World Cup 2010

Impressions: World Cup Days 1 – 3

Toronto’s Buzzing on World Cup

Here are a few things the first weekend have proven to me:

  1. First game jitters mean most teams come out playing conservatively, perhaps even a bit too much buttoned down. It seems coaches don’t want to start with a loss. For the most part, the low scoring, cagey matches that have been played so far have featured most teams holding back, staying compact in shape and looking to stave off their opponents’ attacks.
  2. Vuvuzelas are a cool South African tradition and a really annoying sound. It drove me a bit crazy at last year’s Confederation’s Cup, but three days into the World Cup and it’s starting to feel like the prelude to a migraine.
  3. Never ever ever underestimate the German team. Three days of low scoring, defensive games were capped by a blowout German victory over the Australians. Ballack or not, the Germans looked good. They were calm, disciplined and surprisingly aggressive today. More than that, the Germans looked crafty, even creative at times. I wasn’t prepared for that. To date, they showed themselves to be the best team on the pitch.
  4. I might be the only person sporting a USA jersey on the streets of Toronto. I’m still waiting to meet another fan.

Can’t wait for tomorrow, with Italy and the Netherlands getting their first matches in. I’m also interested in seeing how Cameroon open against a relatively weaker Japan. I’m glad the US didn’t get that pool to start in.

Thoughts on the USA v England match

The US played relatively well yesterday, as their midfield did largely disarm the English midfield and lock up play before much attack could be generated. That said, England had plenty of viable chances anyway, and they should have beaten Howard at least one more time. The US deserved a goal, though not, per se, on the shot that actually went in.

I thought a draw was a likely outcome, but the US were lucky to get out with a point and duck what could have become an ugly defeat. I thought both teams played far below their potential, and that both teams showed that their defense will remain their weakest points going forward. The build up to the England goal in the 4th minute was some of the worst defensive marking I’ve seen these first three days. They did succeed in keeping Rooney off the scoresheet, so that’s something, but I would hate to see the outcome of either team against what I saw of the Germans today.

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