Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup - Round of 16

With the US loss, I guess I'll again have to pay attention to the rest of the World Cup.

England/Germany - It's a shame all everybody is talking about the Lampard goal that was not a goal and not the great play by the Germans. I know that the call changed things, but let's not overlook the fantastic play by the Germans and the relatively disappointed play by England. Ozil is really the difference maker in this side. Klose and Podalski are for whatever reason, way better at the World Cup than at any other time. They are consistent strikers, something the US and England lack. Germany are still a very young team. Their offense is efficient and fun to watch, but it may be the defense that lets them down in the end.
This is a good time not to be English. Unlike the US, where there were a few key things to focus on that went wrong or were not good enough, England has loads of reasons for the loss. Their reasons - unsuitable formation, poor center backs, lack of width, center midfielders not playing well together, lack of a strong forward - don't make sense though, as they have such great players on the club level. Things won't be pretty across the pond over the next few months as blame will be placed in many areas.
Oh, and about the "no goal goal". That was worse than the US/Slovenia call. The US one was a judgement call. This one was black and white. The ball was in and crossed the line. Why was it not a goal? Why can't soccer have some sort of review?

Mexico/Argentina - Another bad call here that is overshadowing the great play of the winning team. I was not one to jump on the Mexico band wagon and was not suprised that Argentina won this one. They were clearly the better team. So many attacking options and the intoxicating Maradona to boot. Argentina/Germany should be great.

Brazil/Chile - The better team won this one. There isn't much else to say. Like Argentina, Brazil has many options on the offensive side and a defense even better than Argentina.

Netherlands/Slovakia - This one went pretty much as expected. Netherlands still didn't play as well as people are hoping, but they are doing enough. They scored early, gave Slovakia a few chances, then scored again on the counter attack. That is a pretty solid blueprint for World Cup success. Having Robben back helps, but the Orange will need more against Brazil.

Spain/Portugal should be a great one. Can Torres find his form? Does Spain need him to? Will the Spanish midfield overrun Portugal? Can Ronaldo run at the Spanish backs? Should be a fun one.
Look for Japan/Paraguay to be a close one, but I see Paraguay edging out Japan in the end.

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