World Cup Review #2: 6/14-6/16

It is I, Luke. Still guiding you through all this slog. Today’s review is brought to you by an utter failure to live up to expectations as well as North Korean fans that are totally real and not at all paid actors from China. But we must digress because without this update, what point is there in even playing?

Have you lost money on us yet?

Group E

Netherlands v. Denmark: The Dutch come in with more talent that almost anyone, although a lot of it is stacked in 3 positions. Denmark came in determined not to give up anything, just like every other squad in the games. Nothing much goes on in the first but in the second, a deflection off Daniel Agger goes home for an own goal and Kuyt slides home an easy one after a save and the Oranje have the stranglehold on the group we all assumed. Look for them to win bigger next time, as sides will need to win in the later games. Netherlands 2, Denmark 0

Cameroon v. Japan: A sloppy, somewhat boring match between two somewhat unknown quantities. Eto’o never got off a shot until the last 5 minutes, and even then he was nothing close to a factor. Poor and lazy passing killed whatever chance Cameroon might have had and Honda’s first half goal sealed the Blue Samurai’s (one of the top three best nicknames along with La Furia Roja and the Black Stars) first World Cup victory away from Japanese soil. Cameroon 0, Japan 1

Standings:
Netherlands: 3 pts, GP 1, GS 2, GD 2
Japan: 3 pts, GP 1, GS 1, GD 1
Cameroon: 0 pt, GP 1, GS 0, GD -1
Denmark: 0 pt, GP 1, GS 0, GD -2

Group F

Italy v. Paraguay: Zzzzz… Wait, oh, there was a game? Right. Well this game was a microcosm of every complaint every idiot has ever made about the game we love: diving, lack of flair, boring, and ties! I do not hide my disdain for Italy’s current style, but it might be worse this year. Paraguay’s goal was well taken and Alcaraz’s header was sublime. After that, they were content to sit back and Italy were given space to flop before de Rossi lifted one in and Paraguay’s keeper decided to do a flying squirrel impersonation. Italy still look the favorites here but with Buffon likely out for a while, an early exit seems to be on the horizon. Italy 1, Paraguay 1

New Zealand v. Slovakia: Slovakia is more talented and missed countless chances to put this one away early on. Robert Vittek was likely offside on his header in the first half and Slovakia missed two sitters en route to the most exciting finish thus far. New Zealand had little in the way of offense until a perfectly weighted cross opens up Winston Reid who heads the ball perfectly home at ’90 +3, giving the All Whites their first ever points at the World Cup and a shirtless celebration ensues. New Zealand 1, Slovakia 1

Standings:
Italy: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD 0
Paraguay: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD 0
Slovakia: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD 0
New Zealand: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD 0

Group G

Cote d’Ivoire v. Portugal: A game that I thought would produce a lot of goals produced little other than posturing, diving, and a marvelous strike by everyone’s least favorite human. In truth, the Elephants outplayed the Fighting Whiners, but could not take a point. Drogba came on late in an effort to make some noise and he could have if not for solid defending in extra time. Portugal took the possession advantage but were unable to effect anything of it other than one great shot and little team effort. This group probably comes down to who has the best effort against North Korea. Cote d’Ivoire 0, Portugal 0

Using mind powers to win the game
Brazil v. North Korea: Conflicting reports have this as either a game with a very boring first half and an exciting second with Brazil taking it 2-1 or North Korea winning 29-0 behind 28 goals by the Dear Leader, I don’t know who to believe? Anyway, reports of Brazil are correct: They will find a way to win, but ugh, is it ugly. Kaka still looks hurt, or not good, or dead, but he’s not playing well. Robinho and Maicon were the stars for the Samba boys while DPRK put up one hell of a fight, eventually taking a goal after Brazil missed a few easy ones. Maicon’s goal was a thing of beauty and Brazil took hold of the group, but the Koreans are not to be trifled with. Brazil 2(0?), North Korea 1(29?)

Standings:
Brazil: 3 pts, GP 1, GS 2, GD 1
Cote d’Ivoire: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 0, GD 0
Portugal: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD 0
North Korea: 0 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD -1

Group H

Chile v. Honduras: Chile were the better side by miles and should have scored 3 or 4, thus taking a commanding lead in the group. Chile’s tactics were superior and the Hondurans just seemed happy to be around for this one. Alexis Sanchez was always dangerous moving between the midfield and the wing, and should have scored. But the 1 goal in the first half was all they needed to take the lead and the points home. Chile 1, Honduras 0

Spain v. Switzerland: Ugh. For all of Spain’s posturing and the ruminating of the press and former players, this is what it all comes down to and Spain got beaten, mostly by themselves. del Bosque ran out his 2 holding mids (Alonso, Biscuits) along with Iniesta and his Mini Me (Silva), meaning all the pace and passing came from the left side, leaving nothing on the right. Pique had an early chance saved cleanly, and while I felt the Swiss goal came from a foul, it was still a good goal off a slow move from Iker and poor defending otherwise. Silva, Alonso, Capdevila, and Xavi were all wholly useless for more than 90% of the game. Navas came on to provide some width and surely did so, as did Torres, who was better up front. I assume Spain will come out in a 4-4-2 next time, and I am willing to bet they might drain 5+ against Honduras. Spain will still go through if they play well against Honduras and Chile, but it’s still a tough run. Spain 0, Switzerland 1

Standings:
Chile: 3 pts, GP 1, GS 1, GD 1
Switzerland: 3 pts, GP 1 GS 1, GD 1
Spain: 0 pt, GP 1, GS 0, GD -1
Honduras: 0 pt, GP 1, GS 0, GD -1

Group A

Uruguay v. South Africa: I came in the door, I said it before, South Africa are not very good, and after game 1 wears off, it shows. Uruguay owns this game from the first minute and Diego Forlan puts one in off a minor deflection in the first half with South Africa doing nothing the rest of the way. A clear penalty and red card for Khone for taking Suarez’s legs out from under him as the final man forward leads to Forlan slotting home a perfectly taken kick and moving himself in front for the Golden Boot at this point. Uruguay take the lead in the group for the time being and South Africa are left with facing a French side that may have its back up against the wall with its starting keeper and a midfielder. Uruguay 3, South Africa 0

Standings:
Uruguay: 4 pts, GP 2, GS 3, GD 3
Mexico: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 1, GD 0
France: 1 pt, GP 1, GS 0, GD 0
South Africa: 1 pt, GP 2, GS 1, GD -2

First update is available here.

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102 Comments

  1. Helge
    June 16, 2010

    Wow, fast update 🙂

    I just hope that the atmosphere will stay positive, now that South Africa is out (yes, they ARE out).

    • Luke
      June 16, 2010

      I do what I can. I was writing it during the second half of the Uruguay-SA game. I have not been right about everything, but SA just is not good, and I have a distinct feeling that attendance may suffer somewhat due to their departure.

  2. Jnice
    June 16, 2010

    Disappointing to see South Africa’s fans start to leave after the 2nd goal.

    Can’t wait to watch Messi tomorrow against a good South Korea side and the other matches shouldn’t be bad, especially, the France-Mexico one.

    Kind of random, but isn’t this a bit weird? Iker Casillas being interviewed after the match against Switzerland by his girlfriend Sara Carbonero. They kept it professional, but damn.

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvsAUWM1qiA&feature=player_embedded

  3. Soto
    June 16, 2010

    Silva was useless. I hope they start Torres next time and use as a super sub again. If my hope is right, then your 4-4-2 prediction, Luke, is probably spot on.

    Spain will always be vulnerable to the same problem that Barcelona faces: fast counter-attacks from teams that are largely parking the bus. But in this case, the Spanish wing-backs are much less disciplined in transitioning from aggressive attack to immediate defense when facing a counter-attack. Switzerland’s goal occurred during a play that seemed to lack any presence from Ramos or Capdevila.

    Two losses in 40+ appearances. This tournament is far from over for La Furia Roja.

    • Soto
      June 16, 2010

      “and use as a super sub again”

      I meant:
      “and use Navas as a super sub again”

      doh.

  4. Kxevin
    June 16, 2010

    Let’s hear those cries of “Sell Ibrahimovic and buy Torres” now. We saw two things from this match:

    1. Villa can’t lead the line against a grownup side. Sorry but he can’t. His role for us had better be second striker attacking from the wing, a la Henry.

    2. Blame whatever you like, but Torres came on, had a good 5 minutes then disappeared. He did nothing to sway my placing him on my “all overrated” XI.

    The goal was a bad deflection, and Pique had some rotten luck in getting gashed by a dude’s cleat, then rolled over. But that’s what big, physical teams do to you. Now the group gets interesting, but luckily, even though Chile and Switzerland won, Spain have the remaining matches against Chile and Honduras. You can chalk up wins in both of those, although Chile will sure be entertaining. I loved watching their all-out attacking today.

    Yes, you can say that chances were created. Iniesta just missed, Navas just missed and Alonso popped a rocket off the crossbar. Maybe on another day, those go in. But Spain should consider itself lucky in being part of such a weak group. I’d figure Switzerland to beat both Honduras and Chile, and likewise Spain, who will come out of the group in second place.

    Wow.

    Uruguay showed off stragegy. With a better team (France), muck it up and don’t let anything happen, then come out to play against a weaker side. That’s the way out of the group stages at World Cup. The remainder of that group’s matches also get interesting. I still say, as much as I love them, if France gets out of the group, I will be stunned and thrilled …. and optimistic.

    • vicsoc8
      June 16, 2010

      Now I’m not a “Sell Ibra buy Torres” kinda guy, but I still think point 1, and potentially point 2 are a bit too much inductive reasoning. I think Villa could lead the line against grown up sides, despite not having a great game today. Torres on the other hand, did not look fit (even though I think he’s a bit overrated and would not fit at Barca at all).

    • Jnice
      June 17, 2010

      I agree with everyone except number 1. I’ve seen Villa lead the line against a grownup side and do well. Yesterday, he was just plain off.

  5. ooga aga
    June 16, 2010

    yeah when was that when france had the suck at the beginning and ended up going through to the final? oh yeah, last WC. but they had zizou then.

    • June 16, 2010

      I know. This time we have crap. Anelka proves how awful he is with every international match that he plays. In reality, the front line should be Ribery/Henry/Malouda, but Dumbassnech will never do that, because he somehow thinks that Govou and Anelka with Ribery will do something.

      And somebody needs to put Gourcuff on a milk carton, as he has gone missing.

      Without midfield creativity, Les Bleus are doomed. Diarra’s injury coming after Dumbenech foolishly left Vieira off the squad is pretty painful.

      • Euler
        June 16, 2010

        L’Equipe is reporting that Gourcuff is not going to be starting. From what they’re saying, it’s going to be Ribbery taking Gourcuff’s place as the 10 in the middle with Gouvou on the right and Malouda on the left with Anelka up top.

        Who knows what DomDom’s plan is but that would be interesting.

        • Kxevin
          June 16, 2010

          Any formation that has Anelka in it is doomed, unless France can, between now and the next match day, re-acquire Cote d’Ivoire as a colony, thus having Drogba around to bail Anelka out.

          But Dummy is still pouting because Henry had the temerity to suggest that he was a shit coach and didn’t have the full support of the players.

          • Euler
            June 16, 2010

            Agreed on Anelka. DomDom seems to have taken the wrong lesson from the last match. Gourcuff was not good. But it was Anelka who was truly awful. He just does not seemed equiped to play as alone up top. I don’t seen Ribbery playing behind his as an answer. Don’t understand the love for Govou either.

  6. June 16, 2010

    I almost forgot, anybody who spends quality time with the book “Barca: The Best Year of Our Lives” will not be at all surprised that the club did so well. The affection and geniune qualities come through in page after page after page. It’s a pretty wonderful volume, and is now available through the MegaStore, which means that Kitbag should also have it, for you people who are doomed to have to suffer along with the horrific N. American Barca Shop.

  7. June 16, 2010

    And this is starting to feel like a monologue, as I note that The Yaya’s agent, Pond Scum Seluk, is a detestable scumbag. Now, of course, he says that The Yaya will meet with Rosell, because he would prefer to stay. He loves the club and the city and the atmosphere, he even loves the wildlife and stray kitties in Barcelona.

    But there’s that small matter of playing time guarantees, that sullies the ultimate happiness of our soon to be ex-Colossus. Can somebody hook a Taser up to Seluk, please? Please?

    • vicsoc8
      June 16, 2010

      I’m just hoping Rosell says “playing time will be decided only by Pep.” After that couldn’t much care what happens at this point.

    • Stephen
      June 16, 2010

      It would be epic if Rosell could make the Yaya stay.

  8. Stephen
    June 16, 2010

    España will not slot 5+ against Honduras. Sorry had to say it.
    Iniesta was crucial in the Spain game, couldn’t produce, it happens. But they might’ve done worse without him. I am highly disappointed, they come out as “favorites” and do this. Its sort of sad, because well I wanted it to be some type of fight, and battle of the ‘experienced’ teams vs the ‘new era’ teams (aka Spain with their young talents vs. Italy with their 2 or 3 world cup appearances players). We’ll see how that pans out.
    From watching Uruguay play, I think the boring games are over, second round of group play is going to be better.
    oh and… Argentina is going to take names tomorrow!!

    • Luke
      June 16, 2010

      I’ve seen Honduras play many times and honestly, they are just happy to be here. They are a very poor team in terms of ability to play outside of their home country. Like Mexico, but much worse.

      • Stephen
        June 16, 2010

        Yes I know. I am “Catracho” by association really but I have faith that their second world cup will not tarnished by falling 5+ down to Spain, esp. not the Spain that disappointed me today.

      • Luna
        June 16, 2010

        Really like Mexico? I come here to read intelligent comments, not inane bashing.

        • Luke
          June 17, 2010

          Mexico plays better at home than away, much better in fact. So yeah, not seeing what is wrong with that?

  9. Tajh
    June 16, 2010

    Hey guys i would love to know everyone’s opinion dealing with
    Cáceres, Hleb, Keirrison and Henrique,( all who supposedly has no future with the club)……

    I personally would give chances to both Brazilians since they never had a chance to show their worth in a full season for the club.

    p.s-I remember the days when we scouted players before buying. This in the past has always work so why has the club stopped.Players like Guily,Marquez,Yaya,Abidal,Deco,Belletti,Sylvinho,Saviola etc….all played their specific part in our recent success and came relatively cheap compared to the players we are linked with 2day.

    • vicsoc8
      June 17, 2010

      Caceres should be sold. He doesn’t currently have the tactical acumen needed to play in our defense, and Pep obviously doesn’t want to take the time to teach him.

      Hleb should be sold. He did not succeed in his first season here, and was obstinate about playing time and learning the language. I could possibly see giving him another chance if he proved he was willing to put in the requisite work, but his time in Germany proved he is still a whiner about playing time.

      Henrique should be given a chance, and honestly should be kept this season. We need someone who can cover for Alves, and Puyol, Marquez, and Milito are aging (and I think Marquez should be sold). Henrique can play across the backline and could be an excellent stopgap solution as a backup until some of our Masia players are ready to fill in. Plus, we already own him.

      Kierrison should be given a chance, but should probably go on loan again this season. He hasn’t made an impact at any of the teams he’s been at so far, so let’s loan him to a Liga club where he can be a star. He needs playing time to adapt to European football, and he isn’t going to get that at the club.

  10. Lev
    June 17, 2010

    Yeah Keirrison to a Liga side, that is a good idea. I think we should give Hleb back to Arsenal for free as a good will sign, regardless of whether we sign Cesc (this summer) or not.

    I wish Barça could tell Yaya to either get another agent or leave. If Yaya wants to go somewhere else, then let him say so.Imagine all our players’ agents constantly stirring up shit in the press, it would sabotage the whole club.

    As for the WC even if a lot of the games have convincingly unspectacular I am loving every once-in-a-four-year second of it.

    1. Everybody is harsh on the Spanish whom I thought were awesome.
    2. If only Robinho had the right attitude he would be perfect for Barça. Meanwhile Kaká, Oh Kaká, why have thou forsaken me?
    3. Unfortunately the African teams have lived up to their low expectations so far.
    3a. Cote d’Ivoire should have avoided a lot of stress by beating the Fighting Whiners (copyright@Luke)
    3b. SA gave us the best goal so far imo, but they need to go wild on the French. Hey, if China can beat em….
    4. The first time ever I cheered for the USA soccer team.
    5. (Cliché alert) Germany played like the Dutch, and we played like Germans. So true. Now could this mean…?

    • goonerinbarça
      June 17, 2010

      ” think we should give Hleb back to Arsenal for free as a good will sign, regardless of whether we sign Cesc (this summer) or not.”

      Hahaha you couldn’t pay us to take him back! He left looking for glory and money and ended up being nothing more than a water boy! He’s your problem now!

      I think I know why we won’t sell Cesc: It’s because you still owe us millions from the Hleb/Henry!

      • Eklavya
        June 17, 2010

        What? How do we still owe you million from Hleb/Henry?

        • goonerinbarça
          June 17, 2010

          I’m guessing the transfer was done in instalments (probably for tax reasons). It’s reported that it’s around €15m. I don’t know the exact figure but it is pretty substantial.

          • Luke
            June 17, 2010

            gooner is likely right, Barca under Laporta definitely paid out in installments for almost every transfer they did.

  11. Lev
    June 17, 2010

    Oooooh and WC thought no. 6:

    If the Swiss had not scored Casillas would (or could) have gotten a red card, which would (or could) have fuelled days of Valdes or Reina suspense, and even the eventual “will Casillas get back in the team if either of the two play brilliantly” question.

    If only, if only…

  12. utility73
    June 17, 2010

    About the URU game yesterday. It would have been a clear penalty if there had not been an offside which the refs missed. But no blame to the refs as it was not easy to see, that the ball got deflected by an Uru player which created the offside situation. Anyway the South Africans would probably never have equalized anyway. Just bad luck for the goalie as he now misses the last match.

  13. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Why are people feeling all personal suddenly? Spain lost cause they didn’t deserve to win. I also don’t know what wrong with thinking that a team is a weak side. Some teams are weak afterall…

    • Vj
      June 17, 2010

      You are starting to sound like a Madridista/Mourinho fanboy.. even those don’t wish for an injury to Iniesta..

      • Eklavya
        June 17, 2010

        So what if I am? Mourinho is the best coach in the world after all? No hate losing to him right? RIGHT?

        …..Is what a Madridista would say! No way I’m a EE-ish guy! Eww!

  14. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    O and on the Swiss goal, Spain got owned! What foul on Piqué? You mean the Casillas foul instead of the guy who did a freakin’ roll?? That was a horrible play by Spain. Period.

    • Ryan
      June 18, 2010

      I’m not sure if it was a foul, but a Swiss player indeed with his fall kicked Pique in the face, drawing blood. That was a scrappy play by all.

  15. Reagan
    June 17, 2010

    we have to admire the level of play that Forlan is playing at! He’s making them tick and scoring! absolutely amazing!

  16. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    The argentina match is on. The same Messi-tevez-higuain-di maria line up

  17. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Goooooal argentina! own goal! what a cross by messi

    • Luke
      June 17, 2010

      Looked like a goal by Messi to me, right? Right! Messi has been all over today, very dangerous.

      • Eklavya
        June 17, 2010

        No, messi sucks with Argentina 😛

  18. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    looks like samuel just had a ghost injury…

    • Luke
      June 17, 2010

      Must have hurt it by stepping awkwardly. Samuel is like Zanetti, he would play if his arm was ripped off, tough guys.

  19. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    With Veron out Messi is playing in a deeper, more play making role. Maxi Rodriguez is playing more on the wing. In turn, when Messi picks the ball up deep S. Korea keeps tactically fouling him before he can build momentum. They are just hacking him down before he can approach the box.

    • Eklavya
      June 17, 2010

      Yeah they are not letting him accelerate!

  20. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Goooql higuain.no offside? they are playing on crosses

    • Luke
      June 17, 2010

      They just showed it again, he was on, if just barely. And Euler is right, without Veron, Messi is basically playing a more attacking kind of pivot midfielder. He has been obviously fouled about 5 times this match.

  21. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    Tevez and Messi are switching positions some, but in this match Messi is playing deeper than Tevez. Last match Tevez was more in the linking role between Veron who plays deep and the front line. Today Messi is playing very deep.

    It’s going to be a challenge for Messi to score in this formation.

  22. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Nice save by korea’s goalie there after a blunder. good shot by di maria

  23. Luke
    June 17, 2010

    Is it possible for John Harkes to be muzzled? Holy balls he is annoying as hell.

    Anyway, Messi, not matter if he scores or not, has been MOTM thus far, his pace is ridiculous.

  24. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Oh god messi sucks with argentina! and yeah when I say he sucks I mean he can’t score…

    GOOOOOOOOOAL BY KOREA!!! Loool!

  25. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Too bad that wasn’t Heinze…what a FAIL

  26. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    Messi is just so great. He really is. And perhaps the most under rated reason for why he’s the greatest player in the world is his defense. He just dispossessed a S.Korean player in Argentina’s own third and made a long run to midfield and threaded a beautiful pass to Tevez.

    How many players with the number 10 on their jersey would be willing or able to make that kind of play. And we’ve seen him do things like that over and over.

    Messi’s game is something like Michael Jordan’s. Perhaps the biggest difference between Jordan and say Magic Johnson was the fact that Jordan was a great defender in addition to being the offensive force he was.

  27. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    Demichelis is a poor central defender. He is just not solid back there and doesn’t inspire confidence.

    He just made a mistake a grade school player would make. If Samuel is injured and misses time Argentina is in trouble. As it is their back four isn’t great and in particular they lack pace.

    • Eklavya
      June 17, 2010

      Too bad Gabi Milito isn’t there. He’s a leader and inspires confidence!

      • Euler
        June 17, 2010

        And with Veron hurt, it may have been nice to have the option of having Cambiasso on the bench.

        Or with Samuel hurt, it may have been nice to have Zanetti on the bench.

  28. Luke
    June 17, 2010

    Nooooo! Jonas Gutierrez to miss the next match. Whatever will Argentina do? Find a decent right back perhaps?

  29. jordi™
    June 17, 2010

    Argentina falling apart defensively.

  30. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Argentina are really good on set pieces.

  31. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    Heinze has no pace. The S.Korean player had him beat but tried to play the ball to his stronger foot and missed.

    Argentina is going to struggle against fast squads. They are very vulnerable on the counter.

    The multidimensional play of Messi and Tevez is a very stark contrast to the narrow manner in which Higuain plays. They can do so much more than Higuain can.

    • Luke
      June 17, 2010

      I would move Milito in for Higuain there, thoughts?

      • Eklavya
        June 17, 2010

        Milito is a target man, Higuain isn’t.

      • Euler
        June 17, 2010

        I would do the same given the roster. Higuain just doesn’t do enough. Tevez was just leading a break and passed it to Higuain and made a run. Higuain then proceeded to slow down the pace and wait for players to support him. He has a very narrow skill set. Milito does as well but he’s a better finisher.

        That said, it would have been very interesting to Messi and Tevez play together in an advanced role with a more creative attacking distributor behind them. Veron is just not that player.

  32. Luke
    June 17, 2010

    Fuck yeah! Florida State getting love on the broadcast. Sergio Romero’s big brother plays basketball for us, I forgot about that.

      • Luke
        June 17, 2010

        The university I attend, Florida State Univ., just got mentioned by the American commentators because Sergio Romero’s (ARG keeper) brother plays basketball for the school’s team.

  33. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Heinze on a yellow.
    Tevez out; Aguero in

  34. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Heinze on a yellow.
    Tevez out; Aguero in

    HIGUAIN GOAL. MESSI WILL NEVER EVE SCORE HAHAHA

  35. Luke
    June 17, 2010

    Messi creating all over the place. Higuain just poaches but ARG is home free now.

  36. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Aguero’s rocking it.

    How would Aguero play with Milito? I think could compliment each other pretty well. Somewhat like Aguero-Forlan

  37. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    Messi does all the work. He instills the creative brilliance and Higuain gets the goals.

    Now we’re going to have to hear story after story about how the great Higuain is outshining Messi

    • Jnice
      June 17, 2010

      Only silly people will say that… like Marca and As. Fuck ’em. Messi is the player of the tournament so far.

    • David
      June 17, 2010

      so what ? Messi IS supposed to create while Higuain gets the goals , thats THEIR JOBS so where is the problem ?

  38. Kxevin
    June 17, 2010

    So, the next time an announcer says that Messi needs to score, I am going to personally fly to Johannesburg and cock punch him. Because here’s the thing. Messi has been the best player on the pitch today by a factor of about ten. His run and TWO shots led to the Higuain tap-in, and his brilliant lifted pass off the dead run opened up the space for Higuain’s third goal.

    The confidence that he is gaining from WC play in his role as creator can only help him when he returns to us. Imagine him with the confidence to, in effect, become Xavi No. 2. Truly, truly amazing player. I find it difficult to believe that he is getting better, but he is showing skill sets that we haven’t been seeing, and also proving the point I’ve made in the past, which is that when Messi adds playmaking skills to his arsenal, he will officially become unplayable. Opposing coaches will walk over to Guardiola and say “We will knock in two own goals right away. Just don’t play Messi.”

    • Stephen
      June 18, 2010

      ESPN gamecast guy said about Messi “he is determined not to score for Argentina” the man set up 4 goals for his home-side, if people don’t lay off his back, im going to have join you on this SouthAfrica trip to punch some people.

  39. Eklavya
    June 17, 2010

    Holy crap! What a Messi-esque run by Aguero!

  40. Jnice
    June 17, 2010

    Messi MOTM even though Higuain had 3 goals. Messi’s set-piece’s have improved as well.

    • Eklavya
      June 17, 2010

      Yeah, I noticed that as well.

      Set play and playmaking improving…WOW.. he just gets better and better.

  41. Euler
    June 17, 2010

    Messi was truly spectacular. He really is the absolute epitome of the modern player.

    His skill set is so varied and the quality of his play so brilliant in so many dimensions it is hard to believe.

    At times it looks like someone merged Maradona and Zidane into one player and then threw in a higher work rate and more defensive acumen. It as if he’s taken what Marco Van Basten was at his best and then elevated it to an entirely different level.

    He played a completely different role in world cup game #2 compared to #1 and was the best player in each match. Veron gets hurt and Maradona didn’t pick much depth in midfield. No problem. Messi will fix it. Just shift him deeper.

    • Luke
      June 17, 2010

      His defense is the most striking aspect to me of it all. There are a decent number of players who control the ball well, shoot, and pass, all above average (granted Messi is the best offensive player in the world, period), but his defense is dogged. In pursuit he knows how to use his body to turn the ball around or at least slow oncoming midfielders down when trying to transition. He eliminates transition chances and will play in the box when needed.

      The only offensive player I can think of who hunts down like that is Rooney, but he fouls more.

      • Euler
        June 17, 2010

        A major reason why Xavi and Iniesta can play so effectively for Barca is because they are protected by the defensive quality of Messi on the press.

        Think about that. Creative midfield players like Xavi or Pirlo often need to be protected in some way. Pirlo was protected by Gattuso who expends enormous energy to defend across the pitch so Pirlo doesn’t have to.

        Messi – the best player in the world – doggedly defends so that Xavi, who is a poor defender, doesn’t get exposed. It is truly amazing.

        Imagine telling maradona that he would need to defend vigorously to create space on the ball for the playmaker behind him.

    • Jnice
      June 17, 2010

      I remember, like 3 years ago, I told someone that after he lost the ball, Messi could snatch the ball right back off of the defender every time if he wanted to.

  42. Helge
    June 17, 2010

    I doubt that Greece will score 2 goals against Nigeria (without conceding any more goals), so congratulations Messi & Co. for reachting the round of 16! 🙂

    Oh no, straight red for Nigeria… maybe Greece can still make it.

    About Argentina: I liked Aguero a lot more than Higuain, actually. Higuain scored three poacher’s goals, but wasn’t really involved in the offensive play. Aguero is the trickier and more dynamic player. He deserves a start against Greece, which will most-likely be a sort of friendly match.

    • Eklavya
      June 17, 2010

      How about starting Aguero and Milto up front?

      • Helge
        June 17, 2010

        Well, they could definitely try it out against Greece, with Messi as the false 9. If Greece and Nigeria draw, Argentina has already assured #1, right?
        But I’ve also heard rumours that Messi will get a rest in the last group match if it’s meaningless.

        • Eklavya
          June 17, 2010

          It’s not surprising that it’s ONLY a rumor, he is playing under Maradona after all.

          • Stephen
            June 18, 2010

            I liked el Kun, but I think under this system and the ‘style’ I like Milito better up front, even better than Higuain.

  43. SoccerMom
    June 17, 2010

    Thank you Luke for the Team America reference it cheered me up (you can see that your SoMa is so so-so that she doesn’t have the heart to style it up today). Also I think that when Spain gets knocked out in Group stages next week I will have to follow Uruguay.

  44. y2k156
    June 17, 2010

    Argentina were exactly as expected. Brilliant going forward and something of a joke in the back. I am enjoying it all the way.

    Speaking about Messi, he was quite good today though i did think that he was better against Nigeria. Also, few days back i was speaking lyrically about Iniesta pass in Spains match against Hungary. Today Messi’ pass to Aguero was equally as good.

    • Helge
      June 17, 2010

      There were two huge differences compared to his match agaisnt Nigeria: He played more deep and centrally today (because Veron wasn’t there) and still, the South Koreans covered him far better than the Nigerians. He had a lot of more space against them. Today, he was always surrounded by 3 to 5 players, but the rest of the team benefited a lot from the room he created by simply being himself.
      And still, Messi found a way through the South Koreans on some occasions, something that neither CRonaldo nor Rooney managed in their matches.

  45. vicsoc8
    June 17, 2010

    Juventus is apparently interested in Marquez. Hmmm…

      • Stephen
        June 18, 2010

        I think Marquez would fit excellent in that system, new coach it could be a good thing for him, instead of going back to mexico league just yet, he has a few more European years in him, we’ll see after the world cup.

  46. Stephen
    June 18, 2010

    Loved Argentina today. Glad Veron did not play for w/e reason which I dont care about. They looked fluid, and it was pretty. Backline a little weak, just gotta work on it for now.

    ps: Sad Mexico won.

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