Monday, June 14, 2010

Days 3 & 4

ESPN's theme for this World Cup is "one game changes everything", but it should be "one goal changes everything", since each team's fortune can change on a single goal. If Cameroon scored a goal against Japan instead of allowing one, they'd be poised for the second round. Same with Serbia vs. Ghana. Each team's four year fortune is hinging on who kicks the ball in the net.

Here's the main reason I was cheering for Paraguay against Italy today..

Daniele De Rossi is a thug and a diver, so I can't cheer for any team that he's on. Paraguay held the Azzuri to a 1-1 draw today, just like the USA did in 2006, and would have won if their goalkeeper had held his position on the Italian corner kick, which the Evil De Rossi knocked in the net midway through the second half. After that, both teams slapped it back and forth, essentially playing for a draw, which is what they got.

This draw means that Slovenia and Slovakia will both be leading their World Cup groups if Slovakia can beat New Zealand. I'm a geography geek and had to look up where these countries were, mainly because they didn't exist when I studied geography in school. My most impressive team so far is the Germans, who could be inflated since they were playing Australia. Argentina and the Netherlands also looked impressive, but more like a bunch of stars instead of a single team playing together.

The World Cup is essentially an All Star Series, which makes a bad introduction to soccer for Americans and other folks who don't watch the game regularly. The players don't play together all the time, so the WC doesn't have the same rhythm that high level club soccer does. That's the main reason there isn't much scoring in the World Cup, especially in early games -- the players are just starting to play together.

A stadium full of vuvuzelas sounds like the intro to "Welcome To The Jungle". Any instrument that reminds me of Guns N' Roses is probably not a good thing.

Tomorrow's games include Portugal vs. Ivory Coast and Brazil vs. DPRK (aka "North Korea") as well as Slovakia vs. New Zealand. These are all interesting matchups, but probably not competitive ones.

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