It's all in your World Cup

Thursday, June 15, 2006

First Round Matches

What have we learned?

1. Some players are good at hitting the ball very hard, from distance, and getting it on target.
2. England players get tired when they run around.
3. African defending is still 'naive' - someone must tell them.
4. John Motson giggles whenever a Brazilian player controls the ball.
5. France are just awful.

The World Cups of 1998 and 2002 produced relatively few games that stick in the memory. Nigeria's 3-2 victory over Spain in 1998; France's narrow extra time win over Chilavert's Paraguay in the same year; the USA's win over a preening Portugal side in 2002. The grouping for this world cup promised only a handful of matchups to get excited over in advance, but in happy contrast to previous years, already a couple of regulation looking ties have exceeded expectations and produced great goals and genuine contests. Of course, the other benefit of having only a small number of quality teams facing off in the group stage ensures that the knockout rounds should be set up to produce great matches. The early exits of Argentina, and a French team that were better than their no-wins, no-goals performance last time robbed the tournament of a lot of potential drama. At this stage, it seems that everyone has turned up to play (except Ronaldo) and one week in, I'm enthusiastic about the potential of this World Cup to just get better and better.

2 Comments:

  • I enjoy reading your analysis, wish it was a bit longer though.

    By Blogger ilya, at 1:35 PM  

  • I'm hoping to write more as the tournament progresses. Just first impressions of teams at the moment really, though at half time, I feel a storm brewing over England...

    By Blogger Philip, at 6:01 PM  

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