Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Day 5

Lessons to be learned:

For me: don't underestimate (or write off) a team before they got a chance to prove themselves on the field.

For Slovakia (or other teams in their shoes): if you don't take your chances, you will eventually pay for it [or better be prepared to defend until the last second].

For Ivory Coast / Portugal: you'll never score if you don't push more than 3 players forward at a time (especially when the other team has 6-7 in defense).

For Brazil: there's a fine line between being lucky and being shamed.

Yes. Another strange day in South Africa. Slovakia, although they looked better, they did not create enough chances and simply counted their chickens before they hatched. The proverbial fat lady [a mostly amateur New Zealand team] then had the last laugh. It was poetic justice in some sense, as Vittek's goal came from a controversial offside position. Yet, great display from a very spirited All Whites side!

The "cracker" I had predicted between Portugal and Ivory Coast can simply be described in one word: FEAR. Fear of not losing that is...which was clearly visible from what went on: neither of the teams ventured forward; neither took chances...and as they say, "no guts, no glory". I'm afraid that the 2nd team in the group will be decided by how bad they beat North Korea (although seeing how poorly Brazil played - especially in the first half - that may not necessarily be the case).

North Korea proved to be a tough nut to crack for Brazil (and showed the other teams in the group how to defend against them). And if the keeper was more alert on the first goal, the Brazilians would have found themselves in the same position as Slovakia. Yes, you could argue that they had created a lot more chances, but last time I checked, the score is based on how many times the ball went into the net.

Once again, some of these over-cautious displays we witnessed again today come to support my earlier argument that FIFA should really provide serious incentives for a more attacking approach. If not giving any points for a 0-0 tie, or awarding extra points for extra goals [see my comments from day 3] then an easier option would be to award one point for every goal scored! That would really open things up, and - at least on paper - give a fighting chance to every team in the group! [I promise to come back to this with 'alternative' final standing for each of the groups based on these premises; should be an eye-opening experience].

But until then, action in the final group scheduled tomorrow: Spain are clear favorites over the Swiss (especially with Behrami and Frei) and Chile should overcome Honduras (although a tie would not surprise anyone any longer). Then the hosts take on Uruguay to initiate the second round of group games. The winner would be more than assured a spot in the round of 16, although I predict another tie.

¡¡ Vamos España !!

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