Monday, 28 June 2010

2nd round so far

Round 2 has kicked off and now the World Cup really seems to be coming to life, as with most World Cups in recent history its started slowly but has improved the further in its progressed

Uruguay v South Korea

The Uruguayans have progressed nicely the further in this competition has progressed, this was certainly one of the best displays they've put in the tournament so far, and this was certainly a display that finally justified the hype around Luis Suarez with 2 well taken goals and the second one was a cracker, sidestepping a South Korea defender and curling a cracking shot off the far post. Both him and Forlan are proving to be a handful for every defence they've come up against and could well prove the undoing for the Ghanaian's in the next round. They also have one of the most underrated defenders in the tournament in Diego Lugano who has been excellent at the heart of the defence with both his tackling and reading of the game, as well as being a phenomenal leader on & off the pitch and full credit to manager Oscar Tabarez for helping take this team so far. South Korea's lack of cutting edge up front was exposed in this game, they did create a few chances but sadly they were unable to score the second they so badly needed at 1-1 to take the game away from the Uruguayans

USA v Ghana

The USA had confidence running high after topping their group however they were soon on the back foot with an excellent goal from Kevin Prince Boateng scoring a lovely goal after 5 Min's from the edge of the area and the Americans struggled until the break but at half time Bob Bradley bought on Feilhaber to offer more attacking options and straight away the Americans nearly hit back but for Kingson's excellent save. However the Americans continued to push and just after the hour mark Clint Dempsey won a penalty, beating Gyan on the edge of the area before Mensah clattered into him and a penalty was awarded, with Landon Donovan slotting home off the post. So the first game to enter extra time got underway and the excellent Andre Ayew (son of Ghanaian legend Abedi Pele) hitting a lovely pass to set up Gyan he Cooley beat 2 defenders and smashed the ball past Tim Howard and Ghana now face Uruguay in the 1/4 finals with the hopes of Africa behind them, this weight could crush them or it could inspire them to become the first African team to ever reach the semi finals of a World Cup

Argentina v Mexico

Cracking game, just a shame it was ruined by the technology debate and some clever person in the stadium deciding it would be a really clever idea to put a replay of a controversial goal on a big screen for the fans, players & officials to all see which of course led to pandemonium on the pitch with the Mexican players, quite rightly, furiously debating Tevez's first goal with the officials but, despite the fact everyone had seen just how offside he was they weren't allowed to change the decision. There was no debate about the second goal with Mexican defender Osorio playing a square pass that was far to short for Marquez to reach leaving Higuain to run through one on one, coolly dragging the ball round the grounded Perez and tapping home. The third goal from Tevez was an absolute belter, the ball fell lose to Tevez about 25 yards and he unleashed a ferocious 25 yard shot into the top corner all but settling the game. Mexico, who had a very good start to the game with Salcido rattling the cross bar after 8 Min's as well as Guardado drilled a shot inch's wide, weren't done though, with Man Utd bound striker Javier Hernandez producing a fantastic one touch turn on the edge of the box to beat Demichelis taking one touch into the box and drilling a left footed shot into the roof of the net.

Germany v England

Germany absolutely dismantled England, and although if finished 4-1 if the Germans had taken their chances it could have easily been more. Obviously the big talking point (for English fans anyway) is the goal that wasn't given despite the fact the ball bounced well over the line before bouncing back out. The truth though was England didn't deserve to win this game, they were completely outplayed and the Germans had a game plan and knew how to execute it. Joachim Low is a very good tactician and said he had 2 main plans, the first was to give England the ball as they waste it & the second was to target John Terry as a weak point and clearly both of these worked. The first goal was just a hilarity of disasters with a long goal kick bouncing and not 1 England player near it, John Terry was well out of position and when Klose turned around to chase the ball Matthew Upson was caught flat footed and was immediately on the back foot as Klose held him off well and slammed the ball past James. From that moment Germany took control and although England had more possession they didn't really create anything and during this time Germnay had another chance with Klose smashing the ball straight at David James but minutes later Muller floated a delightful ball to the other side of the box for Podolski and despite a very poor first touch, he was allowed enough time to recover and hit the ball through James legs.

England did score a goal 5 Min's later with a corner kick basically hitting Upson in the face and flying in during about 10 Min's of genuine England pressure and then the Lampard goal that wasn't given happened moments later. After half time England still had pressure but where limited to long range shots, Frank Lampard again hit the crossbar with a free kick from around 30 yards although this time it didn't go anywhere near the line. However on the 67th min the game was put to bed, a Lampard free kick hitting the German wall and deflecting away and as most of the England team where at the other end of the pitch the Germans countered with relative ease, Schweinsteiger playing a delightful ball to Muller who was in space and finished with ease. The 4th was simliar, England losing possession deep in the German half before Ozil beat Barry for pace and crossed to Muller to side foot home.

Holland v Slovakia

No real surprises here, the Dutch are looking solid as they always do, the return of Robben was a real boost though and it only took him 19 mins to pick up a ball on the right wing, cut inside and smashed the ball inside the near post on his left foot. Other than Vittek hitting a shot straight at Stekelenburg the Slovakians never really threatened before the second Dutch goal went in after Kuyt chased down a loose ball before crossing for Sneijder to coolly slot home. Vittek did end up scoring a consolation penalty after Stekelenburg bought him down, and was lucky not to receive a red card. The Dutch are looking pretty well organised but it'll be interesting to see how they cope playing a bigger team. For Slovakia the dream has ended but they should be proud of their achievements having beaten Italy and knocking them out as well playing some very nice football

Brazil v Chile

A brilliant game of attacking football, the first 10 mins Chile were all over Brazil and looked very good but slowly Brazil took control of the game and it wasn't long before the first goal game, a well hit corner from Maicon powerfully headed home by Juan - something that the ITV pundits called 'a typically English goal' well, if we're out the tournament might as well keep the spirit still in there? Muppets. Less that 5 mins later Brazil had a second with a brilliant counter attack, Robinho racing down the left wing and playing a lovely ball to Kaka on the edge of the area who guided the ball perfectly through to Fabiano who was on the penalty spot and as the Chilians appealed for offside (incorrectly) Fabiano rounded Bravo and tapped the ball home. The final pass to Fabiano was onside so it was an excellent call by the linesman and this warranted the commentators spent most of the rest of the game talking about how excellent the (oh surprise surprise English) officials had been. The 3rd goal was another lovely goal with Ramires picking up the ball just inside the Chile half and striding forward leaving players in his wake before playing in Robinho who curled a lovely shot in from just on the edge of the area.

That's my round up of the 2nd round games so far, obviously the big one today is Portugal v Spain but first the game between Japan & Paraguay which, despite not being to big names could be a very interesting game. I think Portugal will fall to Spain, mainly as Portugals tactic will probably be get the ball to Ronaldo and he will do the rest whilst Spain really seem to have found their stride recently, and they like playing attacking teams like Portugal. The Japan v Paraguay game will be close, both are hard working teams and very disciplined but I'm going to stick my neck out and say i think Japan will win it 1-0.

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