Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Champs = best?

Are champions the best?

Maybe, maybe not. The couple of responses I got here yesterday said that winners were the best and that's that.

While I agree that winning trumps everything - I don't think Greeks cared if they were perceived to be the best European team in 2004 - it's still a debate that rages on regardless. An English buddy of mine told me after the Euro 2004 final that England would beet Greece hands down, so he obviously didn't feel Greece was better than England.

However, I disagree a bit with the assertion that a championship means that the team is the best. I think if we were to rank the Asian sides here, we'd probably have South Korea and Japan as numbers one and two, or two and one, with someone possibly throwing Saudi Arabia into the mix. I don't think anyone would mention Iraq as being the best Asian side, even though they are the Asian Cup holders.

Ultimately trophies speak the loudest, but this debate rages on regardless of titles. I just tried to give some insight as to why there is a lingering debate.


Anonymous said...

I agree that winning the regional championship doesn't make a country automatically the best. I remember when Canada won the Gold Cup in 2000, there were lots of US and even Mexican fans that refused to proclaim them the best in CONCACAF despite the championship. Winning the regional championship is just part of the equation, the other part is consistency. If you can back up your regional tournament win with a strong performance at a World Cup or other international games, it helps solidify your reputation.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the Greece comparison, they played some of the most negative soccer I have ever seen to win Euro, not at all like Egypt's style of play. Egypt was able to create chances offensively and cover defensively, not just absorb a beating for the majority of the game and score one breakaway goal to decide the match.

I guess my point is, the way that Egypt won gives them a more credible claim to being the best in the region.

papa bear said...

I get where you are coming from but again, trophies talk, bull$**t walks.
I get that there are factors that play into the whole 'well they did 'x' bad and they coulnd't do 'y' if they had a wide open goal' but at the end of the day that's if.
If winning isn't the end all be all, then why do we both having the World Cup? I don't think there are many years that people don't think Brazil has the best team on earth so why not just name them champions every year until another team seems to have a better squad? That's what you play the tournaments for. All the rest is subjective and again, this ain't figure skating.

JT (Chicago) said...

LB, no doubt that there is room for debate in every region, especially in Africa where so little separates numerous countries.

However, I would point out that since the WC 2006 Qualifying phase ended for Africa in December 2005, there have been two continent wide tournaments held and Egypt has won both.

People can rightly point out that Egypt failed to qualify for the WC 2006 being beaten out in their group by Ivory Coast and Cameroon. However since that time, they have beaten Ivory Coast 3 times with one draw and they beat Cameroon twice in two meetings.

So, until the WC qualifying starts again, I think Egypt can make a good case that they are the best team in their region - for the moment.