The Wait is Over

Greetings all.  Sorry for the lack of posts but TTL has been traveling and is currently stateside in Chicago.  Been good to see so many people and hope to see more on our stay.  Pleasantries aside, let’s talk World Cup.

Congrats to Ze Germans on their 3-1 win over Portugal to take 3rd in the WC.  Germany has played well throughout the tournament and 3rd place is well-deserved.  Always great when the host nation plays well. 

Most people have probably read some sort of breakdown on today’s Final.  If not you can go to www.espn.com and read either Michael Davies or Jen Chang.  Both are excellent soccer writers.  TTL will try something different as usual with a Top 8.  Will list out 8 things that I want to happen in today’s final followed by 8 things I think will happen.

1)  France will score in the opening 20 minutes provoking a wide-open, attacking game.  Italy will score first, then sit back and defend like crazy in a patchy game.

2)  Zidane gives a masterclass performance in his final game.  Zidane gives a masterclass performance in his final game. 

3)  Midfield play will astonish as Pirlo and Totti control Italy’s attack and Zidane orchestrates the French side.  While there are moments of individual brilliance from Zidane, the defensive midfielders rule the day constantly breaking up promising attacks.  Look for the French duo of Vieira and Makele and Gattuso of Italy to play well. 

4)  The game will be decided in regulation time.  Yep, no extra-time or penalties as there will be a winner in 90 minutes. 

5)  The two goalkeepers, Buffon and Barthez, will be forced into making several great saves.  Frenchman Barthez is kept busy but the Italian defense thwarts all the promising French attacks before they trouble Buffon. 

6)  French striker Henry plays incredibly well and is all over the field much like his performance in Champions League Final for Arsenal.  The Italian defense frustrates Henry further cementing a totally undeserved reputation for disappearing in big games. 

7)  The crowd is as raucous as previous games with Italian and French fans contributing to a great atmosphere.  Too many corporate types and sponsor tickets make for a subdued stadium.

8)  France wins 1-0 in a taut thriller as Zidane retires on top.  Italy will win 2-0 in a dominating performance anchored by Cannavaro who is voted Most Outstanding Player of the World Cup.   

TTL will continue to blog after the WC.  A state of USA soccer piece is in progress along with a general recap of the entire WC.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing.  If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas for what The Third Leaf should evolve into, please let me know.  Thanks for reading and please continue to check this site and spread the word.   Enjoy the Game.   

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4 Comments on “The Wait is Over”

  1. la baguette Says:

    zidane will once again demonstrate what a fraud he is and be red carded for a horrendous play after almost missing a faked penalty by a cowardly comrade.

  2. ditka for england Says:

    great blog. The last two weeks’ entries were more entertaining than most of the matches themselves. looking forward to the US soccer analysis.

  3. Hup Oranje Hup Says:

    I enjoyed this blog – the writing, photos (although too many to view the home page on my old computer) – the concept of the viewpoint of an American living overseas — good stuff. I’m curious what you thought of the WC final stateside compared with how it would have been overseas. I was disappointed that the only play by play I could find on the radio was in Spanish.

  4. JRock Says:

    In the spirit of Zidane winning the MVP of the tournament, I’d like to start a grass roots effort to retroactively award Dale Hunter of the Capitals the 1993 Conn Smythe for his brutal hit on the Islanders’ Pierre Turgeon. Not sure if Turgeon hurled an insult/slur his way or not, but he had it coming to him anyway.


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