World Cup Review #5: 6/23-6/25

The Round of 16 is set. Half the teams are gone and the hand-wringing is beginning back home for those boys. A few shocks are sticking around and this is shaping up to be the most wide open Round of 16 in a very long time. But enough of all this, let’s get to the recaps Luke.

I heart Bill Clinton

Group C

United States v. Algeria: Might as well go big or go home because holy shit. I had given up all hope after seeing the Americans squander chance after chance and England going ahead of Slovenia. But in that final moment, a lucky trickle of the ball falls to Donovan after a Dempsey redirect and the bar erupts into screaming and dog piles and drunks standing on tables. It was raucous and beautiful. The US were deserved winners after having nearly all of the chances and the Algerians strangely playing for a tie when a 2-goal win might have put them through. America does it and I am happy. The US progress based on superior goal differential over England. United States 1, Algeria 0

England v. Slovenia: The Three Lions needed to put everything together and finally did, much to the chagrin of non-English fans everywhere. England should have had 3 or 4 goals but key saves and bad shots again caused some self-inflicted wounds. The Slovenians played their hearts out and had a few chances to the end but were undone by one moment of genius by Milner and Defoe and could not finish to put them through. When this game ended, the US still had not scored and the Slovenians had to think they were through. Shame, because they played very well and deserved better. However, rules is rules and math is what it is, so England goes through to face Germany in a seriously exciting Round of 16 matchup. England 1, Slovenia 0

United States: 5 pts, GP 3, GS 5, GD 1
England: 5 pts, GP 3, GS 2, GD 1

Slovenia: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD 0
Algeria: 1 pt, GP 3, GS 0, GD -2

Group D

Germany v. Ghana: A hard fought game where both teams had solid chances and saw the flurries interrupted by long periods of German possession and Ghanian lack of control. Eventually Oezil’s class takes over after a number of misses and he slots one into the upper 90 above the keeper (just a note: Oezil is going to be fierce in the future, he’s a badass). However, after the goal it seemed that the Black Stars couldn’t put it all together and the result was not in doubt. It all boiled down to the difference in the Australia-Serbia game. After this one ended, both sides learned their fates: Germany were group winners and Ghana were through on superior goal differential over Australia. Germany 1, Ghana 0

Australia v. Serbia: Poor Socceroos put up an incredible effort, attempting to see their way through, needing help from Germany and to pour it onto the Serbs. Serbia looked shell-shocked throughout much of the match and played with none of their trademarked defensive steeliness, giving up lazy goals before finally taking one back to effectively seal Australia’s fate. In truth, the Socceroos should have pulled another one back, but it just was not enough, as the early 4-0 loss to the Germans did them in. In the end, the best teams from this group went through and make for interesting matchups in the Round of 16. Australia 2, Serbia 1

Germany: 6 pts, GP 3, GS 5, GD 4
Ghana: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 2, GD 0

Australia: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 3, GD -3
Serbia: 3 pts, GP 3, GS 2, GD -1

Group E

Netherlands v. Cameroon: Both teams already had their fates sealed, so this one was supposed to be open, but both sides were also somewhat sloppy moving the ball around. The Dutch played poorly for parts of the match before Van Persie scored on a lovely move. Former Barcelona striker Samu Eto’o scored on a penalty in the second half but the rest of Cameroon’s touches were awkward when threatening. Eventually Arjen Robben came on and played a great ball into Huntelaar that he slid home to make this a 2-1 win for a deserving Oranje side, while Cameroon got a fitting result for the rest of their play throughout the group stages. Holland was left only to begin plotting how to best deal with Slovakia in the next round. Netherlands 2, Cameroon 1

Japan v. Denmark: Well, well, well. The Blue Samurai had this one from the get-go, stunning Denmark repeatedly on two set pieces in the first half with Honda playing his natural ass off. In truth, the Danes were never in this one as Japan were cool in possession and hard in defense. The second victory for Japan was assured in the first half but they refused to stop and added a third before narrowly missing a fourth. The Danish Dynamite could only muster a penalty miss and then rebound goal by Tomasson (who became the all-time leading scorer for Denmark with that goal). It was indicative of an up-and-down tournament for the team. Japan are through deservedly and face Paraguay next. Japan 3, Denmark 1

Netherlands: 9 pts, GP 3, GS 5, GD 4
Japan: 6 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD 2

Denmark: 3 pts, GP 3, GS 3, GD -3
Cameroon: 0 pt, GP 3, GS 2, GD -3

Group F


Slovakia v. Italy: I don’t mind saying that when this game went down I figured Italy would pull out another awful draw and pull through but I was very wrong. Slovakia came out to play and Vittek proved he is a great player and not just there because of his dad. He played spectacularly and the Slovakian defense held the Italians in check, even if crotch saves off the line assisted in the effort. This one got even more interesting when Vittek scored in the 72nd, which set off a host of 3 goals between the 81st and injury time. Probably the most interesting end to a game with two excellent chips for goals, an Italian player attempting to crush the Slovakian keeper’s windpipe after a goal, and seeing Italy disposed of with much fanfare. Slovakia deserved this one and Italy hopefully learned a lesson: actually bring players who can play the positions required, i.e. striker. Slovakia 3, Italy 2

New Zealand v. Paraguay: Poor All Whites. They just seemed to have nothing left in the tank for this one as Paraguay controlled a lot of the effort throughout. The match was grueling and scoring chances were hard to come by but NZ keeper Paston was up the the task as he has been all tournament, making save after save when called upon. Unfortunately the Kiwis could not muster enough to stick around but did end this one undefeated for the tournament, picking up 3 points and finishing ahead of Italy (and having to be escorted off the field after the game because they did not want to leave). Paraguay come through first and get Japan next, in what is sure to be a battle of set pieces. New Zealand 0, Paraguay 0

Paraguay: 5 pts, GP 3, GS 3, GD 2
Slovakia: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD -1

New Zealand: 3 pts, GP 3, GS 2, GD 0
Italy: 2 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD -1

Group G

Brazil v. Portugal: Not much to this one. The Angry Colonialists were not interested in anything other than a draw until the last 20 minutes and Brazil, playing without Robinho and Kaka were neutered throughout. A few flashes of brilliance here and there were muddled by angry, plodding play in the first half, and poor execution in the second. Dani Alves was solid in possession after getting the start, but his crosses and set pieces left something to be desired. This was pretty much the result that most expected with Brazil shackling Ronaldo (although he played well in space) throughout and the Portuguese defense continuing it’s uncharacteristically stingy run. These two were going through almost regardless with Brazil needing only a point to win the group, they got it. Brazil 0, Portugal 0

DPRK v. Cote d’Ivoire: The only thing that really came out of this game was that Yaya Toure scored a very nice goal and played well in distribution throughout. The Elephants were never going to make up the 44 goals they needed, so they resolved to put DPRK to the knife. Alas, now the boys from North Korea have to go back and face coal mines as a rebuke for their “poor” play in the wake of 2 thrashings. Dear Leader is not pleased as Yaya shows off for his new bosses at Citeh. Nothing else to report as both these teams deserved to be out after less than stellar play in the group. DPRK 0, Cote d’Ivoire 3

Brazil: 7 pts, GP 3, GS 5, GD 3
Portugal: 5 pts, GP 3, GS 7, GD 7

Cote d’Ivoire: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD 1
DPRK: 0 pt, GP 3, GS 1, GD -11

Group H

Get used to the golazos... and hugs!
Spain v. Chile: La Furia Roja needed a win to be assured, La Roja needed to not lose by much and to have Switzerland not win by too much. The reds won. Chile were fighting hard in the first 15 minutes, opening up a few chances on the break before Spain began to control possession. Eventually, a long ball by Xabi Alonso leads to a poor clearance by the Chilean keeper and David Villa “passing” the ball in from more than 40 yards to take the lead. Then just before the half, Don Andres decided to get in on the action, scoring from the top of the 18 on a beautiful shot (and excellent supply from Villa) to make it 2-nil. Xavi played better, Iniesta looked good, as did Biscuits and most of the Spaniards outside of Torres, who has been woeful. In the second half, Chile got one back through a MIllar shot that deflected off Pique’s leg and into the top of the net. No matter as the last 15 minutes were possession for both teams with neither looking to make any mistakes or take on any more injuries/cards. Spain are group champions by virtue of head-to-head with Chile, while La Roja are second and get the honor of facing Brazil next. Barça 3, Chile 0

Switzerland v. Honduras: The poor Swiss probably deserved better than this, but with little in attack and Honduras playing for pride, they had little chance. The Hondurans showed well through Wilson Palacios and had a number of chances, including a sitter for two players within 3 yards of goal, but it came to nothing. Someone commented that they could have played 90 more minutes and no goal would have come, and that is probably correct. Honduras deserved a point here and Switzerland get only the consolation of a first game shock against Spain for their trouble. Switzerland 0, Honduras 0

Spain: 6 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD 2
Chile: 6 pts, GP 3, GS 3, GD 1

Switzerland: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 1, GD 0
Honduras: 1 pt, GP 3, GS 0, GD -3

Round of 16 Fixtures (with bracket):

A-1 Uruguay v. B-2 South Korea: June 26, 10:00 am EST
C-1 United States v. D-2 Ghana: June 26, 2:30 pm EST
D-1 Germany v. C-2 England: June 27, 10:00 am EST
B-1 Argentina v. A-2 Mexico: June 27, 2:30 pm EST
E-1 Netherlands v. F-2 Slovakia: June 28, 10:00 am EST
G-1 Brazil v. H-2 Chile: June 28, 2:30 pm EST
F-1 Paraguay v. E-2 Japan: June 29, 10:00 am EST
H-1 Spain v. G-2 Portugal, June 29, 2:30 pm EST

FC Barcelona Players in the Round of 16

Spain: V. Valdes, Busquets, David Villa, Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Puyol, Pique
Mexico: Rafa Marquez
Brazil: Dani Alves
Argentina: Lionel Messi

Golden Boot Leaders:
David Villa: 3
Gonzalo Higuain: 3
Robert Vittek: 3
11 tied with 2

Golden Ball Candidates (my guess):
Lionel Messi – Argentina
K. Honda – Japan
David Villa – Spain
M. Oezil – Germany
R. Vittek – Slovakia

First Update
Second Update
Third Update
Fourth Update

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  1. ml6
    June 25, 2010

    David Villa was exceptional on the left today, and im really hoping pep sticks with a messi-ibra-villa attack, the spaniard really showed his versatility and cunning in the last few games. Villa for golden boot!

    • ml6
      June 25, 2010

      by the way, nice reviews luke, keep them coming. 🙂

  2. Dave
    June 26, 2010

    Quote-“I did not have’relations’ with that woman’

    • June 26, 2010

      lol but its
      “I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
      boy, was his face red like sir alex ferguson that time.
      could tell he was lying. i was so disappointed in him.

    • vicsoc8
      June 26, 2010

      It is a time honored American tradition for our presidents to have illicit relationships with women who aren’t their wives.

      Unfortunately for Bill he caused himself a lot of trouble with this tradition, but he certainly wasn’t the first president to do this.

      • Luke
        June 26, 2010

        Unfortunately, lying in a civil trial is an impeachable offense, but lying the country into two wars is not… Glad we are worried about the personal lives of these people, but outright lying in leadership is ok.

  3. stowe
    June 26, 2010

    is that “hugging” picture of villa and xavi photoshopped? and what a goal by villa.

  4. cliveee
    June 26, 2010

    Luke world cup review is the new love.

  5. Ramzi
    June 26, 2010

    Medel yellow, a dive or not?


    • Luke
      June 26, 2010

      I think he tripped on his own feet. Not a dive.

    • Vj
      June 26, 2010

      I think there was enough contact for Busi to go to ground, and Medel went into the challenge with his studs up.. Not a bad decision to give the yellow..

  6. Helge
    June 26, 2010

    2 assists, 3 goals. Where are the people who doubted Suarez’quality because he only scores in the Eredivisie? 😀

    • June 26, 2010

      haha. but still, it has been only 4 matches.
      cant really judge him yet until he plays against powerhouses.

      • y2k156
        June 26, 2010

        Nice goal by Suarez. For me, this has not changed the opinion. Overall Forlan has been more impressive for Uruguay. Suarez has potential but it would have been a gamble for us. After Villa, anyways it does not make any sense.

        I also think that goals is not the sole criteria for a football player, though it is an important one. If we take goals, than Messi has not scored even a single one in this WC, so does that make him a failure? For me, Messi has been the star of tournament so far.

    • Jnice
      June 26, 2010

      I’m A person who doubted his quality because I don’t think he’s all that. Great goals, clutch performance, but he is still way too wasteful for me. We don’t need a player like that.

  7. vicsoc8
    June 26, 2010

    Have to say that apart from his two goals, Suarez was almost completely anonymous the whole game.

  8. Joachim
    June 26, 2010

    Suarez is a poacher not a winger, Barca does not need him.

    • Kurt
      June 26, 2010

      Why isn’t Higuain listed as one of your potential Golden Boot winners? Objectively speaking, I think he’s a decent bet.

      • Kurt
        June 26, 2010

        Whoa my fault. I glanced at the “Golden Ball” list and read “Golden Boot.” I can’t really focus on anything until this USA match starts in 45 minutes.

  9. African Prince
    June 26, 2010




  10. Lev
    June 27, 2010

    I have noticed some unsavoury comments about Mr. Bill Clinton. Don’t they know he is the best Republican presidents the US have ever had?

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