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All Things Footie | Tuesday, July 2 | Jordan

It's Over Already?

It's only been two days since the final and already it's like it never happened. No World Cup section on teletext or anything.

Firstly, much as it pains me to say it, you have to give the Germans credit for making the final a contest. Playing probably the best football the national team has produced since 1996 they really had a go at Brazil — and for a moment I thought something horrible was going to happen.

I do happen to think that Oliver Kahn is very overrated. He makes simple saves look spectacular and he surpasses David James' inability to catch a cross. His shot stopping is up there with the best but his all round game (plus a crucial mistake in the final) makes it impossible for me to agree with his award of the FIFA Golden Boot.

For me, without a doubt, the player of the tournament is the best all round centre foward on the planet, Ronaldo Luiz Nazário de Lima. Even in games when he clearly looked unfit he was able to turn the match with a moment of brilliance or a cheeky slight of foot — God help whoever plays against him when he reaches full fitness. His two attacking partners were also impressive, Ronaldinho was a revelation playing that creative role that all Brazillians seem born to play. I find it sad that the third member of the trinity ruined what could have been his tounament. Rivaldo — however brilliant — cannot be forgiven for his clear disrespect for the game.

Brazil were not the only team to stand out in a footballing sense. Turkey and Senegal were marvellous to watch, and the best teams in the competition along with the South Americans. Of course there is South Korea; but though they triumphed against some overwhelmingly improbable odds and knocked out two of the favourites for the competition, I wasn't as impressed with their football. That said, talk of match fixing is an insult to the incredible team spirit and hard work that took the Koreans so far in their World Cup. History will record the efforts of the giant killers favourably.

I've heard it said that this World Cup was dissapointing because it didn't unearth any new starlets. To them I say, would you have considered signing; Salif Diao, Khalilou Fadiga, Umit Davala, Ozlan Alpay, Ferdinand Coly, Aliou Cisse and Rüstü, before the tournament? The truth is that this World Cup unearthed too many new stars, making it difficult to pick out the one or two that stand out. This is not even considering that before the tournament Ronaldinho was considered a promising youngster who was nearly left out of the Brazil squad for Romario.

Which neatly brings me to the;

All Things Footie World Cup Awards

Player of the Tournament : Ronaldo (Brazil)
Goal of the Tournament : Dario Rodriguez (Uruguay vs Denmark)
Save of the Tournament : David Seaman (England vs Argentina — last minute from Sorin)
Team of the Tournament :
Sol Campbell
Rio Ferdinand
Umit Davala
Yildiray Basturk
Khalilou Fadiga
Seol Ki Hyun
South Korea
Christian Vieri


Ozlan Alpay (Turkey)
Salif Diao (Senegal)
Michael Ballack (Germany)
Hasan Sas (Turkey)
David Seaman (England)

Yes, I know Vieri missed a sitter. But that didn't stop him being their only attacking player, and in my opnion he just looked lethal for the Azzuri. If you are the only player on a team who threatens the goal and you only make a hash of one chance, I don't consider that a crime.

There's also the fact that FIFA player of the tournament Oliver Kahn is absent, I've already explained my feelings for him. David Seaman just edged it on to the bench over Kahn for the match saving, last minute stop from Sorin against Argentina (save of the tournament) and I really don't think Ronaldinho's goal was his fault.

I found picking Goal of the Tournament the most difficult task of the awards. Borgetti's headed goal was technically superb; to place a glancing header across the goalkeeper with your back to goal is almost impossible and you have to acknowledge the quality. I thought Diego Forlan's two touch finish was excellent too, and Salif Diao's goal for Senegal was one of the best team goal's I've ever seen. Breaking from defence to attack with such speed and efficiency is the sign of a truly great team. In the end though, I found it difficult to look past the sheer audacity and technique of Dario Rodriguez's volleyed finish for Uruguay. Definately a good tournament for the quality goal.

Now It's Over

I suppose domestic football should get a mention.

Ipswich's promising young defender Titus Bramble looks to be going to Newcastle in a deal undisclosed but probably worth about £6m. The move is however on a freeze, until Bramble recovers from a heel injury — probably for a couple of weeks.

Sunderland have agreed a fee with Leeds for Ireland's World Cup star Robbie Keane. Personal terms are being discussed. In free agent news; Como are interested in Benito Carbone and David Ginola has received an offer from the flair player's retirement village; otherwise known as Portsmouth.

Talking of contracts, Football Writers Player of the Year and Arsenal winger Robert Pires has expressed his desire to stay at the Premiership Champions. Talks are ongoing. Meanwhile runners up Liverpool have offered Vladamir Smicer a new three year contract to keep him at Anfield until 2006. His present deal has a year to run.

Sticking with Liverpool, they have also made a £7m offer for Leeds' Lee Bowyer. Leeds want £15m but are considering a lower offer rather than let him go for a free next summer. Paul Ince has left Middlesbrough for personal reasons, but the club are looking to replace him with Owen Hargreaves — an £8m offer has been made, unlikely move is you ask me.

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