Friday, July 2, 2010

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

Match Day 20- When Ryan is a bitter, bitter man.

For those of you who know me from the way back, know I am a huge Harry Connick jr. fan. Tonight, one Mr. Connick Jr. is playing at the World Expo for United States National day. Am I going? No... Why? Well, nobody thought anyone who works for the United States government, or the family of said employees were worth inviting. Even the people who are WORKING THE EVENT had to scramble to get tickets. So my lovely wife will be attending after a full days work organizing the party at Expo for National day. I take comfort in knowing that my unborn son's first concert is Harry Connick Jr. It is nice symmetry...

On to the feckless hooliganism!

Tonight's action: Netherlands v. Brazil, Uruguay v. Ghana.

So just to set the table, the Dutch have a history of in-fighting at the World Cup. Most people anticipate it. They know it's coming. People wrote about it in preview blogs for the Cup, and joked about it on talk radio. This World Cup had been fairly quiet for the Netherlands. We all thought that the Dutch had excised the demons and were all happy campers talking about bicycles and weed. Then, the day after the last game of the second round, like clockwork, stories of the Dutch having a go at each other began to surface. Robin Van Persie was substituted in the 82nd minute of their last game, and boy was he unhappy. He was pleading his case to the coach quite visibly. Evidently, in that exchange he said that he should have stayed in and midfielder Wesley Sneijder should have come out. Sneijder promptly scored two minutes later putting the game out of reach for Slovakia. The dust-up evidently goes back to an argument the two had at the European championships. The coach has squashed all the talk, but sometimes it is good to know you can depend on certain things.

Tonight, we find out exactly how good this Netherlands team is and whether or not they can dominate possession against an incredibly stingy Brazil team.Hopefully all the talk about problems in the Dutch camp were indeed overblown or exaggerated, because they cannot handle a weak spine on that team. Brazil will probably capitalize on the weaker Dutch defense. Holland's job is to try and keep up and create enough chances so that if they do get a lead, they can fall back on that exceptional control to siphon away time from Brazil's dangerous midfield and forward attack. I really love the Dutch team, but I think that Brazil takes this one. I think they are just extraordinary. However, they have not been tested at this tournament yet and you can bet that Netherlands will make things hellish if given the opportunity.

Uruguay v. Ghana will be interesting to particularly because it will give us a sense of how tough this Uruguay team really is. They have cruised up to this point and run into a Ghana team that finally got the monkey off their back and scored from open play and took a fairly dramatic victory in their win over the USA. Uruguay looks like the real deal in this tournament. Kind of an Argentina light without the Messi. Ghana plays such a tough physical band of soccer that it will be tough for the Uruguayan back line to hang in there without getting chippy. Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng will again be the point men for the attack with Ayew streaking in from the wing to create opportunites. Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan will again be the main culprits looking to end Ghana's feel good story. I think Uruguay wins this one, but not without a tough fight from Ghana who will make their standing as the last African country in the tourney count.

Now I'm going to go listen to the "When Harry met Sally" soundtrack at full blast and see if I can get a sense of what I'm missing.

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