World Cup 2006: Delayed report

Got busy over the weekend so I couldn’t post anything about the cup. My blogging will be sketchy over the next few weeks. Just a few thoughts on the matches so far.

England 1 – Paraguay 0
They got the three points but didn’t look too impressive. Having said that, three points is three points–just ask Sweden.

Sweden 0 – Trinidad & Tobago 0
Yeah, that’s why they play the game on the field. Sweden created so many chances, could not convert. What’s there to say.

Argentina 2 – Ivory Coast 1
Easily the best match of the tournament so far; at least the best match that I watched. The Ivorians were fast, they created lots of chances, but they didn’t finish. The Argentinians scored against the run of play and then scored again to pretty much seal the game.

Drogba made it interesting with a goal in the second half but Argentina held on. The Ivorians will be a difficult team to beat but they didn’t inspire with their finishing. It’ll have to be better to beat the Dutch or the Serbia & Montenegro team.

Serbia & Montenegro 0 – Holland 1
Finally, my team got to play. They displayed a good attacking flair and the Robben goal was fantastic, almost created out of nothing. Van Persie’s touch on was superb and Robben’s finish world class. Ironic to see Arsenal and Chelsea hook up for the goal. The Dutch created a lot of chances but didn’t score more goals.

The worrying factor was Ruud’s disappearance. Maybe it was the S&M defence, or maybe not. Also, almost all the attacks came from the left (Robben)–not exactly balanced. The Dutch will have to be careful with Ivory Coast and the Argentina, they will need to raise their game. Still, a good three points from a tough defence and a not-so-bad offence. This sure is the group of death.

Mexico 3 – Iran 1
Didn’t watch this match but a good strong showing from Mexico, so they look like contenders in this group.

Angola 0 – Portugal 1
Former colony versus coloniser is an intriguing matchup but the Portugese managed to win 1-0. Didn’t watch this match either, so not much to say.

Australia 3 – Japan 1
Aussie goalkeeper gets nudged (wink, wink) and the referee doesn’t call it. He’s blind or he’s just blind. Japan 1 – Australia 0. 80th minute, still the same score and within ten minutes the scoreline is Japan 1 – Australia 3. Wow, what a finish to the match.

The Japanese must feel gutted. From being in a great position to qualify as the second team in the group to virtually being out. The Aussies were gutsy and deserved to win the match. This group’s not easy (Brazil, Croatia) but they should fancy their chances of being the second-placed team.

USA 0 – Czech Republic 3
Jan Koller scored in the fifth minute and Tomas Rosicky (now of Arsenal) scored two brilliant goals to put the result beyond any doubt. Rosicky’s first goal was amazing, a scorcher of a shot that the keeper had no chance with and the second, a brilliant through from Nedved (who else) and a clinical finish. Am I glad that Rosicky has been signed by Arsenal for next season? The guy already looks like a star.

The Czech dominated the game and the Americans didn’t look like a top 10 team at all. With a good defence, a great goalkeeper, an inspired midfield, the Czech have got to be one of the favourites. The problem is with the injuries. Koller was injured, they lost Smicer earlier, the forwards seem to be jinxed. If they stay injury free, they’ll be a team no one wants to face. They were quick, incisive with their passing and played a beautiful game.

Italy 2 – Ghana 0
Didn’t watch this match, so I can’t say much but I am sure the Italians must be relieved.

France and Brazil are on the menu today, so whatever you’re doing, drop it and watch.

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