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Banbury Cross

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Post details: No offense

No offense

By a quirk of fate, just as the Cardinals lost its offensive ace, Albert Pujols, the Czech soccer team lost its best two strikers, Milan Baros and Jan Koller. So these days I feel a little bit like rooting for two toothless tigers. But while on the Cardinals' side, Scott Rolen literally stepped up to the plate and, seconded by Juan Encarnacion and Hector Luna, helped to darn the batting hole Albert left behind, the corresponding patch in the Czech offense is not sticking very well.

The name is Vratislav Lokvenc (whom I remember playing for my hometown soccer team SK Hradec Kralove) and if you could read Czech news and blogs, you'd notice how quickly he managed to become a popular lightning rod for fans' frustration. According to many eyewitnesses, his performance during the Ghana debacle was lukewarm at best, his technical skills nonexistent and worst of all, he seemed to be under the impression that the German Civil Law Code contained some obscure ordinance that forbade running on German soil, especially in soccer stadiums. Clearly the only person not aware of his slowly efforts was coach Karel Bruckner.

So after Saturday's futile catch up with Ghana's agile athletes, you could actually hear a distinct sigh of relief all over the Czech lands. Lokvenc got his second yellow card, meaning he won't be available for the clash with Italy. Who exactly will be playing the offense is a question for a mildly accomplished soothsayer. There isn't much left.

But hey, if the Cardinals could sweep the Colorado Rockies without Albert Pujols, the Czechs should be able to smoke Italy with an imaginary offense.


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