Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Day 10

I mentioned in the 'Preamble' that certain European teams should not be here. Slovakia supported my stance today with an inspirited display against Paraguay. I don't mean to take anything away from the South Americans, who played a solid game and could have scored more than 2, but Slovakia only registered 1 (one) shot on goal [and that came in the 2nd minute of added time]. Really, with that kind of "firepower" they can't hope to accomplish much in this World Cup.

In the other game of the group, another huge surprise: Italy - New Zealand: 1-1! I knew there would be such results, just didn't think there'd be so many. Yes, the Kiwis were stern in defense, with a very inspired Paston in goal, but Italy were all bark and no bite. Slow on the buildup, static, no leadership in midfield [they miss Pirlo tremendously] and really lacking up front, they needed a dubious penalty call to tie the game [yes, De Rossi was pulled, but made most of it with a theatrical display]. In the end, great result for the All Whites, while Italy are yet to find their rhythm.

Paraguay is now on 4 points and have the best chance of topping the group [playing New Zealand next]. Italy and Slovakia will duke it out for second place, but Slovakia has to go for victory. So as poor as Italy have been so far, they will make it into the round of 16...

Brazil outclassed Ivory Coast in the last game of the day and the Elephants [and all African countries in general] should really start paying attention to discipline in defense. All goals were due to serious lapses at the back [yes, L. Fabiano used his hand to bring the ball down on the second goal, but he also got passed 3 defenders in the process]. Slack defending or not, Brazil look to be in a class of their own. Only Argentina has matched them so far in consistency and team performance. They are a little vulnerable at the back, but when they can score freely as they've done so far, that failing can be forgiven...

Ivory Coast could have posed more problems to the Brazilian defense had they pushed forward earlier, but they waited until Keita shamefully got Kaka sent off before venturing forward in numbers... Too little too late!

Tomorrow, last set of games in the second round of group matches. Have Spain recovered from the Swiss defeat? I sure hope so. Don't need them to join the ranks of England, Italy and France...

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