Well, the long holiday weekend has thoroughly worn me out. Lots of soccer and lots of drinking has prevented me from updating my World Cup thoughts. This quick entry will contain reviews of the great quarter final games and previews of the semi finals.
Brazil/Netherlands - This was one that could have been the World Cup final. Brazil dominated the first half. It was crucial for the Dutch to remain only one down at half time. If they went in 2-0, it would have been pretty close to over, but a few nice saves and some luck allowed them to come out in the second half only down by one. The second half was completely different. The Dutch did not make any personnel changes, but they were much more attacking. The first goal was luck and the second came from a nice corner, but both were created through attacking football. They were deserving of the win.
Melo was super idiotic on the red card. What was he thinking?
Robben can only go to his left and that was evident from the start.
I thought Kuyt played a great match. He was everywhere setting up his teammates, making tackles, and clearing balls off the line. His energy is tremendous, as one of my friends said (referring to his similarities to Sloth from Goonies) "Man, Goonies is everywhere.
Uruguay/Ghana - Wow, the World Cup is great, amazing, awesome. I love it. You cannot write this shit. That has to be the most unreal ending to a game I have ever seen. Most people fail to mention that Suarez cleared the first attempt off the line with his leg before he handled the next one. You have to feel for Gyan, even though he sent out the US. All he had to do was make a PK to become the first African team to get through to the next round. Wow. And then the last penalty, pretty audacious.
The entire game was back and forth, Ghana would be in control for 10 minutes, then Uruguay for 15, then Ghana for 15, then Uruguay for 10. A great World Cup quarter final. Drama.
Germany/Argentina - Germany again got the early goal they needed. I think it was super important for the Germans to keep the Argentines from scoring in the last 15 minutes of the first half. That is when they looked their most dangerous. Germany kept Argentina out and then again made some great half-time changes to hold out for the counter attack. Germany definitely deserved this one.
I think the play of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been vastly under rated. We've seen lots of keeper mistakes this tournament, but none by the German. He faced a lot of shots from outside and caught them all, leaving no chance for Argentina to get the rebound.
The loss of Thomas Muller will hurt Germany in the semis and it was a super soft yellow card.
I don't know what to say about Miroslav Klose. This dude was just meant to score goals in the World Cup. He is never flashy or even super impressive, but he gets it done.
It looked like Argentina was paying close attention to Ozil and that gave more freedom to Bastian Schweinsteiger. He stepped up and was the one pulling the strings for Germany.
Lots of weapons and play makers on that team.
Spain/Paraguay - First half was dull, but second half was great! Again, I can't remember a more unreal 5 minutes of play. 2 missed penalties, one after the made one was called back. Another that should have been called and a ball cleared off the line. Wow. This is the World Cup! I love it!
In the end, Spain scored and they deserved it, but Paraguay still had a chance through Santa Cruz, but he couldn't tie things up. Either way, it was a great end to a great quarterfinals.
Netherlands/Uruguay - I'm not as excited for this one as I was for most of the quarters. Look for a close, defensive game. I expect the skill players for Holland - Sneijder and Robben - to make the difference in this one. Holland haven't been too impressive, but that did beat Brazil, so they are the favorites in this one. Look for a 2-0 Dutch win. I'm thinking one in about the 40th minute and one in the 90th.
Germany/Spain - A rematch of the '08 European final. I'm not sure how this one will play out. Will Germany sit back and play for the counter as Portugal and Paraguay did? That would make sense as they are so strong on the counter attack, but they have more quality than Spain's previous opponents. Look for Germany to try to disrupt some of Spain's possession. Spain knows that they cannot make mistakes in the midfield. My gut tells me this will not be as open a game as people are expecting. I could see 1-0 either way or maybe even 0-0. I'm seeing a shootout win by Spain.
Fun times ahead. I hope the semis are as exciting as the quarters.