Monday, June 28, 2010

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

Match Day 18- Goal, what goal? I saw no goal...

If it weren't for definitive endings, all anyone could talk about today would be the officiating errors in yesterday's games. FIFA has to be embarrassed by the two missed calls. At the very least we can hope they respond with better communication between the referees and the fourth official who is watching on a monitor. They can add another official or two while they are at it. If they really feel like joining the 21st century they can set up a replay official to check goals during celebrations. Calls like those would have taken all of two seconds to verify and overturn.

Argentina looked really good, but once again there defense is still a small mystery. Mexico tested them early with good chances. I am really excited to see their next game against Germany. It could be a real classic. Carlos Tevez had one of the goals of the tournament with what looked like a rocket launcher in the second half. Another game down and no goal for Messi, but the way he is playing that can't be much of a complaint for anyone. He has been brilliant on the ball and just about the only option anyone has had is to take his legs out from under him.

Tonight's action is Netherlands v. Slovakia and Brazil against Chile. I'm really curious what Slovakia can do against Holland. The Dutch ball handling has been impeccable. I'm not seeing a repeat of the Italy game, but momentum is a funny thing, and Slovakia are coming in with a lot of it. The Netherlands has been flying somewhat under the radar this tournament with workmanlike showings in their three group stage games. The re-introduction of Arjen Robben in the last game was a huge boost offensively. His creativity near the 18 yard box is undeniable. This could be the first game to go to penalty kicks, but I see the Dutch winning this one without that scenario presenting itself.

Brazil v. Chile is a great game to fantasize about because in my head it will probably be better than what unfolds on the pitch. Chile has only managed one goal per game, but you just feel like that will broken open at any time. They do such a good job of creating chances. Their aggressiveness cost them in the game versus Spain. Hopefully they won't fall into that trap again tonight. I still don't know what to make of the game Brazil had against Portugal, but at this point it doesn't matter. They are back to full strength with Kaka and Elano back in the lineup. Brazil's offense should have plenty of opportunities tonight as Chile likes to play as if defense is a nice idea rather than a necessity. Most people would pick Brazil tonight. Not me, I'm going to pick Brazil. You like that? You like how I looked like I was going to pick Chile, and then at the last second didn't?

I have to say, I don't like big games ending in penalty shoot-outs, but I can't deny I like watching them. I don't think we will see one tonight, but in the World Cup all options are on the table.

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