Well we’ve had 3 days of World Cup soccer so far and it’s only a few hours until Australia plays Japan. I’ve watched every match to it’s conclusion and frankly I’m sick of sitting on the couch already. But I’ve cheated a little bit by only watching the games that start at 10.30pm and pvring the rest. So here is what I think so far:
Up until today I would have said Germany vs Costa Rica, but the Mexico vs Iran is now top of my list. Both teams were attacking and it was end to end stuff. Mexico have very fast runners and Iran have a team that have played together for an incredibly long time. The Mexican team had had a lot of dramas with their keeper’s dad dying 3 days before the tournament and he had to fly back for the funeral only to return for this game. The coach had made two selections that were controversial – a Brazilian who had married a mexican and thus gained nationality and a striker who plays in his national league instead of some big name european team. Interestingly enough they were the two players who scored. Nice managing.
Has to be England vs Paraguay. I was so looking forward to the match and thought we’d have a great game when Beckham’s kick was headed in to goal by a Paraguayan. Sadly it then just became a kick the ball towards the tallest player on the field and hope he heads it in. That is old school boring England tactics which is a shame when you have such talented technical players like Joe Cole and creative midfielders like Gerrard and Lampard. Especially sadder when you know they have players like John Terry and Ashley Cole there in your back line who are all class and would not leave you open at the back. Shame Sven shame. Their manager’s tactics make me understand why Sweden drew 0-0 against Trinidad and Tobago.
Best individual talent
The obvious answer is Arjen Robben so I’m not going to say him. There was a midfielder in the Ivory Coast team who amped up the game every time he got the ball. He was intercepting and weaving and was very powerful. I only wish I could remember his name – I’ll have to watch the match again to make sure.
Shaka Hislop for Trinidad and Tobago. It’s their first ever time in the World Cup and to keep a clean sheet against Sweden is truly impressive. The kind of stops he was making were incredible. I’d be saying he’d have a big career in front of him if it wasn’t for the fact that he is getting on a bit and has had a huge career playing in English Premiership teams.
Best Refereeing Decision
Not ruling offside against Paulo Wanchaupe’s first goal. A gutsy decision that was totally correct. I completely thought he was offside until I saw the replay.
I’ve written all this now with the hopes that all but the worst match section will be replaced by Australians. 🙂
To wish them luck I’ve even made a gramatically incorrect ad for them thanks to NAB’s website (they don’t allow punctuation).