Some Thoughts on Monday’s Games 6-14-10

No one on Denmark’s team should whine about giving up an own goal. They usually result from pressure and that’s what Denmark experienced through much of the game.

The blame for Dirk Kuyt’s goal should rest squarely on Simon Kjaer’s shoulders. Both players were trailing the play virtually next to each other, but where Kuyt speeded up on Elia’s shot, Kjaer slowed down, leaving Kuyt free to finish off the rebound.

Eljero Elia was terrific off the bench. I don’t think that the Netherlands will have any problem going through, but if Bert van Marwijk is smart he’ll find a way to get Elia in the starting lineup in subsequent rounds.

Nigel de Jong is a red card waiting to happen.

If Denmark doesn’t win against decisively against Cameroon, they’re in deep trouble.

Nicklas Bendtner still has problems finishing his chances. Given that he’s not 100% and Morton Olsen only brought three forwards with him, Denmark’s offense has their work cut out for them.

Talk about making the most of your chances: Japan had three shots, two on goal, one of which they scored. They also had no corner kicks. That may have worked barely against Cameroon, but at the risk of belaboring the obvious, it certainly won’t work against the Dutch.

Did anyone see any organization in the Cameroon attack? I certainly didn’t.

For a tough guy Daniele de Rossi seems fragile: he tripped on what must have been a blade of grass early on and managed to fling out his arms. I guess he thought it was a team practice.

Paraguay played with a lot of heart. You have to admire that.

Notwithstanding his shot in the 83rd minute, Riccardo Montolivo did not seem to be a particularly good replacement for Andrea Pirlo.

Did Iaquinta and Gilardino play in this game? I barely saw them.

In my analysis of this group I made the following comment in the comments:

Here’s a conceivable scenario: Paraguay beats or ties Italy, Slovakia
beats New Zealand, Italy beats New Zealand, Slovakia and Paraguay tie,
Slovakia beats or ties Italy and Paraguay beats New Zealand. Who goes
through would then depend on the goal differential against New Zealand.

Pending the result of tomorrow’s first game, that seems even more conceivable.






53 replies
  1. 1
    mcd410x says:

    I picked Paraguay to top the group, Italy second. If you’re the guayan keeper, you have to know at this point that the ball is going to sail high on that corner, don’t you? Haven’t you been watching the games? Any of them? Grr.

  2. 2
    burnspbesq says:

    Cameroon is toast. Three and out.

  3. 3
    Dork says:

    Eljero Elia was unfreakinbelievable. The most aggressive player on that Dutch team today, by a mile.

  4. 4
    mrmike says:

    de Rossi could get an Olympic medal in diving.
    (And I’m ITA by heritage, though I have a soft spot for the Dutch this go-round)

  5. 5
    Silver says:

    Nigel de Jong is a red card waiting to happen.

    QFT.

    Early favorite for the eventual Dutch ending in tears…

  6. 6
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Here’s a conceivable scenario: Paraguay beats or ties Italy, Slovakia beats New Zealand, Italy beats New Zealand, Slovakia and Paraguay tie, Slovakia beats or ties Italy and Paraguay beats New Zealand. Who goes through would then depend on the goal differential against New Zealand.

    Screw you! What happens if we WIN, huh? Huh? What then, Mr Smarty-Pants?

    GAAAAAHD OF NATIONS AAAAT THY FEEEET!!!

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    .

    (Nah, not even I’m buying this)

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    Italy will get its act together against Slovakia. They always play like crap during the early games, only to improve later on. They were actually not as bad as I feared.

  8. 8
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Loved that Italian soccer practice video. Diving sucks.

  9. 9
    Mark S. says:

    I thought Italy dominated the second half. They don’t play the most beautiful football, but they’ll be a tough out for anyone in the second round.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    @mrmike: There is conflict in our home. My husband is Dutch while I’m the daughter of an Italian who played the equivalent of minor league football in Italy back in the early 60s. We do both agree that England sucks.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @Randinho: I pissed the husband off badly this morning when I told him I thought Germany was playing a little better than the Netherlands so far. My comment must have struck a nerve.

    I can’t wait for England’s next game.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    Tim Howard seems to be okay for the US game against group leader Slovenia on Friday. That’s a relief.

    The Dutch are looking formidable.

    I’m very interested in the North Korea the Democratic Republic of Korea (“There’s no such country named ‘North Korea”) and Brazil. Somehow that match up fascinates me. Secretive country ruled by crazy dictator versus traditional football powerhouse. There should be a Team America special video just for this match.

  14. 14
    Slappy says:

    I just need to know which midfielder from Korea DRP I should start as a midfielder on my fantasy team tomorrow

  15. 15
    Mike Kay says:

    @beltane: Gee, how cosmopolitian. I merely piss people off for being a Red Sox fan (BIG market meanie who hordes the tee vee revenue).

  16. 16
    Paula says:

    I have no idea where people are watching the games right now, so chime in if you’ve an opinion, but …

    Like many people in 2006, I fled to Univision to avoid ESPN’s horrible commentators. Now I’m sticking to the English-language broadcasts and while Martin Tyler et al are nowhere near as entertaining as the Spanish-language broadcasters, it’s nice to finally be able to understand what’s being said and to get some of the basic info (which they’re generous about because they’re assuming (rightly) we don’t know much about the history of various teams.

    So the verdict for now: good for ESPN. I still think Fox Soccer Channel is more insightful and less sensationalistic but, alas, they’re not airing the games. My one sticking point is Alexi Lalas. I, for one, find him entertaining in his unabashed boosterism of the USMNT and for what appears to be a huge chip on his shoulder re the snobbery against American soccer players/coaches. But I completely understand if other people find him annoying.

  17. 17
    superfly says:

    Gillardino and Iaquinta were so invisible, they never even got to do their “hands on head, look of disbelief” after missing chance after chance, which is what both of them spent most of the Serie A season doing.

  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    @Paula:

    Alexi Lalas. I, for one, find him entertaining

    He’s great. I loved it after the US-Engerland game when he said that what we’ve really learned is that the England team just isn’t as good as everyone in England likes to think they are. Which was absolutely right and wasn’t going to be said by anybody else there.

  19. 19
    TR says:

    @MikeJ:

    Yeah, Lalas is great. He caught hell for predicting a 2-1 US win and we were just a post-shot from Jozy to seeing precisely that.

  20. 20
    Kobie says:

    After seeing some of the crowd shots from earlier today, I am officially saying now that if I ever become an expat, I’m moving to Paraguay.

  21. 21
    SLKRR says:

    @Violet:

    It’s going to be an interesting game, because nobody really has any idea what to expect from the DPRK. If Brazil can’t handle them, though, they will be in big trouble. Hopefully, that’s not the case.

  22. 22
    superfly says:

    @Paula: Alexi Lalas is annoying for so many other reasons :-)

    Used to like him fine, but when he was in charge of the LA Galaxy, he was ridiculous, it was like he just came out of a Tony Robbins seminar marathon, and thought if he kept saying the Galaxy were on a par with Man. U. and Real Madrid, it would just come to be. He still seems to just spew BS to hear his own voice, but that’s just me.

    I’m glad ESPN has hired some European commentators, even if they seem to be chaffing under the American rules of broadcasting, i.e. don’t be too negative, Gullit seems to want to rip everyone (except the Dutch, thought I’m sure he will rip them eventually too).

    And getting real game commentators from England has made it so much more enjoyable, no fake hype, no forced banter (or at least they are just much better at it), and when their voices do start to rise a bit, you know something really is going on.

  23. 23
    Randinho says:

    @superfly: I’m just glad Tommy Smyth isn’t there. A buddy of mine is doing the Portuguese language play-by-play on ESPN Deportes.

  24. 24
    Wildcat12 says:

    If Japan can tie Denmark, then they have a good chance at advancing. I expect The Netherlands to win all 3. Now with Japan winning, then if they can tie Denmark and (a little luck) have Cameroon beat Denmark, they’re in. Damn, I don’t think I saw anyone’s bracket (or heard) anyone having Japan getting out of group play.

  25. 25
    Andre says:

    Forza New Zealand!

    …OK, maybe not. There are times when being an Italian New Zealander makes life difficult, and this is one of those times.

  26. 26
    Paula says:

    @TR:

    That was a heartbreaker. If you remember what he did during the Confed Cup against Spain (basically shaking off the Spanish defender like a fly — forgot which — to score the first of 2 goals for the US); or even recall the hype about the 1950 win (where another Haitian-born American, Joe Gaetjens, scored the winning goal), it was like plunging into an inspirational sports movie for a brief 3 seconds. Missing it was just luck, though. The kid’s only 20, he’s going to have a lot of chances @ WC glory.

    @superfly: Well, Lalas is a booster, I don’t think he’d deny it. He does have a little of the “I talk to hear myself” vibe, though.

  27. 27
    mcd410x says:

    Dutch looked below-par. Cameroon managed to make Japan, who’ve never won a WC game outside the Home Islands, actually look a decent side.

    There’s been some not-so-good footie played so far at this tournament. I feel like usually the home continent teams pick up the slack in this area, but the African teams have not had the quality to do so. Not difficult to see a scenario where only Ghana advance. Unfortunate: I wanted to see these sides do well.

    Edt: re: Lalas, why do so many who appear on ESPN think they have to be characters? Just because you are one …

  28. 28
    burnspbesq says:

    It was quite funny to watch Wigan manager/ESPN talking head Roberto Martinez struggle to keep the shit-eating grin off his face after his new signing scored for Paraguay.

  29. 29
    SLKRR says:

    @Randinho:

    That’s pretty cool… I’m sure he’s better at it than Galvão Bueno… ;-) I may have to switch from Globo over to Band for tomorrow’s game just to avoid listening to that babaca.

  30. 30
    Randinho says:

    @SLKRR: As bad as Galvão Bueno is, he’s not nearly as bad as Tommy Smyth.

    Apenas curiosidade: where in Brazil do you live? What Brazilian team do you pull for?

  31. 31
    SLKRR says:

    @Randinho:

    I live in Recife currently within sight/sound distance of Ilha do Retiro so I’ve ended up becoming a Sport fan almost by osmosis. It’s been tough the last couple years – winning the Copa do Brasil and playing in the Libertadores and then relegated to Serie B in dead last…

  32. 32
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    I wish ESPN had Andy Gray. He rocks. They had him for Euro 2008.

  33. 33
    stormhit says:

    Germany gets an actual yellow card for diving, and it’s not worth a mention; but of course one has to be manufactured for an Italy game.

  34. 34
    superfly says:

    @Randinho: Agreed re: Tommy Smyth, also Ray Hudson of GolTV thankfully not on my TV squealing like a school girl / fan boy. Could you imagine if he was doing a Spain game, with all those Barcelona and Real Madrid players on the same team? Hudson might explode.

    @Paula: No problem with his boosting of the US team, they deserve it, and I’m right there with him on that.

  35. 35
    Randinho says:

    I spent a few very nice days at (where else) a hotel in Boa Viagem and spent some additional nice days in Olinda at what was then a new pousada called Pousada do Amparo that I could probably not afford now and had the single best meal I have ever had in Brazil at a restaurant called Oficina do Sabor. I remember it to this day: provolone profiteroles, lobster with passion fruit sauce, rice with green mango and onions, washed down with a batida de caja and for dessert mint ice cream with cinnamon and clove liquers.

    Spent a lovely day at Itamarica as well. Next time in Pernambuco I have to go to Porto de Galinhas and Caruaru.

    The majority of my wife’s family pull for Atletico Mineiro, but I’m Cruzereinse.

  36. 36
    Randinho says:

    BTW, here’s a link to some footage of Jong Tae-Se scoring two goals against Greece. Jong is the North Korean player they call “The People’s Wayne Rooney” who plays in the J League.

  37. 37
    SLKRR says:

    @Randinho:

    Oficina do Sabor is simply fantastic. You definitely need to get down to Porto de Galinhas next time you are up this way – before they destroy it with overdevelopment. The entire coast along the north part of the town is turning into condos and $1000-a-night resort hotels, and they are widening the highway from Recife in order to allow even more tourists to get there. The center of town and the area around the calçadão, however, still have some charm and I would recommend a meal at Peixe na Telha.

  38. 38
    Mentis Fugit says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    (Nah, not even I’m buying this)

    Ah, but if we score more goals than Australia, we will diedepart content.

  39. 39
    Randinho says:

    @SLKRR: That moqueca looks good, but I have to have it capixaba style. The dende is just too rich.

    Before the next WC I hope to be retired to a place in Espirito Santo just outside of Vila Velha. This place.

  40. 40
    MikeJ says:

    Might I say, I love the recap running on ESPN2 right now for those of use who didn’t make a fourth straight day of waking up at 4am for football. They manage to show enough to give you a flavour for the game. Stupid networks never show anything other than goals.

  41. 41

    Didn’t know someone at Ballon Juice was even covering the Cup.

    Anyway, full live coverage of all 64 games is at my site, as well as live game tweet commentary on my twitter page.

    And if anybody on here is on Twitter who gives their thoughts during the games, just hit me up and I’ll add you to the World Cup 2010 community called “The 90 Minutes” that I have added.

  42. 42
    DavidB says:

    @superfly: I’m glad ESPN has hired some European commentators, even if they seem to be chaffing under the American rules of broadcasting, i.e. don’t be too negative, Gullit seems to want to rip everyone (except the Dutch, thought I’m sure he will rip them eventually too).

    Actually I have thought that while Gullit has been quite good (his comment about Vandervaart not playing a team game by coming inside and not allowing enough space was spot on), Wigan’s coach Roberto Martinez has been the real star; insightful analysis without trying too hard. Klinsmann and McManaman really lay on a lot of cliches. Bob Ley tries hard, but Tirico does a much better job as he makes it look effortless.

    An incredible improvement over 2006, I think that when Andy Gray came on in Euro 2008, it was the end of Tommy Smyth as a credible commentator because Smyth was shown as the clown that he is. That said, the Ticket to Africa show on FSC is quite good, but Andy Gray needs to stay away from that video board because he says the same things over and over again without really saying anything new – it’s like he forgets what he is going to say when he gets up there.

  43. 43

    By the way Elia won’t be on the field when Robben’s back.

    All Robben will do is thankfully send Van De Vaart back to the bench, who took all the space from Snejider today in the middle.

    And you can’t really fault Kjaer on that 2nd goal, because that’s just typical “Dirk Kuyt poachers goal”. For defenders, it’s so hard when your first instinct is not offense, especially on a redirect off the post. Forwards always have that advantage of going forward there.

    I did pick Paraguay and Slovakia to progress out of Group F because Italy just lacks that player to provide the final ball and do it consistently. Pirlo is too old, too banged up, and down on confidence from a year at AC Milan when that team aged even further than it did the year before……..and they were already painfully old.

    Lippi should have brought Rossi (sigh), and/or Balotelli and taken a chance. Instead, Italy don’t have a forward that can create his own chances or have enough paces to really scare a talented Slovak defense.

    God bless Ryan Nelson and New Zealand though.

  44. 44

    @DavidB:
    That was so spot on, I can’t even add anything else other than saying “You are a great analyst.”

  45. 45
    Tokyokie says:

    Your notion that goal differential may be the deciding factor in Group F this year reminds me of a similar result in Group 2 in the 1974 World Cup (the first one to which I paid attention). Yugoslavia, Scotland and Brazil all tied one another, but Scotland, which opened with Zaire, only beat them 2-0. Yugoslavia then trounced them 9-0, and Brazil, once it got up 3-0, pretty much took the rest of the match off. Thus Scotland didn’t advance.

    However, it did generate a great trivia question: Who was the only unbeaten team in the 1974 World Cup?

  46. 46
    SRW1 says:

    @stormhit:

    Both yellow cards Germany got (Ozil and Cacau) in the game against the Aussies were for diving and contrary to your assertion the fact that this happened was mentioned and approved of by Randinho.

  47. 47
    wengler says:

    A great second game today is in store with Portugal-Ivory Coast.

    The other two should be blowouts.

  48. 48
    Randy Paul says:

    @sluggahjells: Disagree with you on Kjaer. If he’d followed the man and the ball it might have made a difference. You can see him slow down while Kuyt speeds up even before the ball hits the post.

    @SRW1: Thanks. Not only did I mention and approve of them, but I also mentioned two other non-Italian examples of divers.

  49. 49
    Sarcastro says:

    I have no idea where people are watching the games right now, so chime in if you’ve an opinion…

    ESPN3, you can watch the matches with English, German, Portugese, Korean or Arabic announcers. And if I may recommend it, try and find a torrent for each night’s Match of the Day from the BBC; Best game analysis I’ve been able to find.

    As a Roma fan, DeRossi’s goal tickled me shitless. Only bring one player from the #2 side in Serie A and he’s the one who scores for you? Ha! Are you paying attention Germany? Leaving Kevin Kuranyi to watch the cup from Moscow is going to come back and bite you in the ass!

  50. 50
    Morbo says:

    So much for that scenario…

  51. 51
    SB Jules says:

    Go Kiwis!! Tony Lochhead is the first player from UCSB to play in the World Cup. I even watched much of the match :O

  52. 52
    Annamal says:

    A lot of very tired happy people in my office this morning (first time New Zealand has drawn a game in the world cup so probably worth celebrating).

    The great thing about lowered expectations is that every so often you get suprised!

  53. 53
    Randinho says:

    @Morbo: Indeed. I’m happy for the Kiwis.

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