Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweden Vs. Brazil

On Wednesday I watched my first match of the Swedish National team play, but from outside of the country, since moving back from Stockholm. I had friends with me, which was great, but it wasn't the same as being in a bar full of Svenskar full of "Heja Sverige!" Of course, this wouldn't be the same but it was still great to be able to see a match, thanks in large part to it being Spring Break and the time difference not being an eternal drag for us footballers over here.

The match itself was anything but boring and for the most part, Sweden rose to the challenge, save for one ugly moment where my hometown club's new goalie performed an egregious error. Here, is a youtube.com clip of the play, but here he responds to this critics:

video

I was proud of the way Sweden played, stepping up their game to take on a team that dominates just about everybody they play. Mellberg, Ljungberg and Rosenberg looks solid but I think the stand out performance may have been that of Sebastian Larsson who has recently taken on duty with the national side and served up several tasty crosses from the corner that provided true scoring opportunities had they been finished better. This is to say that Sweden did not look like the weaker side, defending well against Brazil's one-on-one play style and shut down their joga bonita passing game. Isaksson flat-out robbed Gilberto from point-blank range, proving who the number one goalie should be, especially after Shabaan made such a silly mistake. He now has to go out and prove himself at Hammarby and I can't wait to see what he does. The Allsvenskan seasons kicks off this weekend.

In other football news, the US dominated a Polish side that has shown itself to be very strong in the European qualifications. 3-0 not only shows a good attacking side but solid defense and that's exactly what we want as we go into the Olympic qualifications and World Cup preliminaries in the near future. Here's the write up. Here are the three goals on video should you so desire to see them.

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