Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup - Getting to be Crunch Time

We are now to the point of the excited final group games. Both 3rd group games are played simultaneously to prevent teams from already knowing the result they need. This really increases the drama. It's fun to flip back and forth or watch with the double TV. Pretty nice. Here are a few thoughts on the last couple days and the days to come.

1.) Spain - Eh? - I thought Spain was unimpressive against Honduras. They did get the three points and the goal differential against Chile, but they didn't look like a World Cup favorite. The game was actually kind of boring. Now all Spain need to do is win against Chile and they will certainly progress and probably take first in the group. But, Chile has yet to concede a goal this tournament.

2.) Hosts bow out - South Africa got the win, but the 3-0 loss to Uruguay was too much to overcome. It's a shame, they were fun to watch, but ultimately not as good as Mexico and Uruguay. And I won't really touch on France. Like I said last week, they have great players, yet are a bad team. That is true in many ways.

3.) Bad misses - Ok, the Yak missed a true sitter. I really don't know how me missed that one.( I wonder if the flag would have went up if it went in.) He then made up for it with a goal, so I won't call it the biggest miss of the tournament. Obifemi Martins was also in contention for miss of the tournament. His was worse because it was 2-2 with about 5 minutes left and the goal would have sent Nigeria through. He went for the chip instead of the power. Man. In the end, it was heartache for the Super Eagles.

But the miss of the tournament for me so far has got to be Eren Derdiyok for Switzerland against Chile. It came after a great move in the 90th minutes with his team down by one. (Click on the 90th minute triangle to see the highlight.) He had the entire goal to shoot for, but missed wide. That could be a huge miss for group H. Things would be vastly different if that went in.
4.) Lack of Drama - The games that had teams who knew they were going through were pretty uninteresting. Greece/Argentina and Mexico/Uruguay were a bit dull from what I saw, but I guess that makes sense.

What to watch for:

USA/Algeria - This one is for freedom.
I'm super worried about it. Algeria looked good and holds the ball well and that could be a big problem for the US. It is a good thing they need a win, so maybe that will open things up a bit. The lineup will be interesting and we need Altidore to play strong early and hold it up for Donovan and Dempsey. Big Day!

England/Slovenia - England have looked average at best. Will they break out of their shell? Rooney needs to step up, but his midfield needs to put him into dangerous situations. I still see England progressing. Big Day!

Group D - Germany, Serbia, Ghana, and Australia can all still advance. I'm hoping for a lot of action. I want to see Germany and Australia press the issue and look for the win. I would love to see Australia do it, but I am leaning toward Germany and Serbia progressing.

Enjoy tomorrow, a great day of soccer. This is what the World Cup is all about. Take the day off, call in sick if you need to. This is big. USA!

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