Day 3

Posted: June 13, 2010 in World Cup
Tags: , , , , , ,

Algeria v Slovenia was rubbish but at least Rob Green will presumably feel a bit better after the Algerian keeper basically chested the ball into his net. It was also the first “away win” for my Theo Wallchart as well.

Serbia v Ghana also threatened to move towards boredom, but at least both sides possessed mobile footballers intent on trying to score. This was the first surprising result of the tournament so far (unless you include South Africa) – I had Serbia to qualify from the group but now Ghana have the chance to win their first two games, with Australia next in line.

Moron of the World Cup so far definitely goes to Zdravko Kuzmanovic for his stupid handball to give away the game, although Algeria’s Ghezzal runs him close for doing the exact same thing and getting a red card, but at least he had the brains to do it inside the opposition’s box instead of his own.

Jeez there’s been a lot of red cards so far hasn’t there? Four in the first eight games, and none of them have been dodgy (three for second-yellows, one for a reckless lunge by Cahill). I’d predicted 8 in the whole tournament in my prediction spreadsheet; that’s now looking hopelessly conservative.

Germany looked superb, the best team of the tournament so far, but it should be tempered by the fact that they were playing what looked like a pretty poor Aussie team who were down to 10 men for the last 30 or so. Nonetheless, they absolutely smashed them. The idea that players like Podolski and Klose can be out of form was made to look laughable, and Philipp Lahm must surely be one of the best full-backs in world football. I’d certainly have him ahead of Maicon and Dani Alves in my dream XI.

The big thing about Germany was how comfortably slick they were in possession; there was barely a meaningless pass in their game with Ozil (who has really weird eyes) and Schweinsteiger impressive. Everyone carried the ball forward with ease and intent, and they got round the back of an ageing defence time after time. Klose came into this tournament needing 6 goals to become the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer – and he really should have had half of them tonight. He had to settle for one but who knows. It would be interesting to see how the media would compare him to Ronaldo and Gerd Muller, the ones he’s aiming to chase down – he seems very underplayed for someone whose international record is palpably better than any other striker on the world stage today.

Germany have become likeable in the last few years, which is an odd thing to be saying as an Englishman. They have a cool manager, they play boisterous, attractive football with no little skill, and they have a joyous commitment to scoring goals rather than passing teams to death like Spain. Good luck to them. They’ll certainly tear England a new one if we should meet in the second round.

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