Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup - The First 4.5 Days

(I'm writing this before the 6/15 Brazil-North Korea Game)

The 2010 World Cup is off and running. It started off great with South Africa/Mexico. Some games have been good, some average, some boring, but that is what the 1st group game will bring you in the World Cup. Teams will be tentative, not wanting to lose points. It also looks like World Teams are much closer together in skill and overall quality than they have been in the past. But I don't want to make too many conclusions too early. We're only about 1/5 of the way through this thing. Below are some highlights of what I've seen so far.

1.) USA/England - So I actually had a wedding to go to during the USA/England game. Lots of my friends gave me flack for this, but I stick by my decision. I was able to get a small group of friends to watch the recorded game between the ceremony and the reception. I was able to go into not knowing the score at all, though a few of my friends knew it was 1-0 early on.
I don't think this is just because I'm a US fan, but I think this was one of the better games of the tournament so far. There was a lot of back and forth action, and both teams had a chance to win.
Robert Green - Thanks.
Tim Howard - The Man.
Rooney needs to do more if England are going to progress.
USA needs to follow this up with a win.

2.) South Africa/Mexico - T.I.A. This is Africa! Nice start to the tournament, maybe the best game so far even. Good back and forth action. Great crowd. South Africa can play.

3.) Big Dunc's Players to Watch - Mixed results so far. I got Tshabalala right, so that one Player to Watch alone pretty much validates my tournament. I'm guessing not many people heard of him before he hit that beautiful shot. Park scored too, but that is not really going out on a limb. Asamoah Gyan scored a penalty, but played well overall, hitting the post twice I believe. Uche for Nigeria was on the opposite end of the spectrum, missing an easy chance against Argentina. My young players to watch were a mixed bag. Ozil was sick, pulling the strings for Germany. Di Maria was very quiet for Argentina.

4.) African Teams - Nigeria was not bad against Argentina. They were in the game the entire time and had a few chances to tie it near the end. Their keeper was amazing. They gave people a fun game to watch. I think they have a good chance of going through.
Cameroon - looked pretty horrible. No creativity. No real attacking threats. See you next time.
Ghana - Looked pretty similar to the Ghana of recent years, not overly amazing on the attack, but a good solid team throughout.
Algeria- boring

5. Germany - Germany have been by far the most impressive team so far. Great interplay among strikers, wingers, and central midfielders. Great pace and creativity. Muller and Ozil bring some important youth to the side and I think the defense is just as strong as last tournament. But again, it's just one game.

6. France - France looked pretty weak on Friday. I feel they were the better team, but didn't really show it. They have lot of great players, but don't really play together. They give the ball to Ribery and hope that he does something special. I'm still thinking they will go through.

7. Today's Games - Today was not the best football watching day of my life. I missed the Slovakia goal and then decided to stop watching the game in the 89th minute. Arrgghh! Never give up on those Kiwis. And then ESPN3 was not working for the Ivory Coast Portugal game. Man.

Things to watch for over the next two days.

How effective will Torres be? Will he start?
North Korea - will they score?
Group A - everything is well poised in Group A with everyone on 1 point. After the first matches, all the teams look capable of advancing and the Uruguay/South Africa and France/Mexico games look much more appetizing.
Nigeria - They will need to beat Greece to make the game against South Korea super exciting.

There you go. Keep enjoying the cup. Check back for more updates soon.

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