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. vicsoc8
    June 17, 2010

    Juventus is apparently interested in Marquez. Hmmm…

    • Eklavya
      June 17, 2010

      I’d do that…

      • 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.

  2. 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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