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World Cup 2010

Impressions: Days 4 – 6

World Cup 2010

All 32 teams have played

With everyone having played one match, Germany’s performance stands as the most impressive to date. The Paraguayans also looked terrific against Italy, and stand tall as a dark horse team with possibilities to upset favorites at later stages. Uninspired games from Portugal, Brazil Netherlands and Italy suggest they were holding back a bit in their opening matches. The biggest shock of all, of course, is Spain’s defeat by the Swiss. While I’m sure it won’t knock the Spanish out of contention, it had to be a wake up call for the team many favoured to win overall.

Up to now, the strongly organized defense has been the hallmark of the game play. Combined with some powerhouse teams only putting 70% out in effort, it has meant some low scoring games and close matches. Had Drogba netted his 91st minute chance against Portugal, instead of passing across goal, the Cote d’Ivoire upset would have been one to remember. So, as the mighty coast through the group round merely trying not to suffer Spain’s misfortune, we’ll have to reserve judgment on their form until the round of 16.

Going forward now, things will start to take shape in the pools and after two matches each it will pretty clear in most cases who will be advancing. The Greeks today got lucky when the Nigerian Kaita temporarily lost his mind and drew a straight red card. From a goal down and elimination nearly assured, the Greeks found themselves facing 10 for the majority of the match. The Greeks scored their first ever World Cup Finals goal, and following a second marker they earned their first victory ever as well.

Chintzy Red Cards

I  thought the red card to Australia’s Tim Cahill was a soft call, but the red shown to South Africa’s goalkeeper was a nasty bit of bad officiating too. That decision effectively assassinated the host team. There have been others too. I thought the red to Kaita today was also a bit harsh. He displayed some immense stupidity in kicking at his opponent for no good reason. On the other hand, there was barely any contact and a yellow with a stern warning could easily have been the result. Kaita certainly was the author of his own fate, and there have been relatively few ballerina swan dives up to now. I guess the officials just want to make their presence known, before the histrionics get cranked up in the elimination rounds. It’s sad when the officials get overly involved in the determining the outcomes, so I hope the referees hold onto those red cards for more deserved violations going forward.

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