Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Round 1 Thoughts and Musings

Group A
The permutations and expectations of this group are dizzying at times. I have heard sound arguments for all 8 two-team combinations to advance. France/Mexico. Uruguay/SouthAf. France/SouthAf... and so on and so forth. What is certain however, is that the excitement and 47 months of anticipation shrouded the statistic that only 4 teams who have lost their opening match have ever advanced out of the group. Friday's games demonstrated this but you wouldn't have known it until today. That is to say, the mentality that is dominating the first salvos is clearly - don't lose your first game!

All four teams in Group A showed at least one positive sign but also several negatives. And though the standings show the group all-square, the first round, to me, revealed two tiers. Uruguay and France are in the upper tier, and Mexico/SouthAf are in the lower tier based on the nuances of the play. Shape, discipline, ball-movement - these characteristics were at a higher level in Game2. Today, hopefully (if you're me) the disparity in class will shine through.

If Uruguay can't beat South Africa then they don't deserve to advance. And in order to avoid all shenanigans, Uruguay must win today. They know this. And of all people, Loco Abreu surmised it best. "We got 1 point against France, now its up to everyone else to try and get a point against France." That means you Mexico.

Group B
Messi's scoreless streak for country continues even though by all accounts he had a great game. Meh. Let me know when he scores. Nigeria looked atrocious so it's tough to commit to any conclusions. The only team that looked worse is Greece. South Korea overflowed with confidence and that will hopefully carry over when they play Argentina next. Needless to say the round 2 match between Korea and Argentina will show which squad is legit.

Group C
A fan somewhere in Slovenia during their match realized an opportunity was about to pass them by. Slovenia is in control of this group but for a moment, or rather, 78 minutes, it looked as if this previously unthinkable conclusion would be squandered. Unfortunately for USA/England, Algeria's goalkeeper decided to also take a dump on the field.
So here we are. Group C is the most interesting group and the United States joins the list of teams that is faced with a must-win scenario on Friday. It's still impossible to imagine England not advancing out of the group stages but let's just say I'm listening to all comers.

Group D
Germany didn't get the memo that the first round of games are to be played tentatively and with caution. Ze Germans swaggered and they surfed. Everyone who needed to score for that squad, Prince Podolski and Klose, did. The only way it could get any better for the Germans is if Algeria finishes 2nd place in the Group C.

Group E
The Netherlands haven't exactly clicked into place and the health of Arjen Robben still looms. Bendtner looked pretty good. Uh... yeah, not much going on here except that Cameroon is winning the world cup by a mile for coolest fu%$ing jerseys. Mmmmmmm.

Group Fail
Booooooooo. I'm so upset Luca Toni isn't a part of this.

Group G
My mother thought it was a bad idea that I wore a Uruguay shirt and watched the Brasil game at Reagan/National airport cheering for North Korea. I was prepared to fight every random white guy wearing a Kaka jersey though so it's all good. It's probably too early to tell, but Brasil looked like dog shit. I will convert to any religion that can answer my prayers that Brasil loses their next two games.
There are many complaints about the vuvuzella's and one of those complaints is that you can't hear the ooo's and aah's during a build-up. Ivory Coast vs. Portugal debunked that argument handily. When the jumbotron showed Didier Drogba about to come into the game the vuvu's went apeshit and the stadium seemed like it was gonna come down for 3 minutes. That was a thousand times cooler than singing and it's going to be very hard to forget hearing that boom of vuvu's.

Group H
Chile's Sanchez looked honeycrisp and Honduras came out tired and with no rhythm. Spain is currently playing so I can't comment on them yet but come on, Spain is winning this group [editors change] losing today.