Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Still not up to scratch

After a number of games, I have to say this World Cup has not been very exciting so far.

To be fair, the first round of matches are usually not very exciting, as teams tend to be cautious, not wanting to lose their first match. I think once the second round of games gets underway, it should get better.

Having said that, South Africa's goal against Mexico was a hell of a way to get things started. Really. The build-up was fantastic and the shot was exceptional. It was, I thought, a sign of great things to come. Fast forward a few games, though, and there have been few goals and even fewer exceptional goals to cheer about.

Other than that first goal, the ones that have stuck in my mind are Lukas Podolski's goal and the one from Park Ji-Sung. The German's was a real cracker and Park's was brilliant from an individualistic point of view. And people still question whether United's decision to buy him was purely for marketing reasons. I still think he is one of the most underrated players in the United squad.

The other goals that stuck in my mind, for all the wrong reasons, are the howlers let in by England, Algeria, Denmark's Poulsen and, most recently, Paraguay.

The only team which has really impressed me so far are the Germans. They have a fantastic combination of young and senior players, and the young ones have really impressed. Muller and Osil come to mind immediately, but don't count out the rest. No offence to Australia, but the Socceroos were made to look like schoolboys on the field.

But before I go on about how good this German team is, I have to say I think it is a team for the future. Not this World Cup. The Aussies were not really a good test of how well this team can do. I think they will do well, but I don't think they'll win it this year. Maybe the next one, although it will be hard in a country like Brazil.

My favourite, Argentina, did not impress. They didn't play too well, nor did they do too badly. It's just that they don't seem like world champions. I have to say, though, that the scoreline would have been a lot different if not for the heroics of the Nigerian goalie Vincent Enyeama.

As for England. What can I say? It would have been a one-goal win as I had thought it would be, if not for the Green howler. They should still make it to the next round. But I have to say I think Capello got his line-up wrong. I still think Joe Cole should be First XI in England. OK, so Joe got left out of the starting line-up. What was Capello thinking bringing in Shaun Wright-Phillips on the left flank? The guy is only good on the right. Joe Cole can play both sides and would have been a better choice for the left than Ian's adopted son!

The Netherlands didn't impress either. The Danes should have been easier meat for the Dutch than the 2-0 scoreline suggests. I also have to say I was disappointed that I didn't get to see much of new Red Devil Javier Hernandez. Having scored quite a number of goals in only a few matches for his country, I would have liked to see him in the starting line-up instead of Franco.

The Italians are notoriously slow starters so I'm sure their draw with Paraguay will not prevent the reigning World champions from qualifying for the next round, especially taking into consideration the other teams in the group are New Zealand's All Whites and new boys Slovakia. As for France, well, what can I say. They have never been consistent have they?

Still a lot more games to watch, and I'm certainly looking forward to tonight's matches between Ivory Coast and Portugal and Brazil and North Korea.

Cheers for now!

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