered as nothing more than a violent thug.

    11 Jul 2006, 14:42

  4. This is quite possibly the best video–game/football representation you could possibly have hoped for of ol' Zidane's defining moment.

    14 Jul 2006, 03:58

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