It's all in your World Cup

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day the first

Germany - Costa Rica 4-2

No Ballack and against a Costa Rica seemingly intent on backing off German attackers all the way to the touchline, there isn't really all that much to be learned about the direction of the tournament from this game. Great goals though. Every generation of German players seems to have at least a couple of people competing for ownership of the heirloom nickname 'Der Hammer'. Predictably though, Frings goal was attributed more to the new ball than to his technique. His goal and Lahm's went some way to easing fears that the nightmare of the first weeks of the previous two World Cups would be repeated, with players struggling to cope with the weight of the new ball, and putting every shot from outside the penalty area high into the jeering stands. Lots to enjoy.

Ecuador - Poland 2-0

Big Southampton interest here, with players past and present sprinkled between the two teams. Delgado got a goal (I never thought he was as bad as other Saints fans demanded he must be - devotion to the badge has never been a prerequisite of talent for me) though it's hard to be inspired by two teams doomed to be also-rans long before kick off. Poland don't look like a team that did a passable impression of a goal machine during qualification. In fact, their final ball was frequently surpassingly ugly. Misplaced crosses and through-balls go to offensive lengths to ruin the aesthetic of a game - highly frustrating, but still not enough to stop me consuming as much football as possible.

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