Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Fever! Catch it! (WARNING: may cause spousal irritation)

Match Day 10- Phase one, in which Doris gets her oats.

Another short post as social commitments deprive me of time and focus.

Once again we see a refereeing decision change the entire complexion of a game with Harry Kewell getting a red for an unintentional handball in the box. Australia had some fire going last night and looked ready to go back up despite being down a man. Ghana looked nothing like the team that ran down Serbia until the last few minutes of the game when it was just too late. Ghana gets the unfortunate task of taking on a very angry German team, but really only needs a draw to advance. Australia is left to deal with the stingy defense of Serbia.

The Netherlands looked good but not great in their win over Japan. Japan played as tough as I thought they would but never seemed overmatched. I have to say I am really impressed with how far Japan have come as a football team since hosting in 2002. They begin to show the promise of a solid federation infrastructure. While they aren't on par with South Korea just yet, it may not take them long to get there. Netherlands already has 1st place in the group locked up thanks to it's wins over Japan and Denmark. Speaking of...

Denmark looked really sloppy in their win over Cameroon. Their defense flailed all over the field. Thankfully their offense stepped up to save them from any embarrassment. Unfortunately Cameroon becomes the first team effectively eliminated. It is a sad state for the African countries in total with Ghana currently holding the best spot.

What say we fire this thing up and see what it looks like, PREVIEWS!

Game 1- Paraguay v. Slovakia.
Two dark horse teams lock it up to see who can establish some kind of control in what is a wide open group. This is a straight pick'em for me as I don't see one side necessarily having a stronger advantage.

Best guess: Slovakia 1-1 Paraguay.
Both teams look pretty solid and a draw here puts the winner of the Itay v. New Zealand game in the driver's seat. Slovakia could easily open it up behind the offensive beauty of Vladimir Weiss.

Game 2- Italy v. New Zealand.
The Kiwis surprised everyone with their last minute goal in the match against Italy. They proved that as long as they have men on the field, they won't quit and that can get you far. Italy find themselves in a slightly uncomfortable position as their standout goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is out for the tournament with what I believe is a herniated disc. Going to a second keeper is never settling, but Italy is a strong team untroubled by the craziness haunting the French or the English. I expect Italy to get back on track despite having the New Zealand offense climbing their backs for the majority of the game.

Best guess: Italy 1-0 New Zealand.

Game 3- Brazil v. Ivory Coast.
After Ivory Coast's disappointing draw against Portugal, expectations are high for what is a much tougher game. Didier Drogba will be starting this one, so the Brazilian defense will be under much greater strain. However, Brazil has now had a game to get any tension out of their system and should return to playing like, well, Brazil.

Best guess: Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast.

Other notes of tepid interest: We saw Toy Story 3 today. I love that series. it was a real tear-jerker at times and just continued the ever beautiful work they do at Pixar. I woke up this morning to be pleasantly surprised to find Tiger Woods found his stride again playing himself back into contention at the U.S. Open. I'm only referencing the player here as my opinions about his personal life have no bearing on how I view him as a golfer. He just always manages to find a way to make everyone else on the course look silly. Every time someone writes a career obituary for him, he steps up and torches a course to remind you he is only 34 years old and not going anywhere anytime soon. The last round should be fantastic and beautiful as always. A great Father's Day gift for my Dad as usual.

Happy Father's day to all of you with kids!

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