Saturday, 12 June 2010

Matches 01 and 02

A nervous start from the hosts saw Mexico lay siege to the South
African goal, yet, thanks to some good goal-keeping and tidy wide
defensive work, they came away empty handed. South Africa then went
ahead with a great goal coming from a beautiful splitting pass,
thumped into the top right by Tshabalala. Mexico made things even
once more, catching the South African defense on the back foot. South
Africa had a great chance to take the lead once more in the 89th
minute, but hit the Mphela hit the post with the goalkeeper giving
him space for a shot. 1-1.

Uruguay and France seemed to have not bothered to turn up, both
seemingly playing for penalties. France were disjointed and the lack
of bite cost them against a fairly steady defense. Uruguay for their
part seemed to be playing counter attacking football, but without the
attack - often finding themselves with opportunities to break, and
opting for the safe sideways or backward pass. As an advert for
football, this was poor. Uruguay went a man down, after a second
booking (the first being a cheap card for kicking a ball away), but
even this failed to open things up for a French side who's only
really chance came from a free-kick from wide by Gourcuff. 0-0.

Only the post stopped my first result from being spot on, and perhaps
I was a little optimistic to even suggest that the teams in game two
would deem to entertain us with goals! Group A remains wide open,
with Uruguay looking the weakest side on show. If Mexico can get
something from France, which seems likely if they can turn their
attack into result, then the final game for South Africa France could
well be a high stakes one for both of them.

Todays games and predictions:

ARG 3 v 2 NIG - it may look like I don't think much of Argentina from
this prediction, but I think they will do very well in the contest,
starting slow, but winning comfortably, despite the score line.
Nigeria can be tough, and have little to lose - and of the African
sides, they have the greater attacking options - plus they have
nothing to lose, and will benefit from a strong support showing in
South Africa. Messi will score, but expect him to look tired, and for
Maradonna to once more show that he tactically doesn't really know
how to use the team to his benefit.

KOR 1 v 1 GRE - Korea's captain, Park Ji-Sung, seems to be an
embodiment of the team - full of endeavor, endless energy and
fearless, but with little end product. I expect a goal from him, and
a lot of chances, but if there is one thing the Greeks know how to
do, it's to defend, often grinding teams down and looking to break.
The Greek team is a lot older from their effective European winning
days, and managers have gotten wise to their methods, but that won't
stop them from sticking to the game plan. Expect lots of missed chances.

ENG 3 v 1 USA - USA are a tough team, and the Confed Cup showed that
they can score goals against the best of them, which England are not
by any stretch - however the team is tired, injured and, it's biggest
weakness, still lacks a creative player than can turn a game. That
said, they are still one of the most athletic teams at the contest,
and England will make hard work of things, especially if they stick
to their usual game plan of giving the ball back to their opponents
cheaply at any opportunity. However, in Rooney they have a game
winner, and in Capello a manager that knows how to use him, plus
Gerrard will be more involved than usual, and is a player with enough
in reserve to change a game when he wants. USA also have a tendency
to not show up to the big rivalry games. Expect a slow start from
England, a physical approach by the US, but in the end, England win
it with a flattering score line.

No comments: