by Roger Le Grove Rogers
September 30, 2003
A critique of the 2003 World Cup so far
No surprises so far in this fourth Cup with only Russia, by way of a relatively weak group, able to represent countries that are still trying to make it into the top fifteen in the world.
Germany and the USA looked ready to play from their first steps on the pitch in their first game, but the China we all know only almost arrived in their third match. Sweden improved with each game in the toughest group. Norway and Canada both improved but are still difficult to assess because of their relatively weak opposition in their last games.
Brazil were brilliant in their first game but even then some of the younger players showed some of the problems that beset them in previous World Cup matches.When some of the veterans in the squad played in WUSA they matured in the game, and no longer "dived" when beaten or used it as part of their game. With the skills they possess they have no need of such a play, yet we saw some of it by some of their new members in matches they already controlled. It can come back to haunt them because at this level referees have seen it all before and may ignore a real foul on them. In the last world Cup their mental attitude was good, but when they are quoted as saying " the USA does not want to play us in the quarterfinal"Š.look out.
Overall, all the teams so far get top marks for taking their game to higher levels than they thought possible and making it an exciting and attractive tournament.
Viewing availability was improved by the unexpected coverage on GalaVision/TeleFutura although their stations were not available in many areas by cable providers including Charter.
The only truly professional level was achieved as usual by the J.P. Dellacamera and Wendy Gebauer Palladino pair. Dellacamera has covered the women's game from the the Sweden 1995 World Cup onwards, and covers many of the top men's UEFA soccer competition on ESPN/ESPN 2 . With Gebauer Palladino supplying the color they have become far and away the best TV commentary team covering the women's international matches. Knowledgeable yet not flaunting it, giving the right sort and amount of information, and making one feel the atmosphere and excitement of the game.
Unfortunately all of the matches not covered by them was done by amateurs. We all understand that the management was kind enough to give some work for the WUSA staff who are out of work at the moment, but it was painful to listen to. The female commentators' nasal twangs, inane remarks, apparent vision problems, and in many cases repetitive useless information was the worst heard yet in women's international soccer coverage. All of them seemed fearful that there might be a moment of silence. Fortunately most TV sets allow one to shut of the sound. The other WUSA color suppliers, except for Diccico, matched their commentators. His understanding and explanations of the game were valuable and relevant although in the China/Russia game even he talked too much. Maybe it was in self defense, so that he did not have to listen to the same information being repeated for the tenth time.
Top notch, they really know the game.
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