Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Day 17 (R16 - 3)

A 'quiet' day today in South Africa, meaning there were no surprises, no controversial calls, nothing out of the ordinary. As expected, Holland and Brazil have imposed themselves against Slovakia and Chile respectively, and as much the media was hyping up the minnows, it turns out that their much stronger counterparts were a thoroughly superior bunch.

Brazil were impressive again, in all departments, even though Chile were no pushover. I'm not sure how anyone will be able to take them apart, when they have so much depth in their squad.

The Dutch, although not as imposing, made light work of Slovakia (with relative luck on their side as well) and the 2-1 scoreline doesn't really reflect what went on... Mucha [the Slovakian keeper] was outstanding on several occasions. Yet, it seems like Oranje are drifting in an out of games at times (particularly in defense). They need more focus if they want to challenge further...

This sets up a great game between the Netherlands and Brazil, but the Dutch should really step up their game if they hope to have a prayer against the five-times world champion.

Today, I'm afraid, represented the 'quiet before the storm'. The storm that's Spain - Portugal. I'm partial to this match, of course, but I think it will live up to its billing. Both teams have something to prove after hit and miss performances so far, and I hope they'll do it in the spirit of attractive, free-flowing football. They both have the talent to do it.

Tomorrow's other game (Paraguay - Japan) pales by comparison, but it should be another good game against two evenly-matched teams. Artistry and flair against tenacity and speed. Should be a pleasure to watch.

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Since this is a [relatively] shorter posting, I want to leave you with a few things that tie into what I mentioned in the Preamble regarding crime in South Africa (and the impact it could have on the World Cup). Granted, you won't find any of this reported on the FIFA official page (they want to ensure they paint a positive picture of the overall experience) but a quick Google search returns plenty of hits on the subject:

Portuguese photographer robbed at gunpoint in his hotel room:

To the organizers' credit, looks like most of these occurred early on... more than likely they threw more police and security at the problem. Let's hope it doesn't escalate to anything more beyond this...

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