So, I’m beginning to think that unless you’re from Central or South America, you’re just here to disappoint me. And I’m not sure that that’s even right because I wasn’t impressed with Brazil. Even the Germans, who looked unstoppable after their total destruction of Australia, have lost to a minor team. I guess that’s the great thing about World Cup, it’s unpredictable. I dunno if you remember who my favorites originally were, but they are now officially 1) Uruguay 2) Argentina and 3) Mexico. Favorites, of course, not being who I think will win, but who I want to win.
Argentina v South Korea
Argentina, 4-1, is looking pretty good offensively, especially with the first hat trick of the Cup going to Gonzalo Higuaín, but they let in a goal with a pretty intense lapse of defensive attention. Still, they’re looking good and might go all the way.
Greece v Nigeria
Greece wins! For the first time! Nothing like a good comeback story, especially when there’s a very obvious villain in the form of a Nigerian player, Kaita, who got kicked off the field for a blatant red card offense. It’s what red cards are there for.
France v Mexico
I admit that I actually freaked out with happiness when Mexico scored it’s first goal against France. The second was just icing on the cake, because it’s almost impossible for France to advance. This is two part, because I like Mexico and I know some people really enthusiastically cheering for Mexico, and also I hate the French team.
Germany v Serbia
WTF Germany? How do you lose to Serbia? This is one of two games this day that were dominated by over-refereeing. I mean, the sheer number of cards thrown out was absurd, especially considering how mild some of the fouls were.
USA v Slovenia
Oh, let’s talk some referee bullshit. The US was robbed, absolutely robbed, of a third goal. They should have been moving forward with a win rather than a draw. Still, the US will move forward if they win their next game, which slightly makes up for it. But the lame-ass ref also gave a yellow card for an intentional handball that wasn’t. Very irritating. I read that the ref is probably going to be not allowed to ref any more World Cup games.
England v Algeria
Scoreless matches aren’t always boring, but this one sure as hell was. England and I aren’t speaking for the moment, I’m too disappointed in them. I don’t even want to talk about it, have some statistic porn, courtesy Nate Silver and Wikipedia.
Halfway through the first round of group matches.
Argentina v Nigeria
Argentina, especially Lionel Messi, was incredibly agile and fast with the ball, but they were denied again and again by the fast and talented Nigerian goalie, Vincent Enyeama. Any goalie less talented and Messi would have had at least one goal and possibly three. Argentina wasn’t fully confident, they’ve got some defensive weaknesses, but they’re the most impressive team I’ve seen so far.
S. Korea v Greece
Well, who the hell expected that out of S. Korea, a contender out of nowhere and good for them. Greece has been a little weak lately, but did not expect that.
England v USA
This is a game the USA should have lost, the way they were playing, and if not for the awful error on the part of the English goalie, Robert Green, they definitely would have. The English played much better, the US was incredibly lucky. They’ll need to do better.
Algeria v Slovenia
Slovenia comes out the winner, leaving them the surprising leader of Group C. This game was very evenly matched, possession and attempts pretty evenly distributed.
Germany v Australia
I’m not sure Australia even showed up for this game. They’re ranked 20, but they looked like they didn’t even know how the game was played. Gratuitous fouling and total inability to fight the German’s efficient play – so destroyed was Australia that Germany is now a favorite to win the whole thing. Germany looks good (minus the diving) but Australia, come on, that was ridiculous. Every game today got a red card too.
Serbia v Ghana
Well performed on the part of Ghana, especially as they were not at all favored to win.
THE CURRENT STANDINGS
1. Mexico (1)
1. S. Africa (1)
3. Uruguay (1)
3. France (1)
1. S. Korea (3)
2. Argentina (3)
3. Nigeria (0)
4. Greece (0)
1. Slovenia (3)
2. England (1)
2. USA (1)
4. Algeria (0)
1. Germany (3)
2. Ghana (3)
3. Serbia (0)
4. Australia (0)
Let us pretend I’ve spent no time on this and am merely grabbing some things out of a random hat. The following are 6 games over the next few weeks that I think will be entertaining, in order of appearance, all times PST.
6/12 11:30 England (8) v USA (14)
England is hungry for another cup, but their line-up is a bit wobbly. These two are probably competing for number 1 in their group, and will both make it out, but this game will show us if the US is going to actually do anything worthwhile and if England is going to make a real run to repeat ’66.
6/15 11:30 Brazil (1) v North Korea (105)
These are the two extremes; Brazil is FIFA rank number 1 and Korea DPR is number 105, the lowest in the competition by nearly 30. Perhaps I’m a sadist, but this could be extremely fun to watch. It probably helps that it’s really easy to hate North Korea, though there are some worries that there will be negative consequences for the players if they embarrass their dictator , so maybe it’s easy to root for the incredibly downtrodden underdogs?
6/17 11:30 France (9) v Mexico (17)
I generally think that the France, Uruguay, Mexico triad is going to be fun to watch, I think they’re very closely matched. And I think my soft-spot goes to Mexico.
6/22 7:00 Mexico (17) v Uruguay (16)
These two are ranked 16 and 17, and it’s likely that this will be win or go home. I suspect this will be a hard fought game.
6/22 11:30 Greece (13) v Argentina (7)
They’re closely matched in terms of talent, likely this will simply be for first, so not quite as much pressure, but I think we’ll see here if Argentina is going to be a real challenger.
6/25 7:00 Portugal (3) v Brazil (1)
Probably the most anticipated match of the knockout rounds. Brazil, number 1, against Portugal, number 3. Plus, they like speak the same language and stuff.