Thursday, July 05, 2007

LiveBlogging....Canada v. Austria

Pre-game Show: Craig Forrest announces that there have been three changes to the starting lineup, including Tosaint Ricketts replacing Andrea Lombardo. Good move by Dale Mitchell. I can only assume he's a longtime reader. Forrest also spoke of the lack of pace Canada showed last game and Jaime Peters was highlighted as being important to today's match. I agree. Get Peters the ball and good things will happen.

One of Austria's players, Thomas Hinum, has his listed club as bet.at.home.com. What the hell? I hope one day I'm not attending a Premier League match between Sony and Fly Emirates. Austria has 4 Thomases on their roster. The Czechs also have 4 Tomases. Among the other 20 teams there is one Tomasz, which puts it on equal footing with Clifford, Dennis, Blessing and Bob Gift (that is his first name).

Other changes for Canada: Keegan Ayre in for Christian Nunez and Stephen Lumley in for Nana Attakora-Gyan.

00:00: The Austrian goalie has already touched the ball 30 seconds in. I don't think the Chilean goalie had to field a ball from play for about the first 20 minutes or so.

00:02: The crowd looks awful. The stadium looks maybe 1/3 full. They jut showed a shot of one of the corner stands and it's practically empty. So much for home field advantage.

00:03: Canada has just given the ball away in midfield. I could copy that sentence and paste it about 60 times this game if I wanted.

Canada's wall blocked a free shot. Their defence doesn't look terrible. It played Chile alright and Attakora-Gyan, who looked the most exposed, is out of the lineup.

00:05: Jaime Peters just played the ball forward for Lumley, who was running up the right side. Lumley seems like he'll be willing to press forward much more than Canada's defenders did against Chile.

00:09: Canada's got a free kick deep in Austrian territory. Edgar and Marcus Haber are forward. This is the type of opportunity Canada needs to capitalize on. Good offensive work by Lumley to win the kick.

Ayre blasts it over the crease and it bounces out harmlessly. Wonderful.

00:12: Edgar puts a long ball on Jackson's feet and he gets some space between him and his marker and feeds a ball into the crease, which just bounces out of the reach of Ricketts. Promising stuff, nonetheless.

00:16: What's the big deal with Edmonton? I always hear about it as being Canada's best soccer venue and city, which was maybe true before National Stadium was built. But, the crowd is tiny and silent today and it was sold out and very lively against Chile. Looking ahead, if Canada finishes first or second in their group their quarterfinal match will also be in Edmonton. Tell me that's not intentional. I don't understand it. If they finish third and get through, it will be in Burnaby or Montreal.

00:17: Haber makes a fine sliding tackle to stop a breakaway. It wasn't incredibly difficult, but he timed it well (as he needed to) and cleared the ball before the Austrian forward was able to get in alone on Begovic.

00:21: Begovic rolls the ball forward to O'Connor to start a Canadian drive. Sweet, Mitchell does read my blog....

00:22: Canada has given the ball and scoring opportunities away three straight times due to a poor first touch by forwards. Three times, two of them by Ricketts, a decent pass by the midfield or another forward to a forward was wasted when the second forward let the ball bounce of his feet and into the possession of an Austrian defender.

00:24: Lumley is out for Michael D'Agostino. Lumley seemed to being playing well, so I suspect it's related to his head injury he suffered a few minutes earlier. I wonder how they'd know so quickly that he couldn't continue for good, despite the fact he never went off the pitch, but I can't see another reason to sub him out. Good to see a soccer player suffer a knock, stay down for about 20 seconds and get up and continue to play, despite the fact the injury would eventually force him from the game.

Yeah, 'despite the fact' twice. This is edit-free. It's ....*cue music*....liveblogging.

00:31: Begovic makes a diving, but routine, save off a shot by Erwin Hoffer, Austria's best player. Canada still doesn't have a shot on net.

00:36: Austria's had possession in Canada's end for about 8 of the last 10 minutes. Canada doesn't look in trouble defensively. They don't look like they're about to concede a goal, but they certainly don't look like they're about to score.

00:37: A beautiful through ball to Morgenthaler results in a partial breakaway along the wing of the Canadian box. A sliding D'Agostino managed to block the shot and it bounces harmlessly off the outside of the post.

00:45: A ball to Peters and he races about half the pitch and manages to produce a corner. They need Peters to do more of that, because he's dangerous when he gets going.

Nigel Helm on O'Connor's shot that goes about ten feet over the goal. "O'Connor goes for goal..and he'll wish he hadn't bothered." British soccer announcers have few equals in the world of sports broadcasting.

And as half time approaches, it's been a dull half. Less frequent updates are coming, because there's really very little to blog about. At this rate I can see a scoreless goal or a 1-0 win by either team as a result of a mistake by the other team or a lucky break.

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