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.